March 18, 2015

Convention Experience: If it's March, it Must be Monster Mania XXX

It is that time of year again, when I start going to conventions and the big one to kick off the season for me is Monster Mania. Ever since I found out about the con and started going back in 2011, I have been hooked. Each successive edition seems to get better and better. It is not just about meeting the celebrity guests, or autographs, or finding cool stuff to buy in the vendor rooms. More and more it is becoming about the family, the friends, the fun. Seriously, each one is more fun than the last. Plus, it is the only convention I can go a full weekend at.



(video clip show at the bottom)
Monster Mania XXX kicked off pretty quickly. There has been a bit of a running joke with my sister, trying to guess how long it will take to run into someone I know. The number is usually five minutes. Last time I barely got in the door of the hotel, this time I did not even get to the door. It did not stop here as it seemed like I could not go more than five steps without running into someone I knew or someone who recognized me. The latter is something I do not think I will ever get used to.

I think the highlight of this show was the rock star like vibe that followed me around the entire show. I loved hanging out with all of you, getting a moment to chat about whatever. I am not going to go through everyone, but some notables include the Super Creeps, Gordon and Dina, my fellow HorrorSexy.com writers James Harris and Chad Young, and my artistic vendor friends Kevin Spencer an Chris Garafalo. This is barely scratching the surface, so don't feel bad if I did not mention your name. Everyone came together and formed a Voltron of awesomeness. Fortunately, everyone survived the fun of post-com Saturday night excess.

The con itself was loaded with great guests who all seemed happy to be there and we're pleasant to meet. There was the Saw reunion, the folks from Friday the 13th, American Horror Story, as well as circuit regulars like PJ Soles, Bill Moseley, and Kane Hodder, not to mention rare appearances by the likes of Judge Reinhold, William Sanderson, and John Shepherd. It was just a fantastic collection of folks.

Likewise, the vendor rooms were filled with great folks and artists like Inkspatters, Quiltface, Inked Up Merch, Diabolik DVD, VHSPS, Troma, Fright Rags, and more like the carved soap vendor, the sandblasted glasses, and more, there so much great stuff to pour over, even if I do not buy a lot.

I will always be about the autographs. A moment to meet the celebrities, have some brief interaction with them, and walk away with a memory. This show was no different. Following the VIP meeting (the only way to go), I made my way down to the Pavilion where most of the celebrities had their table. However, before I got there, I came across a guy dressed like Oderus Urungus, keeping Dave Brockie alive!


The first line I got in was for Lin Shaye, a woman with a credits list a mile long. You will likely remember her most recently from the Insidious series. She has also been in movies like Kingpin, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Dead End, and There’s Something About Mary. She was an absolute joy and seemed to be having a blast.


The next line I got in was for Betsy Russell, well it would have been her line had anyone been in it. You probably remember her most for the Saw films or maybe a certain scene in Private School. She was also in Avenging Angel and Cheerleader Camp. She seemed amused when I selected the one picture she had from Avenging Angel, amidst a sea of Saw pics. Now, I would have posted a picture of me and her, but she was just asking too much for the “honor.” I do have some of her later on from during the Saw panel.

I moved onto the line for John Shepherd, but before I was able to get there, I ran into Father Evil, the man, the myth, the reaper of all sins. He blessed my beard and moved on. It was quite a moment.


I went back to John Shepherd’s line and met the third piece in the Tommy Jarvis trifecta. He played Jarvis in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning. This was only his second convention, making him one of the rarer autographs on my Friday poster. Very nice guy and seemed very happy to be meeting fans. He said he liked to tell his son that he killed the bad guy!


While planning my next move, I ran into my good friend Jimmy Harris, aka Doc Terror, and co-founder of HorrorSexy.com. He was able to swing by the con for a little while before heading off to a sponsoring gig at a screening of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. Great guy.


This was immediately followed by seeing Chad Young, the man behind the Horror Movie BBQ and fellow HorrorSexy.com contributor. It was great finally meeting him face to face.


Adrienne King’s line was next. Memorable as the first final girl in the Friday the 13th series, she took out Betsy Palmer. She was an absolute delight. It was a slow moving line as she was chatting and hugging everyone. It was great meeting her.


Right next to Adrienne King’s table was that of Sean Cunningham, the producer and director of the first Friday the 13th. He was a very nice fellow and someone who I do not see do many appearances. He was having a blast signing things and taking pictures with the fans. He loved my Adam Rabalais designed Friday the 13th poster.


From there we moved to Dina Meyer’s table, who had recently arrived. She was stuck on late planes all day. She was in the first few Saw films, Starship Troopers, Star Trek: Nemesis, Bats, Johnny Mnemonic Friends, and a lot more. She was really upbeat and funny. Honestly, not what I was expecting.


On our way back through the lobby, we ran into Pinhead!


Now it was time for the VIP party. I do not have a lot of pics from it, but the best thing is in the video (linked somewhere in this column) has a bit of Kane Hodder massacring the cake with a machete!

Friday the 13th cake:


American Horror Story cake:


American Horror Story cake cutting pictures:








Friday the 13th cake cutting pictures:






Posing with a cake covered machete:



Where else will you find Friday the 14th stars and a guy dressed like Buffalo Bill?




Day two begins with the site of rain outside my 14th story window.


I did not delay in heading down to the convention floor to get in line for Jigsaw himself, Tobin Bell. (while waiting, William Sanderson walked by, pausing to compliment my Fright Rags Raimis shirt) The 72 year old has had a great working actor’s career, but in his 60’s, found a resurgence and a lasting legacy with the Saw franchise. It is not one of my favorite series, but I think I like more now than I did, and Bell does present with an interesting character. He was also very friendly to meet, not what I was expecting. He seemed to like it when I mentioned enjoying his Seinfeld appearance.



Next to Tobin was Shooter McGavin, himself, Christopher MacDonald. He arrived late Friday night due to airport delays in Philadelphia. I had seen him earlier, while I was waiting for Tobin, I called out “Shooter!” and he looked back and answered “Yeah!” He had this smarmy used car salesman look, but the guy was as friendly as can be, loved my Star Trek poster. He talked about how he likes to try not repeating himself, but is difficult after a character like Shooter.


My travels then took me across the room to Judge Reinhold. You remember Billy Rosewood from Beverly Hills Cop right? He is an absolute giggler, having a great time at the show (even extending his stay to Sunday). I was beyond happy to see that one of his table pictures was his Close Talker character from Seinfeld! I chose that and he offered to recreate the character, hence, the close talker picture below! He opened his eyes, smiled, got in close and giggled incessantly. I could not stop from laughing!


This came out a little blurry, but here I am with one of the best Freddy Kruegers at the show. This guy gets into character, and stays there.


While waiting in line for PJ Soles, we caught up with this young woman dressed as Gozer from Ghostbusters, great costume!


PJ Soles is really sweet. This is the second time I have met her. When I met her at another con, I had her sign my Devil’s Rejects poster, now I wanted a Halloween shot. She was a little confused by my Raimis shirt, but she seemed to like it. She was expecting the Ramones based on the style and her role in Rock and Roll High School.


While having a couple of things signed by Bill Moseley, Robert Mukes, from one table over, posed for this humorous photobomb. Bill never saw it coming!


Here I am with Bill Moseley. Originally, I had not intended on meeting him again, but I picked up a Repo! The Genetic Opera mini poster and found an awesome Werewolf Women of the SS print on his table that I needed. He is a convention regular and is just really down to earth and loves meeting fans.


After meeting Bill, we saw this gorilla monster thing:


Robert Mukes is best known as Rufus from House of 1000 Corpses, but he isn’t a bad guy. He is as nice as they come and is an absolute mountain of a man. When we went to take this picture, he asked if I had a cat and to pretend he just stole it:


After getting my cat back from Robert, I turn around to see Pennywise ready to terrorize, well, until the Governor showed up.



William Sanderson is a delightful fellow. He is best known for his roles in Bladerunner, True Blood, and The Newhart Show. I was happy to find he had stills from Savage Weekend (one of which I had signed). I mentioned that people tell me I need to see Fight for Your Life, and he said he was not so sure about that, as he is not a fan of it.


Out in the lobby, we found the Ghostbusters caught Gozer.


Kane Hodder… what can you say? The guy is a legend. Besides playing Jason in four films, he was Victor Crowley in the Hatchet series, and has acted in and done stunts for countless films. He said he is forever grateful for giving him his first break as a stunt coordinator by Sean Cunningham on House.


Also in attendance was Adam Green, director of Frozen and the first two Hatchet films. He was kind enough to donate his time by signing for free. He was a real nice guy who just wanted to talk about movies.


Walking out in the hallway, we found Pyramid Head:


Not to mention Nosferatu:


In the elevator was one of the many Twisty the Clowns.


As the signing was drawing to a close, I went to a few of the panels. The first one up was for Friday the 13th. It was here that I finally saw Ari Lehman, who had a concert on Friday night and then delayed flights on Saturday, meaning he did not arrive until something like 4PM. The panel was a good one, they reminisced on the shooting location, the best Jason, and the future of the franchise.










After that I went to the American Horror Story panel, which started off with a sad remembering of their friend and cast member Ben Woolf who recently passed away after a car accident. After the sadness was over, they all had pretty funny stories to tell, with Naomi Grossman stealing it.










As we returned to the lobby, we saw this bloody Stormtrooper.


I returned to catch the end of Robert Patrick’s panel. Seems I missed a good one.


The Saw panel was the last one of the day and it was pretty solid. There was discussion of favorite traps, Jigsaw’s lessons, Betsy Russell originally thinking Dina Meyer was a bitch, and other fun stuff. I did like the idea that Tobin’s worst idea for a trap would be trapped in a roomful of campaigning Republicans.










The costume contest was up next, but I didn’t stick around for it this time. I did snap this picture of a friend as Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys.


Later that night, I was dragged to a little bit of the midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show screening. It began with a tribute to Ben Woolf and American Horror Story. Naomi Grossman (Pepper) was there and they brought her up onstage.


Day 3 begins, you can see the Philadelphia skyline in the distance.


Finally caught up with Ari Lehman, Jason in the original Friday the 13th. Fun guy. I had met him once before, but I have this great black and white picture of Tom Savini applying makeup to Ari on set with Savini’s signature on it, I wanted to get Ari on it too.


Made some last rounds through the vendor room. Here I am with my good friend, and amazing artist, Kevin Spencer. I think this may be the first picture of the two of us. He made a triumphant return to Monster Mania after missing the past three shows. It was great to have him back!


Here I am with Derek, one of the chief of staff among the Monster Mania team. Funny fellow, and one of the many familiar faces I look forward to seeing at each show.


On the way out, I ran into this great MST3K/Slasher mash up:


Parting shot of the hotel:


There you have it, another one in the books. This gives a good path for the weekend, but I also went through the vendor room a few times, picked up some cool stuff and had some great conversations. The whole weekend was an exhausting blast. Seeing old friends, making new friends, hanging out past my bedtime, getting some merch, scoring autographs. There is really nothing like it.

Check out a video clipshow of my weekend:




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