Sometime ago the lovely Kuzibah asked me if I was interested in writing a column for the Patient Creatures website. Being a long time fan and friend of the Patient Creatures I considered this a great honor and began to make plans on writing on frothy subjects such as musical mad scientists, reptiles on planes or mammoth conventions that keep on growing. Unfortunately that plan did change when I read that Joe Renfield Meadows who was the editor and founder of the e-zine Horror-wood died I knew what the subject of my first column should be.
This story started back in 1999 when I was part of a cult film festival back in New Orleans and I was looking for ways to promote it to fans outside of the city. I looked through various websites and message boards trying to find the right places for like minded folks. Through trial and error my searches led me to the website Horror-wood and so I wrote Joe with the idea of promoting the festival. He added the link and asked me to write about the festival and the movies we had shown.
I was a tad perplexed since I really didnt see myself as a writer at the time but my festival had to be promoted. The next few weeks I scoured the festivals archives and peoples memories trying to get the most accurate description of the events evolution over the years. Finally, I finished and the article looked like this: bad film festival.
I am happy to say this got the attention of a few people who used it as an excuse to visit the lovely Crescent City. Eventually the committee had plans to show the classic Plan 9 from outer Space at a local theater, so I approached Joe with the idea of my writing on my first time viewing Plan 9. He liked the idea and I wrote a short piece recalling my seeing the movie with friends at some local theater.
Apparently there was something about my writing he liked for he had me writing an article nearly every month. Sometimes I was to write on gift guides, sometimes essays, and of course reviews of many cheesy movies and some not cheesy at all. With each submission I sent over to Joe hed send an atta-girl kind of note that showed that he liked my monthly blatherings.
One thing I will be grateful to Joe for was his ability to get me to venture into creative writing with the reviews for the month of April. These reviews were very different for the movies didnt exist in the first place! Many times I struggled to create a believable enough movie that could fool some fans and make fun of it while doing so. Joe saw the potential in me to pull these annual pranks and for that I will be grateful.
Over the years it became a bit of routine for Joe to send a movie and for me to write a snarky look at each of the classics he sent my way. I was in the middle of writing something on Frogs when I saw a disturbing headline on the Monster Bash newsgroup concerning Joe and his ill health. I tried to get what information I could but finally I wrote Joe and he told me that his doctors did not give him that much longer to live. To say I was stunned would be a great understatement but had hoped he would make it to see the anniversary in October.
I was beginning to feel that as I was getting back into the normal swing of monthly articles for Joe, and had just finished writing a piece on Creature from Crater Lake. I sent it in, but became concerned when he didnt write back with suggestions or compliments sometime after that. I tried not to think of the worst and had hoped he was having computer trouble. It wasnt until I noticed that the September issue had not been uploaded for a number of days that I finally suspected something was very wrong. Unfortunately my worst fears were proved by an email sent to a message board from Joes sister.
I have to sadly admit even though he sent me dvds and wrote me every month we really didnt get to chat that much about movies or his life. I met him in real life twice at Monster Bash, and he was so perplexed about my excitement since he really didnt think he was all that special.
Sorry Joe, I beg to differ. Your creation, Horror-wood, provided a scary diversion from mundane life. With a point and a click the reader can be projected into that world of gods and monsters. Joes wit and wonder will forever be missed but will live on in cyberspace.
Goodbye Joe, we knew ye and loved you.