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It had been about 3 years since we went to a convention just as a fan, not as a dealer.  And I think we came back more exhausted, tired, and just plain beat, compared to the shows where we were working as dealers.  Now how does that happen?  Could it be from all the constant walking around, standing in autograph lines, or just basically being on our feet most of the weekend?  I'm sure that had something to do with it.  But none the less, we had a great time.

We were at the very first Monster Mania show, back in 2003, except that time as dealers.  When they added the HELLRAISER reunion in their guest lineup for this show, we knew that we had to make the trip out to Jersey to hit this one.  And then with genre icon Lance Henriksen being there, it clinched even more so.  Of course, there were a few other names in the lineup to draw a decent crowd, including some guy named Romero.

We arrived early Friday morning and while we were waiting for the show to open up, realized just how weird it was to have to wait.  Usually as dealers, we're either too busy getting our table set up, or are already browsing around the other dealers.  But before too long, the crowd was let in.  We decided to try and get our autographs done and out of the way on Friday, which would leave most of the day Saturday to spend in the Q&A's, getting some photos.

The dealer room was a pretty good size and had plenty of stuff to tempt the money from your pockets.  One thing that I have noticed over the years, is that will all the toys and that type of collectibles have been flooding the market (and that is not a bad thing), these conventions seem to have less and less of the old fashion movie memorabilia, such as posters, stills, and the like.  Yes, there were some dealers there selling that stuff, like our buddies Ken & Pam from Cinema Wasteland.  But it seems like that type of merchandise has been replaced by toys.  Quite a few of the dealers there were selling this stuff.  And since we made a conscience (and affordable) decision not to get into collecting all those types of items, there were much less things threatening to take out money.

Of course, with all that said, when we came across this awesome replica of the title character from William Castle's THE TINGLER, we knew we had to have it.  We fought off the urge all weekend, basically because we weren't sure how we would get it back on the plane home, but had to get it Sunday.  While there was only 200 made, there might still be some left.  You can check out their website HERE and see if there's any more left.  But I know it's going to be a nice addition to my collection.  Another little monster that we also added was the hand puppet monster from THE DEADLY SPAWN, put out by Bump In The Night Productions.  While the paint job wasn't as good as it looks on their site, it still is a powerful image to have sitting in corner of your living room.  Yet another great unique item for the collection.

And like every conventions, it was nice seeing old friends there as well, such as Jill from Lix.  While we didn't get to spend much time with her at this show, we did stop by her table for little rest breaks during the show.  We also stopped by our buddies at HorrorHound magazine that were set up there as well.  In case you haven't heard me praise their magazine before, lets just say that if you're a collector,  you need to subscribe to this magazine.  It's filled with wonderful little eye candy.  And even if you're not a huge collector, it's great just seeing the kind of promo stuff that is coming out.  Check out their website HERE and send in your subscription.  You won't regret it.

Another very cool dealer there, that has been tempting us on ebay for quite some time, were the guys from Hellraiser Puzzle Box.com  They make the coolest (and best looking) replicas of the Lament Configuration from the HELLRAISER series.  They even have a rubix cube puzzle box too!  Some might be a bit pricey, but they look awesome.  So if you're a serious collection, having one of these in your collection is a must.  I know if we didn't have one of those original plastic ones from Screamin' kits, we'd be saving our money for one of them.  Check out their website HERE.

As we mentioned, the HELLRAISER 2 reunion was the main reason we were there.  And all the Cenobites were great.  It's funny, as many shows that Doug Bradley does, he still only charges $5 to sign your own stuff.  That shows that he is more there to meet fans than to make money.  And I can't give him enough credit for that.  Plus the fact that all of them were do damn friendly.  Nicholas Vince would even spend the time to doodle a little drawing of the Chatterer head with his signature.  Simon Bamford still looked pretty much the same as he did in NIGHT BREED, and you could still recognize Barbie Wilde by her eyes.  But they were all a joy to talk to.  Along with them were screenwriter Peter Atkins and makeup man Gary J. Tunnicliffe.  Atkins was also very nice and friendly, like the rest.  But Tunnicliffe was something else.  Not only was he damn funny, but he had some wonderful stories about working in the makeup field, on the HELLRAISER series and anything else that would come flying out of his mouth.  He was a riot.

Lance Henriksen, the other big draw for me, was in a separate autograph section, along with George Romero.  We've seen Romero many times before, so it wasn't that big of a deal for us.  But he still can draw the fans in, so that's always nice.  But Lance was very nice and friendly.  We whipped out our homemade still of his character of Jesse Hooker from NEAR DARK to have him sign, and he gave some fond memories of playing that role.  We would have broken out some of our posters to get signed, but at $25 a pop, that's just a little too much.  But I know that was most likely going to the promoter to pay for his appearance fee.  Too bad.  Would have loved to break out my Turkish poster for PUMPKINHEAD to see his reaction.  Maybe next time.

And even after a year of THE DEVIL'S REJECTS coming out, it's always great to see a huge line to see Sid Haig.  I know we've said this many times before, but this man truly is a cult icon, that not too many people seemed to know who he was until after HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES.  So he's always a pleasure to see.  And next to him, his co-hort in crime (in the movies) was Bill Moseley.  Moseley is another convention veteran, but can still draw in the crowd.  And I think that one of the reason is that Moseley is a fan himself.  He never gets tired of answering the same questions about the genre films that he's been associated with.  Plus he's really seems to enjoy meeting his fans.  It's attitudes like that, that really gives the fan a bonus when they walk away from their table.  Instead of feeling like a cattle moving through the pen, they feel like they've made a connection with one of their favorite stars.  And that is really what it's all about.  So kudos to Bill and Sid for that.

Usually being a dealer, one of the things that we never have the chance to do is sit through the Q&A sessions.  We usually have enough time to run in there, grab a few photos and then head back out to our table.  But this time out, we had our butt planted through most of the them on Saturday.  Long enough where I was really looking forward to getting back to walking around!  One of the first Q&A sessions was with Full Moon's Charles Band.  Yea, even I admit that most of the films that Full Moon turns out these days isn't really that good.  Most of it is crap.  But there are a few good ones in there, and let's not forget that Band was also in charge of Empire Pictures, which gave us some other classics like RE-ANIMATOR and FROM BEYOND.  And plus the fact that Band had some great stories to tell.  Joining Band on stage for a few minutes were a few actors that had previous worked with him.  First up was Tim Thomerson, who has made quite a few films with him, just with the TRANCERS and DOLLMAN series.  Thomerson talked for a few minutes and even gave us a quick look at his Charles Bronson impersonation.  Next up, Bill Moseley and Jeffrey Combs came on stage and talked about working with Empire / Full Moon.  Combs even talked about the possibility of a sequel to DR. MORDRID.

We snuck out for a few minutes and missed the Q&A with makeup legend Greg Nicotero, but made back in time for the panel on working in makeup.  That featured David Naughton, Elieen Dietz, Andrew Divoff, Richard Brooker, and Tony Todd.  They all answered questions regarding their roles and having to deal with the make up process.  This was pretty entertaining panel, other than I think Tony Todd said about 5 or 6 words throughout the whole session.  Even when a question was given to the whole panel, he wouldn't answer.  Strange.

Jeffrey Combs came out for his session and talked about everything from the RE-ANIMATOR series, and the possibility of a new entry in the series, to STAR TREK, Peter Jackson, and just about everything else.

Bill Moseley and Sid Haig came out for their Q&A, and was later joined by Diamond Dallas Page.  I've seen these guys do quite a few Q&A's over the years at many different conventions.  But that doesn't stop the fact they they are pretty damn funny guys.  They have great stories.  They have a great sense of humor.  And are entertaining just to listen to.  So they are always a treat to hear.

George Romero came out for his Q&A to a huge crowd.  I think if the fire marshals would have seem how many people were pack in that room, they would have shut it down.  And once again, it's great to see this genre icon also keep pulling in the crowds.  Though, the one bad thing is that people tend to have the same questions for him at each convention...."Is there going to be another Dead film"...and so on.  Though, someone did ask him how many of those vests he owned, which got quite a laugh from the audience.  But overall, it's always nice for Romero to see his true fan base is still out there.  Whether or not Hollywood will give him any credit, he still has loyal fans.

Next up was Lance Henriksen, yet another genre icon.  Henriksen has been in so many movies, some great, some not so great.  But he's always there giving it his all.  One of our personal favorites is NEAR DARK, which he mentioned that him and Bill Paxton would love to do a prequel at some point, to show the origins of these cold blooded killers.  I don't think Henriksen had done too many conventions or Q&A sessions, since he seemed kind of nervous being up there in front of the big crowd.  But he answered all sorts of questions from the audience, from his work on MILLENNIUM, the ALIENS movies, NEAR DARK, PUMPKINHEAD (which he just worked on one of the sequels), and many others.  One thing that he mentioned that I had never heard before, which really surprised me, was that he said he never learned how to read until his early 30's.

Now as we said, the Haig / Moseley Q&A's are always fun.  But I when the HELLRAISER 2 Q&A started, I couldn't believe how funny it was.  These guys where there to have a blast.  They answered all sorts of questions about the movies they were involved with, most of the time in a very humors way.  They also had some wonderful stories, both entertaining and informative.  One of the more interesting trival tidbits was that in the music for HELLRAISER, composer Christopher Young put in some Morse code spelling out G-O-D in the music.  These people just seemed really at ease there, and very relaxed.  So that made it one of the best Q&A sessions that I've been to.

So that ended a very long day for us.  On Sunday, we just made the last rounds through the dealer room and made any last minutes purchases that we had to have for our collection.  Snapped up a few more photos and then were on our merry way home again.  Very beat.  Very tired.  And very glad to be able to sit for a while.

Contrats to Dave Hagen for putting on great convention.  We had a lot of fun there this time, and will sure be watching his upcoming shows for some guests that will tempted us back out to New Jersey again.  Below are a few of the many photos that we took during the weekend.  Enjoy!


LANCE HENRIKSEN

              

 

GEORGE ROMERO

           

 

HELLRAISER REUNION

DOUG BRADLEY (PINHEAD)

           

BARBIE WILDE  (FEMALE CENOBITE)

        

SIMON BAMFORD  (BUTTERBALL)

        

NICHOLAS VINCE  (CHATTERER)

        

PETER ATKINS  (WRITER)

     

GARY J. TUNNICLIFFE  (MAKEUP EFFECTS)

  

 

JEFFREY COMBS

           

 

TIM THOMERSON

        

 

SID HAIG & BILL MOSELEY

           

 

DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE

  

 

TONY TODD

 

CHARLES BAND

 

ANDREW DIVOFF

     

 

DAVID NAUGHTON

  

 

RICHARD BROOKER

 

JENNIFER BAXTER