FULCI'S CULT-CON 2000 DIARY
(The convention was held on November 10-12, 2000 in Tarrytown, NY)
All photos on this page courtesy of and copyright by Michelle Baronas.
Cult-Con 2000 staff member Mike Baronas with Antonella Fulci. Yes, that's his license plate!
evening, Eastern Time 5pm
The white limo that was entering the front lot of the Tarrytown Hilton was packed with a happy brigade. A serious musician, a puppeteer, three lovely young players, thrilled by the city lights, a director whose jokes reminded me of another director, his blonde and beautiful girlfriend and who else ah, yes, an old friend and an old enemy. I was there too, waving at the lights like a child. In the name of the god of nepotism that was bringing me back to the big apple, I was there on behalf of my old, sage and beloved dad. I spent many hours wondering if I could be good enough for such a thing, cause, whatever one may say, meeting my dad was meeting the funniest charisma one can ever imagine. Sometimes his shadow had been a comfortable shelter, and a safe place, where I met friendly faces. Sometimes it was a game field where learning to live. It was time to come out of the shadows, with a little help from my friends. Phil, Janete, Mike, Michelle and Alwin are wonderful hosts, their warm welcome makes me feel good, and less shy.
DAY 1. Friday
I had just realized that I was very close to the woods of Sleepy Hollow and all at once I understood that in 30 minutes I could breath the air of Manhattan. At the train station, Ruggero starts to joke with a police woman, and she looks really charmed by him. Claudio had been rejoined by a
Sherri Rickman, Antonella, and Jim Van Bebber.
wonderful guy named Clive, no less than a former member
of the Goblin in the golden years. Like any other tourist, we hanged around
Times-Blade-Runner-Square, then turned to 5th-ave,
where the 666 building caught my attention, and enjoyed the grey sky fade to
black over the trees of Central Park. Then, back to planet Tarrytown, where
the show was about to start. Us, the characters, were tired but ready to pull
up the curtain. The headless knight of Sleepy Hollow, riding through the winter
garden outside my room, gave me a message through the radio: 'Be here, now',
and suddenly the words of an old song 'Whatever gets you through the night,
is alright, is alright
' escorted me to a large beautiful hallway, where
two legends were peacefully challenging each other. The last house on the left,
hosted by mr David Hess in person, was face to face to the house where my nightmare
began half a life ago. Gunnar Hansen is bigger than I imagined, and the coolest
person I could meet. I expressed him my feelings about 'the movie'. Mesmerized
by the stone, once part of the basement of 'the Texas house', and by his words,
I go back to half a life ago, when I found myself at the crossroad between the
two houses, unexpectedly scared by what I was watching on the screen. When the
second chainsaw massacre of that unforgettable summer night finished, I was
officially a screamer, and a fan-atic.
The headless knight was right, if I wasn't dreaming, I was in a blessed place, between two gigantic icons of my most joyful fears.
I shamelessly introduce the NY Ripper, guided by the flow of Bud, then follow Ruggero on the set of a german documentary that looks very promising, (so keep an eye on it). And there, from the humble translator of Deodato's words of wisdom, I turn into one of the interviewees. The friendly flow of Bud gives me the logorrhea, the filmakers are so kind to say it's not true. Instead, Deodato blames me for talking too much. Everything ends up in a big laugh, while old friends materialize around me. Could I ask for more?
The knight's voice looks always more familiar, is it possible? Good k-night!
David Hess, Antonella Fulci, and Ruggero Deodato preparing to sign autographs.
DAY 2. Saturday
How much did I sleep? I guess just a few hours. I'm sure. There are colorful boxes everywhere, all covered by the image of a white eyed girl. Last night, my friend Bob Murawski came up like Santa Claws, bringing me some wonderful toys. There's nothing like the moment you understand that all the world is your home. Outside the sun is rising like a bright white glow in the gloom. I like the chilly wind that takes away the smoke of my first cigarette, while I drink caffeine faraway from home.
Big day, today, at least for Claudio's fans. Tonight he'll play with the Daemonia guys. The youngsters look very amazed by the incoming stardom, while Claudio hangs around the dealers' tables with a big smile on his face. I enjoy watching the three guys' genuine surprise and joy as the first fans ask them an autograph, while someone I'm sure I've met before is coming towards me. I know his name also. I ask him: 'Are you Scooter McCrae?' He says 'yes', he knows who I am, he's my dad's good frrend. The funny thing is that we never met before, and yet I recognize him at once, and he does the same. We start talking, he introduces me to a bunch of nice people, some of them are also fans of my favorite TV shows (OZ and Ab Fab), so I feel even more at home. The irish pub becomes our headquarter, while my old friend Joe Zaso joins the gang. It's a wonderful day, today, and tonight, after the show, even Jim VanBebber will be here. Jim, I'd need too many words to express what he means to me. He's the gift of timing. When I feel bad, I know that
after awhile the phone rings and it's Jim. On my last
birthday, I found his message on my answering machine. It said: 'Let's meet
in the big apple in november'. He didn't know he made me a wonderful birthday
gift, his timing had been perfect as always. And now that the time has come,
I don't know if I'm happier for our meeting or for the screening of Charlie's
Family, tomorrow morning.
And after a peaceful day of chats and beers, while everyone's getting ready for the big 'goblin-like' event, there's ferment in the hallways of our castle. The vibes are great, to great to be true, me and my little brother Killjoy (he's a sweetheart) are floating around the place, waiting for Jim's arrival. Meanwhile, the concert has begun, I don't like the music but the players are great, also, I hear through the grapevine that in the afternoon there's been a little fight between the bands. I mentally congratulate myself with the guys. Well done guys, good old rock'n roll attitude, or am I wrong?
Nothing's perfect in this world, not even in the parallel universe of Sleepy Hollow. I won't tell you why I ended up weeping for the cruel fate of a beautiful turtle and some sweet monkey pets, during a private screening of an old movie, but that's what happened just a few hours ago. For me it was like being dropped straight to hell. I'll never forget what I saw, and I'll never stop fighting animal violence in films, period.
Killjoy is more than a brother in such a delicate moment, and while I feel insanely raged with everyone and everything, here comes Jim, as always, at the right place, at the right moment. We hug, we talk, we can't believe we're so close. In the last hours I've been bounced like a basket ball, from heaven to hell, then back to heaven, but in my mouth I still taste olives.
The headless knight is nowhere to be found, while I escort Jim at his door, kiss him goodnight, and go back to my place. I feel like the happy prince of Oscar Wilde when he finds out that outside of his ivory kingdom there's pain and poverty. In my heart, evil is the terror I saw in those monkeys eyes, while they're waiting to be killed in vain. Good knight, where are you? I feel so alone
Antonella presents her father's film "NEW YORK RIPPER" with Cult-Con Q&A conductor, Louis Paul.
DAY 3. Sunday
The screening of Charlie's Family is about to start and Jim's verve, while he introduces his 'creature' is a show itself. I'm so proud to see how charming he is and how people like him. The audience reacts nicely at his jokes, and we're all amazed of the grace he puts in explaining the basic concepts of a film that, in my opinion, deserves a place among the masterpieces of independent cinema. I don't remember any other movie screened as an editor print, with scratches and sound imperfections, that looks so beautiful and intriguing. Strange but true, Charlie's Family has never been seen without the editor's timecodes, and that's a shame. A shame for the brave independent distributors that wouldn't even touch the movie for its subject. Come on, big men, still scared of ol' Charlie?
And even if something goes hopelessly wrong with the tape format (the track goes faster than it's supposed), the audience is fascinated by the invaluable beauty of what they're watching, and while Jim, totally pissed off by the technical problems, has definitely migrated to the confortable shelter of the irish pub, I have another demonstration of the power of a great movie, that works even turned upside down, even if the characters'voices sound like donald duck's, and it's great to talk about it with my friends Mike and Michelle Baronas, who both loved it. Jim doesn't expect to receive another big praise from the audience, when he came back in the screening hall, but he does receive it, and that, put a smile on his face, and some peace in my heart.
Many people are already packing their bags, some are already waiting for the car to bring them to the airport. The dreamy atmosphere of our long weekend turns into a storm of waving goodbyes, of hugs and promises of keeping in touch. The only palpable feeling is that nobody wants to go. The temporary truce that some longtime enemies had signed not to bitter the atmosphere of the convention with our bad feelings had worked, and instead of spitting poison we'd been good guys. Back home, we'll have all the time in this world to sharp the knives, but not now, and not here.
By now, the hotel is half empty. Tonight the sunset has been beautiful and melancholic. In the hallway, I meet a member of the security, a good man that looks a lot like the nutty professor and that's equally nice. He says that he'll miss us all, and that's very kind from him, especially because last night he had to reproach us cause we'd been a little bit too noisy.
Now it's really time to pack my luggage. In my bags, beside all the useless shoes and fancy dresses that I brought, I put this little diary .
I'm not surprised at all when a big black crow lands just a few steps from me, right in time for my goodbye to Sleepy Hollow.
Another film, another legend. Thank you dad!