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I think it's been over 10 years since Fangoria had a show in Chicago.  Even over the last few years, there were remarks and rumors that they would be coming back, but nothing seemed to happen.  And after the last few Fango shows that were here, it really wasn't something to get that excited about.  So after all this time, were they going to be able to do the Windy City justice and put on a decent show?  Read on to find out.

For us, we had a great time.  We sold a lot of books, we met and chatted with a lot of cool fans, and got to hang out with some of our convention buddies that we only see at shows.  So for us, it was awesome.  But hearing a lot complaints from other dealers and customers, I didn't want my review of the show to be one sided, making it sound like the show was great for everyone, just because it was for us.

In the beginning, the only real guest they had, that could really draw the crowds in from outside the city, was George Romero.  But the closer it came to the show, they started to add more and more decent guests, including director Alexandra Aja, cult favorite Alice Krige, Stuart Gordon, and even Michael Rooker.  So by the time it was show time, they really had pulled together a decent list of guests.

Mick Garris was there to promote his Masters of Horror series.  Along with him, was director Stuart Gordon and his long time contributing writer, Dennis Paoli.  While they did have a Q&A panel, they seemed to spend most of their time at their table in the dealer room.  There were times when there was a few people in line to get stuff autographed, and then other times, hardly at all.  But all of them were very approachable and happy to talk to their many fans that were coming over to them.  One of the highlights for me was at the end of the show on Sunday, when Gordon came over talked about missing the old poster art from the 60's and 70's, while he was going through the foreign posters that we were selling.  Gordon is such a personable and friendly guy, not to mention being a big fan of the genre.  And to think people figured he was in it for the money....

We were only able to catch a few minutes of the SLITHER panel, but what we did see, it seemed like it was pretty fun.  Director James Gunn was a very funny guy.  Plus, the rest of the cast that was there all seemed to be having fun as well, and happy to be there.  When someone asked Gunn if he had seen NIGHT OF THE CREEPS before writing this movie, since there are a few similarities.  He said that he hadn't seen it, but really had 'ripped off' (using his term) Cronenberg's SHIVERS more than anything, when it came to the slug creatures.

We also were only able to catch a few minutes of the SILENT HILL panel on Sunday.  But it was great to see cult star Alice Krige up on the stage.  We've been a fan of hers since GHOST STORY.  Even though the movie itself isn't the greatest, we've always enjoyed her work.

But, like any show run by Creation, it wasn't long before there were problems.  Now, I have to admit, we had pretty close to the best tables at the show.  So I can't personally complain about that.  But for those poor bastards who's tables were in the lower dealer room, I feel for you.  The few dealers that I talked to over the weekend told me that they really didn't have a lot of people coming in there.  But I think about 1/2 the dealers down there were actually independent filmmakers, there to promote their film.  Even the main dealer room really didn't have that many dealers, but a lot of celebs and guest tables.  So for us, it couldn't have been better.  But that just means that for the paying customer, the variety of products for them to browse is lessened considerably.   For me, a good dealer's room really is 1/2 the reason that I go to a show.

In true Creation form, when we were trying to find out what time the dealer room opened on Saturday, it really depended on who you asked.  We heard 10am.  We heard 9am.  And the best of all, we heard, "I don't know."  This was not just for Saturday, but for Sunday, and also when we tried to find out when the dealer room was closing each night.  The ended up opening the dealer room at 8:40am on Saturday, because of the 'huge line'.  Which for us, since we were there, was fine.  But what about those dealers that were told that they room wasn't opening up until 9am or even 10am.  That's just bad organization.  You'd think that after doing shows for 30 years that they might have that stuff figured out ahead of time.  Guess not.

So on a good note, they did have a huge line.  When we got there at 8am, the line was already down the hall, spilling out into the lobby.  As a dealer, that's a great sign.  Since they really don't do that much advertising except in their magazine and website, it always amazing me how Fangoria really does seem to draw the crowds.

Which brings us to another problem.  There were people who paid for both those preferred and gold seating tickets who didn't get a chance to get anything autographed by some of the guest panels.  The celebs had to leave to catch planes and such, leaving a huge line of very disappointed people.  And if I would have paid $120, or even $60 and didn't get my HENRY poster signed, I would feel pretty cheated.  I understand why they do that with the tickets, mainly to make the extra cash.  But I think there should be an easier way to organize that, where people have a better chance to get something signed, without having to pay that money for 'a chance'.  Or if they are scheduling these guests to basically fly in and out, then just have them spending time pre-signing a shitload of posters and tell people that they won't be doing any personal signings, but you'll get a pre-signed poster.  At least the people would know ahead of time.  But, until I start running my own show, I guess we'll have to wait.

So overall, as we mentioned before, we had a blast.  Being from the Chicago area, we will always try to promote and encourage any local shows...as long as they are done well.  Fango/Creation have already set a date for next year, this time being a 3-day show.  As long as they keep coming back to Chicago, and we have fun there, we'll keep doing the shows.  And I'd like to hope that maybe Creation would improve the way they run these shows.  But I've been to too many of them over many years.  And to think that it just plain crazy.  But in the meantime, we know that for a great time at a show, we can always depend on both the Cinema Wasteland and the Flashback Weekend shows for a great time.


GEORGE ROMERO

        

 

SLITHER PANEL
DIRECTOR JAMES GUNN, ACTORS ELIZABETH BANKS, NATHON FILLION,
MICHAEL ROOKER, GREGG HENRY, JENNA FISCHER

           

 

ALEXANDRE AJA

     

 

SILENT HILL PANEL
DEBORAH KARA UNGER, LAURIE HOLDEN, ALICE KRIGE

           

 

MASTERS OF HORRORS PANEL
MICK GARRIS, STUART GORDON, & DENNIS PAOLI