Cinema Wasteland is Celebrating one of the most influential horror films ever made when we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD… And you’re invited to join the Party.
The Original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD Investors / Producers:
Known as “The Rev” to his Pittsburgh filmmaking buddies of the 60’s, Richard Ricci was an English major at the University of Pittsburgh when he met Romero and the gang that would go on to make NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Thanks to his connections with the AV department, it was Ricci that was able to help Romero and crew start to work with 16mm film. By 1962, the guys (George Romero, John Russo, Richard’s cousin Rudy, and Russ Streiner among them) all wanted to make a feature film and Richard was there when they bought their first Bolex camera and started to produce industrial films and television commercials. By 1963, Latent Image was born and when Richard was drafted into the Navy, he plopped down the first six months rent on their first office space before he left. Upon his discharge from the Navy, The Rev managed to get the group their best job to date - a Calgon commercial spoof of the sci-fi film, The Fantastic Voyage. When frustration set in because Latent Image was unable to get backing to make their first feature film turned into deciding to invest their own money into the project, Richard Ricci became part of Image 10, the group of ten people who invested $600 of their own money to make what became NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and as they say, the rest is history. Like most everyone associated with the film, Richard also appears as a zombie in NOLTD. While actually working as a producer of TV commercials, Richard Ricci also played sleazy commercial producer “Michael Doran” in Romero’s THERE’S ALWAYS VANILLA (1971), and worked in the electrical department and grip crew on KNIGHTRIDERS (1981), where he had a small uncredited role, as well as CREEPSHOW (1982).
Another of the original investors in the groundbreaking horror film, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, writer, director, producer and occasional actor John Russo will always be best remembered as the guy who wrote the screenplay for George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) and unleashed actual flesh eating zombies on the world at large. He also played a reporter and a “lead” zombie that gets into the farmhouse among other behind-the-scene duties on NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. As a writer, Russo has seen his books or screenplays for RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985), THE MAJORETTES (1986), and VOODOO DAWN (1990) all turned into films. As both writer and director, Russo brought the world the 70’s sex comedy THE BOOBY HATCH (1976) which was also the first screen role for Dawn of the Dead’s David Emge; the cool misguided Satanists horror flick MIDNIGHT (1982), the vampire film HEARTSTOPPER (1993) with Moon Zappa, and the killer Christmas tale SANTA CLAWS (1996), among several others. These days, John Russo is still very much active in the independent film making scene and continues to make movies like SALOONATICS (2002). Russo has shared his 50 years of film experience in three different books on movie making, and currently has his zombie story, ESCAPE OF THE LIVING DEAD, and MY UNCLE JOHN IS A ZOMBIE (where he plays “Uncle John” naturally) in stages of post production. A remake of his popular MIDNIGHT is also slated to begin soon, showing that John Russo has zero desire to slow down any time soon.
Latent Image’s chief sound man, Gary Streiner was one of the original investors in the film project that became NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. During shooting, Gary even stayed in the old infested farmhouse while acting as the film’s sound engineer as well as handling a whole host of other assorted jobs during the films production. He also shows up in an on camera role as one of the posse members who tosses Ben’s body on the pyre at the end of the film. A few years after NIGHT, Gary co-produced George Romero’s third film, HUNGRY WIVES (1972) aka Jack’s Wife and Season of the Witch.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native Russ Streiner may be best remembered as one of the original producers of George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968), where he also played Barbara’s ill fated brother “Johnny” in an uncredited role. Russ was also the producer on George Romero’s THERE’S ALWAYS VANILLA (1971), John Russo’s THE BOOBY HATCH (1976) and the 1990 remake of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1990), directed by Tom Savini. Russ has also directed and appears as an actor in a few films, including THERE’S ALWAYS VANILLA (1971) and THE MAJORETTES (1986). Still very much active in the independent film scene around Pittsburgh, Russ worked as an instructor at the John A. Russo’s Movie Academy in Pittsburgh, and currently appears in John Russo’s MY UNCLE JOHN IN A ZOMBIE (2016) as the “Reverend Hotchkiss”.
The hard working NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD Cast, Crew, and Featured Ghouls:
Rick’s background in animation began at an early age when he worked for a group called The Animator’s, who just happened to have an office that was downstairs from the Latent Image office; who tapped him to do the animated credit titles in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. He worked with Romero again playing a soldier in THE CRAZIES (1973), as well as doing several jobs on CREEPSHOW (1982), where he did the animated connecting interludes between the stories in the film, worked with Tom Savini on sculpting “Fluffy” for The Crate segment and animated a stop motion hand in the Something to Tide You Over segment of the film that was eventually cut from the final version. Rick did animation design on CREEPSHOW 2 (1987) and Bill Hinzman’s zombie opus, FLESHEATER (1988), as well as working on the “Henrietta” transformation and severed hand animation on EVIL DEAD 2 (1987) to name a few of the horror films Rick worked on that all CW fans should know.
Long time Pittsburgh voice-over talent and announcer, Charles Craig, was tapped to play the newscaster on the farmhouse TV keeping people up to date on rescue centers and the growing zombie epidemic. He also played a zombie in the film giving him the advantage of a double whammy for fans. You can also catch Charles Craig in the drama CHASING DREAMS (1982), as well as the indy race film, BORN TO RACE (1988).
One of only two professional actors cast in the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, Judith O’Dea played Barbara (or Barbra), one half of the bickering siblings heading into the Pennsylvania countryside to visit their father’s gave when the zombie outbreak begins. Running to an isolated farmhouse for safety, poor Barbara slips from a confused state of hysteria into a more catatonic and somber state while the world around here begins to crumble. What a way to make your feature film debut. Judith O’Dea has returned to the horror genre several times, appearing in several independent productions… Several of which we’ve screened at Cinema Wasteland over the years.
As the raven-haired, nightgown-wearing ghoul, Paula’s image is almost as well known as Kyra Schon’s “little girl” zombie image, and has been copied in popular culture and zombie films ever since. When she attended the show in 2012, Cinema Wasteland was Paula’s first ever convention appearance. It’s our pleasure to have her back for a second round as we celebrate 50 years of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.
While working as a receptionist for Karl Hardman and Marilyn Eastman’s company, Judith landed the role of “Judy” in George Romero’s original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) where she was a natural in front of the camera and added to the excitement of the film in one of the more shocking moments and stand out scenes when she and “Tom” met their end. A couple of years later, she played “Lynn Harris” in Romero’s second feature film, the drama THERE’S ALWAYS VANILLA (1971), before setting off to start a career away from acting and film work. To most convention attending horror movie fans, Judy Ridley is also the most elusive cast member from Romero’s trend setting zombie classic since she’s done so few personal appearances. She appeared at CW back in 2010, so it’s been a few years now and we know that Cinema Wasteland fans will be more than happy to see her return this April when she joins the rest of the attending cast for our 50th Anniversary Reunion.
Kyra was “Karen Cooper”, the little girl-turned-zombie in George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD that did her mom in with a convenient garden trowel. Her image from the classic scare film is one no fan can escape as its been used on posters, video boxes, and promotional items we have all seen numerous times over the years. She’s an accomplished artist that offers custom sterling silver jewelry and original collectibles that feature her classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD image. Occasionally she’ll still appear in various short films like DAY PLANNER OF THE DEAD (2013), film projects like LIVING DEAD (2012) and THE GREEN MAN (2011), or a documentary on NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD’s history. Kyra’s an old friend to us here at Cinema Wasteland and a semi-regular guest that’s been with us since the beginning. It’s always a pleasure to have her partying a Wasteland Weekend away with the rest of us fans.
Ella May Smith
When the production literally rolled past her house, Ella May and her late husband Philip, found themselves featured as ghouls in the groundbreaking horror film. They also pitched in and helped with what they could behind the scenes.
Although picked off the street at the last minute to appear in NOTLD, Herbert managed to stumble his way into all of the major zombie action. He’s featured in the “nude zombie” scene, can be picked out in the “feast of flesh” scenes after the truck explosion kills “Tom” and “Judy”, and shows up again for the final siege on the farmhouse where he takes a gunshot blast to the chest.
AND LET’S NOT FORGET THE EQUALLY IMPORTANT CINEMA WASTELAND REGULARS.
IT WOULDN’T BE A C.W. SHOW WITHOUT THEM.
A. Ghastlee Ghoul
The host of the Dayton and Springfield Ohio area’s long running, late night, horror-comedy schlockathon known as “The Ghastlee Movie Show” has been spewing video-vaudevillian cheese and sleaze to the untold millions... ah, hundreds... OK, dozens of fans held captive by his wit and wisdom for well over twenty five years now. Regularly joining Ghastlee for a Cinema Wasteland weekend is long time cohort in crime, Jeff McClellan: American, as well as Louu the XXXmas Devil, and Suspira; members of the garage-punk band, SPLATTERTUDE. In addition to having Ghastlee and his band mates prowling our dealer and guest room all weekend long, why not join A. Ghastlee Ghoul every Saturday night, beginning at 8:00pm in Movie Room 1, as he presents A GHASTLEE NITE AT THE MOVIES LIVE SHOW, where he hosts a night of music, comedy, skits, interactive games and prize giveaways that has become somewhat of a drunken Saturday night tradition at Cinema Wasteland over the years. A. Ghastlee Ghoul has been with us since our very first show and we’ve sort of adopted him as our official Wasteland horror host. And although many a horror host have come and gone from Cinema Wasteland shows over the years, you can always count on Ghastlee to be with us twice a year.
Amy Lynn Best
Amy Lynn Best, a Pittsburgh PA native, has studied acting and dancing since she was three years old. She co-produced and costarred in the independent feature horror film, THE RESURRECTION GAME (2002), and like many independent film producers, she learned the film business from the ground up. On the short haunted house film, TENANT, Amy studied cinematography from that film's director of photography, Bill Fuller. Out of necessity, she learned the basics of grip work, camera operation, and the fine art of line producing. Since meeting her film making husband, Mike Watt, she has acted or worked on nearly a dozen films, including the critically-acclaimed feature, AMERICAN NIGHTMARE (2000), DR. HORROR’S EROTIC HOUSE OF IDIOTS (2003), along with ABATTOIR (2007), SPLATTER MOVIE (2008), DEMON DIVAS AND THE LANES OF DAMNATION (2009), “The Gorge” segment of George Romero’s DEADTIME STORIES 2 (2011), LITTLE BIG BOY (2012), TALES OF POE (2014) and RAZOR DAYS (2015) to name a few.
The Mummy and the Monkey Show
In the grand tradition of Cleveland Horror Hosts comes The Mummy and the Monkey Show, hosted by Janet Decay and Grimm Gori, which combines two - count them - two productions in the time honored tradition of no budget Horror Shows: JANET DECAY’S ROTTEN REELS and GRIMM GORI’S EERIE CINEMATERY, which naturally offers up cheesy flicks and silly skits. Janet Decay and Grimm Gori grabbed themselves a table in the Guest and Vendor Room a couple of shows ago and decided to stay. You’ll find them once again prowling the Show all weekend so stop over, say hello, and check out what they have to offer as you pass through the Guest and Vendor Room.
Son of Ghoul
With 30+ years and thousands of shows broadcast on TV, Son of Ghoul is Akron and Cleveland’s longest continuous running horror host; as well as a long time regular here at the Cinema Wasteland show. Live in the Cleveland or Akron area? Then by all means, see if you can’t catch Son of Ghoul’s movie show on television. A life long Three Stooges fan that can actually boast that he owns all 190 Columbia produced Three Stooges shorts on 16mm film, Son of Ghoul presents a trio of Stooge Shorts every Saturday at Noon in Movie Room 1 and has recently started to put together the Saturday morning “politically incorrect” cartoon block for us. After all, Cinema Wasteland, cartoons, and the Three Stooges go together better than drunks and strippers. Well, almost better...
Tom was the makeup effects man, prop builder, stop motion animator... ah, hell, he did so much behind-the-scenes work that we feel Tom is at least partially responsible for the entire look and feel of Sam Raimi’s cult horror favorite, EVIL DEAD. Before EVIL DEAD, Tom was the special effects guy on Sam Raimi’s WITHIN THE WOODS (1978), the short film that Sam Raimi made to secure financing for EVIL DEAD. He also worked plenty an uncredited job on EVIL DEAD 2 and did some sculpting work on THE FLY 2 for Chris Wallas. A talented artist, Tom has also done illustrations for collectible card games, film production companies, book illustrations, and designed the ultra-cool “Book of the Dead” DVDs for the Anchor Bay limited edition EVIL DEAD and EVIL DEAD 2 releases. He also penned the TOM SULLIVAN’S BOOKS OF THE DEAD comic series and found himself taking a few acting roles in films like the horror-comedy BUDDY BEBOP VS THE LIVING DEAD (2009), SPLATTER MOVIE:THE DIRECTOR’S CUT (2008), DOG (2009), A SHEER AGENDA (2009) and a few short films. Tom is a regular here at Cinema Wasteland and has become a real fan favorite guest. Tom’s had his own “Sullivan Museum Room” at the CW Show for more years than we can count, where he puts original EVIL DEAD props, storyboards and artwork on display for all attending fans to see up close and personal. Tom was actually the first guest we invited to be a part of the very first Cinema Wasteland Show back in September 2000, and he’s been a part of the Cinema Wasteland Family ever since.
Writer, director, and journalist Mike Watt wrote and directed THE RESURRECTION GAME (2001) and Bloody Earth Film's A FEAST OF FLESH (2007) (aka "Abattoir") through Happy Cloud Pictures, which he co-founded with the lovely and talented Amy Lynn Best and the less lovely but also talented Bill Homan. He also wrote the screenplays for SEVERE INJURIES (2003), WERE-GRRL (2002), SPLATTER MOVIE: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (2008), DEAD MEN WALKING (2005) for The Asylum, THE SCREENING (2007) for G. Cameron Romero, as well as DEMON DIVAS AND THE LANES OF DAMNATION (2009) and RAZOR DAYS (2015). Mike has worked as an editor, producer, actor, and most any other job needed to complete a film or short. He was the editor of Sirens of Cinema Magazine and is always tirelessly persueing most anything to pay his rent… ah, further the independent film spirit and commerodity all of us in this business equally share.
Come and meet representatives from the following Wasteland supporters:
* ALL GUESTS SCHEDULED TO APPEAR ALL 3 DAYS OF THE SHOW UNLESS NOTED *
Guest appearances are based on schedules permitting. Guests do charge a nominal fee for autographs. Show events are naturally subject to change.
ALL OF OUR GUESTS WILL BE SET UP IN AMONGST THE VENDERS IN OUR 10,000 SQUARE FOOT DEALERS ROOM FOR EASY ACCESSIBILITY ALL THREE DAYS OF THE SHOW.