When it comes to horror conventions, we here at Dread Central are pretty damned jaded. We always make it a point to show up to party and even give away tons of free stuff at events all over the country. Speaking personally, during my convention going tenure I thought I had seen it all. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to be wrong.
This past weekend the 2nd annual Monsterpalooza show was held at the Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel in Burbank, California. Having heard unbelievably good things about Monsterpalooza’s debut show last year (which I sadly missed), I was more than geared up to drink in the con’s sights and sounds. There was no amount of preparation that could have gotten me and the Dread Central gang in attendance ready for what we were about to experience.
When we arrived at the convention center, there was a line pretty much around the block to enter the show. This is always a good sign as LA area events tend to be a tad on the tame side. Thankfully we were able to slide right in, and what’s the first thing we see? A life-sized statue of Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s Monster. Then to our immediate left was the werewolf from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. Then there was … well, pretty much anything that you could imagine. Creatures were blissfully bountiful, and it was at that moment that we realized we were home.
Horror conventions, with the exception of a few shining stars on the road and abroad, have all become kind of stale and redundant. Show up. Buy some cool shit. Spend half your day standing in line for autographs. Get tanked at the bar. Go home. Sadly it’s all very homogenized now, probably because there are so many of these events happening everywhere. Monsterpalooza show-runner Eliot Brodsky (interview here) knows this all too well and set out to create something a bit different. Check out our exclusive interview with him for some insight into the method of his madness.
What sets Monsterpalooza apart from many conventions is that at its heart it is not about celebrity guests (though there were plenty in attendance like Ken Foree, Eileen Deitz, R.A. Mihailoff, and even Jonathan Winters(!)). This show is not about them. It’s about monsters and the people who make them. Artists, movie enthusiasts, make-up technicians, you name it. If they brought a beast to life somehow, some way, they were somewhere in the building and as accessible as possible to the fans who love their work.
There was just activity everywhere, man! Live make-up demonstrations and lectures happening in the panel rooms. Hero props used in films for you to really get a good look at. Original works based upon our favorite movies. And of course, if you had your cash ready (and who doesn’t at these shows?), there were dozens of vendor tables waiting to sell you your next prized possession including mainstays like Rotten Cotton, who unveiled a ton of new designs, and Joe Sena’s FearWerx, which had a pretty damned incredible classic horror/sci-fi toy exhibit in tow.
Then there was something that just cannot be described with words alone: the Monsterpalooza Museum. Let me say this … After just thirty seconds in this incredible area, it made me feel the kind of wonder that I had experienced when I first saw these beasties as a little kid. Imagine standing eye-to-eye with The Creature from the Black Lagoon or Peter Cushing or even Blacula for god’s sake! It nearly made me teary, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. This was the meaning of the word “fun”. It was as if a part of me that had been sleeping for way too long just woke the hell up and yelled, “It’s about damned time! Welcome back!” That feeling is what Monsterpalooza is all about.
With his show Eloit Brodsky may well have changed the face of the horror convention for some time to come. When this event comes around again, even if you’re not in the California area … come out and get a hotel. Every genre fan both young and old should experience this delicious slice of monster mayhem at least once. Me? I’m already planning on being first in line next year. Bravo, Mr. Brodsky. Bravo.
Enough talk! Click the image below for our Monsterpalooza gallery and dig on the two videos below from our own horror chick Heather Wixson and Brian “Dreads” Smith! Just try and not geek out at least a little bit!
Got news? Click here to submit it!
Recapture magic in the Dread Central forums.