July 1, 2020

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We’re taking a look back at the cult black comedy ’n cannibal classic MOTEL HELL with -

Kevin Connor

Director Kevin Connor developed a passion for films as a child. He found work with documentary film company, British Films Ltd., as an assistant film editor and went on to work in the editing rooms of several studios. His first chance to direct came when Amicus Films producer Milton Subotsky hired him to direct the anthology horror film, FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE (1974). This lead to Conner directing a series of fantasy-adventure films, including THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT (1974), AT THE EARTH’S CORE (1976) with Peter Cushing and Caroline Munro, THE PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT (1977), WARLORDS OF THE DEEP (1978), and ARABIAN ADVENTURE (1979) with Christopher Lee. Conners moved to Los Angeles in 1980 where he directed the cult horror comedy, MOTEL HELL (1980), for United Artists as well as the American-Japanese co-production, THE HOUSE WHERE EVIL DWELLS (1982). He found himself working steady in television, and was drawn to made for TV movies and high-profile mini-series like Master of The Game (1984), North and South Book 2 (1986), Great Expectations (1989), The Old Curiosity Shop (1995), Frankenstein (2004), Blackbeard (2006), and Marco Polo (2007) to name but a few. He also directed a couple episodes of popular television shows like Space: 1999 (1976) and Remington Steele, and several episodes of Hart to Hart (1982-83) among his many TV credits. Kevin Connor is still very much active and has continued to direct (mostly) TV movies the last few years.

Paul Link
New York born Paul Linke got his start in feature films with a role in the drama, THE BABY MAKER (1970) and the Roger Corman produced Drive-In flick, BIG BAD MAMA (1974) with Angie Dickinson, William Shatner, and Tom Skeritt. You also find him in other Drive-In favorites like MOVING VIOLATION (1976), and Ron Howards first feature film, GRAND THEFT AUTO (1977), before he landed the role of “Bruce Smith” in MOTEL HELL (1980). Paul can be found in the sci-fi western, SPACE RAGE (1985), the Steve Martin comedy, PARENTHOOD (1989), Charles Band’s horror-comedy, SHRUNKEN HEADS (1994), sci-fi flick, K-PAX (2001), horror film, FALLEN ANGELS (2006), and the thriller, THE GUEST HOUSE (2016) to name a few films Wastelanders may have seen. Paul was a regular on CHIPs where he played “Officer Arthur Grossman” in 116 episodes of the series and has worked steady in TV movies and television shows, like Lavern and Shirley, Happy Days, M*A*S*H, St. Elsewhere, The Flash, Quantum Leap, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Judging Amy to name but a few of the shows he been in over the years.

Nina Axelrod

New York born Nina Axelrod got her start in television, appearing in an episode of The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries and Charlie’s Angels before moving into feature films with small roles in ROLLER BOOGIE (1979) and HOLLYWOOD KNIGHTS (1980) before landing the role of “Terry” in MOTEL HELL (1980). You can also find Nina in TIME WALKER (1982), BRAINSTORM (1983), the thriller, CROSS COUNTRY (1983), COBRA (1986) with Sylvester Stallone, and CRITTERS (1991) to name a few of her film roles. Nina began working in the Casting Department of several productions in the mid-1980’s and as a Casting Director in 1987. She slowly fazed out of acting and continued working as a Casting Director and in the Casting Department of several film and television productions.


Mariano Baino

Italian born Mariano knew he wanted to be a director when still a child. A stint at the Experimental Centre of Cinematography in Rome gave him the tools to work with and after a brief apprenticeship in television, he was on his way. After shooting the short, DREAM CAR in two days and post-producing it in less than a week, came CARUNCULA (1991), a short cannibalistic fantasy that made its rounds back in the VHS tape trading days. CARUNCULA featured Biano’s visual style and received rave reviews on the festival circuit. Mario accepted an offer from a Russian producer and headed to Ukraine to begin his first feature film, DARK WATERS (1993). A troubled production after their corrupt production manager sold their studio space and his film stock was stolen and sold on the black market, Baino and crew were forced to locate near Chernobyl to continue filming. Once completed, however, DARK WATERS went on to win several awards and become a favorite of horror fans when released to video. Mariano has continued to work as a writer, producer, editor and director ever since, and has recently completed BASED ON A TRUE STORY (2010), LADY M 5.1 (2017) and A MOVING READ (2019) with fellow CW Guest, Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, which they plan on screening for everyone come showtime.

Keli Richards

Massachusetts born Keli Richards moved to California at eighteen and answered an ad for modeling work where she became a client for the World Talent Modeling Agency. In the mid-1980s, Keli began her career in adult films with the spoof, FOR YOUR THIGHS ONLY (1984) and continued acting in adult films throughout the 80s. You can find her in mainstream ADULT films like THE SCENT OF A WOMAN (1985), SUZIE SUPERSTAR 2 (1985), LEGS (1985), THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES 4 (1986), EVERY WOMAN HAS A FANTASY 2 (1986), and SEXSCAPE (1987) to name a few. Of course, our favorite adult films were the spoofs, and Keli appeared in several adult movie spoofs of Hollywood films (and television shows) you may have picked up at your local video store: CAGNEY AND STACY (1984), RAMBONE THE DESTROYER (1985), THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF DICKMAN AND THROBBIN (1986), LUST ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1986), UP ALL NIGHT (1986), RAMBONE MEETS THE DOUBLE PENETRATORS (1986), DEBBIE DUZ DISHES (1986), BEYOND THUNDERBONE (1986), and DOCTOR LUST (1987) to name a handful. Keli left the adult film industry in the late 80’s and moved to Rochester, NY to get married. Sadly, the marriage didn’t last and was annulled after only five months. Keli eventually met somebody else, got married, moved to Canada, and had a son. After a divorce in 1999, she started a career in banking, went back to school, and crossed into the medical field. A series of stumbles like drugs, an abusive third husband, and a three and a half year stretch in prison as a result of some very poor choices didn’t destroy her and only made her stronger. After a decade estranged from her son, they reunited. And Keli made a comeback in the porn industry in 2018 doing a MILF video. And yes, the Gin Blossoms song, “Keli Richards,” on their 1989 album, Dusted, is about her.

She took dance and voice lessons as a child, and as a teenager, Serena was the cute little hippie girl with the strawberry blond hair who ran away from home and wound up in Los Angeles where she worked as a waitress prior to being discovered by an adult movie make-up artist. An uninhibited and free spirited woman, Serena started out as a model and did nude pictorials for popular men’s magazines like Hustler, High Society, Oui, and Gallery before making the move to adult films. She worked with popular adult actor Jamie Gillis on several films, including TEENAGE PLAYMATES (1975), THE ECSTASY GIRLS (1979), NEW YORK BABES (1979), BOUND (1979), ULTRA-FLESH (1980), SUBMISSION OF SERENA (1980) and CHAINED (1980) to name a few we remember seeing back in the day. She also worked with popular adult films stars like Seka on films like DRACULA SUCKS (1978) which was Seka’s first adult feature, and THE SEDUCTION OF CINDY (1980) which also starred Veronica Heart. She starred along with Marilyn Chambers in the classic INSATIABLE (1980) and appeared in several films with John Holmes, including HONEYSUCKLE ROSE (1979), HONEY THROAT (1980), AUNT PEG (1980), several SWEDISH EROTICA collections, and a few more mainstream and soft core films, like the Australian soft core cult film FANTASM COMES AGAIN (1977), director Paul Shrader’s HARDCORE (1979), Blake Edwards comedy 10 (1979) and the crime drama NIGHT OF THE JUGGLER (1980). After leaving her mark in the adult film world, Serena quit the business in the mid-1980s, raised her daughter, and took up painting. She’s written a couple of books, including her 2014 autobiography, Bright Lights Lonely Nights: The Memories of Serena, and was recently given the AVN Hall of Fame Award in Las Vegas.

Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni

Although born in New York, Coralina moved to Rome when she was four and began performing on stage and in opera’s throughout her childhood in Italy and abroad. Her first film work was as a teenager in director Luciano Odorsio’s SACRILEGE (1986). This led to her role as “Sally”, the snotty birthday girl-turned-monster, in Lamberto Bava’s DEMONS 2 (1986), and as the seamstress “Giulia”, in Dario Argento’s OPERA (1986). You can also find her sewing away again as “Honorine”, in Argento’s PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1998). Between OPERA and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Coralina hosted a short lived Italian Giallo TV show with Dario Argento, appeared in Fabrizio Laurenti’s ROOM NEXT DOOR, Pupi Avati’s THE CHILDHOOD FRIEND (1994) and is still trying to get the memories of THE EVIL CLUTCH (1988) out of her head. Coralina returned to film work when she took the role of “Beth” in Lamberto Bava’s thriller, GHOST SON (2006), and landed the role of “Giselle Mares” in Dario Argento’s MOTHER OF TEARS (2007). Lately, Coralina has appeared in a number of short films, including Claudio Simonetti’s THE DIRT (2008), as well as a trio with director Mariano Baino: BASED ON A TRUE STORY (2010), LADY M 5.1 (2017) and A MOVING READ (2019). Coralina is also an accomplished artist, painter, and singer. She released her debut CD, LIMBO BALLOON, a couple years ago now and you can find a song from that disc in the film, DUMMY (2002).

Paul Taylor
Paul got his start doing voice work on a couple of animated series before appearing in the horror film, DEVON’S GHOST: LEGEND OF THE BLOODY BOY (2005), and the drama, DEADROOM (2005) before landing a small role as the “Assistant DA” in Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s SIN CITY (2005). Steady work in film and TV followed until Paul landed the role of “Pinhead” in HELLRAISER: JUDGEMENT (2018). Steady film and television work followed, and you can find Paul in several horror films, like SICK FOR TOYS (2018), SHIFTER (2020), and ROAD HEAD (2020). He currently has several films in various stages of post-production that should all see the light of day soon enough.

Zandor Vorkov
In his regular job, Raphael Engel was a stockbroker involved in financing and helped Sam Sherman and Al Adamson’s film company, Independent-International Pictures. He eventually wound up in a couple of their pictures. He was the goateed “Count Dracula” in the cult classic, DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN (1971), with J. Carrol Nash, Lon Chaney Jr., Angelo Rossitto, and big John Bloom as “The Monster”, and played “Mohammed” in the mad scientist film, BRAIN OF BLOOD (1971). He was given the name, “Zandor Vorkov” by none other than Forrest J. Ackerman, who had a small role as “Dr. Beaumont” in DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN.



A. Ghastlee Ghoul
The host of the Dayton and Springfield Ohio area’s long running, late night, horror-comedy schlockathon known as “The Ghastlee Movie Show” has been spewing video-vaudevillian cheese and sleaze to the untold millions... ah, hundreds... OK, dozens of fans held captive by his wit and wisdom for almost 30 years now. Occasionally joining Ghastlee for a Cinema Wasteland weekend is long time cohort in crime, Jeff McClellan: American, as well as Louu the XXXmas Devil, and Suspira; both members of the garage-punk band, SPLATTERTUDE. In addition to having Ghastlee and his band mates prowling our dealer and guest room all weekend long, why not join A. Ghastlee Ghoul every Saturday night, beginning at 8:00pm in Movie Room 1, as he presents A GHASTLEE NITE AT THE MOVIES LIVE SHOW, where he hosts a night of music, comedy, skits, interactive games and prize giveaways that has become somewhat of a drunken Saturday night tradition at Cinema Wasteland over the years. A. Ghastlee Ghoul has been with us since our very first show and we’ve sort of adopted him as our official Wasteland horror host. And although many a horror host have come and gone from Cinema Wasteland shows over the years, you can always count on Ghastlee to be with us twice a year.

Amy Lynn Best
Amy Lynn Best, a Pittsburgh PA native, has studied acting and dancing since she was three years old. She co-produced and costarred in the independent feature horror film, THE RESURRECTION GAME (2002), and like many independent film producers, she learned the film business from the ground up. On the short haunted house film, TENANT, Amy studied cinematography from that film's director of photography, Bill Fuller. Out of necessity, she learned the basics of grip work, camera operation, and the fine art of line producing. Since meeting her film making husband, Mike Watt, she has acted or worked on nearly a dozen films, including the critically-acclaimed feature, AMERICAN NIGHTMARE (2000), DR. HORROR’S EROTIC HOUSE OF IDIOTS (2003), along with ABATTOIR (2007), SPLATTER MOVIE (2008), DEMON DIVAS AND THE LANES OF DAMNATION (2009), “The Gorge” segment of George Romero’s DEADTIME STORIES 2 (2011), LITTLE BIG BOY (2012), TALES OF POE (2014) and RAZOR DAYS (2015) to name a few.

Dirk Manning

Dirk is the writer/creator of the horror comic series Tales of Mr. Rhee (Devil’s Due) and Nightmare World (Image Comics/Shadowline) as well as several other comic book series and graphic novels. Aside from writing horror comics, Dirk is also the author of Write or Wrong: A Writer’s Guide to Creating Comics (Caliber) and has written several short films for the popular YouTube horror series BlackBoxTV, including “The Hunger,” “The Night Shift” and “Zombie.” Dirk’s been a regular at the October CW Show for the past few years, and if you’ve been yearning to read some great modern horror comics or are interested in the craft of writing for comics or film, be sure to stop and chat with him. He’s always willing to offer a little advise for the asking. When he’s not set-up at Cinema Wasteland or assorted comic shows and conventions, you can find Dirk prowling the internet.

The Mummy and the Monkey Show
In the grand tradition of Cleveland Horror Hosts comes The Mummy and the Monkey Show, hosted by Janet Decay and Grimm Gori, which combines two - count them - two productions in the time honored tradition of no budget Horror Shows: JANET DECAY’S ROTTEN REELS and GRIMM GORI’S EERIE CINEMATERY, which naturally offers up cheesy flicks and silly skits. Janet Decay and Grimm Gori grabbed themselves a table in the Guest and Vendor Room a couple of shows ago and decided to stay. You’ll find them once again prowling the Show all weekend so stop over, say hello, and check out what they have to offer as you pass through the Guest and Vendor Room.

Son of Ghoul
With 30+ years and thousands of shows broadcast on TV, Son of Ghoul is Akron and Cleveland’s longest continuous running horror host; as well as a long time regular here at the Cinema Wasteland show. Live in the Cleveland or Akron area? Then by all means, see if you can’t catch Son of Ghoul’s movie show on television. A life long Three Stooges fan that can actually boast that he owns all 190 Columbia produced Three Stooges shorts on 16mm film, Son of Ghoul presents a trio of Stooge Shorts every Saturday at Noon in Movie Room 1 and has recently started to put together the Saturday morning “politically incorrect” cartoon block for us. After all, Cinema Wasteland, cartoons, and the Three Stooges go together better than drunks and strippers. Well, almost better...


Tom Sullivan
TomTom was the makeup effects man, prop builder, stop motion animator... ah, hell, he did so much behind-the-scenes work that we feel Tom is at least partially responsible for the entire look and feel of Sam Raimi’s cult horror favorite, EVIL DEAD. Before EVIL DEAD, Tom was the special effects guy on Sam Raimi’s WITHIN THE WOODS (1978), the short film that Sam Raimi made to secure financing for EVIL DEAD. He also worked plenty an uncredited job on EVIL DEAD 2 and did some sculpting work on THE FLY 2 for Chris Wallas. A talented artist, Tom has also done illustrations for collectible card games, film production companies, book illustrations, and designed the ultra-cool “Book of the Dead” DVDs for the Anchor Bay limited edition EVIL DEAD and EVIL DEAD 2 releases. He also penned the TOM SULLIVAN’S BOOKS OF THE DEAD comic series and found himself taking a few acting roles in films like the horror-comedy BUDDY BEBOP VS THE LIVING DEAD (2009), SPLATTER MOVIE:THE DIRECTOR’S CUT (2008), DOG (2009), A SHEER AGENDA (2009) and a few short films. Tom is a regular here at Cinema Wasteland and has become a real fan favorite guest. Tom’s had his own “Sullivan Museum Room” at the CW Show for more years than we can count, where he puts original EVIL DEAD props, storyboards and artwork on display for all attending fans to see up close and personal. Tom was actually the first guest we invited to be a part of the very first Cinema Wasteland Show back in September 2000, and he’s been a part of the Cinema Wasteland Family ever since.


Mike Watt
Writer, director, and journalist Mike Watt wrote and directed THE RESURRECTION GAME (2001) and Bloody Earth Film's A FEAST OF FLESH (2007) (aka "Abattoir") through Happy Cloud Pictures, which he co-founded with the lovely and talented Amy Lynn Best and the less lovely but also talented Bill Homan. He also wrote the screenplays for SEVERE INJURIES (2003), WERE-GRRL (2002), SPLATTER MOVIE: THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (2008), DEAD MEN WALKING (2005) for The Asylum, THE SCREENING (2007) for G. Cameron Romero, as well as DEMON DIVAS AND THE LANES OF DAMNATION (2009) and RAZOR DAYS (2015). Mike has worked as an editor, producer, actor, and most any other job needed to complete a film or short. He was the editor of Sirens of Cinema Magazine and is always tirelessly persueing most anything to pay his rent… ah, further the independent film spirit and commerodity all of us in this business equally share.

Come and meet representatives from the following Wasteland supporters:









Guest appearances are based on schedules permitting. Guests do charge a nominal fee for autographs. Show events are naturally subject to change.