Screen: Wednesday, November 30, 2005
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Loyd Cryer wants to share his love of shlock.
Frightmare Weekend
Feb 4-5 at the Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 S Main St, Grapevine. 817-410-3459. $8-35. www.texasfrightmareweekend.com.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Festival of Frights

A local peddler of B-movie horrors marks a North Texas first.

By BRIAN ABRAMS

When Loyd Cryer was four years old, his mother took him to see The Exorcist. Before even reaching his teens, he began visiting local drive-ins to see frights such as Friday the 13th and David Cronenberg’s Rabid. Before he knew it, young Loyd was hooked on horror.

“The most interesting thing that I found was how [the films] were made,” the Justin native said. “It always fascinated me to find out how these people would come together and create these films — even all the technical aspects. I’ve always liked all types of films, but horror has been the main thing.”

Now 33, Cryer is taking an active role in his passion. In early February at the Grapevine Convention Center, he will launch the inaugural Texas Frightmare Weekend, a weekend-long celebration of all things gooey and gory.

Tarrant County has seen its share of traveling B-movie conventions, but there’s never been a homegrown frightfest, as big or little as Frightmare. “As far as I know, nothing like this has been done down here in the Bible Belt,” Cryer said. “When I booked the convention center, the guy there was, like, ‘So you’re gonna have crazy guys running around with blood on their faces?’ ... Maybe.”

Among those appearing: Z-movie historian and former Dallas-based journalist Joe Bob Briggs; a panel of scream queens (Linnea Quigley, Ashlie Rhey, Brinke Stevens) moderated by local writer/director Jon Keeyes; local film critic Scott von Doviak, who will read from his book Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema; and, incredibly, the founding father of bad cinematic blood, Herschell Gordon Lewis, who won’t just be signing autographs. With banjo accompaniment, he also plans on singing snippets from the soundtrack of his 1964 opus, Two Thousand Maniacs!

Other guests include makeup master Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead) and glass-eating sideshow freak Ses Carny, plus performances by a few local metal bands.

Even though he’s a rookie in the events trade, Cryer has been part of the shlock-horror industry for years, mainly as a retailer and historian. He recently helped filmmaker Terry Lofton release a limited-edition DVD of his raunchy 1985 straight-to-video gem, Nail Gun Massacre, which led to a special edition DVD by major player Synapse Films (see “Texas Tool Time,” Oct. 23, 2005). And, for the past four years, Cryer has been peddling cult rarities. His virtual store, Deepest Black (www.deepestblack.com), is loaded with (Manson) family-friendly titles, including Cannibal Holocaust and SS Hell Camp. Per request, Cryer also sells films documenting fatal accidents, including installations of the wildly popular Faces of Death series. He tried offering mainstream fare but couldn’t compete with local Best Buys and Wal-Marts. So he sells stuff they won’t go near.

Cryer, who has worked in various capacities in the automotive industry for 15 years, is not making money hand over bloody fist with Deepest Black. But, the proud husband and father said, the cash always comes in handy and was especially helpful when he began putting together Frightmare.

Cryer’s approach was throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks. One result is that Frightmare will revolve primarily around the 20th anniversary of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2. (Notice: Not part 1. Part 2.) Cryer said that when he began working on Frightmare, his wife told him to just “call as many people in the business [as possible] and see who responds.” Crazily enough, three of the original cast members of TCM2 agreed to participate. Cryer’s centerpiece had landed in his lap.

Though Cryer plans on footing most of the bill, he has picked up several sponsorships. The biggest are cable tv’s The Horror Channel and the Illinois-based indie outfit Dark Sky Films. He already has plans to expand into Austin and sponsor midnight movie screenings nationwide.

“I would definitely like to create events year-round that people who are into this type of thing can enjoy,” Cryer said. “I think this entire generation, especially now, has only seen these films on video and television.”

But until then, he said, “I just want to break even.”


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