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I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Monday, July 30, 2018

Road Trip to Grossfest 2018

I learned several things about myself on Saturday. First is that I’m way too damn old to get up at 5:30 in the morning to attend an event! I think that I need to get hotel rooms from here on out. But I did get up early and head out to casa de Wright to pick up Eric and Angie. For those of you that follow the blog these are the fine folks that host Dead End Cinema every couple of weeks. Eric also publishes a fanzine called Midnight Magazine. Being an independent magazine and this being a show focused on independent filmmakers is seemed like a good fit.

After picking them up we started out on the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Washington PA. Early morning and a long drive. This is the second thing that I learned about myself. I might be too old to do that sort of thing anymore. Do you see a theme developing here yet? Along the way we stopped at the drive thru to pick up some McDonalds. I can’t do a convention without being fortified with a healthy breakfast! Or at least a greasy one…

We arrived at the hotel and setup the Midnight Magazine table. For our first convention table I thought it turned out really nice. Tried to be interesting without too much clutter. Considering how many people stopped by and asked us what Midnight was about I think that it worked. After getting things together and getting the cooler with snacks setup I immediately abandoned them to stroll around the dealer’s room before it opened to the public. Hey, I was a vendor and going to take advantage of it!

My first stop was to get my copy of the Barn. This movie has been getting a ton of buzz and everyone loves it. I resisted the urge to order it off of Amazon and instead waited until Grossfest to buy a copy. That way I could get some autographs as well as the movie. As an added bonus I also got an autographed mini poster. I’m glad that I waited. My other stop was to check in with my friend Dan who has the movie hookup for that obscure out of print stuff you might be looking for. That is why we call him out of print Dan! He had my copies of Snake Eater III, a Lorenzo Lamas joint, and Nightwing. Nightwing is a hard to find seventies flick that was adapted from a book that I had recently read. If you have been reading the blog, you will remember that I’ve recently been obsessed with paperbacks recently.

It was time to head back to the table and promote the magazine as the doors opened and the attendees rolled in. Though before that happened I did stop by and pick up a DVD of Eight Bit Bloodbath. I hadn’t heard of this one before but the guys at the table were really cool. The movie looks like it has a fun retro vibe, so I had to get a copy. Finally, I got back to the Midnight table. For a first time show I thought the turnout was great. As an added bonus everyone seemed to be there to support the independent filmmakers. It made for a much different atmosphere than many other shows I’ve gone to. People weren’t worried about collecting autographs and just wanted to talk movies. That was a lot of fun. After some time at the table I was ready to head back out into the dealer room.

Other than the barn I had two movies that I wanted to grab at Grossfest. One was the Silver Spotlight Films flick Caroushell. A killer carousel unicorn named Duke that escapes and gets some revenge on those that have treated him poorly. Hell yeah! While there I also picked up a couple of other DVDs including the Slasher flick Everyone Must Die. Expect to see that one to show up in the next Slasher marathon. Finally, I got my hands on a copy of Slaughter Drive. This was another movie that I had targeted as something I needed to check out. It has a cool premise that I won’t spoil here. You can expect a review to show up on my Blog and to hit the pages of Midnight Magazine. As an added bonus I also got a copy of Tonight You Die from Jim Roberts. I’ve been watching and enjoying his stuff since Welcome to Deer Creek which is ten years old now. Damn I got old. See I’m back on that again!

This is so awesome!
Spent the rest of the day talking to old friends, meeting new ones, and making connections. Some of the other highlights for me were picking up a Lyle Alzado flick from Dan called Destroyer and a Brazilian Zombie flick called Zombio 2. I also get one of the most beautiful and quirky children’s books ever. Though it works both for adults and kids. The art and story are amazing. It is called Ghoul and I think everyone should pick a copy up! It is on Amazon here.

This was something that I had been looking forward to since Tim Gross announced they were going to do an independent convention that focused on filmmakers and other creative people that normally get lost in the bigger cons. This is also the first horror show that I had purchased a table for. Though some stupid life shit happened that changed what I was going to do with my table I did end up having a blast with Eric and Angie. We promoted the hell out of Midnight Magazine and hopefully picked up a few customers and contributors along the way.

After the show was over we packed up and headed out. I did stop at Primanti Brothers for some grub before leaving the state. I can’t go to Pennsylvania without getting some good eats. After some tasty pizza we headed back to Ohio with me pulling in my drive close to midnight. I was exhausted but smiling. It was a great day. Though I did have to crash all day Sunday to recover. Did I mention that I'm getting old? 

To sum up Grossfest I’d say this. We sold some Magazines and t-shirts. Personally, I got to meet some incredibly talented filmmakers and got to hang out with some old friends. I also got to make a couple new friends that I’m going to stay in touch with. There is nothing better than surrounding yourself with creative and positive human beings. Thanks to Grossfest I have a few more of those people to chat with. To the Grossfest crew including Tim, Tom, Terrence, Tammy, and all of the rest of yinz thanks for all of the hard work. I know that this sort of event isn’t easy or cheap and I appreciate you spending your time and money to make this happen. You do it again and I’ll be there.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

Sunday, July 29, 2018

An interview with Tim Gross of Grossfest

This Saturday July 28th I will be attending the first ever Grossfest in Washington PA. This is a truly independent convention that is focusing on filmmakers that are out there making creative low budget flicks. It is the brainchild of a very good friend of mine named Tim Gross. I thought instead of me trying to convince people to come to the show I’d introduce you to the man himself and let him tell you why you should be there this weekend.

John Shatzer - Since the convention is called Grossfest and you are Tim Gross that must mean you love movies. When did you realize that movies meant that much to you? 

Tim Gross - When I was three years old watching Chiller Theater I got sucked in. About four or five years old I seen Creature from Black Lagoon and loved it. But I would say about 10 or 11 is when I really went into overdrive as I constantly searched cable TV in the 80s for horror flicks and shortly after renting two to three films every Saturday and then during the summer I was renting every other day or so. On top of that reading Fangoria cover to cover.

JS - What is your earliest movie memory?

TG - Chiller Theater with Chilly Billy Cardille where my mom allowed me to watch two movies “Twisted Brain” aka “Horror High” from 1972 and “The Creeping Terror” from the 50s. 

JS - Before Grossfest there were your books Gross Movie Reviews. What inspired you to review movies?  

TG - Just like Grossfest, it started off as a joke. At the time I was writing wrestling articles with a friend that we give away at wrestling shows. But I watched Full Moon movies, Leprechaun flicks, and S.O.V. stuff. And a couple people said you should write a review for them. So I started writing reviews emailing them out as a joke. But I started to like it and was watching more movies and writing more and that was what began as Gross Movie Reviews. 

JS - How is Grossfest going to be different from other conventions? 

TG - The main difference is it focuses on the independent filmmaker and author. Most conventions always go for the big names which is fine. But I always thought it would be cool to have something for us underground people. Some are budding filmmakers or authors? Some maybe doing bigger and better projects a year from now? Point is something fun for filmmakers, authors, and attendees alike.  This convention isn’t here to compete with others as much as to try and give something different for movie fans that like the independent genre and give them the chance to check out all their projects: books, movies, etc. Maybe meet the next big-time celeb a couple years before they are Hollywood. Who knows? But also, it gives a place for people in this genre to meet face to face. Network man!

JS - Why focus on independent filmmakers?

TG - Why not? Honestly, most conventions any average horror fan goes too they are not paying attention to these talented people or don’t have the money after they dropped a hundred bucks on that latest person to be killed in a “Walking Dead” episode. Plus, most conventions push these people to the side. I have been there. You are paying big bucks for vendor spaces, ads, or for your film to be shown at a horrible time when no one sees it. So why not have an event that is affordable for the filmmaker but a chance to network and show their talent to a possible new crowd of fans they may never have heard of their work? But also make tickets cheap, show only independent flicks, encourage networking among writers, directors, etc. I want more cool independent horror flicks. Grossfest is literally my brain exploded into the hotel room. Most of these people and their projects I have seen, heard of, met them, reviewed their flicks, etc. So that is why I ask, “why not?” If us nerds have truly taken over the earth why can’t there be a small convention that focuses on cool independent talent…

Independent filmmakers are awesome!
JS - Can you mention a few of the guests that you are excited to have in attendance at the inaugural Grossfest? 

TG - All of them, hahaha : Jim Roberts, Eliza Jayne, Nick Charles, Steve Rudzinski, Justin Seaman, Zane Hershberger, James Balsamo, Dave Stein, Thomas Berdinski, Brooklyn Ewing, Jerry Larew, Terrence Main, and Greg DeLiso.

JS - Will there be screenings at Grossfest?

TG - There will be movies playing from 11am until 11:30pm or so along with a surprise of two in the movie room. There will also be the first Grossfest awards and there will be a raffle for a prize or two. There will be a zombie truck out front and I am sure there will be some other things there that I am forgetting.

JS - If this is a success what do you have planned for future shows?

TG - Another Grossfest or I have thrown out there I want a wrestling ring with Charles Band in one corner and Lloyd Kaufman in another and just sell tickets to that independent death match!

JS - Anything else that you would like to tell someone interested in attending Grossfest? 

TG - Don’t forget to thank Tom Gross, Terrence Main, and Tammy Main for being the backbone of Grossfest.  Go talk to these talented people at the show you may learn something or meet a new filmmaker that was never on your radar. 

JS - Where can we find more information about the show?

Don't forget to say Hi
TG - Go to www.grossfest.com or the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1883916838523111 for any other details. If need directions or hotel info go to: http://www.thegeorgewashington.com , but also have fun, remember horror movie conventions are supposed to be fun.

See Yinz There!

Like Tim I hope to see you there as well. I’ll be at the Midnight Magazine table so stop by and say hello. If you like independent movies you need to check out Grossfest and all the talented filmmakers. If we don’t support them and guys like Tim Gross, then we deserve the generic garbage that the Hollywood machine spews at us every year! So get off your keister and have a good time.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer