October 24, 2005

Show Review: Charles Band's Horror Road Show

None of the people I talked to at the day job had ever heard of Charles Band. Frankly, I couldn't believe it. Now, I am not the most fluent in the ways of Band, and it has been many, uh, moons since I have watched any of his films. Although, I must say that they do hold a special place for me. I mean, who doesn't like watching killer puppets and strange creatures? Charles Band has displayed amazing longevity and creativity in the realm of low budget horror filmmaking.

This year, Mr.Band has taken his show on the road, perhaps expose more people to his brand of gory mayhem, maybe draw in a whole new legion of fans. One of those fateful spots was Poughkeepsie, NY, The Chance Theater, to be exact. I was sure to be there, if only to reintroduce myself to the world of maniacal puppets, and perhaps meet the mad ringmaster of this demented circus. I was also hoping on picking up some of those films.

I got to the venue, and waited with rather smallish crowd for the doors to open. Once inside I made a beeline for the merchandise table, gazing over the stacks of DVDs and the boxed dolls and statues, including the limited edition Bronze Blade. Over on the other side of the room was another table, this one selling movie posters and t-shirts. In between them was a Plexiglas case containing three original puppets used during the filming, these were to be auctioned off during the show. The puppets were Ooga Booga (Doll Graveyard), Tiny, and the ever popular Blade.

I made my way back to the doll and DVD table where I started picking up my selections, including the first Puppet Master and Subspecies, I also snagged Castle Freak and the new The Gingerdead Man (not yet in stores, and only available on three of the stops so far). I also made sure to get one of those Bronze Blade statues. These are only available at the show stops with thirty available at each show, 1000 total, mine is number 207.

Before I get to the show I must mention the coolest thing about the merchandise. If you purchase $100 or more of merchandise you will get the title of Executive Producer of Charles' next film, Petrified. You get a signed certificate, and you will appear in the credits. Not to mention a listing at IMDB.com, and the Guinness Book of World Records, as this will be the most executive producers for one film. Guess who will be among them? Yep, me.

I took my bags and found a table to sit at and wait for the show. At 8:15 the lights went down and the screen that was onstage. The show starts with a clip show of moments from the films throughout the years. This builds to a frenetic pace, backed by the building crescendo of the solo section of Guns n Roses "November Rain." Charles then appeared onstage.

Charles started by talking about the reasons people love horror films. The three big ones are 1. the monster or creature, 2. the gore, and 3. the hot chick. Then came the hot chick story where he encountered a strange drunk after one of the earlier shows, "You SCORED, Dude!" This segued into a clip segment of some of the stars he worked with in their early careers. These stars include Helen Hunt, Demi Moore, Mariska Hargitay, Viggo Mortensen, Lance Henriksen, and Bill Moseley. Next was a sneak peek at The Gingerdead Man which was bookended by his experiences with the crazy Gary Busey who is the Gingerdead Man.

I must apologize that I may have the segments out of order, but needless to say it is a fun show.

Other clips included those from Troll, which features Harry Potter, Jr. This prompted him to mention his faith in humanity and that he has no plans to sue. Before any more clips were to come, Charles called out for 3 or 4 hot chicks to come from the crowd to model his latest Halloween design, the prototype "Monster Bras." These are bras of his own design featuring the likes of mouths, eyeballs, vampire skulls, and the "bigger" bra. These were a big hit.

Next we were presented with a clip segment of the evenings special guest. Clips were from the movies Crash and Burn, and then some more recent appearances, House of 1000 Corpses. The guest was none other than Otis Driftwood himself, Bill Moseley. He came onstage, answered a couple of questions and presented the story of his one and only love scene from Crash and Burn. It was a funny story. It was great getting to see him in person, he seems like a very nice guy, despite the crazies he plays.

Next up was the puppet auction. There wasn't a lot of big money in the small crowd, and they went relatively low. Blade took in the most at, I believe, $330. Charles mentioned that the other Blades had gone for $800-1000 at the other stops. This was followed by the drawing, there was a coffin by the door where you filled out a card in order to have a chance to win a role as a victim in an upcoming movie. Sadly, I did not win.

Another segment involved a brief casting call, followed by Charles directing fans in scene onstage. This was a lot of fun, from the selection to the actual acting to watching Charles give direction.

As the show drew to a close, all I can say is that it was great seeing these clips and getting to hear the stories. Charles is very nice guy who knows what he is doing when it comes to low budget movies. He displays a genuine love for the medium with the lack of any Hollywood pretense.

After he left the stage, he tool up residence at a small table along the side wall, along with Bill Moseley, where they met with fans for photos and autograph signings. I went over to Bill, with my Devil's Rejects shirt, told him how nice it was to meet him and how much I loved the film emblazoned across my shirt. Bill was charging for his autographs, so I gladly handed over my money for three autographed 8x10 photos. I moved down the line to meet Charles, who signed my Executive Producer card, as well as my Puppet Master DVD and the box for my Bronze Blade. I also told him that I would be putting a writeup on Blogcritics.org, which he said he would look for. He also told me of a prior spot where someone bought ten(!) of the Bronze Blade statues. I would love to meet him again, the stories I am sure he could tell!

The evening ended and we were all let out into the cool Sunday night air. All carrying the spoils of our visit. Leaving happy, stories of puppets and Gary Busey stuck in our heads, plus a new respect for the hot chick.

Visit Charles Band's Blog.
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Anonymous said...

hey great write up on the show!!! how much did the other auctions go for? are they taking credit cards or is it cash only for the merch tables? Im going to be so broke!!

Anonymous said...

btw, for some reason your pics are not showing up from the show!

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