April 10, 2012

Brain Picking: Interview with Jake W. Grimbro (organizer SHOCK STOCK 2012)

INTERVIEW with Jake W. Grimbro
(organizer Shock Stock 2012)

Horror icons. Cult icons. Exploitation stars. Porn stars. Intrigued yet? Then you'll want stop right now and get your tickets for SHOCK STOCK 2012, Canada's newest horror and genre convention specializing in the greasy, cheesy, and the sleazy.

Shock Stock kicks off its second year on April 13, 2012 with a weekend of film screenings, panels, and one-of-a-kind events. I caught up with organizer Jake W. Grimbro of Vagrancy Film to talk about what's in store for this year's show. We also hit on the topic of censorship and the problems with larger, more corporate genre conventions.

ZED WORD: What is your inspiration for starting Shock Stock and bringing it back for a second year?

JAKE W. GRIMBRO: Shock Stock was not so much "inspired" as it was "demanded"... James [Bialkowski] and I used to work at another Canadian 'fan show' and we'd bring our Vagrant sensibilities with us ( at Vagrancy Films screenings here in London we encourage sociability and fun in a movie theatre... no strangers, no holds barred, no refunds!). We firmly believe that a convention, no matter what the size or scope, should be fan-driven. No corporate step ins, no douchebaggery, and no compromises.
We'd get flack from the management of the other shows for our abrasive nature and carnival barking ( kick the burger started at Vagrancy Films' booth at Fanexpo ) but the attendees ( and a majority of the vendors ) seemed to like being treated as equals.

It was a spark that ignited into a bonfire thanks to Ultimate Bob who helped us fund last years Shock Stock. Last year was exactly what we wanted aesthetically: a fan-oriented show that created a community within its four walls. It wasn't about lineups, headaches ( I had my share actually), or overpriced photo ops. People got to meet the celebrities, some even got to shoot darts with Linnea Quigley or have drinks with Molly Dunsworth from Hobo With a Shotgun. It's great!

After it was all over, we rethought the whole thing. We all took a loss... but the response was INSANE!! People had the time of their lives! So we had to pony up more cake and lace up for round two.

ZW: The celebration of exploitation movies is not something you see at other conventions. What is your / fan's fascination with exploitation and grindhouse films?

JWG: Exploitation and "Grindhouse" films are fascinating because they are, essentially, the films we as human beings want to see. They're visceral, they're intense, and they're chock full of all the shit we as movie goers are satisfied by. We don't limit ourselves to playing strictly horror films because we don't have to. At Shock Stock, we can show you a kids movie from the 1960s that's more fucked up than anything Tom Seven or whatever he's called can make on his digital camera, and we show it on reel 16mm film.

We still play horror films, and we do play digital cinema, new independent films, etc .. but you gotta switch it up a bit for the sake of the people... let 'em try something new.

ZW: The most striking element about last year's Shock Stock was how clearly all you at Vagrancy are fans of the horror and exploitation genres. This stands in contrast to other shows that seem more corporate-driven than fan-driven. What do you do to ensure that Shock Stock retains its indie, fan-centric flavor?

JWG: In a nutshell... nothin. I am not going to do a fucking thing differently than I've ever done. I'm still a wonderful, charismatic, and approachable human being. James is still a creep and a fast-talker. If we try to make a conscious effort to retain that magic, then we may lose it. It's like not realizing your little toe is missing till you take your sock off.. ( lawn mower accident as a kid )

ZW: Any big changes or surprises in store for this year's show?

JWG: Well we're pleased to have Toronto's TRASH PALACE bringing more 16mm content than you can shake a stick at... so much that we've added a second screening room on site!

Also there's a mega upgrade to the guest list... which is a bonus for Euro fans as we've got DEMONS alumni Geretta Geretta and Bobby Rhodes coming across the big drink, as well as LEGENDARY Goblin frontman Claudio Simonetti who was responsible for some of the greatest horror soundtracks of all time ( including Romero's DAWN )

And as for surprises... if I told you, they wouldn't be surprises anymore.

ZW: Bottom-line: There are many horror cons out there. Why should people drop everything and run - not walk - to Shock Stock in April.

JWG: Weekend pass holders get in to the show all 3 days, but they also have access to all the off site events - including an uncut 35mm screening of DEMONS on Friday and our Saturday night concert - absolutely free!

The Concert on Saturday will have Claudio and fellow Goblin bandmate Maurizio Guarini performing all your favorite horror themes live in a concert event that may never be seen again on North American soil, and our sexy guest, porn star Joanna Angel, will be doing a special "Zombi Strip Tease" on the stage as well... its going to be the show they all talk about, that's for sure..

Speaking of Joanna Angel ... the Burning Angel founder and punk porn queen will stand at the top of a veritable mountain of pie. That's right, all you horny guys out there, the place is gonna be packed with chicks. Jager girls, sin girls, Rocco's girls... they're all there to party in style. Woe! I'm gettin' excited already!

ZW: A lot of people are offended by the kinds of horror and exploitation films and filmmakers you celebrate at Shock Stock. What would you say to them?

JWG: If someone is offended by ANYTHING in a fictional movie these days they better stick to blogging on the internet or they can go occupy a park somewhere in a paper hut.

Sure, guys like Bill Zebub make movies with edge or movies that some people may not associate with, but that's an issue of taste. Personally I love Bill's movies and I look past the racial humor and rampant misogyny and see an intelligent film that's crafted specifically for an audience that finds nothing redeeming in most of the other films that the mainstream audiences celebrate.

I'm assuming you're talking about Bill Zebub. He'll be back this year and I should take this moment to add that we'll be screening two of his newest films: ANTFARM DICKHOLE and JESUS, THE TOTAL DOUCHEBAG.

Bill is an uncompromising filmmaker and he is one of the reasons why we do Shock Stock... because someone like Bill who doesn't fall into the mainstream or kiss the media's ass to get attention needs an avenue to reach his fans. And he does have fans. Once I was told the plot of ZOMBIECHRIST by a London cab driver that had no idea I knew who Bill was... so if some people don't like it, too fucking bad. There's some people that do, and those people should have an equal opportunity to celebrate the things they love as well. As long as we all find the happy medium.

SHOCK STOCK is waiting for you. Book your tickets now!