The 19th Cinema Wasteland Convention has come and gone from just outside Cleveland, OH and it was once again a phenomenal show! Highlighted by the Maestro of Italian cannibal films, Ruggero Deodato, and select cast members from the infamous Cannibal Holocaust, the show was not one to miss. Throw in the Ladies of the Evil Dead and I’m in horror heaven!
This show obviously belonged to the Maestro. Friday evening began with a screening of the cannibal classic, followed by a Deodato panel featuring Mr. Deodato, Francesca Ciardi & Carl Gabrial Yorke from Cannibal Holocaust, David Hess from House on the Edge of the Park, and Michael Berryman from Cut and Run. We were told before the Q&A to come up with some good questions because this panel was being recorded for the eventual Cannibal Holocaust Blu-ray release (which will be available through Grindhouse Releasing-Ed.).
Things started off with the panel being asked about there first meeting or impressions of Deodato. Carl went first, and he mentioned that he was called about the movie from an agent in New York, and told to drive right over. After a few questions, they asked him what size his shoes were, then asked him to wait in the waiting room. He waited for a second individual to be interviewed, then was told he got the part because his feet were the right size. They then asked him if he was available for 3 weeks, and would work in the Amazon. He said yes, and boarded a plane. He still knew nothing of the movie, or his role.
Michael Berryman’s story was about the dangerous working conditions in the jungle. He mentioned that they would continuously come across spiders and snakes of a venomous nature, and when Michael asked Ruggero how to deal with them, Ruggero gave him a stick and said, “Poke them.” He did also add that once filming for the day was complete, they would all go back to the hotel for a shower, then would meet downstairs for a family style dinner together. “Ruggero really knew how to take care of his actors,” Michael added.
David Hess’s first impression was when the director, and an agent phoned David Hess about acting in House on the Edge of the Park. Due to the time change the phone call actually came at 5am, and Hess was none to happy about the wake up call. When asked if he’d like a film role his response was, “Yes, but not at 5 fucking am! Call me at 9!” The wake up call must not have been a deal breaker as the two of them have worked together numerous times since then.
Francesca’s story was the least interesting as she met Ruggero in Rome, and he took her out to dinner and was a wonderful man.
Talk then centered on the graphic violence in Cannibal Holocaust, especially when it came to the animal deaths. Here Francesca spoke up about wanting to leave the film immediately after the monkey was killed. She said he was like a small child in her eyes as they would play together between takes and was a lovely creature. She was promised that there would be no more animal deaths from that point. There would be one more, the pig, but she would eventually agree to continue the film. Carl then spoke up that the one death that did get to him was the pig for two reasons. One, they rode together on a boat to the movie set, and two the fact that he was supposed to shoot the pig himself. Ruggero then spoke up at this time that the crew was begging him to, “eat the pork” as the fish that they were catching out of the amazon to eat were not the most delectable. After talking it over with the cast and crew that is why the pig was killed, but of course he wanted it for his film. Ruggero also once again mentioned that all animals ever killed in his films were eaten and used as food. Hess then stood up and exclaimed, “Deodato gets a bad rep as an animal killer and it fucking ends tonight!” Most fans applaud the actors stance on the issue.
David Hess was then asked what his motivation as Alex was (for House on the Edge of the Park). He said it was quite easy after appearing in Last House on the Left, he just dumbed down Krug. He said Alex always thinks he’s in control, when actually he never quite is. He then joked that his music was used in the movie simply because it was cheap. Deodato quickly chimes in that he really enjoys David Hess’s music. Deodato also mentions that House is based on a true story, but some volume issues and broken english made this a difficult story to follow.
Finally, Deodato was asked his favorite movie moment. He said it was when he met Quentin Tarantino, and he asked him how the woman on the spike scene in Cannibal Holocaustwas done. Deodato shared with him the bicycle seat on the wooden stake, and the mouthpiece that was made of balsa wood, which is known to be lightweight. Tarantino said he loves that effect and asks him how much it cost to pull that off. “About ten dollars.”
The night then concluded with a screening of the House on the Edge of the Park. It was a wonderful panel, but unfortunately due to some microphone issues and my phone ringing at inopportune times that is what I can document. It’s more than understandable that many cannot wait for the eventual Blu-Ray release of this Grindhouse era classic.
The remainder of the weekend was also awesome, live audio commentary of The Evil Dead with the Ladies of the Evil Dead and special effects man Tom Sullivan, a Grindhouse era panel with film expert 42nd St. Pete and Tom Adkins, and screenings on classic drive in films as well as many low budget newbies looking to make a name for themselves. I would recommend anyone in the area to visit Sept. 30th for their 20th horror film showcase, featuring a rare convention appearance by Frank Henenlotter and numerous cast members from his films Basket Case, Frankenhooker, and Bad Biology! Gunnar Hansen will also be there for good measure, and so will I!
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