Last of the Monster Kids

Last of the Monster Kids
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Sunday, September 2, 2012


We interrupt your regularly scheduled Director Report Card for this special horror convention write-up!

If you recall, last year I visited my first horror convention. Originally, the plan was for ever-present movie watching pal and podcast co-host, JD (Perhaps better known as Mr. Mash? Probably not.) and I to venture to Horrorfind Weekend, an annual con in local Gettysburg, Pa. That didn’t work out for a few reasons and I went somewhere else instead. However, this year, we planned ahead. JD and I were determined to make it out there, especially since the guest line-up was pretty awesome.

I was up there mostly to meet Mary Woronov, whom I was especially excited to see after my Paul Bartel write-ups earlier in the year. JD, besides just wanting to do the con experience for the first time, was pumped about meeting Doug Bradley, since he’s a pretty big “Hellraiser” fan. He was especially looking forward to getting Mr. Bradley to sign his “18 inch Pinhead figure.

The Wyndham is a nice hotel with a massive parking lot, which is positioned next to a huge movie theater. Horrorfind screens their short film festival there. Normally, my passion for indie film and new discoveries would have gotten me there but time was at a minimum this past weekend. The lay-out of the con was a little crowded, the conference rooms were small, and the hallways a little thin. Maybe it just seemed that way because this con was super busy all weekend, full of people. You could barely hear yourself think over the roar of the crowd in the meet-and-greet hall or dealer’s room.

We headed to the celebrity meeting room first. JD met PJ Soles first, who was as peppy and energetic as always. She signed his “Halloween” DVD multiple times and with “Totally!” She was very impressed by JD’s Pinhead figure. Generally speaking, the figure made JD something of a star Friday evening. He got multiple compliments about it and one guy went into a total Justin Bieber frenzy about it. (“Oh my God, has he signed it yet?!!”) Mr. Bradley, who prefers to be called Doug, wasn’t a jerk or anything. He answered our questions and seemed friendly enough. However, he was much more interested in the young girl sitting next to him then anything else. Apparently, Pinhead is quite the ladies’ man. Can’t say I really blame him.

Mary Woronov’s table was positioned next to PJ and Dey Young, a little “Rock n’ Roll High School” reunion. Mary was somewhat impressed when I told her I had watched all of Paul’s films. We mostly talked about Paul, how they met, what he was like. Mary said you couldn’t help but be his friend, he was that kind of guy. She too is excited for the Criterion Blu-Ray of “Eating Raoul” and agrees that “Death Race 2000” is his best film. (Also, that she’s in all of his best films and that “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills” isn’t headed to DVD any time soon.) I was a little disappointed to find out that the script for the unfilmed “Eating Raoul” sequel, “Bland Ambition,” apparently wasn’t very good. Miss Woronov was intelligent and dryly funny and I probably could have picked her brain for a few hours. She’s mostly new to cons but plans on doing more.

Ray Wise and Malcolm McDowell were the big headliners. Wise was well-spoken and very friendly. He described David Lynch as “meditative” and a man of habit, who ate the same thing for lunch every day. Paul Verhoven is a “wild man” and Wes Craven is a “cool, laid-back guy.” He didn’t have anymore insight into the mysteries of “Twin Peaks” then anybody else. Specifically, I wanted to ask him about playing a cross-dressing judge on a recent episode “Rizzoli & Isle,” which he described as a fantastic experience. Ray Wise is definitely an interesting guy and I liked him a lot.

Malcolm McDowell was a bit intimidating. I joked around that I thought every one with a British accent was evil until I was about six because he played so many villains. Maybe not the best opener? Either way, the guy sounds exactly in person like he does on screen and loves playing villains. He prefers voice-acting, calling it “easier,” and loves “Time After Time.” I had to ask about “Caligula.” McDowell said Tinto Bass, the director, was “weird.” Definitely means something coming from him. When I asked him about some of his exciting up-coming project, like “Excision” and “Monster Butler,” he said the latter has a fantastic script but getting the money is an issue. As for the former, he couldn’t even remember it. I’m sure that’s not a statement on the project’s quality so much as McDowell does a lot of movies. I wish the photograph was better. Blame JD for that.

I’ve mentioned before how much I like “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” despite myself, so I was interested in meeting Terence Zdunich. Before us, a trio of teenage girl ran up to get a picture with him, totally squeeing out the entire time. I heard one of them say “He touched my shoulder!” as she left. Inspired by that, I asked Mr. Zdunich how does it feel to be a “horror sex symbol,” my words, not his. His first response was “I don’t know, you tell me!” However, he’s definitely aware of the large amount of naughty fan art there is out there of Graverobber and complained that, in all the pictures he saw, his character is always the bottom, in words more explicit then that. So that was funny. I was happy to hear that “The Devil’s Carnival” is headed to DVD in October and everyone involved wants to do a second episode. The same goes for a “Repo!” sequel. However, Lionsgate owns that one and isn’t interested. Overall, Terence is really causal and fun. He was even responsive to JD’s request that he play Dracula in a movie.

 I was a little disappointed Count Gore de Vol didn’t remember meeting me before. I guess he meets a lot of people too. Still, he posed for an awesome picture. Dee Wallace was next. She just comes off as angelic. Good vibes radiate off of her. It’s obvious she loves meeting her fans. When asked if she is in “all the horror movies,” she responded with “No, but all of the good ones.” I wish I could have gotten a little more time with her but there was a line. Another Horrorfind regular, Bill Moseley, was next. That guy is super-talkative and chatted with us for about fifteen minutes, despite being obviously tired. He has no qualms about being type-cast as a horror actor, is a fan himself, and is frank that some of the movies he’s been in are “pretty crappy.” When asked about the upcoming “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” sequel, he said the parts he’s in “don’t suck.” Make of that what you will. Bill is cool. While I was there, JD chatted with Grant Cramer and Suzanne Synder from “Killer Klowns from Outer Space,” mostly because their table was somewhat unoccupied. They seemed very nice. That was it for Friday evening.

The second day started with a look at the car show outside. Lots of hearse out there, one Ecto-1, some of them pretty neat. After that, we did a thorough exploration of the dealer’s room. There was so much stuff. Notably, there wasn’t any bootleg DVDs. Must be a policy thing. There was a huge table from Synapse Films and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the two guys there are actually the people who run the company. I grabbed a copy of “Christmas Evil” from them, my favorite Christmas horror movie. A second DVD table, which also had some fantastic vintage posters, yielded OOP copies of “Brain Damage” and “The Beast Within.”

I was familiar with the Clay Guy through his website and it was cool to see his product in person. If the prices weren’t a little high, that Kolchak would have come home with me. I got some figures too, a brand new “Evil Dead II” Henrietta, a vintage Headless Horseman from McFarlane Toys, and a rare Mothman from Mezco, which was an especially cool find. There was so much home-made stuff there. A woman knitted superhero and zombie themed stockings as well as extensive costume-made cosplay. She was great. There were paintings, guitars, blinged-out chainsaws, brain soap, zombie dolls, Jason masks, home-made jewelry and stain-glass, lots of artwork in general, and all sorts of neat things. You really had to be there, I guess.

A big difference between Monster-Mania and Horrorfind that I notice was there was way more cosplay in Gettysburg. Beyond all the fans in leather jackets and bodices (So many bodices!), we saw two people on stilts dressed as demonic clowns. One guy wore a blue Luchador mask all weekend and said he was a “wrestler in training” named Kid-Y. I asked a guy dressed as Shaun how many times he had been asked “You’ve got red on you” so far. (Three times.) Not to sound too much like a perv, but there were a lot of beautiful woman there. The girl selling home-made vampire fangs was decked out in cape and bodice. A young lady I took to calling “Sea Girl” had some fantastic make-up. My favorite had to be the woman dressed in an impressive Catwoman costume. She wore it well.

Another big difference was the number and type of panels. Most were devoted to book readings by authors, of which there were a lot there. We only attended two panels. The first was a make-up competition which was pretty fun. The second was a “zombie survival” presentation. Going in, I figured it would be a general survivalist panel with some zombie drag stabled on to reel in the fans. I was about right and the presentation was really dry. I left about half-way through. The chairs were uncomfortable too.

 While JD stay there and supposedly argued with the windbag who ran the presentation, I got a few more signatures. Kim Darby was soft-spoken and very frail. She sat down the whole time because of bad knees and didn’t seem in the best of health. She said John Wayne was fantastic to work with. I’m sure she gets asked that question a lot. Hopefully she’s okay and will be with us for many more years to come.

The last celeb I talked to was Meg Foster. I’m glad I did. Meg was incredibly energetic. She had nice things to say about Sam Peckinpah (“No stories there”), Rutger Hauer (“Very funny”), and Gary Buesy (“Spontaneous”). Meg told some fantastic stories about baby-sitting Jake Buesy on the set of “Carny” and talked about her own son and family a lot. When JD asked about her costume on “Masters of the Universe,” asking if the crown was uncomfortable, she launched into an energetic speech about how the crown was the most comfortable part! When I told her my name she said Zack was a “beautiful” name and, when posing for the picture, she leaned in very close. I mean, make of that what you will. Either way, it was quite an intimate connection for only a brief meeting. She was probably my favorite of the celebs I met.

After browsing the dealer’s room a little more; JD snagged a really cool spray-painted LP with costume artwork of the Cenobites; we decided to head home. Not to bore you with personal details, but Gettysburg is a beautiful town and very easy to navigate. We stepped briefly into the Museum of Spiritual Investigation which was, to be truthful, kind of lame. It’s free though so can’t complain too much. On Friday, we got lunch at the Blue and Grey Bar and Grille which is pretty awesome. I got a burger with a hot dog on top of it while JD got a burger with peanut butter on top. Crazy, right? Both were surprisingly good. I’d also recommend Chinatown Kitchen, which is decent but the delivery is a bit slow. I can’t recommend Ernie’s Texas Lunch. The food was generic, if not awful, and the bathroom was filthy.

In short, Horrorfind Weekend 14 was a lot of fun, as expected. Conventions are definitely going to be an annual thing for me from now on, time and money permitting. I probably could have spent way more but still got everything I wanted. JD had a blast too, he assures me. Overall, I’d definitely recommend the con to any other horror fans, especially since there’s not a lot else going on in the Washington area as far as these things go. JD and I are hoping to make it out to Monster-Mania in Baltimore later this month. No guarantees, of course, but I really want to meet Asia Argento and Alex Winter, while JD is excited for the “Subspecies” reunion. We’ll see what happens with that.

Thanks for reading, of course. More stuff coming soon, I promise.

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