I’ll never forget my first time, man. I was barely a teenager. After what (even at that young age) seemed like years of anticipation, the time had come for me to become a man. I put on my best outfit (a black T-shirt with a glow-in-the-dark Frankenstein iron-on) and set out for back then what was to be the experience of a lifetime — the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors. What the hell did you think I was talkin’ about, you friggin’ perv?
Even at 35, when it comes time to go to a horror convention, I still get that wide-eyed excitement. This year’s con was no different. What was there NOT to be excited about? Clive Barker, a Psycho sequel reunion, and then there was the hook — a Night of the Living Dead 40th Anniversary reunion featuring most of the surviving cast and, of course, the Godfather himself, George A. Romero! Folks, it just gets no better!
Friday started with a smile for the Dread crew because we immediately ran into our brothers-in-arms and fellow horror junkies, Rob G., Spooky Dan, Ryan Rotten, and Brian Collins. Everyone was in great spirits so this meant one thing — the con was gonna be fun, and the after-show activities (or at least what we would remember of them) would be pretty damned stellar too. It was immediately off to the vendors’ room. This place was just massive. The entire area as far as the eye could see was littered with horror paraphernalia of all sorts. If it was out there and you were looking for it, chances are you’d find it somewhere in here. The best part? Honestly I was shocked at how many celebs had tables. This was pretty unusual for a Fangoria show, but the presence of star power definitely lent a lot to the overall accessibility and warm feeling that was often absent in past Weekends of Horrors. Most everyone was out in full force, and fans were ecstatic.
Everywhere you looked folks were having a good time, and how could you not with the likes of Sid Haig, Ken Foree, Andrew Divoff, William Forsythe, and others around greeting fans who were grinning from ear to ear? The hijinx had already begun, and it actually pained me to leave the party atmosphere and head on over to the equally as enormous panel room. But hey! There was business to conduct! Tons of news was set to come pouring out of the con, and this was the room it was going to happen in. For a complete list of the weekend’s scoops, click here.
Before we knew it, Friday had come to an end, and after a long night of partying (aw yeah, mama), most of us weren’t ready for the monster day that Saturday was going to be. This was without question the day of the Bay. Anchor Bay was omni-present in both the vendors’ room and the panel area. The dude they had working the crowd, Jonathan, is nothing short of a force of nature, man! He had people screaming for free DVD’s like I haven’t seen in some time. This was all leading up to their big panel of the day for the upcoming flick Brutal Massacre, which has one of the biggest damned genre casts I have ever seen. We’re talking names like David Naughton, Brian O’Halloran, Gerry Bednob, Ellen Sandweiss, Ken Foree, and Gunnar Hansen to name a few. After some very funny clips from the film, worlds collided. Gunnar and Ken began tussling. Thankfully O’Halloran (of Clerks fame) was on hand to settle the big men down. Without question this was one of the two absolute highlights of the day!
The second one would be later in the evening when Rob G. of Icons of Fright would host the Psycho sequel reunion and show footage from his upcoming doc. Just looking at the stage, you knew you were seeing something special. The discussion was beyond engaging with the respect shown to the material and the talent truly heartfelt. Hitch would have been proud! Kudos to Rob for his stellar work moderating. You did us proud, bro!
Other Saturday highlights included a talk with some of the talent behind Fear Itself, some intimate time with Clive Barker and the great Angus Scrimm, Shawnee Smith and Missi Pyle, followed by Reggie Bannister and his band, rocking out at Fango’s staple Ice Cream Event, and the announcement that Sid Haig is officially running for President. Does he think he can win? Of course not! But can he piss some of the right people off along the way? You’re damned right! Our country is in the shitter for the most part, and leave it to the Captain himself to take a stand by pointing out whose asses need a boot in them! God bless ya, brother!
It was back to business on Sunday, and there was plenty of cool shit to do leading to the show-stopper, the Night of the Living Dead 40th Anniversary reunion. The vendors’ room was still buzzing as usual. The men in black from Rotten Cotten were on hand showing off not only some killer designs (seriously you NEED the Sutherland Invasion of the Body Snatchers shirt) but also The Black Devil Doll himself! Lord, I cannot wait for this flick! Also on hand and showing more than a little love were the movie’s stars Natasha Talonz and Heather Murphy. After I wiped up the drool, it was time to head on over to the After Dark HorrorFest booth for a trip through their mini-maze of terror! Pretty nifty! Nothing like a small on-site haunted house to get the old blood pumping! Before we dive into Sunday’s premiere activities, there are two more hot spots I just have to mention. Sean Clark’s Horror Shirts table and the FearWerx booth. From celebrities to exorcism kits, these two spots were must visits! Dig on their sites above, and you’ll see what I mean!
On to Sunday’s highlight reel! The first truly inspired moment of the day was the panel for Adam Gierasch and Jace Anderson’s upcoming splatter film, Autopsy, moderated by the always on his game Ryan (FIERCENESS) Rotten of Shock Till You Drop. Here’s the bottom line: Adam is a madman. Out of all the lunacy of the weekend, this panel was, no bullshit, the most fun! And as for the movie itself? OH MY GOD! The clips shown were brutally violent and packing mayhem! I’m telling ya, Autopsy is now on my must-see list for 2008! The next big thing was no question the surprise announcement that Joe Lynch is officially heading up Skipp and Spector’s The Bridge. After somersaulting(!) onto the stage, Lynch received one hell of an ovation from the fans. These three sick, sick minds are bound to cook something up that will without a shadow of a doubt be legendarily sick.
The place was buzzing, and within the hour Romero and the gang were set to take center stage for the most historical panel of the weekend. It did not disappoint. What could be said about this moment? I’m nearly at a loss for words. Night of the Living Dead has influenced and changed many lives. Myself included. This was a moment in time that would be unforgettable for many, and memories is what it’s all about, is it not? If you live in an area where they’ll be visiting this year, make sure you don’t miss it. One definite stop on the tour is Fango’s Secaucus Weekend of Horrors June 20-22.
Creation Entertainment, along with Fangoria, has been providing genre fans a platform to celebrate what we love for decades. An event in which we can revel in the depraved without judgment. Here’s to the next one! Keep kickin’ ass, guys!
Click on the teaser images below for a sampling of the weekend’s goodness, and keep an eye out for our official photo gallery coming soon!
Special Thanks to: Tony Timpone and Fangoria; Adam Malin, Amy Murphy, Monica Gillen, Ted Venemann, and the rest of the Creation staff; Joe Sena; Ed Peters; Chris Roe; and Emilie Noetzel for the great pics!
Discuss your weekend in our Dread Central forums!