It all began a few months ago. Our intrepid editor, Duane Martin told me about a new film festival that he was helping out with. It was going to be held in Racine, Wisconsin, a small town about half way between Chicago and Milwaukee. It was going to be the first one they’d held and it was going to feature independent horror movies. Well, since I’m in Detroit and Racine is only about a five-hour drive, I couldn’t help but get my tickets, make my plans and get ready for a weekend of indie horror.
So, Thursday afternoon, I’m on my way, visions of blood, gore and zombies dancing in my head. The trip was uneventful and I found myself in a pretty little town, filled with friendly people at a hotel with a beautiful view of Lake Michigan. After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, I was off on Friday morning to the festival. Now, this may sound harsh, but it’s not meant that way. I think that, this being a first time festival, the planners were having a bit of trouble. Things that were scheduled to begin at 12:30pm were pushed back a bit. Celebrities arrived and were setting up still, the screening rooms were still being prepped and the main hall was more than half empty when I arrived. Not one to be discouraged, and not having a ton of experience with these things, I pushed ahead. I introduced myself to several of the filmmakers who had set up booths to promote their movies. I found a spot to put out some Rogue Cinema calling cards, and generally got the lay of the land on day one.
Day one also featured a minor historic event, the first ever face-to-face meeting of two Rogue Reviewers! That’s right, gentle reader, yours truly and Duane Martin were both in attendance for the entire weekend of fun. Well, after introductions and a bit of prowling around, it was time for the Rogue team to head to a gala reception for the festival and it’s guests. I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive about meeting so many new people for the first time, I’m not exactly what you might call a ‘people person’, I’m more the ‘sit in my easy chair and watch a movie’ kind of a guy, but when you’re standing in a room with great food, free beer and a ton of fun people, you can’t help yourself. You either have fun or you’re a bigger loser than I could ever hope to be. And what a party it was! In one room we had Lloyd Kaufman, Brinke Stevens, Sofiya Smirnova, Eddie Deezen, Mike Conway, Paul Solet and too many more to mention. It was fun to see everyone and meet everyone there and I have to admit, it was great fun.
Day Two featured a divide and conquer strategy for the Rogues. Duane set off to attend classes and meet as many people as he could (I’m sure that he’ll tell us all about it!) and I went off to see as many movies as was humanly possible. All told the old Bad Movie Guy sat through fifteen (15) movies in just over twenty-four hours! Now, that might not sound like a whole lot, but let me tell you, after about ten hours, my ass was about ready to sue me for divorce!!! But, I saw some great movies, I really don’t have the space here, or the time before deadline to tell you about them all, but next month, I promise a complete write up of every movie I saw there. And there were some really great movies too!
But, don’t think I sat in a dark room like a mushroom all weekend, I got the chance to chat with Debbie Rochon, who is one of the brightest people I’ve had the chance to meet. She’s not only a great actress, but she writes, she produces Fangoria Radio and she knows so much about horror movies that I couldn’t have been more impressed. I met the guys from Autumn Night Studios and saw three of their movies, one of which is one of the funniest shorts I’ve seen! I got to meet Gary Ugarek the writer/director/composer/editor/actor in Deadlands: The Rising, Gary has worked on the set of both the Dawn Of The Dead remake and Land Of The Dead and Deadlands: The Rising is his own zombie movie and it’s really great, I’ll do a full review next issue. Plus getting the chance to meet Mike Conway, who’s one of the nicest and funniest guys I’ve had the pleasure to meet and Paul Solet who is the definition of L.A. cool in my book and then there was Frank Delle and his lovely wife, both of whom are the greatest people! Can you tell I had a nice time? Well, I did, if every film festival is like this, I’m going to be attending more of them! And I haven’t even mentioned Wayne Clingman, the festival director, and his wife who worked tirelessly to keep everything running smoothly and efficiently, next month, I’m going to sit down and chat with Wayne about the festival and how he felt it went.
All in all the It Came From Lake Michigan Film Festival was fun and left me exhausted and ‘movied out’, I was sure by the end of the weekend that I’d never want to watch another movie again, but, I find myself sitting here on Monday, getting ready to drop a DVD of Debbie Rochon’s Mulva 2: Kill Teen Ape! into the DVD, and, yes, I got the DVD autographed by the lovely Debbie while I was there, it’s just one the benefits to attending the It Came From Lake Michigan Film Festival, and I couldn’t help but to take advantage. So, next month, I’ll go movie by movie and tell you what I saw, what I thought of it and how you can get your hands on any of these great movies for yourself. Until then, I think I’ll find a nice comfortable spot, put in a DVD and probably take a two-day nap! See you next month with all the movie details!