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Sex, blood and videotape: Shock Stock returns to London

Credit: Thriller: A Cruel Picture

Swedish actress Christina Lindberg is a Swedish journalist known internationally for her work as an actress and glamour model in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Andrew Vidler | Interrobang | Lifestyles | April 8th, 2013

From April 12 to 14, London will be hosting fans of horror and sleaze from all over North America for the third annual Shock Stock Subculture Weekend Celebration and VHS Tape Swap. This horror convention was started in 2011 by Jake Windatt of Grimbrothers Entertainment and James ‘Weird James' Bialkowsy of Vagrancy Films, a former FM96 radio personality. The only one of its kind in Ontario, Shock Stock celebrates all things horror, sleaze and exploitation, providing horror fans an environment that is specifically tailored to their interests.

While covering multiple genres from comics to sci-fi to Japanese animation as vendors during the annual FanExpo convention in Toronto, Windatt and Bialkowski realized that the horror genre was quickly becoming overshadowed by more popular attractions and an overabundance of genres.

“Over the years, we and lots of others worked extremely hard to bring in exciting guests so we can celebrate and pay respects to them,” explained Windatt, “but they've become lost among the big ‘flavour of the month' attractions such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.” Unsatisfied with the exposure that they were bringing their genre, the pair decided to break away from the larger convention in order to, as Windatt put it, “deliver the show for the guy who doesn't fit in at the ‘big' events.”

As a self-proclaimed lover of all things old school, preferring the use of a typewriter instead of a computer, Windatt's convention reflects his preferences. “We don't want to bring in the same people that you would see at the bigger conventions,” explained Windatt. “We've decided to focus more on horror and exploitation, in the style of the grindhouse movies of the 1970s.” Grindhouse films are traditionally associated with over-the- top violence, low budgets and themes designed to shock the audience. This focus away from the mainstream productions also presents an opportunity for those filmmakers who still use the traditional 35mm film to showcase their work.

Attached to Shock Stock event is the annual VHS tape swap, where collectors and vendors can buy, sell or exchange their classic and rare videotapes. According to Windatt, the collectors market for VHS tapes has seen a large resurgence in the last five years, and shows no sign of slowing. “We initially brought tapes to FanExpo to see how they would sell, and we noticed a large demand, especially on more underground titles that were impossible to find in another format, so when we left we made it a part of our show.” Windatt credited the tape swap as “creating a strong sense of community in a short period of time” at Shock Stock.

Major events at this year's convention include a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Rainbow Cinemas hosted by actress Patricia Quinn, the premiere of The Ghostkeepers, by Canadian director Anthony D.P. Mann, and an after-hours screening room at the Station Park Hotel. Scheduled guests include zombie artist Rob Sachetto, American Horror Story: Asylum actress Naomi Grossman and the first-ever Canadian appearance of Swedish horror icon, Christina Lindberg. The actress is hosting a gala screening of one of her classic films, and will be bringing with her a two person documentary crew from Swedish network SVT. There will also be a series of autograph sessions, film trailers, Q&As and vendors for fans to explore.

Shock Stock is being held April 12 to 14 at Centennial Hall, 550 Wellington St. A full event schedule, guest list and ticket information is available at
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