japanesedream_72: (morticia)
[personal profile] japanesedream_72
Well, another Monster-Mania is in the can. ^_^

This time, the only family member who could make it was my brother, Mark, who was accompanied by his girlfriend, Jennifer. Nice gal. ^^ They stayed at my place Fri. night (8/17), so we could set off early Sat. morning (the 18th). We chatted & watched tv & checked up on the Facebook commentary about the Fri. night portion of the convention. There was some disappointment expressed at some of the autograph prices, which made us a bit nervous, but we weren't deterred.

As it takes me ages & ages to get ready for anything, I got up early & got myself together. A coat of paint, a slap of powder, a little steam, shut off the lights & fans (it's been warm here lately), & we were on our way! But first, a stop at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.


Backed up by a little Bob Marley music, we made our way to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, where they hold the NJ edition of the convention every year. The conventions run for 3 days, but Saturdays are the most crowded, largely because all the events - such as movie screenings & celebrity Q&A panels - happen on that day. So parking is a bit of a hassle, to say the least. But we got lucky & found a spot without too much trouble.

The Batmobile was out front this time!


It's been there before, but this is the first time I got a decent picture of it. Last time, they had one of the cars from Christine.

There was a bit of a line to get in, but we didn't need to wait very long. There were already convention-goers lined up for...I think it was the cast members from The Walking Dead, though Norman Reedus hadn't arrived yet. It was just after 10:00, & he was slated to be there at 1:00, I guess due to his filming schedule. But there was lots to see & do until then, so we went in & scoped everything out, getting the lay of the land, so to speak, finding out who was situated where, & what was available, in terms of merchandise & the like.

One of these years, I am going to get brave enough to just film myself walking through the place, to give everyone a real sense of what it's like to be there. I'm not at a point yet where I can do that, but I hope to be, one day. ^_^ In the meantime, this will give you a smidge of an idea...& yeah, we saw a bunch of those dressed-up folks the day we were there (I just didn't get pics of all of them):


But back to my own experience. Neal DeConte from Horror Idols (http://www.fromdusktillcon.com/content/interviews/1640-interview-neal-deconte-horror-idols), & who also manages Amelia "Night of the Demons" Kinkade, was set up at a stall just inside the entrance. He saw me & said hi, asked how I was doing. We usually stop & chat with him, so it's not a total surprise he recognised me, tho' it always makes me glad to be remembered. ^_^ I regret a bit now that I didn't stop a little longer to talk to him, or ask about Amelia, but I hope to see him next convention. It would be nice if she came back, too, schedule permitting. They're both quite nice people, & she's a lot of fun.

We flitted about, checking out everything - it was my Jennifer's first time at one of these, so I know it can be a bit overwhelming - & after a bit, deciding to find some stars to meet.

As it was still early, not too many tables were crowded, tho' the big thing at this convention (each one has a main focus or theme) was the Hellraiser cast reunion - thus, the staff members' shirts, which always feature a quote from the film being focused on, proclaiming, a la Pinhead, "We have such sights to show you" - & I did see Doug Bradley, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last year (you can see pics & read the write-up on that convention here: http://japanesedream.livejournal.com/398218.html), had quite a line already.

To sidetrack for a moment, Clive Barker, the mastermind behind Hellraiser, was slated to be at the convention, but he had to cancel, as he was not yet well enough to travel after having been in a coma (http://www.locusmag.com/News/2012/02/clive-barker-awakens-from-coma/). He posted a sweet note of apology & signed photos for all the VIP ticket holders, & there was a box near the entrance marked "Cards for Clive". I wish I'd thought to bring one.

But back to the adventure at hand...one of the people I'd had my sights set on was actor, stuntman, director, & effects wizard Tom Savini (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Savini). And there weren't that many people at his table!

I was a bit uneasy about what he might be charging, given the Facebook comments we saw about pricing gripes, but Mark checked it out, & it proved to be the standard $20, including a personal photo. I get nervous meeting these people (star-struck, I guess; plus, I'm a socially-awkward person, in general), & I never know what to say most of the time (tho' sometimes, I have a plan, but not often), so I figure being polite is the best & easiest way to go. So I just said hi to Mr. Savini & told him I was a great admirer of his work. I shook his hand, & asked him if he'd sign my book, which he seemed pleased to do.

You could choose a picture from the table to be signed (sometimes they have other things at celebs' tables, like DVD's & such), or - as in my case - bring your own item. I brought "The Zombies That Ate Pittsburgh", a book about the movies of George Romero, such as "Night of the Living Dead", "Dawn of the Dead", "Creepshow", & "Martin". As Mr. Savini has worked on many Romero films, there is a section of the book devoted to him & his effects, & I'd thought it would be nice to have him sign the last page of that section, esp. given that there's lots of room. He asked if I'd singled out that page, & I said I had, because it was the section detailing him & his F/X work. He then said, re: his signature, "So I can make it nice & big," which, as you can see, he did. ^_^


I asked if I could get a photo with him, & he said, "Sure," & I get the impression he is quite a nice guy who really does like meeting fans. Many or most of the guests I've seen at these conventions give off that sort of vibe. That's one of the nicest things about Monster-Mania, that kind of intimate informality.


I got to play photographer for several people this time around. You know, when you ask someone to take a photo of you - I was that someone for a few convention-goers. The first was a young man who asked if I'd photograph him with Mr. Savini. He had these cool heads on his table, which I wanted to get in the shot, & Mr. Savini (without my mentioning it) made sure they were standing close to the heads so I could do that. When it came time for me to get my shot with him, he did the same. My brother kindly took the photo of us, heads included. As I left, I said it was nice to meet Mr. Savini, & he said it was a pleasure.

Riding high on that, my brother decided to get one of his celebs down, Carl Weathers, co-star of the original Predator, & "Apollo Creed" in the Rocky movies (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlbKn8_p3vk). We had to go upstairs for his signing, where they sat us in a room, I guess letting a few people in at a time. One of the security guys (not the one we met when John Carpenter was a guest) said he'd seen me before, & I said I'm kind of a veteran of these things (I think it's my 5th or 6th convention now). We hung out with my brother for a bit, & they were letting other people in, but the room was kind of full, & us gals felt a bit bad that we were taking up seats for people who wanted to meet Mr. Weathers, so we said we'd meet my brother later, & went to check things out downstairs, like merch, & whether or not Kevin Alejandro (Jesus from True Blood) had arrived yet (he hadn't when we checked the room earlier - he was set up at the same table where I'd met Anders Hove in March - http://japanesedream.livejournal.com/464174.html). He hadn't, but there was quite a line forming, so Jennifer got in it, & I ducked off to check out the merchandise rooms, where Mark would re-join us later.

There was a lot of awesome stuff, but one has to pick & choose at these things, or you will have a great deal to lug home & very little cash left! Took a few cards from vendors I liked, like the guy with the dragon (& faerie) statues (http://www.mythicalfair.com/ - the statues aren't on the website, tho', it's mostly jewelry) & the friend he was promoting who makes little Lovecraftian plushies (http://www.etsy.com/shop/claresuttle), & the table with the cute "little punk people" figures of bats & other adorable, chibi-looking stuff (http://www.littlepunkpeople.net/). And, of course, the fang-makers! (http://hsjfangsmith.com/) I want a pair of those, have done for a long time. Then there was Janet, the hat lady , who talked my ear off, but was a total sweetheart! I think it's her daughter that handles the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/#!/itzy.bitzys), but they are a lovely bunch.

Also hunted down a couple of cosplayers.


When I say hunted down, I mean it - we really trailed these guys! But hey, when you're a horror geek like me, & it's a Hellraiser reunion-themed convention, you just gotta have your picture taken with the Cenobites!


I'd been trying to get a shot of the clown in the red jumper at the last convention, but hadn't been able to. Fortunately, not only did I get the photo this time, but he brought some friends.


I dunno if they worked for the place or were just convention-goers, but...looks like somebody was naughty!


Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't pass up a shot with Alex from A Clockwork Orange!

Wish I could have gotten a pic with the person dressed as Kaonashi aka No-Face from Spirited Away (click the character's name on this entry - http://japanesedream72.tumblr.com/post/30717341934). I passed Kaonashi in a crowd moving through the hallway between dealers' areas, & went, "Awww." And there was a person dressed as WALDO - http://waldo.wikia.com/wiki/Waldo. Didn't get a pic of them, tho'. Nor did I get one of - or with - the person dressed as the Mayor from The Nightmare Before Christmas (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsA0Z5lNrUo).

I also should've taken a photo of the young man & woman promoting the movie Drive-In Horrorshow (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1305112/), wearing school uniforms covered in blood. She gave me a flyer for the film & complimented my outfit. Later, we passed by them again & she was doing a split!

Anywho, I wound up getting myself a DVD of Vegas In Space (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaoHmJgScCY), & got a free short film DVD that they were promoting - Mondo Schlocko (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2034053/). There's a lot of that going on, too, at Monster-Mania: promotion for up & coming/independent films & shorts.

There was a guy who looked a lot like Sylvester Stallone, dressed as Rocky (I think, after a quick YouTube search for clips of Mr. Weathers, he is Mike Kunda, Rocky impersonator - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzb5rj8BvlY). People even had a couple of babies dressed up. One in a little boxing outfit, a la Rocky, & another as a tiny Freddy Kruger.

Later, at a different stall, I snagged a DVD copy of 30 Days of Night (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjtuTD_iicQ).

There were a few other things/people walking around that I didn't recognise - I think some folks from Resident Evil, & a Judge Dredd (I'm guessing from the new version). Also, there was someone in one of those hazard suits, that sort of spaceman-meets-beekeeper-type outfit, as well as more clowns/circus folk, & a couple of Freddys, Jasons, etc. There was a Freddy behind me at one point near the dealers' room that did this low, sinister laugh. Quite disconcerting, but also fun!

I went with Jennifer to meet Bradley Gregg while Mark got in line for Norman Reedus, who was pretty close to arriving. If Brad's name doesn't strike you as familiar, he played Philip, the puppet guy, from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3.


He seemed like a nice guy, & I took a photo for Jen of them together, after he signed a picture for her. It was neat for me to get a glimpse of him, too, since he wasn't one of the cast members at the Elm Street 3 reunion we'd seen that time we attended Monster-Mania in MD (the MD write-up comes in 2 parts, beginning here - http://japanesedream.livejournal.com/384439.html).

By the time Jennifer & I had another quick go at the merchandise areas (sorry, the sequence of the day's events is a bit jumbled up, thanks to my bad memory), we figured it was about time to go looking for Mark. Fortunately, he happened to be very close to the front of the line! I said I'd take his picture with Norman, whom he was eager to meet, being both a Walking Dead fan & a Boondock Saints fan. Some of you may recall that there was a Saints cast reunion at the MD convention, but Mark wasn't able to go, as he had Army training that weekend. So I got the Saints to sign a photo for him.

Mark got Norman to sign both a picture & his Walking Dead action figure of Norman's character. The lady helping out, I guess at Norman's table, asked if we wanted her to take the photo, & while I said I was going to, she said I could get in on it if I wanted. I asked Mark if it was okay, & he said it was. *squee!* Norman shook hands with both of us, & said, "Nice to meet you." When he said it to me, I told him we'd actually met before. "Where? Here?" he asked. I told him it was at Monster-Mania, but at the one in MD. I said I'd talked to him about when he'd lived in Japan. He remembered! "Oh, yeah," he said. I told him I'd been back to visit for Xmas of 2010, & asked if he'd had a chance to go back. He said he went last year.


As we left & said good-bye, he said, "Nice to see you again."

Mark got to meet a couple of the other Walking Dead cast members - actually, former members, namely, Madison Lintz & Emma Bell, & I took photos for him. Unfortunately, due to the cost (Walking Dead people were charging more than most of the folks from other movies), he didn't have enough to meet Jeffrey DeMunn or Steven Yuen, tho' we were able to get fairly good peeks at them, since all the Walking Dead actors were in the same room. Hopefully, he can get them at a convention in the future.

By this time, we were getting peckish, so we headed toward the hotel restaurant. Despite a slow waiter & a loud gang at the table next to us, it was a nice lunch. I had vegetable fajitas.


Mark & Jennifer kindly picked up the tab.

Something weird happened after lunch, tho'. I got up as we were getting ready to leave, & my foot hurt somethin' fierce! My chiropractor would later do some work on it, & between that & lots of resting it, it's a lot better now, but at the time, I was limping back into the convention, where we took one last look around the dealer's areas. Saw someone dressed as a mauled Gumby (http://mewritenow.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/gumby2.jpg), & another as a headless, bloody "Steve", the guy eaten by sharks who preferred him in a taste test 'cuz he'd consumed one of those new Snickers bars with peanut butter in them (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2djs-hy4s8k). Also played photographer again, to a group of girls being playful with Freddy Kruger. ^_^

Sadly, a major drawback for Saturay convention-going is that, unless you want to go into the viewing rooms & catch a movie screening or 2, or if there's an early Q&A you'd like to attend, there isn't a lot to do to kill time 'til the major Q&A's once you've met who you want to meet & staked out the dealers' tables. And while it would've been fun to see the Walking Dead & Hellraiser panels, which started at 8 & 9 pm, respectively, there was at least 5 hours to spare before then! With my foot as it was, & them having to drive back to PA, we figured we were about done with everything we could do, & made our way back to my place, where they rested up a bit before heading home.

Luckily, there's YouTube!

A bit of The Walking Dead Q&A panel:









Some of the Hellraiser panel:




There's a convention coming up in MD again at the end of this month. Not sure if we'll be going to that, but if I'm there, you can be sure there'll be a write-up!

Until then, thanks for reading, & stay tuned for my Dead Can Dance concert report!
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