While not strictly speaking a 'news' item, we had to share this joyous event with our readers. Ok, who's heard of Tom Savini? Who has NOT heard of Tom Savini? Chances are, you know who Tom is. We know who Tom is. He's a modern horror hero - a Vietnam combat photographer, actor, stuntman, director, but above all else he's known all over the world as being the man who makes them heads explode real good.
Tom stopped in at the Cinema Store on Wednesday 30th November for a signing, but we only found out this was happening the day before. So, Rawshark emails me with a "Brace yourself..." teaser before breaking the news that the one and only Savinimeister was going to be in town. Before you could say "latex appliances", my manager granted me Wednesday off work and come 1.30pm the next day Rawshark and myself met outside a suspiciously queue-free Cinema Store.
While the absence of a queue was good for us, it didn't look so good for Tom, but hey - it was a cold Wednesday afternoon and besides, very few people knew about the event due to the fact that the word went out at such short notice. It would probably get busier later. I hope so.
We walk in. "Hello Mr Savini." Did I really say that? Yup. There was no-one else waiting to see Tom, so it was only right to stick around for as long as possible before pissing anyone off.
Having recently watched The Burning (again), I have to tell him that "that raft scene" is probably my favourite example of his work. He looks pleased to hear it. He's heard it a million times but still tells me how the actor receiving the 'Savini tracheotomy' didn't like it one bit. I call Jim (who sadly was unable to get out of work at short notice) on my mobile and say, "Jim, I've got someone who wants a word.", then I pass the phone to Tom. Tom sits back all confident, looks at me and says to Jim, "So, what's the story with this guy Russell? What's the dirt?" That's when Jim tells Tom I'm shifty. Brilliant! Jim's just told Tom Savini that i'm shifty! "Yeah well he's already tried to steal my coat, I'm keeping an eye on his hands."
Jim goes on to tell Tom that he was a zombie in Shaun of the Dead. I look at Rawshark. He looks at me. We look at Savini. It's really happening. Hurry up Jim. The phonecall comes to an end. "Yeah, we were zombies, too." You can't forget to tell Tom that, can you? No way. Tom's PA says, "I recognise you! You were in the pre-screening party before Land of the Dead at Fright Fest!" He's right. "Yes, which meant we were a bit lubricated for the film." That's when Tom says "Lubricated?! You got lubricated?" Tom is thinking Vaseline of course. He's got his make-up head on. Today he learns a new word that means 'drunk'. He likes it, this new word.
Rawshark gets his copy of the great Romero book The Zombies that Ate Pittsburgh signed, alongside George's signature. I get my Dawn Ultimate Edition signed. Alongside George's signature. We pay £15 for the signature. But that's ok. It's not like we're being rushed through like cattle. "Tom, any chance of a photo?" "Yeah, sure." Tom gives us some promotional materials then tells us about The Medicine Man (and that's as much as I can reveal here).
We chat about what a shame it is that Tom Atkins won't be at the Weekend of Horrors event in Germany on December 3rd and 4th. There's a little queue behind us now. That's nice. We collect our stuff and get ready to go. A final farewell to Tom and his "bitch" (in actual fact his PA - sorry I've forgotten his name - lovely guy though), a firm handshake, a heartfelt "Thanks for coming over", and it's all over. We begin walking down the steps. Tom turns around to us and says, "Hey, let's get lubricated!" He doesn't really want to go drinking with us though, but we go to a pub anyway. Very happy.