April 28, 2014
The day started as early as I could get out the door, too bad I didn't get out sooner. My sister and I made the pilgrimage to the Sheraton in Parsippany, NJ, playing host to Chiller Theatre over the past few years. The main lot was already packed, so we pulled into a neighboring office building lot used as overflow. We walked around the side of the building to the entrance. As expected, there was a line, what I did not expect was how long the line would be! The line for those with early entry tickets nearly circled the building!
At 10AM the began letting people in and before you knew it, I was inside and ready to fight the crowds! Our first target was Norman Reedus, a man whose popularity has grown exponentially over the past few years. By the time we got in, his line was already many hours long, so sadly we had to pass on him. Fortunately, there were plenty of other great guests to meet. If there is one thing I love about Chiller, besides the chaos, it is the great variety of guests they have.
First on the list was Jon Bernthal, better known as Shane on The Walking Dead. He has also been seen recently in Wolf of Wall Street and Grudge Match. He is a really friendly and down to earth guy.
Next up was Clifton Collins, Jr. He was one of my most anticipated guests. He did not disappoint, he was very appreciative of his fans, friendly, and was just really nice. He has been in films such as Star Trek (2009), Extract, Transcendence, Pacific Rim, and Boondock Saints II.
The past few shows have had the added bonus of rare Godzilla related guests and this one was no different. First is Hiroshi Koizumi, who has been in such films as Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People, Godzilla Raids Again, Ghidorah, and Mothra vs. Godzilla. I brought over a picture from Matango for him to sign and he asked me in slow, measured English if I had seen the film. I had and really enjoy it, which brought a smile to his face. It was a pleasure to meet him and this was likely my only chance, as the 87-year old is not likely to make many more long trips for shows such as this.
The other guest from Japan was Bin Furuya, the original Ultraman! He also appeared in Ghidorah with Hiroshi Koizumi. He was really happy and appreciative of his fans and more than willing to pose with crossed hands like Ultraman! Very happy to have met him.
Our next stop was the “Living Room” area where my sister wanted to meet Dean Cain, you know, the guy who played Superman on Lois and Clark. He was happy to meet everyone and had a nice selection of Superman photos to choose from and was always ready with a hug for his fans.
Next, we moved over to Costas Mandylor, famous for portraying Hoffman in five of the Saw films. He was rather gracious and took a few photos with us. It was funny to hear him speak with his accent, I was not expecting that.
Actoss the room was the legendary Cloris Leachman, a last minute addition when Katey Sagal canceled. She was fantastic, softspoken, and still spry for her age. I was happy to tell her how much I enjoyed her on the now canceled Raising Hope.
We left that room and went to another celebrity filled signing room where we met PJ Soles. Decked out in a Ramones t-shirt to recall her role in Rock and Roll High School, we briefly spoke of her casting in Devil's Rejects. She told me that Rob Zombie loved casting familiar faces from films of the 70's and the casting note was Notable actress from 70's movies. She fit the bill! She signed my Rejects posts with “What's all this about clown business?”
Mary Woronov was next, known for roles in Death Race 2000, Eating Raul, Rock and Roll High School, and more recently House of the Devil. She signed my Devil's Rejects poster with a reminder of where she was in the movie: “The First to Die.”
Next was Dey Young, she has appeared in many television series including Star Trek: The Next Generation, and films like The Running Man, The Serpent and the Rainbow, annd Red Eye. Our meeting was brief as she was being rushed off to a panel, but it was still nice to meet her and add her to my Star Trek poster.
Another one of my big want from this show was meeting Walter Koenig, better known as Chekhov from the original Star Trek series. He was really nice, if a bit quiet. He did like when I mentioned how creepy the worm stuff was in The Wrath of Khan.
With that, we were on to the next room! First up was Julie Warner, best known for roles in films like Doc Hollywood, Tommy Boy, and Puppet Masters. She was very sweet and making her first convention appearance. We chatted about any other plans for her Star Trek: The Next Generation character, she isn't sure, but agreed it was odd for the build up. She also asked if I was aware of The Puppet Masters, as no one wanted that picture. I was and I like the film, so that was a nice experience. She also referred to me as Tommy Boy... I guess she was calling me fat?
Then was meeting Rochelle Davis, she was Sarah from The Crow. It was great meeting her again and having her sign my poster. We talked about Brandon Lee and his legacy and it was just a very sweet moment.
I still find it hard to believe that they actually made a remake of I Spit on Your Grave, even less that they were able to make it uncomfortable. Anyway, we met Sarah Butler, who starred in the film. She was fantastic and I was interested to learn the possibility that they may bring her back for another round, a Death Wish style entry. I'm interested.
This con also let me add another name to my A Nightmare on Elm Street poster. It seems rare that I am able to do so. Anyway, Ronee Blakely, who played Nancy's mom in the film was there and was more than happy to sign my poster.
Adding to my quickly filling up Friday the 13th poster, Lochlyn Monroe was in attendance. He played Stubbs in Freddy vs. Jason, I have almost all the major players from that film. He was nice and talked about working with Ken Kirzinger in Canada earlier in his career.
There was another Nightmare on Elm Street alum in attendance, Heather Langenkamp, aka Nancy! She is always a great guest, gracious and welcomes interaction. She seemed happy to sign my Star Trek poster, she was Moto in Star Trek: Into Darkness.
One more name I was able to add to my Friday the 13th poster, Darcy DeMoss. She played Nikki in Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI. She also signed a promo piece for an upcoming Full Moon Pictures series she is in called Trophy Heads, which I also had Charles Band sign.
Another attendee I was looking forward to meeting was Donna Wilkes, who starred in Angel and Jaws 2. She was friendly and I was glad to be able to meet her.
In addition to the great celebrity guests, the con had a ton of vendors. Sadly, I never spend as much time with them as I want. Part of this is not having any money when I get to them, and I also never know what I am looking for. Still, it is great to see all the cool stuff they have available
Then there are all the familiar faces of the con. I have made a number of friends over the past few years and it is great to see them, and even more exciting, and humbling, are those who said hi to me recognizing me from my lame YouTube videos, facebook, and from this site. It is incredible that anyone pays enough attention to my stuff that they would want to say hi to me! Thank you kindly!
On our way out, we saw there was still a considerable line waiting to meet Norman Reedus, and Jon Bernthal had come out to document the moment! Very cool.
And that is it. The con is over, until next time!
Posted by Christopher Beaumont at 4/28/2014 09:37:00 PM
Chris has been an avid movie watcher for decades, getting into the writing game in 2004. Since that time he has contributed to a number online publications as well as running CriticalOutcast.com. In addition to movies, Chris is a big fan of music, particularly metal, and will never give up hope on his beloved Mets.