Last year I attended the inaugural Cinemayhem Film Festival in L.A. I had a great time (you can read about it here), and I couldn’t wait for this year. Last year the festival featured new indie films from promising young directors, this year however they decided do it a bit differently.
This year at the Cinemayhem Film Festival, the organizers screened classic horror films from the 80’s proceeded by shorts from new film makers. This year the event was completely free, all you had to do was score a ticket and they all sold out within minutes! The event was at a small funky coffee shop called the Jumpcut Cafe, a coffee shop dedicated to film. The walls were covered in pictures of directors and there was a large chalk board listing all the great films they were planning on screening during the month. I really wish I had a place like this somewhere near me. The first night screening was John Carpenter’s The Fog. The man himself was at the screening and sat for a Q & A session before the film started.
I hopped in my friend’s car and we drove the 2+ hours to the first night of the event. We arrived at the cafe, drove around for a bit and scored some free parking. We walked into the coffee shop packed full of horror fans of all walks of life. We knew we were in good company. We headed to the back where we got our wristbands and Cinemayhem pins (nice!). My friend wanted to hang out and have a cig where we spotted a man standing in the shadows talking to a few people. My friend recognized him immediately as John Carpenter but I didn’t believe him. I figured, there’s no way he would show up 30 minutes early. He’s got games to play and basketball to watch. Upon closer inspection though it was indeed the man himself. The living legend. I was so excited. While my friend was getting coffee and I was cooling my heels outside I noticed there wasn’t anyone talking to him while he smoked. I steeled my nerves and walked up to him and shook his hand. I thanked him for making so many great films and he asked me where I was from. We talked for a minute and then I walked away. It was great! I didn’t want to bug him with a bunch of questions, I just wanted express my love for his work and his importance to me. Short and simple. Mission accomplished. It’s not every day you get to meet a living legend and a cinematic hero. Amazing. We then sat down and he patiently answered lots of questions in his trademark blunt and funny way. I really wish he would go on a talking tour and just sit and chat with a moderator for an hour. He’s totally no bullshit and I really love listening to him. After his time was up he left, followed by a large group of fans with memorabilia in their hands for him to sign. That thought never even crossed my mind. I’m not big into collecting or memorabilia and to be honest I’m really glad I got the chance to talk to him when I did. That means much more to me. There was a young lady sitting next to my friend and I and I could see she was thinking about going outside to talk to him. I told her to go for it that the opportunity might not come again. Encouraged she left and came back a few minutes later all smiles. Very cool.
Clive Barker lent some of his original art to the festival too. One wall was covered with his work which was very neat to see. The next night featured a Vamp reunion followed by a screening of the film and the final night was a special screening of Hellraiser with Pinhead Doug Bradley himself in attendance.
I can’t thank the organizers enough for giving this great opportunity to us fans to meet and talk to him in such a great intimate setting. I wish I could have attended the other nights but living so far away I just didn’t have the time or resources to come back. One thing’s for sure, whatever Cinemayhem does next year I’ll be there. They have proven to be professional, organized, and gracious. This is what it’s all about friends. If you want to check out some great clips of the Q & A, cruise on over to the Cinemayhem site and see what you missed.