I’ve made no secret of my love for Shock Stock here on The Deadhouse. Since the show’s inception in 2011, I have attended the event every year, and I now consider it a regular part of my life and yearly schedule. It’s the one place where all of us horror-loving freaks get to go and hang out, and truly feel at home. The show has grown every year and this year is once again presenting a stellar line-up of horror and exploitation figures. Especially exciting is the inclusion of horrorpunk godfather Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, formerly of The Misfits. Just like last year, I had the opportunity to speak with Jake W. Grimbro, one of the co-founders of the event, and someone I am happy and proud to call a friend. So without further a due, let’s get to the interview shall we?
The Deadhouse: First things first, how have you been and what have you been up to since we last spoke before the 2015 edition of Shock Stock?
Jake W. Grimbro: Man, I’ve been crazy busy. Shock Stock ended last year and pretty much the next day I was onto another event. We host a comic con here in London too and in the last two years it’s become the biggest in Southwestern Ontario. It’s not a horror show, this comic con, but I can’t help but put a little horror flair in there so I had a huge circus-themed haunt built in the back corner so that I could still keep it real when all the other comic and anime and gaming stuff was going on, ya know? And people loved it! Everyone loves horror, I think. Some are just too afraid to embrace it. Lots of fun with that show this year too but I can tell you about that later.
The Deadhouse: Shock Stock has been running successfully now since 2011. Did you expect that you would be continuing to run the premiere horror/exploitation event in Canada all these years later?
Jake W. Grimbro: Not at all, man. When year one happened we had so much red tape we had to go through. The hotel we originally booked with cancelled our contract when they saw an ILSA poster on our website, so we had to find a new venue and push our dates back and then the dates didn’t work with our booked guests so we lost a bunch of em and it was just a shit show behind the scenes. But the show happened anyways and the fans and the exhibitors embraced it and at the end of the weekend James (of Vagrancy Films, Shock Stock Co-Founder) and I looked at each other and we were both like “yeah, man. It’s happening again next year”. And it’s been like that ever since. We love the fans and our guests love our fans so we will keep doing what we do. And now we’re not the only game in town, either. There’s probably 2 or 3 other shows in Ontario who are trying to do what we do. So we gotta change it up, broaden the horizons.
The Deadhouse: Can you shed any light on the new “Sin Labs Escape Room Experience” and what guests can expect?
Jake W. Grimbro: Man, I don’t know. The Sin Labs crew has been coming since year one and they do the most amazing things. One time they built a haunted ice cream parlour, one time it was a zombie shooting range and carnival game setup. It’s crazy. I think last year they had an embalming table set up and they were doing photo ops where they lay you down and stick a toe tag on ya so you can get to see what you’ll look like dead or something. It’s always crazy! So this year they told me they want to make one of those “escape room” type team games and take bookings. But these guys are sick! They’ll probably have some crazy stuff in there but I’ve been kept completely in the dark about it. All I know is that it’s Shock Stock themed. That could mean anything, but it’s guaranteed to be awesome.
The Deadhouse: This year’s Shock Stock also features the 69 Hour Film Challenge. How did this idea come about?
Jake W. Grimbro: There was a similar contest here in London years ago. Filmmakers had to fully produce a short with strict production deadlines and on screen elements that were revealed on the kick off of the event. I like the idea of having a competition leading into Shock Stock so we’re going to start building this event as part of the convention. It was a slow start this year but, as time goes on, it will be a very important part of the weekend.
The Deadhouse: Shock Stock is also hosting the Canadian premiere of Frankenstein Created Bikers. Having been lucky enough to see Dear God No! several years ago at a Vagrancy event and contributed to the Kickstarter, I can only imagine the madness that the film is going to exhibit. What plans are in place for the premiere?
Jake W. Grimbro: We got a midnight screening in place at the local theatre. It’s gonna be a packed house. Super greasy. This movie is going to take people on a trip, that’s for sure. And the director, James Bickert, is gonna come down with a couple key cast and crew to make sure the audience gets the maximum experience. Bickert‘s a wild man. Keep the nickel beers on ice and be prepared for the craziest flick you’ll see in a theater this year.
The Deadhouse: One of the special guests this year is legendary Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein. As The Deadhouse has a special focus on horrorpunk, it’s incredibly exciting to see Shock Stock bringing in a different aspect of the horror genre than has previously been represented. Has the horrorpunk genre been something that you have had an interest in having a presence at Shock Stock over the years?
Jake W. Grimbro: The Horror genre has always had an influence on music, and vice versa. At Shock Stock we’ve always tried to show love for music. Year one we had an intimate performance by the legendary THOR, who you know is also quite known for his work in the 80s Canadian indie horror scene. Year two we brought composer Claudio Simonetti to be reunited with his fellow Goblin band mate Maurizio Guarini to perform as “The Goblin Keys” for the first time together in like 15 years! Come to think of it, every year we have something going on that’s engrained in the culture of music. As for horrorpunk specifically, I think it’s something that we are glad to be having in our sick little show this year. Maybe it’ll be a trend!
The Deadhouse: Also announced is the return of Dyanne Thorne and Howard Mauer for the first time since the original Shock Stock. Was there always plans to have them return one day down the line?
Jake W. Grimbro: Dyanne and Howard have been amazing people, and have been part of our lives since the first year of Shock Stock. We’ve met up a couple of times and had dinner and it’s really nice. They’re so sweet they even send Christmas presents to James‘ kids every year! They’re like family!
The Deadhouse: On the Saturday night of Shock Stock 2016 a concert is planned featuring the talents of BobScaresBob and Sprocket Damage opening for FirstJason, yet another horrorpunk themed artist. How did this show come about, and for people unfamiliar with any of the acts, what kind of madness is in store for fans at Call The Office?
Jake W. Grimbro: The Saturday Night is always when things get out of control. For real. It’s tradition to have the most glorious train wreck hootenanny the horror community may never see if they aren’t there. You gotta see it to believe it. BobScaresBob is actually one of the founders of Shock Stock‘s band. Bob had a band about 15 years ago called THE PUBLIC HAIRS and they’ve reunited as a heavier, more horror-themed incarnation. Sprocket Damage has become the house band for Shock Stock. It’s chaos. Heads get smashed in with guitars, people get thrown through tables, it’s a spectacle! We told them to tone it down this year, but who knows. They also play some wicked horror theme songs and other greasy covers. I heard there’s a rumor that an all-star set is taking place with about five or six guests on the stage including legends, wild men, and more. Also hitting the stage is Chris Alexander with David Bertrand playing MUSIC FOR MURDER Live. Which is a crazy synth journey into madness, and I believe composer/ director Anthony D P Mann is joining Goblin‘s Maurizio Guarini on stage to do a musical version of Edgar Allen Poe‘s “The Raven“.
Mix that with FIRSTJASON, and you have a night of KILLER music *laughs*.
The Deadhouse: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say to anybody on the fence about attending the 2016 Shock Stock? Or maybe shed some light on any other surprises possibly in the works?
Jake W. Grimbro: If there are surprises, they’re shit I don’t even know about. It happens. There’s always rumors that a celebrity is gonna show up unannounced. It seems like it happens every year. Stick to the social media sites and you’ll hear about it for sure. As for people still on the fence for Shock Stock… There’s nothing I can say that can explain to you what being at Shock Stock feels like. It’s home. It’s awesome. Come down and experience this weekend suckfest first hand. The screenings are tops, the guests are the best people ever, the fans are all so amazing… It’s giving me goose bumps just thinking about the last weekend in May, dude. I’ll see you there!
I want to thank Jake for taking the time to talk with us. And I can 100% agree that there is nothing else like Shock Stock. It’s unlike anything else I have ever personally experienced, and I am incredibly excited to partake in this year’s festivities, so I will see you all there…. let’s get greasy!