Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Last weekend was my long anticipated Chiller Theater Italian Invasion that featured Paura Productions bringing the cast and crew of DEMONS to New Jersey.  Hey, it is only about 5 hours from my house...why not?  I would do that without hesitating. Oh, but I have to work two days at Boston Comic Con too?  We did it... 1 Friday, 4 people, 1 Car, 2 Drives and a 5 AM Saturday start to follow up with was ALL worth it to go and meet up with some of the people that worked on what is easily one of the most influential films in my life.  Sure, you may ask how Demons could be that important to anyone of course. But it is easy. Demons, and Phenomena, were my gateway to Italian Horror-and eventually European Trash-Cinema!  I watched it and knew something was different here.  I'd seen some of the films, but Demons made me interested, and the name Lamberto Bava was the first Bava I idolized.  And yes, I bought the amazing Tim Lucas penned Bava book just to learn more about Lamberto.

So, along with my brother and the Howlett Crew (also known as EERIE PUBS SQUAD) and new trash cinema pal James Harris awaiting our landing in New Jersey, we trekked onwards through a diner that had a TRIPLE DECKER EGG SALAD WITH BACON SANDWICH that I passed over in order not to "spread pestilence" like a Demon would!  A fun drive full of conversation and relatively foul language ensued as we sped to destiny...onwards.  Luckily, Mike and Andrea knew the lay of the land really well and we did a quick scouting mission to find out where all the Italian Action would be invading and prepped to make a beeline there when doors opened a few hours later.  And did we ever get a good spot in line. The room was pretty much empty when we entered...and who did we first see??  WHO ELSE?  THE PIMP!!!  Yep, the immortal Bobby Rhodes, not only in the flesh, but in THE SUIT. Yep, Tony the pimp was right there.
Bobby is a cool dude-you can tune in to his awesome YouTube channel and learn about his career, both big and slightly obscure in ultrapimpomatical fashion!! FUCK YEAH!  Do it now...

Tony The Pimp lays the Signature SLAP on my Spanish Demons 1-Sheet!
Meeting Bobby was pretty much a dream come true, because not only is he the SMASH EVERYTHING guru of Italian Horror Vs. Pimp Hand Mayhem, but I loved spotting him several times in researching the entries for TOUGH TO KILL as well.  Of all the words in there I'm most proud of my raves for Rhodes to be honest.  From "Jiboa" I could only say this:
"The great Bobby Rhodes plays Rat with gusto, chokeslamming his foes into an unconscious blob whenever the opportunity arises. You can’t go wrong with Rhodes…ever."
 And to top it all off, I couldn't resist giving the man his own copy of Tough To Kill as a thank you from myself and Paul for years of Slappin' Down foes in the inimitatble Bobby style.

Bobby your press!  One of the greatest moments in my life as a Trash Cinema Fan!
I couldn't resist passing along a copy to Bobby Rhodes...full of typical David Z verbiage!  Added a SMASH EVERYTHING and What the HELL happened to Rosemary as well.
Bobby was all smiles and I also enjoyed passing him a copy of his first film to check out as well.  I had a nice conversation with his manager as well (and hopefully more on that later!) and it was really awesome to meet them all.  But the fun doesn't stop there.  Up next, the part time KILLING MACHINE and full time SEX BOMB...Geretta Geretta!!  I had her sign my Demons one sheet as well of course-and if I'd had my economic druthers I would love to have my BLOOD KILL (aka RATS) poster signed, but a man has got to know his limits!  My brother snapped this shot, but he missed something wonderful.  She was awesome and enthusiastic and I seriously wish I'd snapped a photo of her in full blast DEMON mode!  It was nice to see Art "Ultra Violent" Ettinger as has been too long and I never get to catch up with too many people.  I know what the HELL happened to Rosemary everyone...she remains Demonically beautiful and moved to Costa Rica!

With the sexiest DEMON ever to rampage through a theater...But what did the picture taker miss??

The LEGS of the lady Demon. Woooooooo!  
Before I could catch my breath I noticed Lamberto Bava walking about holding something AWESOME and huge...yep. I know what it was.  THE MASK OF SATAN!  I quickly asked if I could get a picture with him and that amazing piece of cinematic history.  No problem!  I wish I had a shot of him showing me the interior UP CLOSE with all those nasty nails!!

The great Lamberto Bava, your humble blogger David Z and THE MASK OF SATAN!  THE NAILS!!!!

Next up was Claudio, any European Horror fan knows the guy is the best at what he does.  You can keep Ennio Morricone (and I'm sure you would be glad too), Simonetti is the composer for my nightmares, adventures and thrillers!  Yep, he signed the poster too!  I can't even count how many times I've listened to the score for Demons.  Hell, the riff of Demoni is my ringtone and always has been since I could custom make one.  I should have played that, but I think I nerded out enough for the moment.  Nah, should have done it!
Up next...LAMBERTO BAVA!!  If there was a book I'd love to write (and have long threatened too!) it would be on his career. Yep, he directed Demons, but if ever there was a story that bridged the Golden Age of Italian Horror to the current day, it would be his.  The man has worked under conditions that would have hindered his father, he has entertained with horror, thrillers, tele-terrors and yep...KIDS FILMS!  Check out my reviews of Fantaghiro if you don't believe me.  So, meeting him was certainly a thrill and I think I was OK really, buried beneath a lot of "thank you" and smiling.  Sigh, I'm never going to be one to make a great impression on my favorites I fear.  But I now have a Demons signed poster from my favorite member of a favorite family of elite European Horror Masters-and got to futz about with The Mask of Satan.

Perhaps the only autograph that will top Christina Lindberg...the great Lamberto Bava!!!
And as a bonus...the H Clan snagged my Turkish DEVILFISH one sheet and had it signed.  THANK YOU!!  More memories of Lamberto...but there would be one more really good one in just a bit.  But first, we move along to THE MASTER OF MONSTERS--Sergio Stivaletti!
First off, if you need to get me something for any reason. Get this.
I really and truly NEED one of these for my collection!!!  From the mold at Stivaletti HQ...THE MASK!  I was afraid to touch them.  
I thanked Sergio for all the awesome chilling memories, especially THE SPIDERS LABYRINTH, one of my favorite bits of Eurotrash.  I was sort of kicking myself for not getting the Turkish poster and having him sign it, but...limits DZ...limits.  I do have the Japanese no...limits.  He seemed VERY amused by the Spanish poster, because it sticks THE MONSTER right in the middle.  He had to sign it right on his creation, one of my favorite images.

Now that Mr. Sergio AWESOME!!!! AWESOME!!! AWESOME!!!!  Yeah, I'm not a fanboy or anything am I?
With that it was time to say a few "see ya!" moments and thanks because everyone should have the joy of meeting these wonderfully creative, and kind to their fans, people.  I was stunned at how relaxed and fun this was compared to the symphony of ego and sulking I saw from other guests!  I picked up a stunning T-Shirt from Paura Productions as well!  Now, I have to also add Mike Baronas as a guest here.  Mike is the guy that gets these shindigs to happen, opening the door for old fans like myself and through these appearances, new fans to get to meet some amazing actors, directors, effects masters, musicians and more.  As time goes by I know that I will regard Mike and his work for the European Trash and Horror Cinema to be equally as important as that of guys like Craig Ledbetter, Chas. Balun and Bob Sargent.  I'm grateful the guy is here... and we all win because of his efforts! 
There was one more amazing bit of luck...puttering around the dealers room I saw a big bunch of Toho stuff. But atop that pile was a Japanese DEMONS program. I've wanted one of these forever. And it was marked 15 dollars!!  Snagged. Rifled through. Gawked at. Moaned at in awe!  It had to go back for one more signature, one of my favorites.

Amazing Interiors, but this cover will ALWAYS make me smile! 

Best of all, I managed to chat with Lamberto Bava a bit more and was pleased to see him so surprised and pleased when we were talking about Fantaghiro (review of #1 here and #2 here)-something that is an almost global phenomena, and he told me that part 6 was indeed happening.  I'm stunned and thrilled!  Also had to bring up Pirates (review here) and hope that there would be many more adventures amongst his thrillers and chillers.  Mike Baronas was nice enough to mention my love of his work to him as well...truly this was a great thing for me.  Lamberto Bava has long been an inspiration to me...and the guy made BLASTFIGHTER as well!!  Thank you Lamberto...thank you!

The ride home was great and a big thanks to my brother for driving three people that would drive most of the day and night to meet some of their favorite stars.  Thank you!  I'll be sure to post a bit about the Boston Comic Con as well, but if you made it this far you can make it through the rest.
As much as I'm willing to drive 10 hours in a day to meet the cast of Demons, that passion is always fueled by my real calling...being a dad to my two kids.  I have to admit to always being concerned about leaving them for the day (and thanks to my wife for being a good "Mrs. Dad" as well)--but the best part of all this was my son telling me to have fun as we left.  I had a box with my stuff in it and both kids autographed it and I was told the following.  "Have fun, I'll miss you but you are in my heart and I'm in yours so it is OK" by my son.  He then signed my box and drew what is "a heart" for us to share. I'll be keeping this box close to my heart forever. 

And finally...THE MASK OF SATAN and a few other cool shots!  What a day!

THE MASK OF SATAN from Black Sunday!
You do not mess with THE PIMP!!  Mike H learns that lesson!!
And Andrea H learns that a pimp will always bring his A-GAME for a lady!! 
And of favorite of the bunch!!


Mike H said...

What a wonderful write-up of a very memorable day!! We're so happy to have shared it with you! Brian rules Earth too! It's great to know him as a friend now, instead of just your bro!

The biggest thanks should definitely go to Mike B! His tireless work has brought Andrea and I (and you!) so much joy!

Here it is Wednesday evening and my brain is just starting to get back together! But what fun I had getting it unhinged in the first place!!

You, my friend, rule! Thank you for suggesting this madness! I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

DrunkethWizerd said...

Damn... wish I could have been there!

Paul Cooke aka Buckaroobanzai said...

Absolutely Stupendous. Bobby R & David Z ... Pimpin' aint DZ ;) . Very, Very Cool. What a fantastic day & an even more fantastic memory to treasure.

Anonymous said...

They were all wonderful to meet, especially Bobby. I wasn't even going to go to the convention but as soon as I heard they were all going to be there, I didn't think twice. I just had to get the original poster I had signed by Argento 10 years ago. The poster is now complete. I might have to eat ramen for the next 3 months because I managed to pick up one of the silver masks. It's a completely weird feeling watching the movie and holding it. Best money I've ever spent. Great writeup, thanks for that!


David A. Zuzelo said...

Thanks Mike, it was a huge thing for me on a number of levels and I was glad to have you guys to share it with!
BB...I wish you could have been there, but now you know that BOBBY RHODES has a copy of TTK!, I'm jealous. Just don't scratch yourself on that or you'll learn the lesson of "not to touch things" as Tony the Pimp would say!!

Anonymous said...

Love the photo of Bobby checking out Andrea's natural assets. A pimp to the end!

David A. Zuzelo said...

Playa MUST Play!

David said...

Two words-HOLY SHIT!

Dan said...

Awesome write up Z! You know my love for DEMONS so it does my heart good seeing all this love for Lamberto, Bobby, Geretta and Co. Sounds like you guys had an awesome time but man, Triple Decker Egg Salad with Bacon? Tell. Me. More!