So now I'm finally getting around to writing this entry. I've been sick with some crappy throat infection the last couple days and I'm starting to feel a bit better now that I'm on antibiotics, so sitting down and writing this post is finally feasible.
About a week ago at this time I was wrapping up my festivities at Monster Mania in Cromwell, CT. I got the notion to check this thing out when I saw all the footage of conventions on the new Friday the 13th Part 2 DVD and got really excited to check one out. A short time later I read Matt's review of Monster Mania in Cherry Hill, NJ (check it out here). Read it and come back to me because how could you not want to check this thing out after reading his article? Or don't, because he's a much better writer than I am.
I went to the Monster Mania website and saw that in just a few months yet another one was coming up, but it was a hell of a lot closer than New Jersey. After taking a look at the list of guests who were scheduled to be there to sign autographs and do Q&A panels, I knew I couldn't miss it.
I arrived on Friday afternoon not completely knowing what to expect. I've been to conventions before, but never one with this much cool shit happening. I pulled into The Crowne Plaza Hotel on Friday afternoon wondering how many people were going to be around.
It looked unnassuming enough. After all, it was just the first day. Though sooner rather than later, I saw this happen:
Betsy Palmer had arrived, and then I knew it was the real deal.
Before too long, the outside started to look like this:
The convention existed on almost the entire first floor of this hotel. On one side were the autograph rooms and the room where the films were screened and Q&A's were held, and on the other side was the massive dealer room and of course the hotel bar.
There were a ton of dealers at this thing, and while I'm not much for collecting toys (especially considering I have little to no room to put them), there is a lot of really cool stuff out there. The only stuff I was really interested in were hard to find DVD's, books, and T-Shirts. I managed to pick up some of each. My recent screening of Nekromantik, as well as the resulting entry in this blog is thanks to the dealer room.
One of the coolest things about the dealer room is that a met a dude named Tad Leger who does a lot of graphic design work for Grindhouse Releasing's DVD covers. He had a table in the dealer room where I purchased a cool and informative book detailing Italian Cannibal and Zombie films titled Eaten Alive. Click here and check out his website.
After letting a good deal of money burn a hole in my pocket and depositing my treasures in my car, I knew I could use a drink.
There were tables set up all around the place selling Coors Light out of overly foamy kegs for $4 per cup, and you could only purchase these beers with tickets you purchased in the lobby. I purchased one such beer before coming across the hotel lounge. It was comparable to discovering a lush oasis after shuffling aimlessly through a desolate desert wasteland crying for reprieve. Only the desert sands were shit and annoyance and the oasis was free flowing, cold booze. It turned out to be a great place to chill and fuck with your phone and delete blurry pictures you took, but primarily it turned out to be a place to goof off with other horror nuts and get shitty.
This man, Joe the Bartender, kicks ass. Completely professional and with a sharp wit. He reminded me of a real life version of what a movie bartender would be like. After downing a few cocktails I decided I should venture into the autograph rooms. The images that follow include me making retarded faces with my half in the bag glaze being an obvious element.
Steve Dash himself. He was Jason in my favorite F13 movie and I had no problem telling him so. His girlfriend/wife was also extremely nice and seemed to be having a great time. I had him sign a photo for me, which I will proudly frame and place on my wall.
Above is me with the great John Saxon. Getting the chance to shake this man's hand was a major highlight for me, as he is a true legend. I really enjoyed hearing his memories of Dario Argento when I asked him about Tenebre, but thanks to the beers and the shots of Makers Mark I had enjoyed with Cassie a short time earlier, I only remember bits and pieces of the story. Damn.
I walked around and got signatures from everyone there who was in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street and then decided it was time yet again to get back to the bar.
After a couple more drinks I headed into the screening room where The Ladies of The Evil Dead were going to be doing commentary for the classic film. It was great to see them riffing and making fun of eachother.
It's been said before (such as in Matt's article at X-Entertainment.com) but the bar really is a great place to meet the stars. It's also a great place to meet your fellow horror goofballs, drink a bunch of beer, and take dumb pictures where my face is cut off.
Cut to Day 2. I arrived on Saturday and instantly got into the line to meet Robert Englund. He was the only present cast member of the original NOES who hadn't signed my poster and I couldn't wait to meet him. Check out the line/waiting room:
This was after I'd been in line for over an hour. In all seriousness though it wasn't really that bad. It was great to see Robert interacting with the people he was signing for, and not only did it break the monotony by providing some entertainment on occassion, it showed he really does care for his fans. Check out the photo:
Too bad it turned out blurry and was taken too far away, but you get the idea. I actually just recently cut my hair, so these photos are not an accurate representation of me anymore. Robert is the man. I was very happy to meet him. Now, my poster was signed by all the cast members who were accounted for. Jsu Garcia (credited in the film as Nick Corry) was scheduled to be there but couldn't make it for some reason. Disapointing, but oh well.
As for a Johnny Depp signature getting on this thing, I'm not holding my breath.
This kind of confused me:
So that's Jason Mewes. Why the hell was he a guest at this thing? I really can't figure it out. I'm betting it wasn't because of his cameo in Scream 3. I'm guessing it's because a lot of horror nerds probably also like Kevin Smith movies.
I decided to jump in line to meet Bruce Campbell, which surprisingly took no time at all, because I got in on it at the very end when almost everyone had already waited for like 3 hours and gotten their autograph already.
After getting Bruce's signature I went back to the autograph room:
I'm sure you guys have seen this DVD before. Well, I got it signed by the entire cast.
Sarah York, Hal Delrich, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, and of course, Bruce himself all blessed this evil tome.
The coolest things were yet to come though. The Q&A panels I was really interested in were coming right up, but before they started I popped into the bar yet again for a bit of the hair of the dog, and who was hanging out having a little vodka but Robert Englund. I didn't want to be annoying, so I waited until he was done having his conversation and then asked him about Dead and Buried. He talked a bit about it and how cool the poster was, etc. It made my day as when I actually met him in the autograph room I didn't want to take up too much of his time, and I'm sure the people behind me didn't want that either. Also at some point in the day Derek Mears (Jason in the newest F13 film) bought me a beer. I made my way to the Q&A hall for a marathon of The Ladies of the Evil Dead, Bruce Campbell, a Friday the 13th reunion, and then finally the cast reunion of A Nightmare on Elm Street. These were all great, with Bruce Campbell in particular being absolutely hilarious.
The Ladies of The Evil Dead:
A Nightmare on Elm Street cast reunion:
From left to right: Charles Fleischer (doctor), Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Ronee Blakley, Leslie Hoffman (creepy hall monitor), and Amanda Wyss.
My props go out the Monster Mania staff for making this thing happen, as it was easily one of the coolest things I've ever participated in. I met a lot of cool people and had some great times and I'll definitely remember it for the rest of my life.