Monday, May 2, 2011

Chills & Thrills

It was a Chiller Theater expo weekend for me, attending the trade show they held at the Parsippany Hilton Friday through Sunday. While I did  go on Saturday, I actually didn't pay to go in that day. While $25 was fine to see everything they had, I knew I'd be going on Sunday too and it didn't seem they had that much that I'd actually be willing to pay $50 to view.

So on Saturday I walked around the lobby where they had a few vendors set up as well as a number of celebrities available for photo ops. Some had the most tenuous relationships to horror, such as Hal Linden from "Barney Miller." Maybe he was in some movie I'm not familiar with, but obviously the old '70s cop show was his true claim to fame and the banner behind him only proclaimed that.

It actually seems sad, in a way, to see these old movie and TV stars, hanging out and trying to grub $20 to $30 a pop on signatures and photos. Didn't they save any money during their careers where they didn't have to be reduced to this?

There was quite an assortment of "interesting" people attending the show. You gotta love all the women who feel it's required to wear bustiers and miniskirts to these shows. Of course, not everyone who wears these outfits should wear them, which in itself was entertaining. I've also heard these shows are best described as "black t-shirt conventions" and I can see why (and I was guilty too): almost everyone had on some variation of black. Leather was also in vogue. As NoahFentz commented to me, it's like spending a day at Wal-Mart.

Anyway, I hung around for awhile looking for Johnny Thunder, hoping he'd be wearing his Hauntcast t-shirt (as I was) or laughing at something with his distinctive laugh so I could track him down. Then I began feeling like a stalker so after creepily hanging by the entrance for awhile I left. I had a much better time failing miserably at lawn mower engine repair when I got home and working some more on my basement finishing project.

On Sunday I met up with FrightGuy from Grimlock Manor -- well, once he figured out where the back of the hotel was! I also made a point of wearing a light colored shirt this day (FrightGuy had his Hauntcast tee on this day!).

We did a once-over of the show floor and he got to meet and have his photo taken with Charlotte Lewis, who was apparently in Golden Child and Embrace of the Vampire (I pulled the photo from the Grimlock Manor blog). As she was signing her photo for him, she asked FrightGuy whether I was his friend or his dad. Ouch! Damn, did you get the number of that bus that old hag was driving as she ran over me?

As we were walking through the lobby, I noted that some woman that walked past us looked just like Loni Anderson. As it turns out, it was Loni Anderson! She's a lot more petite in person than she appears on TV though all of her other, um, assets remained the same. She also had a phalanx of hardcore protectors who would stick a hand in front of your camera and harangue you if you tried to take her picture without ponying up $20 or $30! All the other stars allowed you to take candid photos of them sitting at their tables without having fingers show up in the frame.

A few other notables that were there included Michael Gross (Tremors), Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster of The Munsters -- "live and in person!"... what else would he be?), Ernest Borgnine (Willard, now him I was surprised he was "live"), and Viveca Fox (Kill Bill, oofa!).

We toured some of the vendor booths and while there were a lot of DVD, toy, and movie poster vendors, there were a few that actually made some decent pieces of art. Dellamorte & Co., for example, made some nice relief pieces that I thought about using as molds to make appliques for tombstones and such.

Another favorite vendor was Terry Cruikshank Creations who made some terrific resin figures of horror characters and celebrities from the horror world. FrightGuy liked his Michael Jackson Wolfman character, while I liked his zombies, one of which was the half body woman corpse from the first episode of The Walking Dead (that's me giving her a kiss).

The show itself was pretty good and I was able to get some ideas for my haunt. For example, I liked the pose of a particular zombie figurine and will try to incorporate that into a prop I'll build. Rather than just standing erect with arms outstretched, the upper torso was twisted a bit ad seemed more "natural" for a zombie pose. Of course, since I'm shooting for a 12th century monastery theme how exactly I'll incorporate a zombie like that into it remains to be seen.

Definitely the best part was hanging out with FrightGuy, talking haunting and Halloween, and of course, drinking some beer. You can see another review of the show over on the Grimlock Manor blog.


  1. Cool write-up, Rich. I ended up making last minute plans and not going.

  2. Haha! I knew I could put that $25 to better use, like buying more beer! Catch you around another convention.


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