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Event Report: Weekend of Horrors – June 2008

Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors (click for larger image)**UPDATE: A ton of pics have just been added to the WoH gallery, so be sure to check it out!**
So Ryan (plagiarize), his wife Katy and I missed most of the first day of the show, having to do things like “work” and “travel” and stuff, but that in no way dampened our return to the Weekend of Horrors in Secaucus, NJ. Man, am I glad I made it, too; during the show they “>announced that the Weekend of Horrors is returning to Manhattan, the Javits Center no less, for their next show, so this could feasibly be the last chance we had to get down and dirty in Jersey!

The night was spent catching up, meeting new people, and sharing in the overall fantastic vibe that always goes down at these shows. Sure, the celebrities are cool and it’s awesome that they’re the reason we’ve gathered, but hanging out with people like Rob G. from Icons of Fright and our own Nomad is part of the entire experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

After some serious fun the previous night, I was up bright and early Saturday morning, oddly enough, because I wanted to catch Tom Noonan’s panel at 1PM (yes, that’s early for me at a con, shuttup). Noonan was great, fielding questions about his time under the Frankenstein makeup for The Monster Squad and his recent projects like House of the Devil. And man, that guy is huge; I think I’m pretty tall but he just dwarfed me!

I missed the American Zombie panel, though I hear it went quite well, because I wanted to catch Simona & Claudio Simonetti’s short film “The Dirt”, which stars the always lovely Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni. The film was very weird and pretty nasty, well worth taking our time out of the day to check out. Expect a full review soon!

Click to check out the whole WoH gallery!After that Eric Red, screenwriter of The Hitcher and Near Dark and director of Body Parts and Bad Moon, got up to talk about his return to both writing and directing, 100 Feet. Famke Jensen stars as a woman who murdered her abusive cop husband (played by Michael Pare) and gets slapped with house arrest for her troubles, unable to go more than 100 feet from her house. This becomes an even bigger hassle when her ex’s vengeful ghost shows up, none too happy about being killed.

Red showed four clips from the film, and Famke looked wonderful in every single one of them. I have full confidence that 100 Feet will satisfy genre audiences looking for something a little different while having enough appeal to impress the mainstream. And man, it’s great to have him back!

I stuck around for the Scareflix panel, hosted by Larry Fessenden and featuring the directors of I Sell the Dead, Satan Hates You and I Can See You, three of the newest films coming from Fessenden’s horror-centric production arm. It was a really fun panel as Fessenden’s great with a crowd, and each film had its moment to shine with the directors giving info about them afterwards. Look for some highlights from that panel soon!

We had asked Eric Red if he’d do an interview with us before he left, and he was more than happy to, so after the Scareflix panel we set off to get some one-on-one time. Heather Buckley, one of Dread’s secret weapons (she asks some really great questions no matter who she’s talking to and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre), did the interviewing, and the results will be up shortly. Needless to say, we monopolized the rest of Eric’s time before he had to catch his flight, bullshitting about his movies and the state of horror in general. That’s one of the aspects I love the most about this job, let me tell you!

As the day wound down, I found myself hovering more and more in the dealer room, despite its sub-zero temperatures. There was a good selection of vendors who had steady business all day Saturday and Sunday, and it was just a cool place (literally!) to unwind. That’s one aspect I won’t miss about this location, though; the vendor room is located down a long hallway, almost to the point you think you took a wrong turn somewhere, and is far too separated from the rest of the show’s goings-on. I’m sure that won’t be an issue at the Javits Center, as anyone who’s ever been there can attest to how massive that place is.

Click to check out the whole WoH gallery!The night was filled with the usual, including an impromptu visit from a man we’ve worked with behind the scenes for years, Mike Furno, who along with his friend and producing partner Mike Ahearn is always great fun. Those two are working on a very, very big project that you’re going to be hearing more about on Dread very soon, so remember those names!

Sunday began with exhaustion, as it usually does, but that didn’t stop us from trekking over to a small neighborhood deli across the road from the convention called Natoli’s. That is one aspect of Fango’s move I will miss; this place was amazing and had the most incredible food, and we’d never have known about it if it weren’t for Ryan’s desire to try something different for breakfast/lunch. We were stuffed to the gills for most of the day but loved every minute of it.

Rob G. hosted a panel for Brutal Massacre: A Comedy, the new film from Malevolence director Stevan Mena, which we made it back in time for. Anchor Bay’s putting it out on DVD July 22nd and I think you guys are going to dig this one. It’s all about the exploits of a down and out horror director (played by David Naughton) trying to make his big comeback movie and keeps looking funnier every time I see it.

Of course, Mena dished some info about Malevolence: Bereavement, the upcoming prequel that stars Michael Biehn, but you’ll be able to read more about that when I put up my one-on-one with him in a few days.

I missed the Night of the Living Dead: 40th Anniversary panel, unfortunately, but the crowd I saw in there was huge, which would be expected, and everyone said it was great. You can read all about the first of such panels in “>Creepy’s write-up of the last LA Weekend of Horrors, if you’re jonesing for it.

Click to check out the whole WoH gallery!We did make it for the author’s panel, which featured Sarah Langan (who just did a “>Dreadtime Story for us) as well as “>99 Coffins (review) writer David Wellington, Gerard Houarner, Linda Addison and Gordon Linzner. It was under attended, as these things always seem to be (for shame on you, horror fans!), but those who were there asked some really good questions and kept it moving along nicely.

Then JT Petty got up to talk about The Burrowers, though sadly without any footage to show from it. I just keep getting more and more excited for this one, mainly because JT’s a cool guy and knows his shit, so I’m pretty much in with whatever he’s doing. The fact that it’s a monster movie set in the Old West that stars Clancy Brown just makes it that much cooler. Look for some highlights from that panel soon.

Finally Ray Wise took to the stage, managing to fit in bits about his entire career in a very short amount of time. He was funny, witty, self-deprecating and looked like he really loved talking to fans about his work. I never got a chance to meet him — he had a huge line to get autographs and we had a huge drive ahead of us — but I’m sure he would’ve been just as personable one-on-one.

Click to check out the whole WoH gallery!Our day ended with the customary good-byes, most tearful and full of promises of calling and/or e-mailing. It’s kind of like the end of camp in that way, without the uncomfortable feeling of not having showered. The great thing about people you meet at cons is when they say they’ll contact you outside of the show, more often than not they mean it. That’s why I love this genre; even though we bathe ourselves in blood and guts and stories about psychotics and ghosts and just all-around bad people, we’re all pretty damn cool at the end of the day.

So another successful Weekend of Horrors is under our collective belt, significant because it’s possibly the last one we’ll see in Jersey, at least for a while. Their move back to Manhattan is long overdue, and I really can’t wait to see what they do with a space the size of the Javits Center!

Thanks to Tony Timpone, Mike Gingold, and all the Creation staff for putting on the show and letting us run wild across it! See ya next year!

Johnny Butane

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Johnny Butane