By the end of the year, Monster Mania will have banged out a total of nine shows, three in the year 2007 alone. That’s got to be some kind of record, especially when you consider that they’ve been in the same location for every show, counting on the same crowds (and eventually their friends, of course) to make the show successful.
Now that I’ve finally been to one, though, I can see how they do it.
The show is well organized, close enough to everything (like NYC) that it’s an easy drive, the hotel is perfectly laid out for the show and, most importantly, the staff are all very cool and friendly. If you’ve never been to a horror convention I really can’t tell you what an important element this is for a thriving, long-term show. The minute you start hiring bitchy trolls or those with attitudes of superiority to handle your crowds, there are going to be problems. The Monster Mania staff were all friendly and helpful and I don’t think I hear of a single fan-related incident all weekend. A good sign for continued success.
Of course, no horror show is complete without a solid guest lineup and while this show’s guest list wasn’t as cool as the Lost Boys or Monster Squad reunion like they’ve had in the past, it was still a solid rooster of kickass guests, everyone from Matthew Lillard, the headliner of the show, to Tyler Mane, the new Michael Myers, to Brad Dourif to the Crazy Babysitter Twins to P.J. Soles; you really could find a celebrity here for every kind of fan all weekend long. And the really nice thing is that while they all had their own panels, they were around to sign autographs for the entire show, too, with some exceptions, so their accessibility to fans was impressive.
The most fun panel I hit all weekend, aside from Tyler Mane discussing being the new Michael Myers (very charismatic guy, he is) was the Reunion of the Dead, which featured stars from every single Dead film; our own Kyra from Night of the Living Dead, Leonard Lies, David Emgee, Scott Reiniger, Ken Foree and Gaelyn Ross from Dawn of the Dead, Joe Pilato and Gary Klarr from Day of the Dead and Eugene Clark from Land of the Dead. Clark was MC for most of it and was entertaining as hell, even if you have heard all the stories before. I’m pissed I missed his stand up routine in the hotel’s comedy club, but man there was just too much to do when the show was over.
The nights at Monster Mania were a different kind of fun than the days, mainly because there was a lot more drinking involved. The great thing about this place is how all shows should be setup; the convention was in a hotel so you didn’t need to go anywhere to get your party on. Never had to even consider being behind the wheel of a car so there was a lot of freedom. And the hotel staff was great to us, too, I should add. I never saw a single scrap of attitude from them, either. Of course, they’ve got to be used it at this point, all those weirdos running around all weekend.
Our setup was a bit smaller than usual, I discovered, but we made do with what we had. You’d be amazed at how popular a table full of FREE SHIT is after a few minutes of the doors opening. Nomad’s got the table manning down to such a science (thanks in no small part to the help of his lovely assistant, Cara) that everyone sees the Dread Central table and knows what they’ll be getting; hourly drawings of raffle numbers that will offer them the chance to get even cooler free stuff! For a table setup for a website that didn’t even have a laptop on it to show off the site with (I wasn’t sacrificing mine, that’s for sure!), we did damn good this weekend! Now if only we could find a way to sell stuff, too…
Speaking of selling, the vendors were actually pretty varied at this show, more so than I’ve seen in a while. I actually found a lot of great stuff wandering the floor, when usually it’s the same old same old row after row. Handmade figures from the guy at Grindhouse Movie Posters (see ‘em here), HorrorHound Magazine, some very cool shirts from all sorts of companies like Fright Rags and Fear Werx, the freaks who make Teddy Scares, tons and tons of movies; much like the famous people there was something for everyone in the dealers room, too. Money was a necessity.
Some minor problems did go down, the show wasn’t flawless, but it was the kind of thing you see at shows a lot. Mainly the ATM breaking down on Saturday night and not being able to get fixed on Sunday, which was one of the biggest deterrents from people buying stuff for obvious reasons. That’s the kind of thing no one can expect or really plan for, but the staff handled it as well as they could. Besides, it’s not like you couldn’t drive 10 minutes to another ATM anyway!
All in all it was a great show and I can’t wait to make the massive trek again (worth every over-priced gallon of gas if you ask me) for the August show, which will focus on Halloween and it’s many incarnations in celebration of the release of Rob Zombie’s Halloween the following Friday. Click here for all the details on that show!
Of course I would be remiss to not point out all the badass companies who lent us their swag for giveaway. They’re too numerous to name here so I’ll just let the graphic do the talking.
Thank you from all of us at Dread Central and we had better see you at Monster Mania 9!
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