Monday, March 16, 2009

MONSTER MANIA!

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 .....

THE STARS

- Derek Mears

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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

Photobucket

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 .....

Photobucket

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 MERCH

- 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 .....

THE EVENTS

- 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!

13 comments:

Bjornabo said...

looks liek you hd a really great time. Unfortunately nothing like this ever happenens in Norway. They had a couple of "movie-tribute"-stuff a couple of years ago, but with mostly norwegian movies and actors.

I really wanted to go to the Saw-Mania event that you missed last year, but with a ticket price of $4000 just for the flight I skipped it.

Mears sounds like a super guy, maybe I should send him a letter and ask for an autograph. When Both James Earl Jones and Robert Englund replied on my letters, why should not Mr. Mears do the same. :-) I`ll give it a try.

I just recieved my NECA Texas Chainsaw Massacre : The Beginning Box Set which is just AWESOME... A bit expensive, but well worth It.

Johnny said...

I know Mears has a Myspace, maybe try contacting him on there. I'm sure he'd at least reply.

Wings said...

Sounds like an awesome time. Jealous, man!

Bearded Weirdo Reviews said...

Hey! I just got back from Monster Mania myself!

Great show. You did all three days?

I was down there with a few friends. We did the whole weekend. Got a room right in the hotel. That whole deal.

Sucks you didn't get to meet Alice Cooper. It actually wasn't that bad to do so. I mean, I don't know how it was Saturday or Sunday, 'cause I met him Friday, but when I was around, the line didn't seem to get too bad. I don't know how early you get there on Friday, but I usually get there an hour or two before the con starts, and we grab our tickets n' go up to the room to relax for a bit, and usually if I'm there that early it's not too bad to meet anybody, even the big headliners. Usually, I manage to hit everyone I'm interested in all on Friday.

I was at the Madman Pondo thing too. The turnout for that was pretty small. I'm shocked I didn't notice ya there. Yeah, it is a li'l weird, I guess, considering it's a horror con. From what I gather, he just happens to live in the area, and he comes to every Monster Mania anyway, 'cause he himself is a huge horror fan, and so I guess everybody involved figured "hey, he's right here, he's famous (in his way), we got an hour to fill... let's use him!" And, hey, I guess, ya know, deathmatch wrestling and horror kinda, sorta tie in, what with all the blood and violence. ::shrugs::

I didn't end up going to that concert with the Michael Bruce Band (I think that's what they were called, I could be mistaken), 'cause I wasn't too interested. Sounds like I didn't miss much.

The Alice Cooper Q&A was alright (since you said you didn't get to go to it). It was really short though. I actually did not intend to go it at all. I was planning to go to the Phantasm reunion panel, which was supposed to start at 6. But when I got into the room, Alice Cooper walked onstage. I found out later that evidently what happened was that the whole show was running about an hour behind. So to save time, the Alice Cooper Q&A got cut down to a half-hour. It was over pretty quick. Same thing with the Phantasm Q&A, after which is when everything got back on track. Kind of a bummer. I'm a big Phantasm nut, so I would've liked to see more of that stuff.

I definitely agree with you, though, about Monster Mania being one of the best cons run in the area. Personally, I think it's the best one on the East Coast.

Anyway, cool chattin' ya up. TTYL.

Stay sick!

dragonmanes said...

Did you buy one of Stu's hand carved ocarinas? Hes always got the weirdest shit

Johnny said...

Bearded - Yep, got there early Friday and left early Sunday. I wish I would've known you were there! I made a post a week or so ago asking if anyone that reads this blog was gonna be there, guess ya didn't see that. You gonna be going to the one in June?

Dragon - Ha, I don't believe he had any of those on hand but he did have some high koo (haiku) books on display that I managed to get him to read me passages from. In retrospect I kinda wish I had bought something from him!

Cins said...

Ah! JELOUSY!! It looks like you had a blast though! Unfortunately there aren't any major horror cons here on the west coast (Well in So Cal) that I know of.

I'd love to see pics of your action figure swag if you get a chance to get some!

Johnny said...

Took a few quick shots .....

Sebastian Haff Cult Classics signed "To John TCB! Don Coscarelli" :

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n34/mortis45/fig1.jpg

Jigsaw Cult Classics :

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n34/mortis45/fig2.jpg

Jigsaw in pig mask Cult Classics:

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n34/mortis45/fig3.jpg

Gotta goo gone the price tags off of those two!

Frank The Bunny Cult Classics :

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n34/mortis45/fig4.jpg

Jason Voorhees NECA 18" signed "J + J Boots Ki Ki Ki Ma Ma Ma! Derek Mears "Jason" "

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n34/mortis45/jason-2.jpg

I uploaded that one about 10 different times and had it rotated properly when I did so, but for some reason it always uploaded this way. So just tilt your head!

Bearded Weirdo Reviews said...

Yeah, I completely missed your "anyone gonna be there?" blog.

I'm probably not gonna be at the one in June, simply because it's in Connecticut. I've gone to every Monster Mania since show number 5. But the last time they did three shows in one year, it fucked up my finances something awful. Two months between cons is just not enough downtime for me to regenerate my bank account. Besides that, the one in Connecticut looks a bit like a rehash of the last two Cherry Hill Monster Manias. I met Robert Englund and Heather Langenkamp at the last show, and I met Bruce Campbell at the one before that. I got everything I wanted signed from Robert and Heather the time I met them, and though I wouldn't mind meeting Bruce Campbell again, I'm not sure I really want to relive that. It was awesome meeting him, but the months leading up to the show were mental torture for me (the Evil Dead series is my favorite film series, and Army Of Darkness is my all-time favorite film period, and I've always been a huge fan of Bruce Campbell... I first discovered him when he guested on Xena and Hercules, that's when I got interested and that's how I first discovered the Evil Dead flicks to be honest), and then, I didn't have to wait in line for him very long (me n' my friends were amongst the first 20 people in line or so), but because I was so anxious (and nervous, which is also something I'm not really terribly interested in reliving) it felt like I was waiting for weeks. I just don't really want to summon up the energy to be that tense for that long again, ya know?

I'm such a dork. Lol.

Anyway, besides Bruce, Robert, and Heather, I'm not terribly interested in meeting anyone on the Connecticut guest list so far. Tuesday Knight would be cool, but it's far from essential for me. And I reeeeeally want to meet John Saxon, but he does a lot of cons, so I fully have faith in the belief that he'll end up at a Cherry Hill Monster Mania con sometime in the near future.

I think the main thing keeping me from Connecticut, along with how close it is, time-wise, to the one we just were at, is the fact that, ya know, I'm used to Cherry Hill. I'm used to that one hotel. I was there when it was a Hilton. I was there when it changed owners. And I'm there now that it's become a Crowne Plaza. I like the place. I'm accustomed to it. Cherry Hill, NJ, and the Crowne Plaza to me are synonymous with Monster Mania. The Monster Mania in Connecticut, to me, feels almost like a whole different convention. Like a Chiller Theatre or a Horrorhound Weekend or something. I really don't feel like journeying up to Connecticut. Cherry Hill is under 2 hours away from where I live. Connecticut is more than 3. It's stressful enough organizing the road trip to Jersey every show, especially with my friends.

So, no, I won't be going to the Monster Mania in June. But I will definitely be there at the one in August. Already, there's talk going 'round about how they want to organize an American Werewolf In London reunion, with John Landis and the rest, so that's cool. Unless someone really special gets added to the con in Connecticut, I don't really have any reason to pack myself up and drive up there, and I can't imagine anyone REALLY special they could add who wouldn't probably end up in Cherry Hill at some point in the future anyway.

Anyway, talk to ya later. Stay sick!

Johnny said...

Definetly hear ya on Cherry Hill being synonomous with Monster Mania. It just wouldn't feel the same in a different place. I think one of the main reasons I love Monster Mania is because of that hotel. It just feels like a second home to me.

Conventions were really never about the guests for me and even if there was no one at one I wanted to meet, i'd still go. I've even gone to a couple in the past where I never bothered to meet anyone. The only thing keeping me from the June one would be a monetary issue. But i'll most likely be seeing ya back in Cherry Hill in August!

Brad said...

Fairuza Balk was a guest? That's cool, but I didn't know she'd be tiny in person. I know she owns a witchcraft store, so she's a little she-devil I tell ya!

Alice Cooper is incredible btw

thebonebreaker said...

Sounds like you had a Blast Johnny!! [the whole Stu thing is pretty cool]

Also, I will be looking forward to your thoughts on Mum & Dad [I've heard great things about it and since I have yet to see it, I will value your opinion]

Quanthor said...

Damn Johnny, you got yourself quite the hot girlfriend!

I'm still waiting for the day Portland gets itself a sweet ass horror convention and until that day happens I will be forever jealous.