Event Report: Fangoria Weekend of Horrors: Burbank 2007
Before I begin coverage, I'd just like to take a moment to extend a big get well soon to Ryan Rotten of ShockTillYouDrop.com. He fell ill the weekend of the show and was not able to make it. We missed ya, bro.
Spring wasn't the only thing in the air out in sunny Burbank, California. If you inhaled deep enough, you could smell the scent of horror emanating from the Burbank Marriott Hotel. Myself and a good portion of the Dread Central crew had shown up early Friday to make sure we didn't miss a second of the latest Fangoria Weekend of Horrors.
The opening afternoon was spent catching up with old and new friends and checking out some of our favorite vendors who were out selling cool shit in full force. Rotten Cotton was the first table we came to, and did they have some badass new designs on hand. Nobody does it better than the boys in black! Hella Shawn, Jon, Mitch -- my hat's off to ya! Make sure you hit up that link and get yourself some of their new stuff. You'll instantly gain cool points with your friends and offend every stuck-up douche bag you meet during your daily travels. Sweet.
The FearWerx booth was next on our many stops, and all I can say is wow. You want to talk about cool? Fans could get everything from a Zombie Survival Kit (thank you, Debi) to an autograph from Leatherface himself from Texas Chainsaw III, R. A. Mihailoff. There was much fun to be had at their little slice of lunacy, and on behalf of Dread Central I'd like to take a moment to extend my thanks to Joe Sena, Jack Ulrich, and Sean Decker for making DC feel so very much at home.
While there were many other tables and vendors worthy of mention such as Horror Shirts and Haunted Memories, there was one presence at the show that quite simply owned -- Anchor Bay! Turns out The Bay knows how to do a lot more than just DVD right. Onsite at an event they kick a copious amount of ass. It's almost as if there were two shows going on. In addition to their many panels at the show, the Anchor Bay booth held signings for a lot of our favorite DVD's such as the recently released Phantasm (review here), Phantasm III (review here), and of course Masters of Horror (archive here). More importantly their booth was also the headquarters of the official Hatchet Army (join here). More on that in a bit.
Inside the ballroom many panels were going on. The highlight of Friday's was the one for director Frank Darabont's The Mist (archive here). Frank, star Thomas Jane, and comic legend/creature designer Bernie Wrightson were on hand to dole out the goods on the latest Stephen King adaptation. Discussed were the trials of bringing this story to the screen and also the look of the monsters in the mist, which Wrightson described as spider-squid-odactlys. I cannot friggin' wait. With that and then a quick chat with Hellraiser's Doug Bradley, Friday came to a close. There was some rock show going on that evening, but we skipped it in the name of booze and partying.
Saturday came, and the convention was teeming with fans and for good reason. Today was the day to be there.
As I entered the room, I was happy to see a table full of ghoulishly disturbing props. Standing just behind them was filmmaker Robert Kurtzman. He was there showing off some scenes from his latest flick, The Rage (review here). Sweet jumping Jesus on a rubber crutch! This movie has it all! Mutant vultures! Gooey killers! And most importantly, in-your-face, unabashed, over-the-top, blood-splattered mayhem! The Rage reminds fans everywhere why we love this genre to begin with! This is horror served just the way it should be! Ah! The day was off to a great start! Time to hit the panels!
Eli Roth was on hand along with Hostel II (archive here) stars Vera Jordanova and Bijou Phillips. This panel was delightfully fun due in part to Roth's manic energy and infectious sense of humor. People can talk all the shit they want about this guy, but you know what? He's living the dream, and there's not one of us out there who wouldn't trade places with him in a heartbeat. The Hostel II panel was capped off with an all too brief scene that left the crowd hungry for more. That's a good thing too considering the meat of the day was just on the horizon.
At around 1:30 director Joe Lynch took the stage with stars Erica Leershen and Henry Rollins to give the crowd the first look at the opening moments of his upcoming film, Fox's Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (archive here). I've been saying there is reason for excitement regarding this flick, and the hundreds in attendance got to see why first-hand. What did you miss? Let's just say one of the greatest gore gags ever involving two mutants and two halves of a former American Idol. Hearing Joe speak about his film is like listening to your best friend talk about his favorite experience. Joe is one of us -- a true horror fan. That alone puts Wrong Turn 2 way up on my must see list of 2007. For more information visit the official Wrong Turn 2 MySpace page here!
Speaking of must sees...
There was a moment this weekend when the roof was blown off of the Marriott. That moment came during the panel for Anchor Bay's next theatrical release, Adam Green's Hatchet (review here and archive here). Are you as sick of PG-13 horror as you say you are? Do you really mean it? Then Adam Green has answered your prayers with his latest gore-fest. Green, along with stars Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Tamara Feldman, Joel David Moore, and F/X guru John Carl Beuchler, treated the audience to some of the film's kills; and everyone went apeshit. The more the blood splashed the screen, the louder the audience cheered. It was fuckin' magic, man. This September Hatchet will be unleashed in theatres everywhere. To make sure you get to see it in your town, all you have to do is take a few minutes of your time and get involved. For more details visit Hatchet's official site here, its official MySpace page here, and of course the Hatchet Army site here! Do your part or quit your bitchin'! You'll be glad you did!
After that it was the moment everyone was waiting for ... the panel for Rob Zombie's Halloween (archive here)! Rob took the stage with stars Sheri Moon Zombie, Danielle Harris, Scout Taylor-Compton, Hanna Hall, Kristina Klebe, and Daeg Faerch; and the room was buzzing. If there's anyone who can resurrect this franchise from the depths it has reached, it is Zombie. The trailer was played, the crowd was fired up, and the questions began firing hot and heavy! People in the audience who had their doubts about this latest re-visioning of the Carpenter classic had their fears quickly laid to rest as Rob and the crew did their best to answer every inquiry as honestly and informatively as they could. One of the more interesting and important questions asked during the discussion was, "Why do Halloween after The Devil's Rejects (review here)?" Not content with his answer given at the show and always wanting to make sure that fans get everything that they need, Zombie went into further detail a couple of days later in his MySpace blog, which we told you about here. August 31st cannot get here soon enough. Make sure you snag yourself the opportunity to win an official prop from Rob Zombie's Halloween by joining The Legion of Michael (story here) and be sure to visit the official Rob Zombie's Halloween MySpace site here!
That was it for Saturday, but there was still one more day of mayhem left...
Sunday started off on a much mellower note than the day before. Fans, vendors, press, and even celebs were off to a bit of a slower start because of the previous day's festivities; yet, there was a still a lot to see and do. The panels were still in full swing with Neil Marshall discussing his latest project Doomsday (archive here) along with Anchor Bay's Masters of Horror and Behind the Mask (review here and archive here), but this day belonged to one person -- Clive Barker. There's no doubt Clive is a man who knows how to captivate an audience. In fact the biggest stories of the weekend (read here) broke during his time on stage. It's great to know Clive very much intends to reaffirm his status as a true master of our beloved genre. With news of him getting back to work hard and heavy and filmmakers like Rob Zombie, Adam Green, Robert Kurtzman, and Joe Lynch all out there pumping out the horror, I left the Fango show knowing that the future of our genre is in truly capable hands. All that's left for us to do is sit back, relax, and indulge in, as Clive put it best, all the sweet suffering!
It was time to pack up, hit the road, and wait around impatiently for the next show. There's a reason Fangoria has been around so long. Despite a few hiccups here and there, they try their best to deliver to fans an experience that will last a lifetime. Here's to making some more memories!
Special Thanks To: Staci Layne Wilson, Sean "The Butcher" Smithson, Eileen Dietz, Spooky Dan, Brad Miska, Sean Clark, John Esposito, Ryan and Theresa Schifrin, Del from Dark Delicacies, Sue Procko, Krista Erickson, Ed Peters (you were in our thoughts), Chris and Diablo, Zeb and Luanne, George, Gus and his lovely wife Sommer, Todd and Emy Noetzel, Shane Churchman, T-Dog, Heather, and Emma, Eric aka "Raider Redux", boardies Nixster, MessiahMan and Ultimo Franco, and everyone else who made the weekend so special for us! You all rock!
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