Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fantasmo Episode 56: Team Fantasmo Vs. Bruce Campbell

Hey Superfans!

Thanks to everyone who came out and made FantaSci such a great time this past weekend! It was a lot of fun, particularly being thrown in the Klingon jail : ) Not wasting a single moment of summer we are now on to our next Fantasmo this weekend, one which is long overdue. For this very special Fantasmo we will be paying tribute to cult cinema legend Bruce Campbell. Known to legions of fans for his iconic role in the Evil Dead series, Campbell has starred in a seemingly endless number of B-movie classics. We’ve chosen the “big budget” capper to the Evil Dead trilogy, and a film that is arguably his finest hour as an actor. Without any further ado here are your full Episode 56 details:

When: Friday, July 2nd

Where: Chesapeake Central Library, 298 Cedar Road, Chesapeake, VA 23322

Films:

8:00 P.M.: Army of Darkness (1993)

9:45 P.M.: Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

So there you have it, two Bruce classics on the big screen . . . THE WAY THEY WERE MEANT TO BE SEEN! You dare not miss it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Movie Review: Slipstream (1989)

With FantaSci on the horizon for Saturday, I thought it would be a good time to review one of my favorite cult sci-fi films, Steven Lisberger’s Slipstream. Before we get started I will tell you upfront that Slipstream is not a GREAT film on the order of 2001, Star Wars, Blade Runner, etc. It has some considerable flaws yet it is still a compelling little gem with an interesting history and pedigree. One of only three films helmed by Lisberger, aka the director of TRON, Slipstream is a post-apocalyptic thriller that juggles multiple themes. It concerns itself with the hotter than ever present day topic of resource conservation, and also ponders what it means to be human. What makes Slipstream a true cult curiosity is not the subject matter however, but the various players who were involved. It sprung from the mind of Lisberger and the producer of Star Wars (Gary Kurtz), and brought together a talented cast including Bill Paxton, Bob Peck, F. Murray Abraham, and Ben Kingsley. Most interesting of all was that the star of the film was none other than Mark Hamill, returning from a 6-year hiatus during which he performed on Broadway in a variety of roles. Add everything up and you have an unusual combination of elements that make for a decidedly one-of-a-kind experience.

In the near future on a ravaged planet Earth, bounty hunter Will Tasker (Hamill), and his female partner Belitski (Kitty Aldridge) are chasing a fugitive (Bob Peck) wanted for murder. After catching him they cross paths with a wise-cracking smuggler named Matt Owens (Bill Paxton) who steals their quarry so that he can collect the promised reward. A high altitude chase ensues across the slipstream, a river of wind that now blankets Earth due to a series of vaguely referenced ecological catastrophes resulting from mankind’s misuse of natural resources. Along the way we find out the fugitive is an android trying to understand what it means to be human, and Paxton begins to question whether he truly should turn in the prisoner that gradually has become a friend. The adventure culminates in a final battle between bounty hunter and android in which there can be no winner.

I first saw Slipstream in high school circa 1990 at the urging of a friend who said it was something special. This was during the late VHS era right before I got into laserdisc, so video store safaris were a regular feature of teenage existence. What you have to appreciate about this, particularly if you didn’t experience this firsthand, is that throughout the 80’s picking out a video was truly an adventure. Alongside tried and true blockbusters like Road Warrior, you would also see a video with a cool looking cover called Future Kill (for example). It had art by H. R. Giger and a cool sounding post-apocalyptic style plot, so you figured how could one go wrong? Since there was no Internet to provide a heads up I learned the answer to that question time and again throughout the decade, so by the time the 90’s rolled around interesting looking covers to unfamiliar sounding movies constituted nothing less than a dare. To make matters worse the movie in question had as its main selling-point that it starred Mark Hamill. Mark Hamill? You mean the guy from Star Wars? Yeah that guy.

I don’t claim to have my finger on the pulse of the fan community, but I get the impression that Hamill is considered somewhat of a cult hero these days. Everyone knows he loves comics and sci-fi, and he shows up regularly in tribute scenarios on everything from The Simpsons to Robot Chicken. He just seems like a cool guy who appreciates the fans and isn’t afraid to be counted among them. Back in the day, before becoming a personality through his attachment to comics and animation, Hamill was known simply as Luke Skywalker. Period. He tried to break out in a number of films that ranged from decent to spectacular (e.g. Corvette Summer, The Big Red One, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia), but could never escape his signature role. Since Hollywood wasn’t giving him the parts he desired, he went to Broadway where he starred in Amadeus, The Elephant Man, and a number of other plays. Not too shabby. Minus the benefit of the Internet, or an interest in New York theatre, I knew him strictly as the guy from Star Wars
and a few movies that didn’t seem particularly interesting to me at the time.

Aside from his failure to make an impact with me outside of Star Wars, something else contributed toward my late 80's apathy toward Hamill. Blockbusters were undergoing a bit of a change at that moment in time, with edgier fare capturing viewer interest. As a result Star Wars had faded a bit in prominence. It’s not that the films weren’t still beloved, but the toys had made their way to the discount racks so I’ll leave it at that. In their place were brooding superheroes (e.g. Batman) or over-the-top action spectacles (e.g. Die Hard, Lethal Weapon). Worse still in the case of Hamill, conventional wisdom had become that Han Solo was the star of Star Wars. He was cool where Luke was just a whiny brat. Cementing this point of view was Harrison Ford’s rise to superstardom courtesy of Indiana Jones. So not only had Star Wars faded to the background, but Hamill’s iconic character was out of fashion as well. By the time he got around to making it back to the big screen in Slipstream, his triumphant return was greeted with indifference. I was firmly in the skeptic camp and resistant to giving Slipstream a chance, but my friend was so enthusiastic I couldn’t help but agree to relent. This turned out to be a turning point for me, as thereafter became bona fide Mark Hamill fan.

How did the film/Hamill achieve this not insignificant feat you may ask? Well the thing I haven’t spelled out about his character in Slipstream, although certainly the synopsis hints at it, is that Hamill is both the leading man and the villain in the movie. Right away to the film’s credit the idea of making the leading man the villain is a wildly radical maneuver. It’s a game changer that you rarely see done for the simple fact that it turns audiences off. We want someone we can root for. The second bold move on the film’s part is to make that guy Hamill. Remember he had been out of the limelight for over half a decade, and when he returns it’s as a sociopathic bounty hunter. What’s more is that he pulls the transformation off as convincing as any actor I’ve ever seen. To begin with he’s practically unrecognizable physically. Bleach blond hair, beard, bulked up, wild-eyed, and generally nasty in disposition. Every time I have shown this movie to anyone, without fail they did not know it was Hamill until I told them (and even after they remained in disbelief for a while).

The physical change is just the beginning though. For the running time of Slipstream Hamill becomes the merciless Tasker. You believe he could totally take care of business, and he lets no shred of humanity shine through. Most importantly he exhibits a true screen presence. While Hamill always maintained an agreeable persona in the Star Wars trilogy, Luke Skywalker didn’t give him much of a chance to show he was capable of being an actor with range. Once I went back and saw some of his other work, particularly The Big Red One, I was completely sold. To me though Tasker is still the character I point to, and the film I pull out whenever I need to convince someone that Hamill is a great actor.

This is probably controversial, but I think Hamill has a far greater range than Harrison Ford. I make this comparison because they both had more or less the same starting point. Ford only shot to superstardom after Raiders. In fact he had an experience similar to Hamill's in trying to break out in films such as Hanover Street and The Frisco Kid, which had lukewarm receptions. Raiders gave him that second franchise to keep him in the limelight when his other efforts didn’t ignite (which included Blade Runner). When you think about it Ford basically plays himself in every movie, only his mood varies (sometimes he's concerned and sometimes he's not very concerned). In that sense he’s more of a movie star than an actor. If you like what he does (and I do) that’s great. If not there’s little reason to stick around.

With Hamill you can have him playing wide-eyed hero (Star Wars), troubled soldier (The Big Red One), quirky state trooper (The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia), zoned out cameraman (Britannia Hospital), steely bounty hunter (Slipstream), or even The Joker (Batman: Mask of the Phantasm). Those titles in and of themselves constitute an interesting body of work, and he is terrific in each one. Unfortunately Slipstream, while being arguably the best of the bunch in terms of his performance, was also the nail in the coffin of his big screen career (live-action at least). For whatever reason the film was unable to secure a theatrical release in America, and only played limited runs in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan. Worse still is that it seems to have lapsed into the public domain, as it appears in a number of cheap DVD sets with an awful transfer. Sadly the 20-year-old VHS is probably better. The best way to see it is the Japanese laserdisc, which sports the only widescreen transfer I'm aware of. It makes a world of difference . . . but you’ll have to hunt it down Tasker style!

I’ve spent a LOT of time on Hamill here, but that’s because he is the pressing reason to see Slipstream. If there is a lasting importance of Slipstream in film history, it’s because it's Mark Hamill's comeback movie. This is not to say there aren't other positive elements. The rest of the performances are quite good, if overshadowed by Hamill. Bob Peck (Jurassic Park) makes a sympathetic impression as the soul-searching android, and Bill Paxton perfects his good ol’ boy template that would serve him so well on numerous occasions. Robbie Coltrane, Ben Kingsley, and F. Murray Abraham aren’t given much screen time, but make the most of what they have. Perhaps the only weak link is Kitty Aldridge as Belitski. Her performance as Tasker’s right hand seems a little forced, and you don’t quite believe her eleventh hour change of heart. She’s not bad, but her shortcomings are more noticeable with everyone else operating at a high level.

The other story here involves the guys behind the scenes. Hamill wasn’t the only one who was looking for a comeback. Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz needed a hit after The Dark Crystal and Return to Oz failed to reach blockbuster status. Lisberger’s TRON also wasn’t a runaway success, and was followed an okay John Cusack comedy called Hot Pursuit. I’m guessing Slipstream was a make or break situation for both of them since they haven’t done a whole lot since. This is unfortunate because they put together a cool little movie with blockbuster aspirations. The characters are involving, the story occasionally hits original notes, and the effects (for the time) are quite good. Given that the director of TRON is involved it’s not surprising to see some early computer-generated effects mixed in. This is pre-Jurassic Park stuff, and totally unconvincing, yet you can tell it must have cost a fortune by how slick it is at times. When not working with CGI Lisberger fares better, including a suspenseful sequence where Paxton has to rescue Peck, who has been bound to a giant kite turned loose in the slipstream.

If Slipstream has any significant drawback it’s that the pacing lags at times. Lisberger gives us a number of great sequences such as the opening confrontation between Paxton and Hamill, the kite rescue, and a satisfying final showdown. However there are also stretches with Paxton making observations about the natural disaster that turned the world upside down, Peck and Paxton discussing humanity, Hamill and Aldridge debating the nature of their existence, etc., that go on a little too long. They have some interesting things to say, but could be trimmed down a bit. It’s as if Lisberger wants to make a 2001, but doesn’t understand that deliberate pacing doesn’t not necessarily equate to intellectual depth. This doesn’t ruin the film, but may account for why it had trouble obtaining a distributor. A sci-fi action spectacular with too little action or things spectactular may not have been appealing in a year of Batman, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, Star Trek, and others returning to the cinemas. In some ways this could have been Hamill’s Blade Runner, and would have made for a quirky change of pace in the summer of 1989.

Bottom line you should absolutely check Slipstream out, especially if you want to see an entirely different side of Mark Hamill. Just be forewarned that practically any DVD you come by is going to look terrible, so you’ll have to be a little forgiving on that front. Once you allow yourself to get drawn in by the story, performances, and interesting production design, hopefully you can tune out the murky picture and sound. May the force be with you.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Drive-In Super Monster-Rama

Hey Superfans!

You may recall last year we told you about a cool event taking place up in Pennsylvania called the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama. A Team Fantasmo delegation went up for the two-night event that featured a line-up of really cool classic horror films. Well this year's lineup has been revealed and it's a pretty eclectic mix, featuring horror comedies, 70's schlock, and great Hammer movies. If you miss the old drive-in experience this is a great event . . . plus it's just minutes away from the mall where Romero shot the original Dawn of the Dead (a fact the mall plays up big time). Of all the titles they're screening this time around, the most intriguing is The Incredible Melting Man. Having seen this a few times over the years I can tell you it's not a great movie - but it is a great drive-in movie. I can't imagine what this must look like on the big screen. A perfect close to the first evening I would say : )

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fright Night Remake


Late last year while watching the remake of Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner I blogged about the value of remakes. I observed that while the vast majority of genre remakes are pretty weak, the right to remake is perfectly valid. After all sometimes it can yield interesting results (e.g. Friedkin's Sorceror, De Palma's Untouchables, etc.). That being said even my open-minded point of view took a mighty blow yesterday when I saw details on the upcoming Fright Night remake over at Ain't It Cool News.

There are a handful of genre films out there that I consider to be perfect, never taking a wrong step. Perfectly conceived, scripted, casted, scored, filmed, marketed . . . you name it. Fright Night is one of those films. Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall, and William Ragsdale give arguably the best performances of their respective careers, director/writer Tom Holland never hit a higher note, Brad Fiedel turned in an outstanding electronic score, the accompanying rock soundtrack was excellent, and honestly the whole thing came together as the best vampire film of the 80's. Even so, just like I wrote of The Prisoner, I think I would be open to revisitation under reasonable conditions. These are not those conditions.

The broad sketches of the re-imagined story as I understand it once again involve the central trio of Charley Brewster (now spelled Charlie for some reason), Peter Vincent, and swinging vampire Jerry Dandridge. Now though Vincent is a wacky Vegas magician instead of a Hammer-style horror host, again employed for his supposed ability to take on vampires. Already that's some serious trouble, as the concept for Vincent is what made the first film so great. It was a love letter to old school horror stars. What is this a love letter to . . . seedy Vegas nightclub acts?

Then there are the new cast members. Anton Yelchin as Charlie, David Tennant as Peter, and Colin Farrell as Dandridge. Oh and McLovin from Superbad as Evil Ed. I liked Tennant okay as Dr. Who, and the other three can be okay under certain circumstances. As replacements for Ragsdale, McDowall, Sarandon, and even Geoffreys this is a disaster in the making. Perhaps the craziest aspect of all is that Tennant couldn't be that much older than Yelchin, which totally changes the dynamics of the Brewster/Vincent relationship. You can't tell me they couldn't find a more approrpriate bunch to fill out the roster. In my mind the only one who has a shot at a performance approaching the classic cast's quality level is Farrell. I'm not a big fan, but if he swings for the fences I think he could do a respectable Dandridge. But it's a big if.
While the rational critic in me says remakes have a right to exist, the fan is exclaiming please stop the remakes now! No chance of that it seems . . . which celebrated classic will be next I wonder?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Movie Review: Survival of the Dead (2010)

When it comes to zombie movies, there’s no question that George A. Romero is the most important name in the genre. While there were examples in cinema prior to his landmark film Night of the Living Dead, he’s the one who set the pattern for everything we now associate with the modern zombie film. Everyone from Lucio Fulci to Zack Snyder is in this guy’s debt. Certainly he’s also the reason zombies are among my favorites when it comes to movie monsters, and I spent a great deal of my teenage years enjoying his classic trilogy (Night, Dawn, and Day) and other outstanding efforts (Creepshow, Knightriders, The Crazies, Martin, etc.). At Fantasmo HQ Romero also generates a significant amount of affection, right up there with folks like John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Dario Argento, Wes Craven, and others of note. We’re talking serious cachet here. Even so, in recent years Romero has fallen somewhat out of favor due to his new dead trilogy (Land, Diary, and now Survival). Whereas his classic films managed to mingle social commentary and terrifying zombie action with tremendous skill, this new batch has been lacking. The order of the day has been heavy-handed political jabs, weak character development, and truly awful CGI in place of practical effects.

With the above in mind many folks were calling it quits after Diary of the Dead, proclaiming that the zombie master had finally lost his touch. Although I wasn’t ready to join that bandwagon, I certainly had a feeling that there was little hope for getting another classic zombie film. When I heard that Romero was doing another installment in the latest cycle, Survival of the Dead, I didn’t greet the news with much excitement. Early screening reports seemed to indicate that there was no reason to celebrate, which was no surprise to anyone. Nevertheless the fact remained that it was a Romero zombie film, and therefore required viewing. I figured I would end up checking it out on video, as it would likely only receive a limited release in theaters this summer. Imagine my surprise to find out it was premiering ahead of its theatrical run on Xbox Live and PlayStation!! So this past weekend I was able to hold my own personal Hampton Roads premiere of the film : ) Because of this unexpected novelty my excitement level received a boost. For this I am glad, as I think it actually evened out my expectations to a reasonable level. Not too hopeful, not too negative, but just enough to give the film a fair chance.

Survival of the Dead, as with all of Romero’s zombie films, follows a group of survivors trying to find a safe haven amidst a zombie outbreak. This time around is interesting in that the focal hero is a peripheral character from Diary of the Dead named Crocket, thereby representing a first in terms of direct continuity between entries. He was a not so kindly leader of a military platoon that robbed the heroes in the previous film. Now Crocket is trying to get his remaining crew to a better place, and seems to have developed a bit of a conscience. We are also introduced to another situation taking place on Plum Island (off the coast of Massachusetts), where two warring clans of its population are debating how to treat the outbreak. The Muldoon clan led by Seamus Muldoon feels that the zombies should be kept around in the event a cure emerges. The O’Flynn clan thinks they need to be put out of their misery since they are no longer alive. Crocket and his crew stumble into the middle of the dispute, and a battle for the fate of the island ensues.

I have to say this movie is a tough call. Part of me likes it, and part of me thinks it’s fairly weak. Let’s start with the good. First off the story and circumstances are interesting enough. It's a cool notion for Romero to pick up the story of a peripheral character from another installment (even if it is the worst in the series), and I thought the debate taking place on the island held intriguing possibilities. At least it was something we hadn’t seen before. There are shades of Bub from Day of the Dead when Muldoon is trying to teach the zombies to hunt something other than humans, but mostly this is an original development. The setting of the island is also terrific. There is plenty of beautiful scenery on display, and Romero gets in some nice photography here and there (I’m ready to visit). The island also provides a reasonably believable dynamic of a culture that is outside of modern society. I’ve never been to Plum Island so that’s probably all bogus, but I was willing to take it on faith for this exercise. Particularly interesting was the fact that it allowed Romero to give the latter half of the film a Western type vibe, for which I’m a total sucker. Again it was something I felt he hadn’t done before, so it was nice to see new ground being broken.

Okay now for the not so good, which includes unforgivably bad CGI, weak character development, and zero terror. Normally I don’t like to focus on special effects when reviewing a movie, as this deficit can be overcome when the other ingredients are in place. In the instance of these new Romero zombie movies however, I feel it has to be given special importance. Romero’s early films all relied on practical effects, largely supplied by Tom Savini. These were groundbreaking, and in most cases maintain their efficacy to this day. I’m sure they are more complicated to orchestrate, but I would rather see a limited number of practical effects than a host of poorly executed computer graphics. They end up looking silly, and worse still eliminate any sort of scare factor that might be achieved (the greatest offense of all). Literally within the first couple of minutes of Survival of the Dead Romero uses some of the worst CGI shots I have ever seen. It was nothing short of a miracle that my good will reservoir was able to withstand it. I became worried I might not be able to make it through without fast-forwarding. Thankfully he managed to recover with mildly interesting character and story developments, but it was a close call.

It might be tempting to give Romero a pass on this due to the fact that with Survival he’s working with a low-budget. The thing is he’s always worked with a low-budget for the most part, except on Land of the Dead. Land is the most telling with regard to his perspective, as he must have had enough resources to make a choice between CGI and practical. Granted he had to use CGI to produce the more epic shots in that film, but for close quarters action he also went digital. The results were underwhelming. Here he’s back to his indie roots, and he still is going digital. It’s one thing to use it for a quick cheat, but this thing is overflowing with poorly implemented CGI sequences that are highlighted as if they were carried off on a Lord of the Rings level of expertise. I found it ironic that I was watching a film that at times resembled a lackluster video game on my PlayStation. Somehow it seemed appropriate. The fact is I didn’t want to watch a video game version of a Romero movie, I wanted to see an actual Romero movie. Fans are clamoring for a true Romero zombie movie, yet he keeps returning to the digital well. This is frustrating to say the least.

Next up are the characters. Not quite the disaster constituted by the special effects, the characters in this almost work. We’re given enough information to be interested, but not enough to deeply care. In Dawn of the Dead it is a major blow when Roger and Flyboy fall victim to the horde. Here there’s not one character that registers enough to generate any concern. There are moments that almost pull it off, but ultimately miss the mark. I believe this is partly due to the fact that the film is short, and therefore time to develop characters just isn’t there. The bigger problem however is that the writing delves too much into the realm of the ridiculous. Characters in Survival become caricatures, rendering them one-dimensional and often comical. Romero started to reveal this unfortunate tendency in Day of the Dead with over-the-top characters like Rhodes. The rest of that film was mostly rock solid so it was possible to overlook the problems. Not so in this era. Here viewers are given no positive areas in which to retreat, and as a result focus must remain on the weaknesses. For what it’s worth there are some decent performances, and I did enjoy Kenneth Welsh’s Patrick O’Flynn. In a better Romero effort he could be a great character.

Last, but certainly not least, is the primary offender. There is not one moment of tension or terror in this movie. Not one. Even Diary had a couple of decent moments! The nearest Survival comes to tension is toward the beginning when Crocket and company are trying to get their armored car on a ferry. It involves a shootout and swimming in zombie infested waters. There are good moments in the sequence, but they are undermined by CGI and some badly placed comedy. As for the rest of the film it’s a complete loss on this front. Even Romero’s trademark siege finale is devoid of any sense of urgency. There are of course a few fun visuals mixed in, but all of a been-there-done-that variety. The only items that manage to salvage the finale are a handful of decent character moments between Patrick O’Flynn and Seamus Muldoon, and a revelation about Muldoon’s grand experiment. Some have cited that the lack of terror is a direct result of poor use of the zombies. Indeed they are played for laughs primarily, and have minimal screen time. For my money the problem is twofold. Romero doesn’t establish a balance between the comic and the serious, and the poor CGI swoops in to exaggerate the problem. In isolation each would be problematic, but combined they are overwhelming.

The crazy thing is despite all the problems with Survival of the Dead, on some level I still managed to enjoy it. There are good moments here and there, mildly interesting characters, and plot developments that aren’t completely recycled from previous efforts. Under normal circumstances this would not constitute a reason to celebrate, but following Land and Diary it’s practically a miraculous achievement. After Diary many pronounced Romero as gone for good, but Survival shows that there is still a spark present. That alone may be the reason why I can recommend the film, at least to fans. You see no matter what the fans (myself included) will always be pulling for Romero to return once more with a classic. We hope against hope that he will go back to those early efforts, analyze what made them so great, and employ his gifts as a storyteller in this digital age. CGI shouldn’t be the only tool in the toolbox. In the meantime, bearing in mind the reservations I have mentioned, I would say go ahead and check this one out. At minimum it’s a better way to leave things than Diary of the Dead.

On a final note I have to mention one more item on the whole movie premieres on Xbox/PlayStation subject. In addition to Survival of the Dead the services also are premiering [REC] 2 prior to its theatrical release later this summer. We screened the first one at Fantasmo back in November, and I would strongly recommend it to any fan of zombie horror (or horror films in general). It’s one of the best films I’ve seen in recent years, and one of the scariest to boot. Watch this in a darkened room by yourself and you will be shaken and stirred guaranteed. Early word on the sequel is that it’s even better! I’ll be checking it out at some point this week and posting a review. It’s drawing the always popular Alien/Aliens comparison, especially since the story involves a team of heavily armed police entering the doomed apartment building. If it’s as good as everyone is saying, maybe we should go ahead and retire the Alien/Aliens analogy for the modern era. Now we can say Movie X is to Movie X Part 2, as [REC] is to [REC] 2. Just a thought : )

Thursday, June 3, 2010

FantaSci 8: Invasion of the Krackle Botz

Hey Superfans!

It’s time once again for the yearly mega-event FantaSci, the all-day sci-fi/fantasy convention here at the library! This marks the 8th edition of the program and I have to say it’s shaping up to be the biggest yet. Our theme this time out revolves around the mysterious Krackle Botz, whose origin and purpose will be revealed at a special afternoon session with artist Brian Bridgeforth. I can only tell you that it has to do with something very cool and exciting that will be taking place at the library in the coming year, and this session will be a fun teaser/preview. You definitely don’t want to miss it!

Of course there will be lots of great authors, artists, filmmakers, and fan clubs on hand, as well as special guests and collectible vendors. Regal Cinemas will also be here with movie passes, cool promotional items and posters to give away, as well as a stunning display from an upcoming blockbuster. Programming will run throughout the day featuring panels and workshops, gaming, and a special presentation by the one-and-only Dr. Madblood as a prelude to the Madblood anniversary celebration taking place at Monster Fest in October. But that’s not all . . .

We will be capping the day off with a FantaSci edition of Fantasmo in the evening, featuring a classic sci-fi double-feature. Kicking things off will be a screening of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country presented by Klingons from the IKV Devastator, followed by Forbidden Planet. All on the big screen the way they were meant to be seen!

Without any further ado, here are your full FantaSci 8 details:

When: Saturday, June 26th, 9:00 a.m.

Where: Chesapeake Central Library, 298 Cedar Road

Schedule of Events:

11:00 a.m. - Three Decades of Trekking Through Star Trek Movies - Presented by: Starfleet Atlantic

12:00 p.m. - Lightsaber Duel & Demonstration - Presented by: Tidewater Alliance

12:00 p.m. - Writer Beware: Avoiding Publishing Scams - Presented by: Rich White

12:00 p.m. - Literary Aliens, Fairies, Vampires, Werewolves & More - Oh My! - Presented by: Pamela Kinney

1:00 p.m. - Costume Contest

1:30 p.m. - Invasion of the Krackle Botz! Sci-Fi Art From Concept to Creation - Presented by: Brian & Marie Bridgeforth

1:30 p.m. - Pickleman Productions - A Look Inside the Jar: Animation, Puppetry, & More -Presented by: Elizabeth Pasieczny

1:30 p.m. - LOST: Discussion & Recap – Presented by: Pat Quevedo, Wendy Natividad, Katrina Ross

2:30 p.m. - Quick Write Workshop - Presented by: Tony Ruggiero

2:30 p.m. - Classic Dr. Madblood Episode - Presented by: Dr. Madblood & Craig T. Adams

3:00 p.m. - Lightsaber Duel & Demonstration - Presented by: Tidewater Alliance

3:30 p.m. - Embracing Your Inner Klingon - Presented by: IKV Devastator

Doors Close at 5:00 p.m. and Reopen at 7:30 p.m.

8:00 p.m.Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – Presented by: IKV Devastator

10:00 p.m.Forbidden Planet

A pretty full day to say the least! For even more cool details check out the Chesapeake Public Library home page at http://www.infopeake.org/ and the FantaSci web site at http://www.fantasciconvention.com/. See you on the 26th!