October 27, 2009

COVERAGE: 2009 Hamilton Zombie Walk (Part Two)

Back up and read part one of my coverage HERE

After the Hamilton Zombie Walk on Saturday, October 24th, zombies were welcomed to the Staircase Theatre and Tapestry Bistro where Horror in the Hammer turned the upstairs studio into a zombie marketplace. Then, we screened AUTUMN for Hamilton zombie fans, many of whom had turned out to be extras in the film when it shot in the local area. Director Steven Rumbelow and members of the cast and crew were in attendance for a brief Q and A session moderated by yours truly.

I eat the brains of Autumn director Steven Rumbelow

Read more for coverage of the local vendors at the zombie marketplace, Panda's Cakes fabulous zombie confectionery, and the screening of AUTUMN.

5:00pm -- Zombie Marketplace

This year's zombie marketplace vendors from Hamilton and the surrounding area all seemed to be offering a variety of unique punk, horror, and zombie clothing and fabrics in addition to zombie-themed accessories.


Sick on Sin (sickonsin.com)
Since 2005, Jennifer Krebsz has been operating Sick on Sin and selling a variety of cute n' evil and merchandise and apparel such as shirts, buttons, magnets, and tote bags -- many of which have an undead theme. Offering designs by Michael Lalonde (writer and artist of the online comic Orneryboy), Sick On Sin is an online store that offers high-quality prints with a personal touch. From their booth I purchased a "Brian the Zombie" t-shirt (pictured right) and the shamelessly adorable vegan-themed shirt "Flesh is for Zombies". Sick on Sin offers some truly unique designs at affordable Canadian prices.

Lethal Lullabies
(myspace page)

Lethal Lullabies specializes in creating high-quality band merch including hoodies, stickers, and t-shirts as well as high-voltage screen printed original clothing for today's savvy alternative shoppers!

We at Horror in the Hammer met Lethal Lullabies' Jeremy Bear and Iva Zi at the Hamilton Festival of Friends and became enamored with their work.

They have produced for us our brand new HORROR IN THE HAMMER t-shirts.

If you're looking to commission some unique alternative designs, check out Lethal Lullabies.

Baby's First Boo (babysfirstboo.net)
Not all parents want to swaddle their little girls in clothes and blankets embroidered with pink faeries and princesses. Baby's First Boo caters to parents looking to bring a little plushy, gushy horror and alternative rock fashion into their children's lives. Offering diapers, blankets, quilts, wipes and more, Baby's First Boo is likely to have something for your own little boil and ghoul that you can't find on the regular market.

Crash Landing
 (myspace page)

Crash Landing is a Punk Rock shop in the east end of Hamilton; they carry Band T's, Horror Movie T's, Bondage Pants, Custom Furniture, Jewelry & Studs, House Accessories, Belts & Buckles, Hot Rod Shirts, and lots more. Location: 189 Ottawa st. North @ Cannon

Chris Crash and Suzanne Kirkwood of Crash Landing

Zombie finger puppets at the Crash Landing booth

Blackbird Studios (blackbirdstudios.ca)

Specializing in unique party dresses, crinolines, skirts, coats, and jackets and other hand-printed fabrics, Blackbird Studios offers fashion fit for Rockstars, Rollergirls, Burlesque Artistes, and  Fashion Misfits on the prowl for one-of-a-kind designs. For those with spooky tastes, Blackbird Studios may have just what you're looking for, such as their Frankenstein-patterned INGRID DRESS (right)

6:30pm -- ZOMBIE CAKE

After the raffle prizes were given away and we announced the winner of our costume contest, it was time to cut the cake. Amanda Clark of Panda's Cakes blew us all away with her amazing crawling zombie cake that outdid her fabulous giant brain cake from last year. Not only was Amanda the lead organizer for this year's walk, she is also a cake designer offering creative cakes for all occasions. Her cake was as delicious to eat as it was gruesome to look at.

Amanda Clark cuddles up to her undead confectionery

I didn't know if I was going to eat it or if it was going to eat me.

7:00pm -- AUTUMN screening

Rachel Rumbelow, Steven Rumbelow, and Stephen Crone

To finish the night, Steven Rumbelow and Rachel Rumbelow from Renegade Motion Pictures were in attendance for a screening of their zombie film AUTUMN (read my review). I had the opportunity prior to the zombie walk to review a screener of AUTUMN and interview Steven Rumbleow for The Zed Word (read the interview). Although I could not fully recommend the film, I stand by the integrity of Rumbelow and his film making crew. Despite its flaws, AUTUMN deserves to be seen for the truly unique performance by David Carradine in one of his last roles before his untimely death. After seeing a finished cut of the film with corrected sound and visual effects at the zombie walk, I can say the movie deserves at least a 3 / 5, but I still have issues with the direction and pacing.

That being said, I was more than willing to lend a hand in screening AUTUMN at the Staircase Theatre for our Hamilton crowd. When the film was made in our area, a number of Hamiltonians turned out to be "meat suits" (i.e. zombies) in the film, so it was a thrill to see their names on the big screen during the closing credits. Since I'd seen the film before, I went up in the booth to monitor the audio-visual equipment. It was my first time in the booth, so of course there were major technical issues! After the DVD skipped once, the sound and video developed an unfortunate and progressively worsening crackling and skipping. We had to shut down the movie because it got so bad. Thankfully, when we restarted the movie on a new DVD, everything worked fine.

After the film, I moderated a brief audience Q and A with Steven Rumbelow (director of AUTUMN), Rachel Rumbelow (production manager), Anton Brejak (producer and actor), and Stephen Crone (Director of Photography). We discussed how director Rumbelow believes that the current swine flu pandemic may do more to hurt the film's reception than enhance it, we discussed AUTUMN's release in several European markets, and we discussed the struggles faced by independent film makers given the popularity of "mainstream indie" films in Hollywood. We also had to highlight the dedication shown by our own Hamilton zombies who worked long hours in the cold as "meat suits."

After the screening, we raffled off some AUTUMN swag and two free tickets to the Zombie Short Film Festival in Toronto (Oct 30), and then we closed up the theatre. I stayed behind to have a lively discussion and a beer with Steven, Rachel, and Stephen. We talked about AUTUMN, its reception, and Steven's intriguing past films and work in theatre.

It says something about a director when he can sit down with a critic that gave his film a negative review (i.e. me) not only on a small website but also an influential and wide-reaching podcast (Mail Order Zombie) and still be welcoming of conversation and debate.

In my experience, the people behind Renegade Motion Pictures have been nothing but good, hard-working folks who really care about making interesting pictures. Regardless of my review of AUTUMN, I respect Steven Rumbelow and am interested in his future projects such as Over the Edge and Cafe X. Keep an eye on Renegade Motion Pictures.

12:00am -- The Dead Sleep!

After a long day of shambling and eating brains, it was time to return home to the crypt and take off my face.

The Hamilton Zombie Walk has quickly become the highlight of my Halloween season. I look forward to it and planning for it each year. Since I work with Horror in the Hammer and had a hands-on role with the walk last year, I may have a leading role in the walk for 2010. We'll see.

Like the people of Hamilton itself, Hamilton's messy, bloody zombies push on and remain indomitably endearing. Bring on the zombies for 2010!