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Life Imitates Art: Screwdriver Attack on Grindhouse's Eric Caidin

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The Fangoria Convention isn't due to start until Friday, but the gore and the madness have already begun - and this ain't Karo syrup.

Eric Caidin, owner of Hollywood Book and Poster, co-presenter of The Grindhouse Film Festival, and a longtime supporter of the horror/comic/film fan communities, was attacked in his store on Hollywood Boulevard last Friday.

The alleged attacker was Michael Copner, former publisher of Cult Movies Magazine, who stabbed Caidin repeatedly in the face with a sharpened screwdriver. Glass cases and shelves were smashed as Caidin's employees helped to fight off Copner.

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Caidin was briefly hospitalized after the attack, and Copner was booked on multiple charges, including attempted murder. According to Tom Weaver on the Classic Horror Film Board, 24 hours later, Michael Copner was transferred from the jail to a hospital.

According to various unsubstantiated reports, Copner may be suffering from a seizure disorder, mental illness, and/or a brain tumor.

What follows is a first-hand account from cartoonist Gilbert Hernandez,

Michael Copner attacked Eric Caidin with a screwdriver, trying to stab Caidin in the eyes and kill him. Scott, an employee, was on the phone with 911 while John Kantas, the store manager, tried to stop Copner by bashing him with a stick. Michael Copner turned to John Kantas, threatening him that he was next. Eric Caidin ran into the restroom to gather himself, but Copner broke inside and resumed the attack. Now John Kantas was hitting Copner with a crowbar to little effect.

The police came and pointed their guns at Caidin, who was shirtless and bloodied, but
were alerted that Caidin was the victim. It took several cops to take down Copner but they eventually subdued him. He sits in jail now. Kantas said that when Copner came into the
store, he looked like a crazed loon. Caidin said he will press charges for attempted murder.

Caidin was back at work a few days later collecting some things. He seemed relatively OK and complained that the Fangoria con was coming but he had to deal with this crap first. Same ol' Eric, even though he's pretty beat up.

Speculation as to a possible motive for the attack is one of the main subjects on the boards this week. Jessie Lilly, after getting permission to release sensitive information, attempted to shed some light on the seemingly unprovoked and inexplicable attack on the Classic Horror Film Board:
Mike Copner has a brain tumor. He told me so himself a few years ago. He is also an epileptic and subject to seizures. Yes Tom, Mike dabbled in the drug scene, as did I and many others of our acquaintance and while it didn't help any, it's not the reason for his mind snapping. A few years back, Mike was the victim of a mugging wherein he had his skull cracked and for some reason refused medical attention. That didn't help things either. For some time Eric Caidin had given Mike a place to live when he couldn't find any place else. As his delusions deepened, he began to think Eric was recording his personal conversations etc., basically - he thought "they" were out to get him. Buddy Barnett saw him a few weeks ago and found him living in a seedy motel in Hollywood. He had no hair and was giving things to Buddy because "Buddy should have them." The bottom line is, the man has been slowly sinking into dementia but nothing was done about it. No one had any idea he might become violent, but apparently that's exactly what happened.

Eric told Buddy that he feels sorry for Mike, and if the victim of the attack is willing to cut the guy some slack, I would think the rest of us could. Mike will no doubt be institutionalized at this point, as he's not capable of caring for himself and also, no one knows when he may or may not snap again...I don't think time is gonna heal Mike's wounds. I think he's irrepairable at this point.

Mike always has such a sweet and gentle smile. This is all too much.

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The Grindhouse MySpace Page limits their commentary to a brief reassurance and rallying cry:
Grindhouse Film Festival wants everyone to know that Eric Caidin is alive and recovering from his attempted murder. You can't kill the Grindhouse! We'll be back April 29th!!!

Photo courtesy of Cult Movies magazine

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