Another horror convention has come and gone and it was once again a major success and I am once again very unhappy to be returning to my normal boring life where I can't look to my left and see Jason Voorhees and look to my right and see a dude clad in nothing but a skin tight green body suit. It's a little bit hard to adjust, to say the least. But it certaintly helps to relive so let's relive and take a look at all of the fun and excitement I experienced in between chowing down on hotel philly cheese steaks (5 in total) and slurping down on cheap beers (30 in total) at this past weekend's MONSTER MANIA!!
I don't really remember what was done on what days so rather than doing a day by day diary style account of the proceedings, i'm gonna divide everything into three main categories .....
- Derek Mears
As pretty much everyone else who has ever met him has raved, this dude is probably the nicest guy i've ever had the pleasure of meeting. You can tell that he is so honored and happy that he got to play Jason and he's so appreciative that anyone would want to meet him. Coolest guy ever. He talked a bit about a sequel and said that a script has been written but it hasn't been greenlit and he'd love to slap the mask on again for it. I don't think he's got anything to worry about in that department as i'm pretty sure we'll be seeing a lot more Mears under that mask in the years to come. We had him sign our 19" NECA Jason figure (dual heads), which is apparently pretty rare as he said it was only one of two that was brought to the table that day. Jen told him to sign "To J + J Boots" (Johnny and Jennie Boots, our respective nicknames) on it and he thought she said "Boobs", which led to some hilarity. If you ever see Derek Mears at a convention, hop on his line first thing because he's a true pleasure to meet. And make sure you take a picture with him so you can get a good idea of just how enormous the man is. He's like a big bald teddy bear!
- Walter Phelan
Although he's appeared in many things, Phelan is probably best known for portraying Dr. Satan in House of 1000 Corpses and that badass deleted scene from Devil's Rejects. I've been trying to stay away from getting any 8x10's signed as there's always much cooler things to get signed and thankfully Walt had the Dr. Satan t-shirts available so I picked one of those up and had him Hancock that. Much like Bill Moseley, it's hard to imagine that such a nice little old man can be transformed into such a badass evil looking villain!
- Steve Dash / Richard Brooker
Two Jason's in one picture! Beat that! Dash (Happy Birthday!) played Jason in Part 2 (don't let that Gillete herb tell ya otherwise) and Brooker played him in Part 3. I've already met Brook in the past and have even hung out with him in the hotel lobby but I had never seen Dash at a convention before. I didn't have much money left as this was kinda late in the weekend so I opted instead of signatures to just get a picture with the two. Here's a little convention secret for ya ; if you just wanna meet someone, ask them for a picture. Most times they won't charge you and you'll get to meet and chat with them for a bit. There's nothin like being the meat in a Jason sandwich!
- Don Coscarelli
Another incredibly nice guy. I'm a huge fan of Coscarelli's (director of Phantasm / Bubba Ho-Tep) and I told him that the latter was the greatest film of all time, which was no suck up or lie. I had him sign my NECA Cult Classic's Sebastian Haff figure (which Jen picked up for me in the merch area) and spent a good couple minutes chatting up Bubba Nosferatu with him, mostly about the lack of Bruce Campbell in it. He said they did everything they could to get Bruce back but he apparently wanted to continue working on his own projects, which really makes no sense. The greatest role and greatest movie Campbell has ever been in and he doesn't want to return for a sequel? I made mention that it's not like Campbell's "own" movies (My Name is Bruce) of late have been that great and Coscarelli didn't disagree with that point. He's clearly heartbroken over the loss of Bruce and said he hoped that fans like myself would give the movie a chance with Ron Perlman in the lead role. I don't think the movie will be the same without Bruce, but I have all the faith in the world in Coscarelli and I think Perlman will do a fine job. It will just be a much different movie than it could have been. Just like Mears, it was a total pleasure to meet this guy. Don't let my lack of smile fool you!
- Stu Charno
Ah, I have saved the best for last! You may not recognize him, but Stu played Ted in Friday Part 2, the guy who stayed out drinking all night and survived the wrath of Jason. Let me give you a brief rundown of our encounters in the Stuniverse. That above picture was taken on Friday. I was standing a few feet from Stu's table pointing him out to Jen and telling her who he was and he waved to us and told us to come over to his table where he proceeded to say something to the effect of "look what happened to me". I guess he thought we were pointing and staring and poking fun at the way he looked or something. I assure you we were not! We chatted a bit with him, he was incredibly nice and interesting, Jen took that picture with him, and we moved on. For the next 24 hours, Jen couldn't stop talking about him and for some reason had a desire to grab him a beer and bring it down to him, which I laughed off. Who the hell would drink a beer brought down by two convention weirdos! Cut to Saturday. We again approach Stu's table and Jen tells him he was her favorite person she met at the convention all weekend and I decided to take a picture with him this time around .....
So Jen mentions to him how she wanted to buy him a beer and Stu lit up and said he would love that, essentially saying go grab a Blue Moon (with an orange) for me from the bar and you two can come sit behind my table for the remainder of the day and hang out with me! Naturally, we depart to the bar, grab three Blue Moon's, and head back to the signing room. And who's coming towards the bar as we leave but Stu Charno looking for us and wondering if we ditched him (long wait at the bar)! We upheld our end of the bargain and Stu upheld his. He lets us both sit behind the table with him and hang out for the next hour left of signing time, which was no doubt the highlight of our weekends. It was pretty surreal being on the other side of the table and shooting the shit and drinking with Stu fucking Charno (who i've always loved) for a good hour. Two beers later the clock strikes six and we tell Stu we're gonna depart, to which he seems even a tad bit bummed out! He tells us that if we ever come to California, hit him up, and gives us his business card with his home and cell phone number! In retrospect, I don't know if he just used us for some free beers or what but either way ya look at it was an incredibly awesome experience for the both of us. STU CHARNO YOU ROCK!
- Other Guests
I unfortunately did not get the chance to meet Alice Cooper, which I figured would be the case. In order to meet the biggest star at any of these conventions, you pretty much have to blow a whole day waiting on line in order to do so. I'm not really down with that as it's kinda a waste of time, so I never even caught a glimpse of The Coop. Someone how parents (who love these things) managed to get into the Q & A with him and they had nothing but good things to say about him. I was hoping to at least catch a glimpse of him at some point, but it was not to be.
I was surprised at how long the line at all times was for Fairuza Balk (The Craft / American History X). I didn't think she'd be a big draw, especially at a horror convention, but I guess I was wrong. Jen and I were both shocked at how small and tiny she is in person.
And speaking of tiny ..... Rochelle Davis, that young girl from The Crow, is anything but these days. She's packed on quite a few pounds in the past couple years and that's all i'll say about that!
- The main things I usually go for at conventions are DVD's. This is the place to pick up bootleg copies of movies that you really can't get anywhere else. Most of my pick ups were either movies that are on VHS but aren't on DVD yet or flicks that are on Region 2 but not 1 yet. I snatched up Babysitter Wanted, Death Weekend, Isle of the Damned, Mum & Dad, The Mutilator, Torso, and Vampira : The Movie. Can't wait to delve into some of these as most of them i've been dying to check out for a long time now. Gotta love how selling bootleg DVD's is totally legal at horror conventions somehow!
- Also picked up a whole slew of action figures this time around ; the afformentioned Cult Classics Sebastian Haff, Cult Classics Jigsaw's (one in pig mask, one out of pig mask .... both for $10!), and Jen picked up the C.C Frank The Bunny as well as ET figures in and out of drag, both for 5 bucks, which she was quite pleased about.
- That shirt i'm wearing in all of the above pictures (which I still haven't taken off) is Fright Rags brand new Exorcist tee that I think they debuted at this convention along with a couple other new designs that aren't even on their site yet. As usual with them, this shirt is fucking awesome and is probably my favorite of theirs to date. I also picked up the Doc Satan shirt, which I mentioned above, and which is now hanging proudly on my wall.
I think that's about all in terms of merch .....
- Monster Mania is known for their panels, where they get together various related stars and have them do Q & A's for an hour. The only one I made it to was the Friday The 13th the victims one with folks like Amy Steel, John Furey, VC Dupree, John Otrin, Camilla & Carey Moore, Judie Aronson, and Robbi Morgan. We would've stayed for more but they made us wait nearly an hour for that one from the time it was supposed to start, so we were ready to get outta there and head to the bar after this one was over. On the way to said bar, we again ran into Stu Charno who was playing piano and who was supposed to be a part of the panel we just left. We asked him what the deal was and he seemed to have no idea that he was supposed to be there and shrugged it off and continued tickling the ivorys. I'm still not sure what's schtick with this guy and what's not, but he's definetly a blast to talk with.
- Actually I spoke too soon as we also made it later in the night to a Madman Pondo (hardcore wrestler) Q & A. That was mildly amusing but even being a wrestling fan I was kinda wondering what he was doing there.
- Checked out a couple songs from a late night performance from some of the guys from Alice Cooper's band. Did nothing for me and couldn't even hear what was being sung, so we jetted out of there fairly quickly.
And that about wraps up the Monster Mania 12 experience! A great time was had by all as always and Monster Mania continues to be the most well put together and well run horror convention of them all. The con rears its ugly head again this June and I hope to make it out there, although that's looking iffy being that it's in Connecticut this time around. But thankfully it returns to Jersey in August. Three in one year, ya can't beat that!