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FangoCon: “I Could Watch Five Zombie Films A Week And Not Get Through Them All Before I Died”

Written by: Paula Haifley, CC2K Horror Chick


Robert Patrick in Autopsy.

CC2K's intrepid horror chick Paula Haifley comes at us today with coverage from her second day at this year's splatter-tastic FangoCon. Highlights of the show's Sunday lineup include porn stars, zombies, corpses and one gruesome autopsy.


I tried to get to the con early (well, early considering how late I had been out the night before) to see Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni’s (Mother of Tears, Demons 2) short film The Dirt, which I had been hearing a lot about, but a stupid bus broke down on the freeway so I missed the first few minutes. The film was a great example of how to make a film without dialogue. Instead the story hinged on the visuals, the actors’ ability to communicate with facial expressions and gestures, and a little bit of voice-over (which I actually thought was unnecessary). The projection wasn’t very good (the screen had a “replace bulb” warning on it the entire time), but the film was well worth getting up early for.

The other screenings on Sunday revolved around zombies. There was another zombies and strippers film, Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!, in which a small group of strippers trapped in a gentleman’s club must band together to stop a horde of the undead. Everyone kept confusing the film with Zombie Strippers, even though Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! has zero porn stars and features scream queen Tiffany Shepis. Evilution, which featured monster was what star James Duval called APL’s, or Alien Possessed Life-forms, was my pick for the best title pun of the weekend. The zombie trifecta was rounded out with The Dead Pit, where, according to the con’s program, “mad science and zombies collide.” I know that zombies are awesome, but I am starting to agree with a random guy I overheard saying, “I could watch five zombie films a week and not get through them all before I died.”

My favorite part of Sunday was the panel for the upcoming gore-fest Autopsy. Writer/director Adam Gierasch was very deadpan and funny, though I think his co-writer/partner Jace Anderson might not want me to encourage him. The clips that were shown were so kick ass that the audience cheered, and once the film’s composer Joseph Bishara mentioned a scene with an organ carousel, I knew that I would be first in line to see it. Gierasch described the film, about a young woman (Jessica Lowndes) trying to find her boyfriend in and escape from a freaky hospital, as Argento meets Fulci in a hospital. The film was shot in a old wing of a still-functioning mental hospital for the criminally insane in Louisiana, and Gierasch said that every once in a while a guard would walk by with a walkie talkie and he could hear someone saying “code brown.” When he finally asked what it meant near the end of the shoot, he was told that it meant one of the patients had escaped. The film also stars Jeanette Goldstein, who was my favorite part of Aliens, as a crazy nurse and Robert Patrick as a scary doctor. Gierasch also announced that he and Anderson were working on the upcoming Saw videogame, and that, even though he said last year that he hated remakes, his next directing project will be a remake of Night of the Demons, complete with one of the first demon butt fucking scenes ever committed to celluloid.

I totally nerded out on David Naughton when I got him to sign my vintage Italian American Werewolf in London poster. I fell in love with him when I first saw the film as a kid, and although he is older and a bit wider, he is still a panty melter. He is super nice, so if you see him at another con don’t feel bad for blurting out that you have all of the Werewolf lines memorized or had a crush on him when you were thirteen, I think he’ll be cool with it. (I’m not even going to tell you the super nerdy thing I said to him, that’s how embarrassed I am.)

I finally got a chance to meet writer/director Bryan Norton, whose short film Penny Dreadful has played at most of the horror film festivals I’ve been to. The young couple moves into a haunted house film, which features Halloween’s Betsy Palmer as a nutty psychic, was so fresh and scary that it really stood out for me, and I enjoyed it every time I saw it again (I think I’ve seen it about seven times at this point). If you can find a copy of the DVD (which was in limited release last summer and is now pretty much sold out), I recommend picking it up.

As the evening wound down and I was saying goodbye to my friends and the cool new people I had met, I saw that same orange-rock-formation-troll heading into the costume contest. I am guessing he didn’t win.

Author: Paula Haifley, CC2K Horror Chick

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