What a lousy freaking month May, 2008 has turned out to be.
It started with me still being sick over a zombie flu I caught in April. As far as I know, I got it from some damn Canadian. You know how THEY are! Gah! Don't get me started!
Once I finally got over that, I tried to get back into the groove of Los Angeles, check out what was going on, when I saw that Del Howison's DARK DELICACIES was having a sale on Ray Harryhausen's new coffee table book, THE ART OF RAY HARRYHAUSEN (yeah, catchy! Really burned the midnight oil coming up with a snappy title like that!). Well I'm a big Ray Harryhausen fan so I went over there, stood in line forever to get my book signed, and then asked Del if he could get a photo of me real quick, as I held the book, for my website.
Del was pretty busy at that moment, but he agreed to take my picture. But just as Del is about to click it, some strange old guy plops down in the seat right next to mine, TOTALLY ruining the picture!
RAY HARRYHAUSEN AND FEO AMANTE
Del was too busy to do it over again so I'm stuck with it!
So I went home and my wife calmed me down. She doesn't like me to mention her name in my posts, so I stopped.
The following week my old bud, John Everson (FAILURE, VIGILANTES OF LOVE, SINS OF THE SIRENS) came to town on a Saturday. He and I are super Techno Geeks in addition to being Horror Thriller fans, so I took him to my favorite tech store, Fry's Electronics. It's like a Super Wal-Mart for folks like us.
So John sees it and he's bowled over by it! They have nothing like this back in Egypt or wherever the hell he's from.
John is so overwhelmed by the sheer size of it, in fact, that he wants me to take his picture in front of the store. So sure, why not? I'll humor the hick: he's a bud! But the very second I snap the photo, this damn flying saucer comes out of nowhere and crashes right into the front of the damn building! TOTALLY ruining the shot!
It all happened so quick that John didn't even had time to react, though the shoppers around him are your typical Blasé Burbank'ers.
JOHN EVERSON NARROWLY AVOIDED A SWIFT BEHEADING FROM A CRASHING SPACECRAFT.
Naive simpleton that he is, John thought, this being "magic movie land" that I was somehow behind the destruction of my favorite store and wanted me to take a second photo of him with the flying saucer. Yeah, you hayseed idiot. I planned an alien invasion from outer space for your freaking benefit!
Anyway, I didn't drive him all the way out to Fry's NOT to gawk at all the latest tech equipment, so we went in and let the store staff worry about the invading outer space mitochlorians or whatever the hell they were.
With the invasion behind us, back at the entrance to the store, John wanted me to get another photo of him standing in the computer section completely surrounded by the latest, most advanced computers. So I set up the shot but, true to my rotten luck, just as I snapped the picture, this god damn alien octopus came bursting through the wall! TOTALLY ruining the shot!
As I stood there, dumbfounded at my bad luck, the freaking thing grabbed John and ate him! Which meant no photo for my website! Shit! Why do I catch all the bad breaks?
HOLY SHIT, JOHN! WTF IS THAT???
DAMN but I couldn't believe my miserable freaking luck! I had 30 minutes to get John to his next appointment, a dinner with Maria Alexander and her current consort, and here he was, dinner for someone or something else! SHIT! Why does this stuff always happen to me?
While I stood there, wondering how I was going to explain this, the Octo-alien slithered past me, eating other humans in its way (I wasn't in its way - so I had to worry over confronting a miffed Maria), when it "extruded" out an alien replica of John. I stared for a hard minute at the thing standing there while the goo dried and then I thought, 'Close enough'. I grabbed the replica John and got it to the dinner with Maria with minutes to spare. I didn't hang around to see if she spotted the difference, but I haven't heard anything negative from Maria, so I'm good to go (actually, no one has heard from Maria since but, you know, don't look a gift horse in the mouth, there). Fortunately, after all of that stress, I went home and my wife was able to calm me down.
The next day I returned to the Dark Delicacies (I hang out there somewhat). I just wanted to kill some time, nonchalantly ask if maybe, perhaps, Del or anyone had heard anything about John and last night's dinner. Del had a new IRON MAN cardboard standup with real lights, so I asked him if he could take a photo of me with it. Del was busy but said he could squeeze one off. Just as he was about to take the photo, Harry Shannon (BAD SEED, NIGHT OF THE BEAST, THE PRESSURE OF DARKNESS), there to peddle his latest book, jumped into the pic, pushing me around and puffing out his chest. Not one to take a puff lying down, I matched him push for puff and that's what that photo is all about.
WE ARE IRON MEN!
The following week, my amigo, Bob Burdon (THE FLAMING CARROT, MYSTERY MEN) came to town with a new script in tow (actually, its a very cool script!). When he had some free time, we hung out. At one point he invited me to The Dresden, which is one of the best steak houses in Los Angeles and has THE best Prime Rib in the city. That said, you don't want to eat there with yer buds as the decor is very romantic and, for two straight guys, felt a little awkward. Especially as how Bob isn't my type.
The next day we met for breakfast at The House of Pies. I invited producer, Sean Fernald along. Sean and I became pals after I gave his movie, RED VELVET, a good review. It's amazing how, in this town, people like you when you say nice things about their movie. Following this line of thought, I must be making a lot of enemies in this town, because you and I both know that most of the Horror Thriller pouring out of this place SUCKS! There's a reason why Hollywood is dry humping Japan and Korea for ideas, usually having to do with long haired ghosts and bath water.
In fact, I've had people who loved me when I said nice things about one movie, then won't return my calls when I take them to task on their next movie. Hey, it's not my fault that your movie tanked! Its not even Ebert's fault! Try looking in the mirror! There is a reason why your celebrity authored, big budget, star powered, brand new movie, fresh on DVD at amazon.com, is ranked even lower than a direct to video, no-star, low budget Horror indie like TEETH. There is a reason why it's ranked even lower than FROM BEYOND, which is a very good, low-budget, no-star, movie but came out way back in 1986! I WISH all of those people were listening to me, but they ain't! Your mega-budget cult movie tanked and I called it, but that's all I did.
Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.
Hate the game, not the player. Hate the Klan, not the klansman.
Where was I?
Oh yeah, So all three of us are having breakfast and Sean comes up with the great idea of visiting Uncle Forrey at his mini-mansion. I'm all for that, so we load up and move out, spending some time with Forrest J. Ackerman. Old Uncle Forrey will be 92 this year and boy does he look it. Still, his mind is sharp as a knife and he has some great stories. What's more, his house is like actually walking into one of his old Famous Monsters Magazines. Or even a Fangoria! While at the mini-mansion, I also had the chance to meet Sean Fernald's partner in crime, Joe Moe.
CLOCK IT FROM ME, FEO AMANTE, SEAN FERNALD, BOB BURDON, AND OF COURSE, LOVABLE OLD UNCLE FORREY.
Photo by Joe Moe.
Bob had to go check out of his hotel and catch his plane, but Sean invited me over to his house to check out his own amazing collection of Horror and Monster paraphernalia. Wow! The dude has about every single issue of VAMPIRILLA, including the one that published my letter, lo these many moons ago when I was but a spike.
That weekend, I took my wife to the Dresden where the romantic ambience was more in tune. Dinner was superb and we went home and calmed down.
The next day, Writer and Director, Joe Monks (STUFF OUT'A MYHEAD, THE BUNKER) wrote me a press announcement about his buddy, Hart D. Fisher (FLOWERS ON THE RAZOR WIRE). Fisher has a wild and sordid past, the likes of which I'll let you leisurely explore via search engines. The press release was about Hart directing a music video for the band, Obituary. No images accompanied the news item so I was forced to use one of their old album covers for the anchor image. It had nothing to do with the story, but there you have it. Joe included Hart's phone number so I gave him a call to see if I could get a better image. We got to talking and the next thing I knew, Hart invited me over to his place in the ghetto to shoot the shit.
Hart is another of these guys who is heavily into Horror and owns all kinds of fun Horror Thriller paraphernalia. I guess if you are an avid Horror Thriller movie fan, Hollywood is yer Nirvana. It's rare to actually meet someone who has gone out and had an actual life like me, but Hart is one of those guys, so we seem to have hit it off.
I had my short film ready for its premier and, over the weekend, drove down to San Diego to show it where I shot it, at the Chico Club in La Mesa. Mike, co-owner at Chico's, made sure to have a huge projection screen, projector, and a DVD player that would play any and all formats except maybe a sandwich.
As my bro and co-producer, Kelly Parks, and I were driving to the club, we were nearly sideswiped by an SUV that squealed its brakes, hit the car right behind us, did an in-the-air roll over flip and landed heavily on the embankment. Wow!
Naturally Kelly stopped his car and I (careful for the traffic) got out and ran to the SUV to see if everyone was okay. Amazingly, the sole woman inside suffered only minor scratches and when the first cop arrived, he let us witnesses go.
The rest of the trip to La Mesa was uneventful but Kelly was adrenalized.
Close calls like that happen to me, not him - or so he says. On the other hand, I've never rode in an ambulance - AS THE VICTIM - anywhere near as many times as Kelly has. What's more, if he gets one more punch with a defibrillator, his card is full and he gets a free Subway sandwich. Bad luck is in the eyes of the beholder. As far as I'm concerned, that near collision was somebody else's bad luck, not our own and certainly not mine.
LEFT TO RIGHT
JIMMY DIGGS, CHRISTINA GRENARD, EDDIE MCMULLEN (aka Feo), MIKE (CO-OWNER), DANNY, KELLY PARKS
The premiere went off better than I could hope. I was pretty nervous and having second thoughts as the Chico Club filled with total strangers who, on a Saturday night, did not come to watch a short scifi Thriller movie. I could easily imagine the poor reception and this crowd was both tough and alcohol fueled.
I prepared to use my 300 pound bro for a human shield if things got ugly.
To my utter amazement though, the crowd not only watched my movie, they shut the hell up and kept quite while it played. And when it was over, they not only applauded, they cheered and several of them bought me drinks!
Some of the cast was there: Jimmy Diggs and Christina Grenard. The two leads, Terry M. West and Dean Newbury couldn't make it, but Terry's face was on the posters in the bar.
When I got back to LA Sunday night, I was feeling pretty good. Hart sent me an email letting me know of some damage that happened to his studio. Again, like me and the traffic, he narrowly missed any serious damage from someone else's bad luck. Hart had a hole in his ceiling and the fire department left his office door unlocked. But the poor bastard who had the real problem was his upstairs neighbor. His office caught fire and is a burned out charred hole!
So all things considered, and after a long month and a 30 day string of bad luck, my buds and I are finally getting a break!