Monster Mania Con 22
Christmas is coming a second time this year! First in March, then in August and September. There is no use going to the one in September, only month after August and especially in a different state. Next weekend, from Friday the 17th to Sunday the 19th, in the Crown Plaza Hotel (formerly a Hilton) in Cherry Hill, New Jersery. I got 25 movies in March, and am now down to three. It's time for some more.
At that last convention, there was a regular vendor whose familiar with me and took note of my list of hard-to-find horror movies. He had some some of them, but left them at home. He made note of them and might be waiting for me next week. Looking forward to it. With no more real video stores left, there is no other choice for me. I Will defy the online world as long as I can.
There was a magical feeling in entering a video store (at least one where the people running it didn't patronize the customers and care only for the almighty dollar). Last that I remember, Suncoast Video was the perfect video store. Whether it was horror, action, drama, or comedy, it had excellent selection. Towards the end, I sensed an attitude in the management towards the customers and that was a sign that enough people were through with the video story days. A shame that video stores had to go out like that. If only I could have run a video store, it would have been the perfect profession for me. I would have had total respect for the customers and the movies. Never would have sold out, and might have worked with the online businesses to keep things running on both ends. Video stores should have worked together with online businesses period, for those that want to go out and do something and others who prefer to do everything at the click of a button. Alas, not meant to be. Out with the old, in the new. All that's left is Best Buy and Barnes & Noble. They aren't the same as Suncoast was, but I fear for them.
However, with that magical feeling of entering a video store gone, that feeling is multiplied by 10,000 upon entering a horror convention. For me, it is the only way to get my hands on hard-to-find DVDs. That is my first priority. I want to see more of the past, even if it might be crap, instead of the mostly new crappy movies being offered nowadays.
The next priority is Q & A's and meeting celebrities. Unless they really mean something to me, I won't stand in line and get an autograph. At this con will be Clive Barker and the cast of "Hellraiser" (Doug Bradley and three other actors who portrayed the original cenobites). I hope they will have an Q & A. Looking forward to seeing them.
Their appearace at the convention is fitting since I just posted the last two fan-fiction sequels I ever wrote, "Halloween 9: The Legacy of Michael Myers" and "Helloween" (the old "Halloween/Hellraiser" rumor). I know people go on websites like this to talk rather than read another fan's work, but I had to post and share them with the fans. I feel like, after joining this website ten years ago and personally wanting to provide closure to the "Halloween" series and such, I have finally gone full circle and completed what I was supposed to do. And it feels good.
Well, onto the convention next week. To once again feel that amazing sensation, only multiplied by 10,000. If only life could be a little simpler again and offer at least one video store to spare this necessary trip I make two times a year. Well, it will have to do.
2012 has been quite a transition year for me. Finished up another review season after covering older horror movies for a year. Always wanted to be a film critic and got to do that. Finally got around to posting the last two fan-fiction sequels I wrote and went full circle with the fan-fiction game that began in 2003. I felt tired, lost and aimless earlier in the year, and still do, but I feel better about it. Just trying to figure out what to do next. I don't feel like going back to reviewing older movies full-time.
However, I will do something constructive with this thread and cover the 22 movies from the last convention that I've watched. This first set will be done in groups and in different order than when I watched them.
The "Massacre" Trilogy:
Microwave Massacre (1983) - Stupid and campy fun. Some guy working in construction just wants nice, simple meals, but his nagging wife insists on cooking elaborate, fancy feasts. In turn, she must feel like he has become a lazy bum no longer there for her. When he has had it with her nagging, he accidentally kills her. And having recenty purchases an all-out, oversized microwave, he discovers that his wife's remains provide the perfect meals for him and his co-workers! They can't have enough of her, and they don't even know it! When he runs out of "food," he invites hookers to his house in order to continue the smorgasbord!
**1/2 out of 4
Woodchipper Massacre (1989) - Three children are left in the care of their bitcy aunt - although the oldest son is in high school or college and in charge of cleaning up the backyard with a woodchipper. The aunt is religious zealot who won't allow any fun. The youngest son ordered a "Rambo III" knife and it arrives in the mail. The aunt refuses to let him keep the knife, and in a struggle, is accidentally killed. Things get complicated, bloody and hysterical. Much like "Microwave Massacre," it is stupid and campy fun. There is no discernable talent behind it. The acting is completely amateurish. Jon McBride, who plays the oldest son, wanted to make a movie and he did. It looks like a home movie, and might as well be one, but it is remarkably watchable for what it is.
Meatcleaver Massacre (1983) - Thugs attack a college professor and his family. A meatcleaver is a weapon of choice. The professor survives and is left in a coma-like state. But having known hocus pocus nonsense of the ancient Gods, he is able to seek retribution through supernatural means. It is an interesting idea spoiled by a poor execution, as well as a cheap production.
The "Halloween/Friday The 13th" Rip-offs:
The Final Terror (1981-83) - Filmed in 1981, but not released until 1983. That is not a reason to stay away from it, just trivia. It is set on a field trip in the woods, and what separates it from most of the other rip-offs is that it is purely derivitive of "Friday The 13th." Not that there's anything wrong with that. It definitely has its moments, but has a lower bodycount and attempts to be more suspenseful. Nothing wrong with that, either. It was directed by Andrew Davis ("The Fugitive") and features Daryl Hannah ("Splash"), Rachel Ward ("Night School," another rip-off) and Joe Pantoliano ("Bound," The Matrix," and "The Fugitive" again) in early roles. A solid rip-off and slasher film.
Terror Train (1980) - Poor Jamie Lee Curtis. She can't babysit on Halloween. She can't go to her prom. She can't have a wonderful time with Tom Atkins in a seaside town. And after graduating from college, she can't even celebrate New Year's Eve on a train and party like it's 1980. Another solid rip-off and slasher film.
The Mutilator (1985) - A group of young people stay at a cabin by a lake and a killer targets them. Yawn. This is an extremely uninspired rip-off and it sucks. Really cheap production. Thought "Blood Lake" (** from me) was bad? I found this to be worse.
The Mario Bava Collection:
Bloody Sunday (1960) - Mario Bava's directorial debut is dated and might have held more power in the 1960's, but it deserves respect. It involves a witch, a castle setting, a catacomb with tombs, a family curse, `60's and `70's icon Barbara Steele, and a strong sense of atmosphere. It was also ahead of time in terms of violent and sexual content.
The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) - This film may have been the birth of the "Giallo" film. It was certainly one of the earliest ones. It has it all - shocking murders, a mad killer, style, and camerawork intent on keeping the viewer wide awake and never bored. It also co-stars John Saxon. Upon seeing him in this, "Black Christmas" in the `70's, and "A Nightmare On Elm Street" in the `80's, one would suspect he's been to the fountain of youth. God bless Mr. Saxon, and God bless Mr. Bava for creating this amazing film.
Black Sabbath (1964) - This is an anthology film introduced by Boris Karloff, with one of them featuring Frankenstein himself. From a mysterious voice on a telephone taunting a woman, to a demon haunting a nurse, to a family trying to survive a vampire curse, it is a mildly diverting venture.
Knives of the Avenger (1965) - This film is another departure for Mr. Bava. It concerns vikings in a remote past. A drifter finds himself in the middle of a battle between a savage group and mother and her son. With a nice story and well-staged fights, it is a solid effort.
A double-feature at the Mall:
Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge (1988) - An overlooked and forbidden film from the VHS days that I forgot about and snatched immediately when it turned up at the last convention. Was it worth it? Not really, but I'm glad to have seen it and put it behind me. Who is Eric? Why, he is teenager Eric Matthews - not be confused with the ones from the show "Boy Meets World" or the "Saw" series. Eric is scarred and mutilated when land developpers torch his house, in order to build a mall. His revenge is somewhat sweet, but not all that memorable. Look out for Pauly Shore in an early role and Ken Foree collecting a paycheck.
Chopping Mall (1986) - Now this is how to rip it up at the mall! This one I did not neglect to see during the VHS days. A group of teenagers hang around at the mall after hours to have some fun. The new security robots are reprogrammed after a lightning strike and take out anything that breathes. It is stupid fun. Although, to be objective, it still isn't great. Upon revisiting it, it is a thin premise barely stretched out to feature length. Overall, certainly not bad for what it is.
More reviews soon
Parents (1989) - This film was a breath of fresh air for Randy Quaid's career and the dreadful year of 1989. It is a dark horror-comedy set in the 1950's about a boy whose parents might be cannibals. One clue is that he's always fed leftovers every night. Unlike his roles in the "Vacation" films and various other movies, Quaid plays it straight and couldn't be creepier. Something the movie pegs down magnificently is that childhood feeling of uncertainty in which one does not completely know or trust the world yet. That feeling is doubled with creepy unease.
*** out of 4
Diabolique (1955) - An abusive schoolmaster thinks he can have his cake and eat it too. He has both a wife and a mistress. Both women scheme to have him killed and things get weird. An excellent, if dated, French film. It effortlessly shows what a waste the 1996 remake truly is.
The Crimson Cult (1968) - Another film with a witch, and also featuring the talents of Boris Karloff and Barbara Steele, as well as Christopher Lee. It has H.P. Lovecraft written all over it. A young man is invited to a mansion with a lot of strange stuff going on. It is very weird, has a late `60s's style to spare, and also considerable watchable despite a poor reputation. Maybe it's just me, but I saw more in it than others do.
The Stuff (1985) - A satire and spoof of the "Attack of the Monster" movies from the 1950's. Its culprit is a new ice cream brand that turns people into zombies. Much of its intended satire might have went over my head. Another overlooked/forbidden movie from the VHS days, it is a decent but not all that memorable watch.
Dead & Buried (1981) - Tourists visiting a coastal town are murdered and then mysteriously come back as normal citizens. It is an interesting and different offering from 1981, the year of the slasher films. But just like "The Stuff," it falls short and is decent at best.
Burnt Offerings (1976) - Another haunted house film, but with an unexpected charm of its own. Karen Black, Oliver Reed and their son stay at a house for the summer, and a lot of creepy stuff goes on. What stands out is the way the house changes the parents' personalities, and their drastic efforts to escape. It is perhaps overlong, with a second act that drags, but it builds up to a satisfying conclusion. For a film critics label as average and predictable, I saw a lot more in it.
Scarecrows (1988) - Bankrobbers with stolen money, as well as hostages, wind up on a farm. A farm watched over by scarecrows. They are for real and they don't mess around. With a simple premise and a short running time that doesn't wear out its welcome, it is rather effective and a little scary.
Hell Night (1981) - An apparently abondoned mansion with a sorted history and possibly mutated being inhabating it. Fraternity and sorority pledges spending the night inside it. It is two familiar plots rolled into one. And it is essentially another slasher film to grace the screen in 1981. But it is a surprisingly effective one. It almost feels like a "Halloween/Friday The 13th" rip-off, but I didn't get that vibe from it. There are other movies similar to it not occupying the same shelf as those rip-offs. What stands out is the chemistry between the two leads, Linda Blair and Peter Barton, well executed suspense, and build-up that leads to a satisfying finale. We all know Ms. Blair from "The Exorcist," but you might recognize Mr. Barton from "Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter." Critics claim it to be boring and lack explicit violence as if nothing happens. That's bull. Perhaps they're suggesting that the violent content is derivative of other slasher films. That may be true, and I once again find myself saying nay to the critics.
James Batman (1966) - If there is a Batman, Superman and a superhero to grace the big screen and TV screen in the United States, you can bet there is a half-assed version of them in the Philippines. And if you can tolerate and have a good laugh with the campy "Batman" show from the 1960's, there is no reason for you to not get a laugh out of this film. It is ten times dumber and ten times funnier. Batman and Robin both appear in it, along with James Bond, as a well as S.P.E.C.T.R.E-like organization planning world domination. Batman and Robin are inept, while James Bond is the butt of the bigger jokes. While hiding from The Penguin, a centipede crawls up Bond's leg and he pays for his woman-hopping ways. It is stupid, campy and hysterical fun.
Razorback (1983) - Russell Mulcahy's directorial debut. He may not have the best track record. "Highlander" kicks ass, but what can you say about its first sequel? Regretably, this isn't so great either. It has a cool, giant pig in a nature-run-amuck premise and some nice touches in the directing. However, some supporting characters are extremely unpleasant, and the overall story and direction are very rough around the edges.
That is all.
Today is now Christmas Eve, and starting tomorrow is Christmas weekend. It's been a long week. As expected, nostalgia struck back and bit me in a big way recently. Always happens before a convention. It probably didn't help talking about all that "life was simpler with video stores" nostalgia in the beginning of this thread, but it was - as it always is - on my mind. I don't know how to let all that go; it was my way of life and my reason for getting out of the house. Well, once I pick a bunch of movies from the con, my nostalgia will be under control for a while.
Checked the website for the con, and it turns out there will be 25th Anniversary Reunion for the entire "Hellraiser" cast. From Doug Bradley and all the cenobite actors, to Ashley Laurence, Claire Higgins and Andrew Robinson. There is always a theme for every convention and it is "Hellraiser" this time. I smell a Q & A for the cast. There has to be one. I'm sure Andrew Robinson will be asked why he didn't appear in "Hellrasier II" (reportedly, because he found the content in the script to be too disturbing). Might get confirmation on that.
I've met Doug Bradley in the past and already got a signed autograph from him. Talked primarily about how underrated "Hellraiser III" was. This is true to a degree. If you go along with the less serious tone, there's no reason to not enjoy it. Plus, Pinhead had a strong presence and had nice monologues to chew on. I would be interested in talking to him this time about the first four H-movies as a whole, and how special they are. No matter the quality of each individual film, they complete a quadrilogy and there is something to like in all of them.
There will also be some actors from Clive Barker's "Night Breed" and Jamie Kennedy from "Scream" and "Scream 2."
From Friday to today, I was in it for the long haul. Will have a write-up of the event prepared soon.
(cue the creepy music from “The Shining”)
Going into this convention, I did not get my hopes up too high. I remembered that the one regular vendor, who took up two big tables in the front corner and was super reliable with old TV-movies, wasn’t there at the last convention (and apparently at the convention before it, in which I wasn’t present). There could be multiple reasons why. Before going through the “recommended movie Gems” thread, learning about those movies, and coming up with a list of hard-to-find movies, that vendor was always there. And then, after coming up with that list, he was no longer there. There are a lot of TV-movies on my list he might have had. Well, it doesn’t matter.
The world is changing and so are these conventions. Although most of the same vendors keep up appearances, these events will not always have the same layouts and same selection of movies. For example, there is a ridiculous movie called “The Manitou” that sounds too good to be true. That was available at the earlier conventions, but I wasn’t looking for it at the time. Now, it’s on my list and I can’t get it. There is a sense of supply and demand with conventions and I may have missed out. Time will tell, however. It might return at a later convention.
I kept that in mind while waiting in the restaurant inside the hotel. The event officially begins at 5:00 on the first day and I arrived at 12:00. I had five hours and didn’t want to wrestle for a parking spot. I like arriving early and knowing Christmas time is a matter of hours away. Five hours is nothing. Just the week before it is bad enough. It’s too hot during this time of the year to sit in the car, so I sat in the restaurant, always had a drink ready to be re-filled, and ordered two meals from time to time. Soup and salad. Read the movie reviews, read the newspaper and solved sudoku puzzles. As I have learned, sitting in the car during the cold days of March with the windows down is more relaxing than sitting in a restaurant for that amount of time. More sense of personal space and no pressure to order food and constant drinks.
Finally, it is time. Within a half hour before 5:00, I get ready, pay for a ticket and off I am into the main event. The moment upon being allowed into the vending area is like walking into Toys R Us as a kid. You grow up from toys, but that feeling remains for the adult things you look forward to. That was the feeling upon entering a video store. However, as the last convention reminded me, do not put my hopes up too high. The feeling was less powerful this time around.
I turn the corner, and there are all the regular vendors in their regular spots. Including the one who made a note of some movies on my list at the previous convention, and might have them ready for me. Well, not the case. He had a lot of things going on recently and wasn’t able to look for them. He’s in the middle of moving at the moment. Understandable. No big deal. However, he said he might be able to go through his stuff and find those movies. Have them for me on Sunday. Don’t know about being there on Sunday. We’ll see.
I wander into the main event room and that one vendor who wasn’t there before is absent again. Upon wandering around the middle and back aisles, there are more vendors with clothing items and such than DVD’s. Just like the last convention. I forgot that other DVD vendors were no longer there. I prepared myself to not get my hopes up, but it was hard to deny it. The initial disappointment is still there. These conventions are changing. Some vendors might return, but there is no telling. After that first look-around, I made more rounds to all the vendors and narrowed down the following list of movies. The selection isn’t as awesome as it used to be, but there are treasures to find. They look and sound intriguing, but will they contain gold or cole? Time will tell. As past conventions show, most of the movies I pick up are above-average+.
-Absurd (1981) – a slasher film; remember reading about this in the Horror Review forums and didn’t think twice about picking it up.
-Blood Cult (1985) – Also read about this in same forum. Why not?
-The Boogens (1981) – Have this on VHS and it’s time to replace it. I remember ordering it through Suncoast Video in 2001 and it was worth it. That’s another thing I miss about video stores - ordering hard-to-find movies. If they weren’t available on DVD, they might be available on VHS. People can say what they want about VHS. It ruled back then.
-Death Ship (1980) – I am going to quote Leonard Maltin’s review of this film. It is priceless. Ahem…“Luxury liner collides with ‘death ship.’ Survivors board ‘death ship.’ ‘Death ship’ tries to murder survivors. Forget it”…he gave it a BOMB rating. It isn’t great movie, but it should be part of my collection.
-Jack’s Back (1988) – Modern-day Jack Ripper with James Spader. Have known about it for years. Why not?
-Happy Birthday to Me (1981) – a “Halloween/Friday The 13th” rip-off with Melissa Sue Anderson from “Little House on The Prairie.” Already have the official DVD with the altered cover art and apparently altered music. And I am more than happy to replace it with the originally intended version and especially that wonderful cover art with that poor guy getting fed to death.
-Highway to Hell (1991) – A road trip crossed with a trip to Hell. Have known about it for years. Why not?
-Homicidal (1961) a rip-off and somewhat different take-off of “Psycho.” Was on my list.
-Horror Hospital (1973) – Have read about it in my movie review books. Why not?
-The Legend of Hell House (1973) – a haunted house film, but supposedly a good one. Was on my list.
-The Paperboy (1994) – a deranged paperboy. Remember catching this on Sci-fy or USA in the late `90’s.
-Pin: A Plastic Nightmare (1989) – something about a man-sized doll and weird stuff. Have known about it for years.
-Savage Weekend (1985) – a slasher I’ve never heard of before. Why not?
-Shock Waves (1977) – Vacationers vs. Underwater zombies. Or perhaps Nazi Zombies? Was on my list. Happy to finally see it.
The three movies from my list came from the same vendor at the end of the day – and that alone made my day. This vendor has boxes and boxes of movies from the 1930’s to 1970’s. Too many movies to separate on a Table, and a lot of older movies I don’t know about. It takes time to look through all of them. And would have to learn the complete of history of horror films to know what to pick. Unexpectedly, that vendor had what I was looking for and it was quite a relief. After getting enough movies, I wanted to meet a celebrity and have something to recall this convention. Preferably Doug Bradley and the “Hellraiser” crew. They weren’t there yet. They would arrive on Saturday, and their reunion would be at 9:00. Indeed. Arriving in the evening and fighting big time for a parking spot. Don’t like the sound of that. If I arrive earlier in the day, what is there to look forward to? Let’s see…
-Scares That Care at 2:00 - a charity event
-Hanson Brothers Q & A 3:00 - don’t worry, not the boy band. Just those goofball hockey players from 1977’s “Slapshot.” Okay, maybe you still want to run and hide. I’ll join you in a moment…
-Nancy Allen Q &A at 4:00 – now, this would be worthwhile
-Joey Lauren Adams Q & A at 5:00 – Who the hell is Joey Lauren Adams? Oh, that chick from “Chasing Amy.” Haven’t seen it and not all that interested
-Jamie Kennedy Q & A at 6:00 – Also worthwhile
-Carl Weathers Q & A at 7:00 – The Apollo Creed? I’m in!
-The Walking Dead Panel at 8:00 – Don’t watch the show and don’t care.
-All this before the “Hellraiser” reunion on that fateful Saturday. I misread the paper and thought that “Dressed to Kill” at 2:00 and “Hellraiser II” at 4:00 would be playing on Sunday (instead of Saturday). Possible time killers before the big reunion? Didn’t matter, saw both recently. However, the “Night of The Living Dead” remake at 6:00 might have been worth chewing into before checking into the reunion. Haven’t seen that in a while.
After waiting in the restaurant for five hours, I only stuck around the vendors and the celebrity rooms for two-and-a-half-hours. Felt that was it. Not worth sitting through all that for the “Hellraiser” reunion. I know “Hellraiser” well enough. Better off saving my money and taking it easy on Saturday. However, I recalled some other movie titles at home and looked through my movie review books. Maybe it’s worth going back. But for “Hellraiser” as well? Waiting through those other events to get to it? And wrestling for a parking spot? Oh, the horror!
(Cue that music again)
Upon waking up on Saturday, I knew what I had to do. Have to go back. If not, I might regret it. Arrived in the early afternoon and remembered to park in the lot of the office building nearby. That lot is open for the convention. Had no trouble finding a spot and was in again. Found those movies I remembered and looked up. They might be crap, but I would still rather see crap from the `70’s and `80’s than crap from the 2000’s.
There is one brand new movie in particular called “Mr. Hush.” It is supposed to be another throwback to the wonderful 1980’s and stars Brad Loree (Mikey in “Halloween: Resurrection”) and Steve Dash (Jason in “Friday The 13th Part 2”). Why not give it a chance? I have to give some new pieces of crap being offered nowadays a fighting chance. The writer/director was there to sign the DVD, and so was one of the stars. For all I know, “Mr. Hush” could be a stand-alone film or spawn a brand new series in today’s nearly dried up shelves.
Feeling like I will stick around for the “Hellraiser” reunion, I attended the Scares That Care charity event and it was worth it. It is a charity organization centered around horror conventions and also inspired “zombie walks.” The organization isn’t that big yet, and can only support three people/families per year. They want to be helping three people/families per state. It was started in 2006 by some guy who had some friends and loved ones suffering from illnesses. He also happens to enjoy horror movies and spun a charity event around it. However, he takes it seriously and knows how to work around the “death” in horror movies and real death as a result of the illnesses. The charity also concerns burn victims.
I was glad to attend this charity event. I needed that kick in the butt. I hate that video stores are gone. I hate how extensive the online world has become. I wish there was more than just a convention to get my DVD’s. And I miss how much simpler life used to be. But that is nothing compared to what some people are dealing with - illnesses, cancers, scars and burns. I still have my conventions and have my health. I gave a little bit and got a raffle ticket for a bust of Jason’s head. It was sculpted and painted. The raffle would be on Sunday. So, I now have another reason to come back on Sunday (in addition to that one vendor possibly finding those movies on my list).
I finally met a celebrity to add to my autographed photos. Tom Savini. I can’t recall if he was there on Friday and if I considered meeting him then. But I met him and told him that he was the man. He has done so much for so many movies. That alone is reason enough to meet the man and get his autograph.
I remember much of Saturday out of order. I killed a lot of time making more and more rounds around the vendors and narrowing down more movies to get my hands on. I did find another movie on my hard-to-find list. That was nice. And also narrowed down some other unexpected movies. I’ll get to them.
What matters was going back to the celebrity room and meeting Doug Bradley/Pinhead. Stood in line for a half hour, but hell, I was waiting long enough for the “Hellraiser” reunion later on in the evening. I met Bradley before and don’t remember how nervous I may have been. And as I got closer to the front of the line, I got really nervous. I knew what to say, but those thoughts were getting jumbled in my mind. You get nervous when you’re determined to do something important. And this was important. I’ve read that Bradley may be displeased with his work for Dimension Films. “Hellrasier III” and on. Does this include any and all of films je took part in or working for Bob Weinstein and company? More on that later.
I guess I wanted to tell him we, the fans, appreciate his work. That the first four “Hellraiser” movies, in particular, as a whole, hold a special place for us. I didn’t say “us,” but I know I’m not alone. And that he stands out from the other villains with his rich, deep monologues about evil, darkness and emptiness. Upon meeting him, I know for certain that those words didn’t translate the way I wanted. I was nervous. But I believe he appreciated my words. He wrote a book about the “masks” he and other horror villains – from the 1920’s to now – hide behind. Something deep and possibly philosophical. Without question, I picked it up and he signed it for me. Scanned through the book while waiting and it looks to be an interesting read. Will read it once I’m done with Steve Guttenberg’s memoir. And yes, Steve Guttenberg has written a memoir! Oh, the horror! It is very interesting and revealing about him and the Hollywood system.
Onto the Q & A’s. I attended Joey Lauren Adams’s half way through. She’s from Kevin Smith’s “Chasing Amy.” Felt like entering a foreign country at first, but she had some funny stories to share. She had some success, got hooked on drugs, knew the moment she hit rock bottom, and directed a movie. Who hasn’t done all that in Hollywood? I kid, but good for her success.
Jamie Kennedy. This was worth sitting for. He’s a laugh riot. The first person to ask a question was some weird guy dressed in zombie drag. Kennedy asked if the tits were real or fake. Haha. This weirdo unofficially became the representative for New Jersey. After that start, there were jokes and a lot “Welcome to New Jersey” going around. Haha. Apparently, our best restaurants are not high class. Haha. He also made a random comment about some people smelling like diahrea. Like some people he met with didn’t bother showering for the convention. Haha. Representing Washington D.C., apparently, were the three only African-American people there. Like there is only black person in a horror movie. After pointing out a black person asking him a question, another such person raised their hand and another one. Two of them should get together. Haha. It was all a funny, innocent laugh.
Kennedy was asked about his favorite pranks on “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment” and people who wanted to kill him. One guy, during a golf prank, became pissed and threw his golf club at him. Barely missed Kennedy. People commented on him getting killed too early in the “Scream” series. Was he? He obviously missed future paychecks, but felt maybe he should have been the killer. After the first film, his character was still infatuated with Neve Campbell and she didn’t respond affectionately. Interesting idea. Except his character did represent the audience – all the movie geeks who don’t know how to talk to the opposite sex. Would it have been a good idea for him to turn on all of us? This was his first convention and he wore a suit. Someone commented on his suit, and he thought he should look good and proper. He also attended a comedy club in a suit and the people there were in shock. He may have been the best-dressed person in all of New Jersey. Haha.
Carl Weathers. The Apollo Creed from “Rocky.” What is he doing here? Oh, right, “Predator.” Not that “Predator” was a major subject during his Q & A. It was only brought up at the end. He began by going over his upbringing. Growing up in New Orleans and wanting to escape - his reason for becoming an actor. Joining the drama club, but also playing football to get girls’ attention. Ultimately becoming an actor and taking it very seriously. Starting off in not great films that can now be discovered on his resume on IMDB. With IMDB, there is no more hiding. These are his words, and he’s kind of right. Nothing is simple anymore. Everything is out there. I like IMDB for its information, but it came at a price. Everything is out there now.
He had to fight for his part in “Rocky.” They wanted a big name. When he auditioned, he went over the lines with the writer. And maybe the writer was tired, but he wasn’t all there and just looked at him. Carl was like, “Can I have a real actor to go over these lines with?” That writer was Sylvester Stallone. Haha. Among his four “Rocky” movies, he has no favorite. They all mean something and are special. He suggests that the original is most important, because it started the series and began his working relationships with the actors. He got along well his “Rocky” family. Naturally, he was asked about getting killed in “Rocky IV.” Did he die too soon? And Did it impact the remainder of the series? Could the series have been even longer? Hey, he made it to the third sequel. Jamie Kennedy didn’t. When “Rocky” was nominated for Oscars, he didn’t get all the fuss. He knew how chaotic a film set can be with crew members all over the place and trying to keep up with the director. His first concern was handling all that and delivering a believable performance. One shouldn’t think about the Oscar while filming, but it turned to be an unexpected bonus for the film. He later matured and appreciated the honor the film received, especially since he played a key part in it.
Carl knew a lot people, including Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin and Carroll O’Conner. Charles Bronson is the man. You don’t mess with him. Carroll O’Conner was on “Family Affair” and “In the Heat of The Night.” O’Conner knew what he was doing. He played a mean biggot in the one show, making a point about ignorant people can be, and he played an open-minded guy in the other show who was married to black woman. In regards to “Predator,” he didn’t appreciate how small and incomplete his part was. The writer understood and worked with him to make his character more impactful on the film. Jamie Kennedy was hilarious, but Carl Weathers was a class act. A gentleman. And his Q & A ran a little over an hour. It was also his first convention. He also wore a suit, but nobody questioned that. He looks good in a suit.
Almost time for the “Hellraiser” reunion. I had been in there two Q & A’s and two hours without budging. I had to get up and stretch my legs. With the people leaving and coming in, I wasn’t given a chance to get the hell out of there. Was not interested in the “The Walking Dead” Panel. I had to fight, wrestle and wiggle my way out of the row. Sorry everyone! I’ve been in here for two hours! I need get feeling back in my legs! I get out, got a bite and waited around in the lobby. Walked around a bit and then got back into the room. With a half to go on “The Walking Dead” Panel, it felt like entering a foreign country. I don’t know why I was there. Just wanted to reserve a place to sit or stand for “Hellraiser.” Was worried about people not leaving afterwards. For those interested, the cast members present from the zombie show were supposedly Jeffrey Demunn, Emma bell, Madison Lintz, Lauren Cohan, Norman Reedus and Steven Yeun. Almost all of them were strangers to me. And I don’t think all of those names were there. However, the youngest girl in the bunch was cute. She looked young, but I must imagine she’s a little older than she looks.
Finally, the “Hellraiser” Reunion! A lot of people left and I was able to sit down for it. We’re talking Doug Bradley/Pinhead, Simon Bamford/Butterball Cenobite, Nichalas Vince/Chatterer Cenobite, Barbie Wilde/Female Cenobite and Clare Higgins/Julia. Ashley Laurence attended the convention, but wasn’t there for the reunion. Didn’t quite get or understand why. When I saw Laurence in the signing room, she was still a knockout. And so is Clare Higgins. She’s a little older, but she still looks good. I don’t think Andrew Robinson/Larry was there at all. I wish that he was. Wilde suggested that, according to the novelization, she was actually the lead cenobite. Bamford didn’t have a fun time in the fat suit as Butterball. He originally had lines, but couldn’t speak under the latex. And he couldn’t see. It really depressed him at one point, but nobody noticed. They couldn’t see him crying under the latex! Clive Barker sensed something was wrong and offered him a bottle of Jack Daniels with a straw.
Clive Barker was supposed to be there, but is ill. They all commented on his unique talent. When Wilde asked what her motivation was for her cenobite character, Barker just told her that she was dead. And when she had arrived to the set, she never slept on the flight and was quite dead anyway. Either Bamford or Vince were asked about the Butterball/Chatterer Cenobite outfit, and how one or the other could barely move. It might as well be both anyway. And the outfit was made more flexible in the sequel.
Doug Bradley has a strong opinion about the supposed “Hellraiser” remake, other pointless remakes, Dimension films and Bob Weinstein. He must not be working with them anymore. He has a deep respect for “Halloween” and saw its remake. According to him, the H-remake sucks and he has every right to feel that way. It wasn’t needed. It was made for more money, and that’s their only intention with a remake of “Hellraiser.” He has respect for the fellow franchises and didn’t bother seeing the “Nightmare on Elm Street” remake at all. That’s because he was guilty of being part of the problem and contributing to the H-remake.
They wanted Clive Barker’s name on “Hellraiser III,” and he wanted to see what they had first. He either changed some things around or added some things to it. Barker played a part in the ideas behind “Hellraiser: Bloodline.” The ideas are there, they just aren’t properly executed. Nearly all the straight-to-video sequels were existing scripts re-written as “Hellraiser” movies. “Hellworld” might be the exception. Bradley appreciated Kirsty Cotton playing a part in the fifth sequel, but it wasn’t originally her. He called Ashley Laurence personally, and it was on. However, the Kirsty Cotton connection wasn’t officially left in the finished film. Heaven forbid fans new to the series are confused and show interest in checking out the older films! But he’s glad that the full scene is optioned as a deleted scene in the DVD’s special features. From what I remember some time ago, I agree. It wouldn’t have hurt the film one bit with the Kirsty Cotton part fully intact.
By 2010, Bob Weinstein knew they had to make another sequel soon to keep the rights to the series. Weinstein wanted Bradley there, just make it quickly, and get it out there. No passion. No creative thinking behind it. Just make it. He wasn’t nice toward Bradley, and that must have been the last straw for Bradley. And that is the reason there’s a nobody playing Pinhead in a new one.
All in all, they were very fun group. They all laughed at and with each other. Doug Bradley now thinks that he should have told Vince/Chatterbox to shut up! Clare Higgins showed that she is still feisty. It was a great time and exactly what I wanted. To get insight on the making of the film and find out that they aren’t deeply disturbed people after all. This is exactly what I was missing on Friday. Meeting a few people and learning something or two from the Q & A’s. The human element.
All that’s left are the movies I got on this second day.
-Bloodstalkers (1976) – crazy stuff in the woods. Might be crap or might surprise me
-Manhattan Baby (1982) – Lucio Fulci
-Mr. Hush (2012)
-Night Warning (1982) – A mystery of some kind. Don’t know where to begin with it.
-One Dark Night (1983) – A girl’s initiation; with possibly a ghost and Adam “Batman” West. Was on my list! Thank you!
-Scream For Help (1986) – sounds similar to “The Stepfather,” yet it was apparently made a year earlier. Directed by Michael Winner of “Death Wish” fame and “Death Wish 2/3” infamy. Curiously, there is a single quote that comes from him… “It is one of the most terrifying scripts I’ve ever read…”…You are not supposed to quote your own movie on the box! However, I enjoy all the “Death Wish” films and don’t see major problems in his directing. Hope I feel the same way here.
-Torso (1973) – Italian slasher/Giallo film. Was cut for VHS release in the United States and is now uncut on DVD.
-To All a Goodnight (1980) – Apparently, the first Christmas slasher film with a killer dressed in a Santa suit. Directed by David Hess, one of the psychos from “Last House on The Left.”
This was Saturday. And I had reason go back on Sunday. For those other hard-to-find movies the one vendor might find and the raffle for the Jason bust.
(That music once more)
I arrive at the convention for a third consecutive day. First time doing this. I swear, if I knew what this convention was going be like, I should have gotten a room. That’s if I could afford a room. I meet up with the vendor who might have found those movies from my list. He didn’t. He wasn’t able go through his stuff. It’s okay. No big deal. He offered a movie free, but he didn't have to do that. I insisted on picking two movies for $10. And the movies are:
-Phenomena (1985) – Dario Argento. It’s time to replace the VHS.
-Prophecy (1979) – An inside/out bear mutated by a polluted ecosystem. Not great, but why not?
While waiting for the raffle, I make a few more rounds to all the vendors and discover one more movie from my list. What a pleasant surprise! And that movie is:
-Death Nurse (1987) – Deadly nurse killing patients and their life savings. Looks like a campy good time. Thank you for having this!
In the end, the last two conventions have proved that my list of hard-to-find movies may not be that important. I have not found too many of them. Instead, I discovered movies I read about, re-discovered overlooked/forbidden movies from the VHS days, and was forced to blind-buy a lot movies I knew nothing about that weren’t bad. Most of these movies have proven to be above-average or better.
There are vendors with photos from various movies and movie art such as drawings. There was a drawing of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and Leatherface playing cards. It really spoke to me. It looked realistic, whereas another one with the addition of Chucky was more cartoonish. They both spoke to me. Somebody drew these. Probably inspired by that famous painting of dogs playing cards. I was inspired by it, too, and wrote such a premise years ago. Wrote the “Horror Talk” series and did four episodes with Michael, Jason, Freddy, Chucky, Pinhead and Leatherface playing poker. Somebody drew such an idea, and I wrote it. The way they got a long and didn’t get alone. It’s a small but important achievement I’ll always be proud of and I bought the realistic drawing. It looks so nice.
All that’s left is the raffle for the “Scares That Care” charity. I waited for it begin and got a little bit anxious. What if I did win? I’ve never directly won anything in my life. Not outside of a videogame. That bust of Jason is kind of cool. Finally, It’s time for the raffle. The number on my ticket is 734437. The guy calls out the winning ticket: 7-3-4-4…….7-0. I have no idea if I was close to winning. How far do those numbers go? It doesn’t matter. I already won this weekend. Got more movies to keep me occupied. Got a brand new video store in my room now to keep the nostalgia away. I left the convention and that's it.
I’ve thought about it, and maybe I can cover these brand new movies. I still don’t feel like writing full-length reviews again and doing all the homework that comes with it. But I could do a review thread and write shorter reviews. Have some fun with them and share them.
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