Sunday, March 13, 2016

Tales From Monster Mania Con 33

This weekend I headed out to Monster Mania 33 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.  I've been to about four or five of these, and at this point I mark them on my calendar like a holiday.  I always look forward to the opportunity to be around folks who love horror as much as I do.  Plus I always use it as an excuse to buy a bunch of genre-themed swag that I promise I'll one day find a use for.  As another convention has come and gone, I'll savor the flavor a little while longer with quick recap.

In previous years I spent most of my time viewing the event through my camera phone's viewfinder, so this year I decided to cut back and just take things in on my own a bit.  However, there was one scene that was just too good to pass up, as two classic horror icons once again clashed in a battle of Evil vs. Evil:

You can't quite make it out, but Freddy is wearing a a knitted claw like a bawse.
Aside from the ever-terrific people watching, I was also very excited to have chanced upon two of my Twitter pals Ashlee Blackwell (Graveyard Shift Sister) and Zena Dixon (Real Queen of Horror).  Unfortunately I'm Twitter-shy so we didn't get a full picture together, but I assure you that I'm the wearer of this shirt.  And at least now Ashlee and Zena will have a face to put with the Tweets that I send them with horror news that they've probably already known about for at least two weeks.

One of the best things about Monster Mania (and the most dangerous for my wallet) is the countless array of horror vendors selling T-shirts, artwork, posters, prop replicas, and of course movies (both on-the-level and bootleg).  There was even one stand selling latex faces and other FX supplies.  I passed on the faces, but made off with some good stuff if I do say so myself:

These coasters will go perfectly with my Texas Chainsaw tea set
Infer what you will about my need to own this poster
By far my favorite purchase of the day.  I like Hellraiser in case you hadn't figured that out yet.

After blowing through my money in about 3 minutes, I had a chance to check out two really good Q & A sessions.  The first was with John Kassir, who you may know better as The Crypt Keeper, and it wasn't long before we got a healthy dose of that trademark cackle.  He had some great tidbits about his history in the business, which he kick-started with a stint on Star Search as a stand-up comedian.  The thing is, he wasn't actually a stand-up comic at the time, but was invited to do the show after producers saw him doing an off-Broadway show where he played a comic.  He was able to scrape up enough goofy voices and impressions to cobble together an act, and he beat out then up-and-comers Rosie O'Donnell and Sinbad to win the season.  After his win he continued doing some stand-up as an opener, until eventually he started getting acting and voice-over roles, culminating in his role as everyone's favorite undead host.  He did address the upcoming Tales from the Crypt reboot, explaining that the way the rights worked out after the original show ended, one group had the rights to all of the stories but HBO kept the rights to the Crypt Keeper, which is why you won't be seeing him in the new incarnation should it come to fruition.

The second Q & A that I got to attend was with the great Tony Todd, who everyone reading this site would know as Candyman.   Todd explained that he suffered 26 bee stings while shooting that movie.  He also mentioned that the original cut of the movie featured more of a love story between Candyman and Helen, but that the studio was hesitant to highlight this aspect of their relationship.  He hopes that the complete version someday makes a release.  He had a lot of other great tidbits from his storied career, including some of the following highlights:

  • While shooting The Rock, Sean Connery had his trailer airlifted on to Alcatraz island.  He also had a ten-person entourage with him at all times (this further proves my theory that Connery is a fucking meathead who fools everyone with his Scottish accent).
  • He had a difficult time shooting a movie on location in Romania:  "Everyone claimed to be related to Dracula."  More seriously though, he was disturbed to see the disparity between the rich and the poor there.
  • When asked to choose his favorite movie role, he chose Platoon since that was his first major role.
  • When asked about his experience on The Crow, he said that a week doesn't go by that he doesn't think about deceased star Brandon Lee.  He mentioned how Lee reached out to him to get him to hang out with the rest of the cast between shooting.
  • When asked if he ever created a backstory for his character in the Final Destination series, he explained that there actually is one, but that he couldn't divulge it because it will be covered in the sixth entry in the series that's set to come out soon.
After the Tony Todd session, I headed over to the screening room where they were playing Insidious 3.  I'd never even seen the first two entries, but I figured I'd give it a shot since I'm a Lin Shaye.  Twenty minutes in, however, I realized two things:  1.  This movie was going to rely on a series of sudden, loud noises to drum up scares, and 2.  Blumhouse must be very naive to think that highlighting BH in their logo won't make people think of the word butthole.

I mean, it's not just me right?
I took my growing boredom with this flick as a sign that it was about time to call it a day.  As always, though, I had a blast, and this year I'm excited to present a special twist.  Check out my Twitter feed for a chance to win a Blu-ray copy of The Toxic Avenger signed by Troma president Lloyd Kaufman (he's the gentleman in the Tupac hoodie at the top of this post).  Just give me a follow if you haven't already and Retweet the giveaway post for a chance to win, which I'll announce on April 1st.  With that, Monster Mania 33 is in the books, and I'm already looking forward to 34.

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