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Hey there, fellow gore hounds. The world's numero uno horror magazine, once more, tossed a horror-laced convention our way and my compadre JoBlo and I managed to get our asses to New Jersey to attend it. I'd like to take this time to thank Tony Timpone and Michael Gingold for helping us make our presence at the Con happen. MUCH APPRECIATED GUYS!

I'm also glad to report that during this round, the Con shenanigans went down smoother than in the past.  It sure helped that the FANGO team tagged up with "Chiller Theatre" to organize the event. Chiller did a much better job in keeping the wagon rolling than Creation Entertainment ever did. Sure, there were still some snags here and there (I stayed away from the INSANE autograph floor for a reason...it was a ZOO!), but at least I didn't get into a shouting match with a "is it a man or is it a woman?"  security guard and actually got to check out all of the panels that I wanted to check out this time around.

The weekend was an eventful one as well. How eventful? Try a slew of horror stars, ample booze, hot babes, kool fellow horror webmasters, and a near-death experience on for size! Here is my account of our 2004 Weekend of Horrors.

FRIDAY - DUDE WHERE'S THE BAR?


JoBlo is thirsty!


Ready for business!


    Filling up for a test drive

Walking into the horror fanboy packed lobby of the Meadowlands Sheraton Hotel in New Jersey (i.e. a vacant lot of a city), the first thing I told the "JoBlo Man" was how much a potent beverage was in dire need of hitting my lips. JoBlo agreed with that wise statement, so after checking into our room and unpacking our crap, we guzzled down on some rum and cokes. Yes, there was ice in them! Yes, they were made of 3/4 Rum and 1/4 Coke! And yes, they hit the spot! After knocking them back like barflies, we headed back downstairs, ready and eager to taste the horror hors d'oeuvres at hand.

UPCOMING MOVIE PREVIEWS

The first stop on this horror buffet was a slew of trailers for upcoming genre films. I had already seen most of them online, but there were still some keepers in the fold.

RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE: (Release Date: October 1, 2004) Having loved the original Resident Evil (yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm in the minority, how can I, Romero should've directed it, fuck you Arrow...bla- bla- bla), I was very excited to hear that they were going to show a clip from the upcoming sequel Resident Evil: Apocalypse. The clip went a little something like this:

Milla Jovovich (Alice) is butt naked inside a huge water tank. She's surrounded by scientists aka Toronto Actors. The gal's wounds are healing fast and it seems that she's been blessed with super human strength at the hands of the scientists (cue Bionic Woman theme here) They release Miss Snatch from the tank, she goes into heavy flashbacks from the original Resident Evil, speaks gibberish in her best LeeLu (The Fifth Element) impression, while the scientists keep saying "She doesn't remember anything". The dame imminently gets her marbles together, grabs a pen, says "I remember everything" and stabs a scientist in the neck (they cut before we saw the damage unleashed by that pen).

Sadly, I was let down by this slice of Evil. The way that I interpreted it, that scene probably takes place early on in the film, which makes me wonder if they'll start the sequel with the badass ending that the original whooped our asses with or not. If not....BAD MOVE! If so, then I'm not too happy that Alice is actually nabbed once more by those pesky scientists to go through yet another ordeal, before she's let loose in all of her crotch-less panties, zombie-kicking demeanor. I'm looking forward to see how the clip fits in the whole of the narrative.

NOTE: We were also shown the clever RE2 teaser trailer, which you can watch here.

DAWN OF THE DEAD: (Release Date: March 26, 2004) Even though "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake wound up being a decent film, I would still cut off my right nut for it NOT to exist! Now the Dawn of the Dead remake will soon be upon us and you know what...I would cut off my left nut for it NOT to exist either! Granted, the trailer (see it and see the teaser here), makes it look like a unapologetic zombie fest that will deliver the "fun times" undead goods, but I just can't shake the fact that the only reason this "re-imagining" possesses the "Dawn of the Dead" title is because of the name's market value. Yes, I know it's called "show business" for a reason, but that doesn't mean I have to like it when dudes in suits feel the need to whore out my favorite old school genre flicks to pad up their fatter-than-fat wallets. How about re-imagining some ORIGINAL material? How about some of that shit, Hollywood? This making movies because the title is bankable shit is already PLAYED OUT and sadly I fear that the studios have just found a new way to milk the horror cow, so I'm expecting a lot of these title driven re-imaginings to assault us over the years to come.

NOTE: The trailer FANGO showed us at the Con cut out the "little girl" going buck wild bit in the beginning. What was that all about?

NOTE 2: The trailer got booed (yes, I partook in the booing), even though we all knew it rocked.

GINGER SNAPS 2: (No U.S. release date yet) Once more, we were shown a trailer that was already online (check it out here fellow Ginger Fiends), but it was still gnarly for me to witness this bad Canine roll on a bigger screen than my tiny porn-friendly monitor. I personally feel that this sequel looks fairly tight. The trailer showcased a wooing dark tone, slick Wolf-Man effects and the gore seemed like it was going to flow freely. Granted, I'm not too bananas about the Ginger-Ghost popping up to become "Casper The Friendly Ex-Lupine Advice Giver", but what the hell can you do? They had to get the dame in there somehow...her name IS the title! Hopefully, the "spirit" device will translate in a way that avoids corn, tackiness and cheese though.

DEAD AND BREAKFAST: (No U.S. release date yet) I've been keeping tabs on this little buzzer for a while now via its Official Site. The film stars the always slick Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn), Gina Phillips (Jeepers Creepers) and David Carradine (Kill Bill) and thanks to FANGO, I finally got to see the trailer. I must say that this bad trip looked like it was going to super-size the fun factor. You want gory? This trailer oozed of excessive blood and guts (MPAA fuck off!) You want dark humor? This one is obviously aiming to be a side-splitting "Evil Dead 2" type of offering. The trailer made the movie seem like delicious messy times at the outhouse and I have a gut feeling that "Dead and Breakfast" might wind up being the "Cabin Fever" of 2004. To be continued...and again...it must be said...great fucking trailer!

We also saw trailers for the upcoming FANGORIA DVD release of I Drink Your Blood (funny ass trailer, all about the narration and that garden hose), the first ever all-gay slasher Hellbent (should've called this one BentCock...not my cup of flesh), some shot-on-DV films that I'm very happy to have forgotten and The Village (same "blah" trailer that's been online for a while-- it made me chuckle when the announcer spat out that the trailer might be a "world premiere"...get on the web, dude!)

MEETING MY MATCH...YES... LEATHERFACE: I never thought that I would run into somebody as easy going and party hungry as I was, but behold Andrew Bryniarski surfaced to prove me dead wrong. The man was a true social butterfly, loved his liquor, loved the babes and spread his rocking good mood around all weekend long. I hooked up with the dude a few times over the course of the weekend,  talked shop a bit (he liked my review of TCM), blabbed about partying in Montreal (which he did when shooting Rollerball) and shared some info about his future projects. Andrew and I were supposed to hook up for an interview, but alas that didn't happen due to scheduling conflicts. Having said that, I raise my glass to the man. See ya at "Super Sex" next time you're in Montreal, tough guy! Cheers!

HORROR WEBMASTERS RUN AMUCK!
I have been running "Arrow in the Head" for four years now and I had never met another horror webmaster up until this Fango Con. JoBlo and I were lucky enough to share time with Johnny Butane, Ryan Rotten (did Salva film you or not???) and Girlcreeture of Creature Corner fame and they wound up being an all-around swell bunch. If the Corner lads and the lady are reading this: I'll drink you all under the table at the next Fantasia Festival! Do you accept thy challenge? COME ON! I also met Mike Skinner from Diabolical Dominion and for the short time that I spoke to him, he came across as a nice muchacho.

 

GOTTA LOVE THE FANS:
I couldn't got on with this report without mentioning the "Arrow fans" on hand at the convention. JoBlo also got his fair share of "love" with a book signing here and a picture posing there, but I'll speak for myself. Working so many lonely hours behind the computer in my dark bunker (yes, my apartment), the fan syndrome, in terms of the site's popularity, had never fully sank in. Sure, I get lots of much appreciated positive email and I'm asked for the occasional autographed picture, but it had still never completely registered.

Well, it was brought home during my time at this convention where the "fan love" was all over the place. It was great for me to feel so much support in person and I thank everybody that came up to me with kind words about the site. I'd also like to send a special shout-out to cutie pie Sarah, Jen and Taren, whose bang-on company throughout helped make this weekend an even more memorable one. Any chicks who live and breathe "Friday the 13th: Part 2" and dig the tune "Song to the Siren" are all good in my book. You gals rocked!

SATURDAY--- IT'S ON BABY, IT IS SO ON!!


Hanging with Lar Park Lincoln


I'm in love with this "Love Object"


   Felissa "sweetie pie" Rose

Saturday wound up being the day in which the bulk of the Con unraveled. So many things to see, so many people to talk to, so much porn on Pay-Per-View, so little time. All Mighty JoBlo and I ran around like "jack rabbits" with our heads lopped off trying to hit it all. Granted, we didn't get to attend everything, but we surely did our best. Here it goes! DAY 2!

JOE BOB "ETERNAL" BRIGGS
"Joe Bob Briggs" opened the door for many of us "new" genre reviewers with his unorthodox and balls-to-the-wall writing style and for that, I will be eternally grateful. Personally, it was a hoot to see Joe Bob talk shop live. He was super relaxed and in good form, as he yapped about loving Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, his new book "Profoundly Disturbing", which I must acquire (and so should you), and his colorful career. The highlight of this panel for me was when the Bob Machine compared "The Accused" (Jodie Foster film about rape) to the cult classic "I Spit on Your Grave", saying how they were the same damn film. To him, "Spit" was superior due to its effective last block where the dame gets justice the "old fashioned way" as opposed to former film in which Foster has to jump through the hoops that is the Judicial System to get hers. That was one funny-ass analogy, made lots of sense and was the perfect example as to why Joe Bob Briggs is Joe Bob Briggs. The man just owns at what he does!

DAWN OF THE DEAD aka DAWN OF YET ANOTHER RE-IMAGINING
Producer Eric Newman, director Zack Snyder and actors Jake Weber, Tom Savini and Ty Burrell led this lively panel like champs. Ving Rhames was supposed to be there as well, but he didn't show, probably scared of running into Ken Foree in the halls. Even though I don't respect the reason why this film is called "Dawn of the Dead", I must admit that director Snyder and producer Newman sold me on the project in terms of it possibly being a kick ass film.

Zack proudly stated that with this movie, he wanted to shake things up and kick some serious ass and for some reason, I believed him! I did groan when Newman explained how he couldn't have made the movie without the title "Dawn of the Dead' though. Universal apparently wouldn't have green-lit the flick without it. I groaned even more when it was said that remaking Day of the Dead or putting out a Dawn of the Dead 2 were ideas brewing in everybody's minds. GRRRRR! As for the actors, all I got out of them was that they had a hoot-nanny playing zombie bashers. Was it me or was Weber drunk up there? If so...GREAT MAN! All in all, everybody on the panel were really behind the film and their enthusiasm was somewhat infectious. Who knows? Maybe this remake will turn out to be something special. (Release Date: March 26, 2004)

NOTE: Tom Savini's presence on stage was, in my opinion, one of the reasons this panel wasn't booed (like the trailer was the day before). Savini, who starred in the original "Dawn of the Dead", and who has a cameo in the remake, actually went to bat for this remake while addressing the crowd. Great PR move...it gave the panel some street cred. Without him there, I think a "Dawn of the Angry Romero Fans" would've erupted.

SPECIAL PREVIEW HELLBOY aka DEL TORO CAN DO NO WRONG:
Director Guillermo del Toro was supposed to be part of this panel, but due to a surgery, was MIA. Get well soon Guillermo! We missed ya! He did send along a personalized genuine video message though. One class act!

The panelists themselves had nothing but praise for the man with Perlman saying that Del Toro has the enthusiasm of a child and the intellect of Einstein. Perlman also told about how psyched he was to play "slacker super hero" HellBoy and how it's now, his favorite role ever. His next move is apparently "taking a break from acting" as the end of "Hellboy" was like "breaking up with your best girlfriend". He also had nothing but praise for Rick Baker's HellBoy makeup (Baker also did his Beauty and the Beast makeup) which he said made it effortless to act in. Lastly, when asked to give up Hellboy's token line in the film, Perlman gave it up and said: "Oh Crap", much to the audience's delight.

Hot-to-trot co-star Selma Blair also came out with a couple of doozies. The chick was loose and the shite that came out of her mouth kept taking me aback. I respected that! She compared a scene she did in HellBoy to her having an orgasm, talked freely about BO and at a certain point even addressing the crowd by saying: "You're not usually my people". She also revealed that Guillermo had her choose the color of her character's flame (she's a Firestarter type gal in the film) and she chose blue for spiritual reasons. Lastly, we learned of the nick name that Guillermo had for her while shooting: "Monkeybrain". Ironically, that's the same name my dad had for me my whole life...that and "Little Fucker".

As for Mike Mignola, creator of HellBoy, fans rejoiced in hearing that he is in fact working on a new HellBoy graphic novel. To be honest, this flick never did for me. The trailer didn't fully crank my dial and I thought it smelled too much like X-Men Light. Having said that, this panel got me excited about the project (Selma's luscious mouth helped) and  I'm now starting to anticipate HellBoy. (Release Date: April 2, 2004)

PREVIEW- RETURN TO SLEEPAWAY CAMP aka WHERE'S ANGELA?
If it wouldn't be for the lively Felissa Rose, this panel could've been a total bust. Say what you will about the lady, but her high energy and positive demeanor made sitting through this panel plenty worthwhile. Director Robert Hiltzick looked like he didn't want to be there while Paul DeAngelo remained silent, hiding behind his sunglasses and his fur coat (Take off the glasses buddy! It's rude!) As for Sleepaway Camp Webmaster Jeff Hazes, he was also tight-lipped. GIVE US SOMETHING GUYS!

Info-wise, I did learn that the visual effects in the upcoming "Return to Sleepaway Camp" are 70 percent practical and 30 percent CGI. That's good news! Distribution for the flick hasn't been locked yet, since the film is not done with post-production, but Hiltzick said that they had interested parties on the line. It was also said that Return to Sleepaway Camp ignores the two "Pamela Springsteen" Sleepaway sequels and is a direct continuation of Part 1. I wonder how that will work since Felissa Rose doesn't return as Angela (Angela is mentioned though) and plays another role.

And then there was the montage from the film that we were shown. To be honest, I was "so-so" with it. First off, the song accompanying the images SUCKED DONKEY SHAFT and was mucho annoying. The content of the reel kind of revealed what the film was about though: A fat kid (nice tits on that animal), gets picked on at camp. A killer (which may be the fat kid or not) is offing people at that same camp. I caught whiffs of bad acting in the montage (I didn't like the fat kid's delivery), Felissa was nowhere to be seen and some of the humor failed to hit my mark (what was up with the cook?) With that out of the way, I'm still looking forward to this one. I loved the original (see review here),  the kills looked like they could be something, the bleak atmosphere was very reminiscent of the first film and I'm really curious to know if that fat kid will reveal that he has a snatch in his jockeys at the end of it all. (No U.S. release date yet)

NOTE: Edwin Neal (The Hitchhiker in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre) made a surprise energetic appearance on stage. He's working with Felissa on Dante Tomaselli's upcoming horror flick "Satan's Playground". The guy did the Hitchhiker voice and seemed like an all-around swell chap.

WE WERE JASON aka DON'T FUCK WITH THE KANE
Being the Friday the 13th fan that I am, this panel made me pop wood through the front seat as Ari Lehman (Jason kid in Part 1), Warrington Gillette (Jason in Part 2), CJ Graham (Jason in Part 6) and Kane Hodder (the true Jason) took the stage and reminisced about their Friday the 13th experiences. 

The talk was filled with trivia and funny behind-the-scene stories and I especially enjoyed hearing Graham and Gillette's amusing anecdotes. Kane Hodder was also very vocal, as usual, not mincing words. Did you know that he got the Friday 7 gig because of John Carl Buechler who pushed for him real hard to Paramount? You see, Kane and John had worked together on Renny Harlin's "Prison" and when Kane put live worms in his mouth for a scene, that sealed the deal for Buechler on Kane's commitment as an actor/stuntman.  If Buechler wouldn't have lobbied so hard for Hodder, CJ Graham might've played Jason in Part 7 (not a bad thing, I loved CJ's show in Part 6 and he's actually a bigger guy than Hodder).

It should also be said that Kane was still obviously very peeved about getting the razor studded shaft up the un-lubed orifice via his "Freddy vs Jason" denial. Did you know that New Line had actually sent him the script to read (and learn, I suppose) and then pulled the rug out from under him? OUT OF SCHOOL! Kane also reminded us that Ken Kirzinger actually played the cook that Jason violently throws into a mirror at the end of Part 8 and went on to say that he wouldn't mind doing another scene like that with Ken...be it on-screen or off. OUCH! Lastly, Kane claimed that if New Line asked him, he would set the BS aside and don the mask again. You hear that New Line?  Do the right thing!!

WOMEN OF FRIDAY THE 13th aka A DREAM COME TRUE
Adrienne King (Friday 1), Betsy Palmer (Friday 1), Lar Park Lincoln (Friday 7) and Amy Steel (Friday 2) showed up to talk about their foray in Voorhees land. The story that stuck in my head the most was one told by the very animated Betsy Palmer who explained why she accepted the role of Pamela Voorhees. In short, she needed a new car. She also revealed that she wanted Cunningham to shoot a short scene introducing Ms. Voorhees earlier on in the film. Cunningham disagreed with her, saying that it would be more effective to have Ms. Voorhees come in out of the blue at the end. In retrospect, Betsy admitted that Cunningham was right on the money with his choice.  I have to say that Adrienne King, Lar Park Lincoln and Amy Steel still looked gorgeous today. Amy Steel, in particular, hadn't aged a minute. This was a fan-pleasing segment. All of the ladies were obviously very happy to be there and that made this trek down Voorhees lane, one hell of a trip.

GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY 1: Both the "We were Jason" and "Women of Friday the 13th" panels were being filmed to be included as EXTRAS on the upcoming Paramount Friday the 13Th DVD box set. Kane was actually approached to provide a commentary track for Part 7, which I hear will be the Uncut version and so were some the ladies and the other Jason actors. FUCK YEAH! I can't wait to get that set and finally wipe my ass with the initial piss poor Friday the 13th DVD releases. It's about time Paramount wised up!

GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY 2: Both panels were hosted by Peter Bracke, who is presently writing an extensive book called "Crystal Lake Memories" that will cover the whole Friday the 13th franchise in-depth with lots of memoirs from the cast and crew. NICE!

THE UNSEEN JASON GOES TO HELL:
 
"Jason Goes to Hell" FX artist  Al Magliochetti came in with a nice little present in his holster: the "original" Jason Goes to Hell finale. Although the 17-minute or so clip was in "rough cut" form, it was still a gas to see. I FINALLY got to see those pesky little demon buggers that I had seen in stills from the film in action, as they pulled good old Hockey Puss down into the ground. A slick segment that should've been on New Line's "Jason Goes to Hell" DVD. I'm glad I saw it though. Yes, I'm a better man for it.

 

SUNDAY- THE END AND FLIRTING WITH THE GRIM REAPER


Chilling with Alex Vincent (Child's Play)


Two assholes and Eli Roth


 No Con is complete without
the presence of King Savini

Sunday was a toughie! Both JoBlo and I went to bed at around 8AM the "night" previous and we had enough booze running through our veins to feed a small Irish army of hooligans. But we faced the last day of the Con like men, proudly wearing our hangovers on our sleeves. Here's the scoop!

BROKEN LIZARD LIVE for CLUB DREAD:
For those of you who know the flick "Super Troopers", the comedy troupe (oops, I mean "group"-- they're trying to get rid of the "troupe" apparently), Broken Lizard should be familiar to you. The boys were on hand with jokes up the ying-yang to yap about their upcoming slasher comedy "Club Dread" which by the looks of the trailer, seems like a cross between "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" and "The Naked Gun" (see the trailer here)

When asked how Club Dread came to be their next feature, the boys responded by saying that it was all a scam for the studio to let them shoot at an exotic location with booze and bikinis in tow. Hey! Great scam! It should also be noted that the always-groovy Bill Paxton has a small role in the film. The filmmakers actually tried to have him say his famous "Aliens" line "Game over ,man" in the film, but The Pax wouldn't have any of it. This panel kept me interested, the dudes' humor rang home and yes, I will definitely check out "Club Dread" when it comes out. (Release Date: February 27, 2004)

SPECIAL GUEST ELI "MADMAN" ROTH:
If there's one thing this convention convinced me of, it's that it is no act: Eli Roth really is that kool! Mr. Roth was on hand, with his sharp sense of humor in overdrive, to preview the Cabin Fever DVD and man, did I laugh my ass off!

On the DVD, you'll find porn stars (Easter Egg) and that Pancake Kid doing some Kung Fun to the song "Gay Bar" by Electric Six. Freaking funny shite! There's also a feature called "Rotten Fruit", which are vulgar and violent Claymation shorts created by Roth before he made "Cabin Fever". The shorts tell the tale of a boy-band whose members happen to be fruits. The episode that we saw had the Rotten Fruits getting into an orgy and going head to head with another boy band, until they decided to "pull a Voorhees" and slaughter the competition. HEE-HAW! Roth revealed that he has more Rotten Fruits episodes under his belt and that they will all be released on DVD eventually. GREAT NEWS! You bet I'm going to get that disc when it comes out. GET THE BONG! The DVD also contains no less than 5 audio commentary tracks, as well as a documentary about the filming of the movie, recorded by Roth's brother.

And then there was my favorite little surprise from the DVD: "The KaufBird". I could watch that Roth Headed Bird fly around for hours on end. "Muaaaa" Sniffle, Sniffle", Muaaaa...you'll have to see it, to believe it (actually, check out a sample of it below). Roth went "all out" with this DVD and it shows that Lion's Gate gave him "carte blanche" for his creation. The man's hard-hitting sense of humor is all over the disc! Lastly, Eli told us that HIS Cabin Fever sequel would likely be centered around Deputy Winston (yes, the party man) and the crazy shit in his head materializing itself. I'm not sure if I buy that synopsis entirely (maybe Roth is trying to mislead us?), but I'm certain that whatever Roth comes up with next, it will rock our shorts over our heads. Stay tuned to the site for a brand-spanking new Eli Roth interview that JoBlo and I conducted in his room. Yes...our clothes were on... (DVD Release Date: January 20, 2004)

Eli Roth's Kaufbird

MY CON BUMMERS: There were a couple of horror personalities that I REALLY wanted to meet at this Con, but that I didn't get around to hooking up with. Namely, the lovely Amy Steel (Friday the 13th: Part 2), the sexy Jennifer Rubin (Nightmare on Elm Street 3) and kool dude CJ Graham (Friday the 13th: Part 6). If any of you guys are reading this, e-mail my pointy ass, I'd love to interview all of you. I also missed out on Kane "THE MAN" Hodder. Sure, I've met him before, but I would have loved to touch base with him again. My last bummer was that JoBlo and I didn't have enough damn liquor in our rooms to feed the hungry party. Take note of this Jo, next Convention: LET'S BUY MORE  FUCKING BOOZE!

NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE:


Lost Highway and almost Lost Arrow and JoBlo

On our way back to Montreal from Jersey, JoBlo and I had a damn scary car accident. I was sure that my time was up when the car went into rapid 360 spins on the highway, to then roll on two wheels (eat your heart out, Michael Knight!) and crash into a ditch.  When another car hit the patch of ice we danced on and headed towards us full speed and out of control, I was already planning who I was going to haunt when dead. Luckily, the car missed us! There was definitely some "Final Destination 2" joo-joo in the air, but thankfully the man upstairs won the poker game and decided that we still had some work to do down here before hitting the big Frat House in the sky. All that to say; it's good to be alive and I'm appreciating my life on an all-new level right now. What a way to end the weekend!  CLOSE ONE!

-- The Arrow aka John Fallon

THANK YOU FOR THE GOOD TIMES FANGORIA!

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