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Copyright © Kitley's Krypt
2013 RONDO AWARD
I have been going to conventions for over 20 years, hitting about 4-5 each year. And through all those years, Iíve never, ever been sick. Not once. That is until the HorrorHound Weekend that took place this last March 25th to the 27th. A couple of weeks prior to the show, I had gotten a sinus infection that get every now and then and went to the doctor to get some drugs. And after a couple of weeks, thinking it was gone, the Tuesday before the show, it came back with a vengeance. So I went back again to get some more drugs, hoping that they would at least start to kick in before the show. Granted, one thing that you need to help your body heal itself is get some rest. And going to a 3-day horror convention is not going to accomplish that. At least not for me.
Last yearís Indy show, HorrorHound had the problem of actually having too many people show up. At one point, the fire marshal stopped letting people in the room. But this year, they corrected all of that. They basically took over the whole hotel, dividing the show up into several rooms. But the rooms where big enough that everyone and everything was easy to find. They had the guests in both the main dealerís room, as well as the Mask-Fest room, which is a good way to distribute the crowd. And it seemed to work really well. And they had plenty of Q&A sessions, which is a big improvement over the past shows.
One of the first Q&Aís that I stopped into was with Steve Johnson, who used to be one of the top make-up artists in the business. During his little talk, I found out that he had retired back in 2005, which I never had heard before. After working in the business for 30 years, getting screwed over by one too many directors apparently got to be too much for him, which I can totally understand. He quit the business entirely and started to write. But when he started spewing some serious hatred towards director Guillermo del Toro, I was kind of taken back. Never before have I heard anyone speak so poorly of del Toro, or at all for that matter, but the stuff coming out of Johnson was just terrible. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and Johnson did work with del Toro on BLADE 2 (which he said ended up costing him $300,000 out of his own pocket), but was just surprised to hear this. Iím sure that del Toro is a perfectionist when it comes to his films, which one couldnít blame him for that, so maybe that could come off as being an asshole. But some of the stuff that del Toro has done, like holding out on HELLBOY until the studio agreed to cast Ron Pearlman in the lead, shows that he is not just about the money. So while we are all entitled to our own opinion, just thought that wasn't really called for.
The next panel we caught some of the Slasher panel, with consisted of Ted White (Jason from FRIDAY THE 13th: THE FINAL CHAPTER), Bob Elmore (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2), Wayne Doba (THE FUNHOUSE), Peter Giuliano (THE PROWLER), and Derek McKinnon (TERROR TRAIN). Each of them had some great stories from working as the killer in famous slasher films. They also gave some interesting insight to just how hard that role can be, like trying to act out a scene while carrying a 70 lb. chainsaw around, or trying to kill a girl to the directorís approval while waist deep in a cold swimming pool. But the real highlight was when Ted White told the audience that he has never met fans like horror fans. And more importantly, that they should continue to be who they are and be proud. Coming from an old stunt man, with 50 years in the business, it was a very nice sentiment. And while some fans would say that these guys aren't really celebrities because they are just guys behind the masks, I could agree somewhat. Sure, don't think their autograph is worth $20, but I do think that these guys are underrated and do deserve some attention and respect for what they do, that for the most part goes totally unnoticed. Not to mention that these guys have the best stories of working on the set.
The KILLER KLOWN panel was also entertaining as well as enlightening. Once again, we learn just how hard it can be being a stunt man, even if you are just a guy in a clown costume. Trying to do something as simple as walking, or driving an invisible car, can be very dangerous. So the next time you see someone at a show that makes their living as a stunt man, make sure you thank them for their hard work.
With all the shows that Iíve been too, it is not too often that I get really excited about a guest. There arenít too many more horror icons left that would have me developing a case of the celebrity palsy. But when HorrorHound announced that Barbara Steele would be attending the show, I could feel my hands cramping up. Steele definitely is one of those icons. Working with so many of the genreís top directors, from Mario Bava to David Cronenberg, she had definitely made an impact on the genre. Not to mention that I am big fan of her work. So it was a real honor to be able to meet her at the show, and have her sign my Mexican lobby card from THE HORRIBLE DR. HITCHCOCK. It was definitely a good day.
Another group of guests that I was excited to meet was the cast of Lucio Fulciís HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY, some of them making their first convention appearance. Catriona MacColl, Silvia Collatina, Dagmar Lassander, Carlo De Mejo, and Giovanni Frezza were all there to celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of my favorite movies. Even more exciting was that I had the opportunity to write the HOUSE retrospect for the special HorrorHound convention issue. All of the guests had different genre credits, even Collatina and Frezza who were both young children during their film career. During the Q&A panel, there were some great stories about working with Fulci, working on Italian films in general, and how the dubbing can really change the film. They really seemed to not only having a great time, but thrilled and honored that this film they made so long ago is still being enjoyed by fans today.
One guest that was almost right across from us was the legendary artist Ed Repka. Now, while we are not a huge following of his work, we know his reputation from his work on heavy metal album covers, not to mention the work heís done for HorrorHound. He is one talented man. And even more so, when our good friend and artist Putrid went over to talk to Mr. Repka, only to find out that he knew of Putridís work, needless to say, a friendship was born. Hearing praise from someone inside your own line of work is always nice, but coming from someone like Repka can put one at a loss for words. And for that to happen to Putrid, is saying quite a lot!
One of the last minute additions to the show was Andrew Robinson, another guest that weíve never had the chance to meet before. I was excited to add his name to my HELLRAISER poster. Robinson was super nice, but what really caught me off guard was how much he looked like British actor Jim Broadbent. Maybe it was just me.
I didnít do too much shopping at this show, mainly since I was either busy watching my table or running off to get some photos during the Q&A sessions. But one thing that I did pick up was a print from artist Daniel Horne. Horne was the artist responsible for the amazing cover of HorrorHound # 27, with Vincent Price from THEATER OF BLOOD. We headed to his table to pick up a print of that artwork. But when we got there, it was another print of Price that grabbed our attention. It was an incredible piece of Price from THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES, one of my favorite Price films. It looked like a photograph. So I knew I had to have that in my collection, knowing how great it would look in a nice matted frame.
Now, anybody who has been to a convention knows there are usually people walking around in costumes. HorrorHound is no different. But usually you see the usual Jason and Freddy outfits. So much to my surprise as Iím walking back into the dealerís room, when I see Coffin Joe standing there. This guy not only had the costume down and even the long nails, but he actually looked like a young Coffin Joe! So I asked to take his photo, which he happily agreed. A friend of mine introduced me to this incredible doppelganger, only to find out that it was Ray Castile. Not only a huge monster fan and collector, but he was also the guy that played Coffin Joe in the flashback sequence in EMBODIMENT OF EVIL. He also made a very entertaining video called The Blind Date of Coffin Joe. Head over to his website, by clicking HERE, where you can not only see his huge collection of monster toys, but also his diary report of when he went to Brazil to work on EMBODIMENT. It is a great read and very interesting.
Of course, as always, one of the biggest reasons that we enjoy these conventions so much was getting to see our friends that we only seemed to see at events like this. This time around, we got to meet some online friends for the first time. From meeting our fan and friend from Texas, April, who was making it out to her first HorrorHound (which I donít think will be her last) to a fellow contributor to the infamous Horror 101 book, J. Luis Rivera, who came all the way from Mexico to experience his first horror convention. And again, we really hope this is only the beginning for him as well. Seeing old friends, or meeting online friends for the first time, and all the new friends that we meet at each and every show, is really what these conventions are about. Being able to be yourself and be amongst other like minded fans is just a great time, no matter what. So even sick as a dog through most of the weekend, it well worth the trip. One that we wouldn't have missed for the world. These conventions really are our little escape from reality.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table, even if was just to chat. That is one thing that we never get tired of.
LAID TO REST 2 PANEL
'80s SLASHER PANEL
KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE PANEL
HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH PANEL