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A few unconventional memories

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By James Roberts

Those who bother to read my column may know by now that I'm something of a film fan. OK, honestly I'm a fanatic.

I can extol virtues of the various aspects of film, from performances to screen composition, for hours on end. But my wife and my dog seldom seem interested in what I have to say.

Naturally, I was pleased to learn that Lebanon's Center Square was playing host to Dark Woods Con 1.5, a convention and film festival catering to those who like their movies to deliver a good scare.

My wife and I have been to several horror film conventions already, but the nearest were in Louisville and Lexington. A convention just 20 miles away from our doorstep seemed too good to be true.

In a way, I guess it was. Few fans attended the convention. The hall was devoid of fans for much of the time Saturday.

For the uninitiated, these conventions feature actors, writers, directors and just about anyone else related to horror filmmaking. There generally are artists, distributors and various vendors on hand as well.

Did you ever long for a demented clown mask? How about a bar of soap shaped like Frankenstein's monster? Well, conventions are the place to get 'em.

In addition, movies, generally those that have yet to be released, are in constant rotation. In short, a dream come true for a guy like me.

Despite all of the horror film luminaries in attendance at these conventions, the highlight has always been hanging out with like-minded fans. And there were precious few of us on Saturday, which is traditionally the busy day at any convention. But my hat is off to those who brought the show to Lebanon.

It was a unique event for the area to be sure and a fitting way to usher in Halloween.

If nothing else, the show afforded me the opportunity to meet and chat with director Tim Ritter. He's the guy who wrote and directed the first movie that I ever rented. Years ago, when I was just a little lad, mom gave me $3 and sent me into the video store. I came out with a little horror film titled "Truth or Dare? A Critical Madness." It was something mom never would have let me get had she been standing beside me.

Ritter got a kick out of that fact and gave me an autograph, in which he apologized for scaring me at such a young age.

So, the convention may not have been packed, but it provided more than a few lasting memories. What more could I ask for?