This past weekend (April 1-3) in Strongsville Ohio a biannual event for horror movie enthusiasts called Cinema Wasteland descended on the Holiday Inn for their popular convention event. All Horror/Sci-fi/cult classic themed this is your typical convention set-up with obscure celebrity guests, movies, and of course a dealers room where anyone who is a fan of horror/sci-fi can escape reality for the weekend and meet up with people that love the same things they do. The promoters of this movie-memorabilia expo has been doing this now for 2 decades and have become the must attend event for fans in the area. However after 10 years things have seemed to become stagnant to say the least.
After returning home from the event on Sunday I began to think I was just in an episode of the Twilight Zone…not because of the conventions theme, but because of the overwhelming feeling of déjà-vu I had after the show. Things haven’t seemed to change at Cinema Wasteland for the past few years now. Granted we have seen some new faces on the guest list from time to time, but there is a solid core group of guests that now appear at each show. It’s okay to have some usual guests, but the number of new faces at the shows have become less and less as the years go by. After all it is the “b” movie stars offering the chance to get their autograph that really draws the people in isn’t it. Then there is the rest of the dealers room. It looks like it hasn’t changed one bit over the years. It’s the same dealers offering the exact same stuff as they did the show before, the show before that, and the show before that. Their tables are even set up in the exact same position! Finding something new and unique at the show anymore is almost non-existent. Maybe because these traveling dealers have their prices set so high they can’t sell their wares at any show they attend. Maybe the economy should give them a hint that people can’t afford “collector’s” items at what seems to be a 100% mark-up!
However the obscure stars and money hungry dealers are not the only draw here at the show. They also offer a couple of rooms with panel discussions and movies as well. I stayed Saturday night at the hotel and was disappointed to see the movie rooms along with the dealers room closed earlier. I understand shutting down the dealers room with the guests at 7 pm (still I would go a little later on a Sat. night) but by midnight the final movies were playing and everything was shut down forcing everyone into the crowded lobby, lounge, and covered entrance way to the hotel. I’ve been at conventions before where if you wanted you could walk into some old cult classic film playing at 3 in the morning! As far as the selections they play very few mainstream movies were on the schedule. Mostly it was low budget stuff made by guests of the convention. They give them a time to show their movie in hopes to boost popularity and sales; however all it does is make most guests say to themselves “thank God I didn’t waste money on that junk!”
I guess shutting down all events allows the vendors and guests to have some fun too gathering in the lobby to meet and talk with everyone else. This has a side effect that comes back to haunt them I believe. You see with nothing else to do, but to hang around in a lobby or lounge and drink things tend to get out of hand, loud, and crazy. That’s fine for some that were there; however what about those that actually want to get some sleep at some point. I don’t think all the dealers and guests are okay with staying up with a loud and drunken crowd until 4 or 5 in the morning then get up to man their stations by 10 am. I don’t know maybe they do, but I for one didn’t. I think it was about five when I finally fell asleep to the noises of the loud and drunken crowd of at least two dozen standing outside smoking in the doorway of the hotel itself.
I use to enjoy going to this conventions. After all there are very few left in the greater Cleveland area. I always liked to get out and see what was new, maybe pick up an item here or there, and listen to a guest or a panel discussion. It sort of upsets me that I am getting the negative impression I am getting from this show as of late. It isn’t exciting anymore and hardly offers anything unique. Personally I doubt I will return to another show in the future I was so turned off by this “spring spectacular”. Why should I pay for something that never changes at all?