I really liked Days of the Dead in Chicago last year. I really did. This year the Indianapolis DOTD advertised Angus Scrimm and the trio from the Blair Witch project. You definitely have my attention with that line up. Angus doesn’t get out to cons much – it’s a little taxing at his age, and the Blair Witch actors pretty much fell off the face of the earth.
a month before the con, they rescheduled the Blair Witch trio for later in the year at Chicago. That pissed me off. I can’t afford two long trips like that this year. They however, did replace them with a bunch of actors from the Thing, so I admit that was a great consolation prize.
I checked the website every day last week.
Friday night I saw they listed Angus Scrimm as cancelled due to health issues.
Crap. I should have known this trip was going to be trouble.
I decided to go anyhow because of the Thing cast, and more importantly, Don Coscerelli was attending. he was the last signature I needed on my Phantasm poster….if you didn’t know, Phantasm is one of my favorite film franchises ever. It’s just so good, horror but not quite horror, elements of sci-fi, subtext about family and abandonment it’s just great. Angus Scrimm was the first letter I ever sent out as a fan asking for an autograph. It took four tries but I eventually found him and he not only signed my poster, but wrote me a letter back. Over the years I’ve managed to meet the rest of the cast and get my poster pretty graffitied up. After sending it out to Kat Lester I swore that the poster was NEVER going through the mail again….even though I really Don Coscerelli, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to see him join the guest list.
But Indiana. Seriously, what’s up with Indiana?
Every time I’ve passed through the state, I meet the rudest most obnoxious people. The guy at McDonalds who wouldn’t let us make a local call to get a locksmith out to help us in our car when the keys got locked in. All the people who insist on cutting you off, the attitude at the gas stations… I just don’t know what it is, but it happens so often it’s a running joke between me and my wife.
Cursed I tell you.
I arrived at the hotel in good time, only to be herded by the rudest security I’ve ever met at a con. Interestingly enough they weren’t allowing outside food into the con. That was a problem for the Hotel GUESTS who were treated with equal disdain by the security (well, you need to TELL us you’re a guest, I suppose we can let you by. HEY! YOU! We need to SEE your wristband! Don’t you know that has to be visible???). Good security is invisible. Maybe they ask you quietly to see your pass, these guys were loud and just… rude. They checked bags for food and water bottles…I didn’t have a big problem with that, but the guards way of checking wasn’t to look inside, they just took it and crushed it to feel for bottles and weight. I had photos in there which fortunately didn’t get bent, but I wasn’t pleased. The entire point of this by the way, had to do with the fact that the hotel was setting up a concession area, cafeteria style In the con area. I’m fine with that. It’s cool, and convenient. I even understand the scalper prices – $3.00 for a bottle of water. However, don’t try to pretend you’re Disneyland or a movie theatre and limit stuff coming in. This is a hotel, not a convention center. you just look greedy and foolish trying to do this. When lunch time came around, I grabbed a set of plastic silverware from one of their tray and took it outside with me to use on the lunch I packed in my car.
This con managed to hit every one of the things that make me hate big shows like this. Obnoxious security, guests cancelling, late panels and guests that are never at their tables. Tony Todd didn’t show up until around 2. Lisa Wilcox was gone from her table so often that I assumed she and Tony had both just cancelled. I shouldn’t have to keep checking back at tables to see the celebrities I came to meet. That’s the convention’s responsibility, and if they are getting in late, it’s the cons responsibility to let the attendees know that.
I know. It sounds like a miserable day. I want to make it clear here, I HAD A GOOD TIME. It was a fun day, but that was DESPITE the problems.
I did stand in line to meet Danny Trejo. That was fun. I never would have believed it, but he’s a big goofy teddy bear. He’s just the happiest guy you’d ever meet and seriously…just goofy! He’s also got a lot of sense, and I loved his panel. “If you don’t want to be a role model, you’re probably doing something wrong”. He had my full attention after those words.
You may remember that he signed my Dusk Till Dawn poster through the mail a while back. I wonder if his handlers know that he does that, because they were charging $40.00 for autographs. Yeah, whatever, I’d just like to say hello and take a picture please! I’m not paying that.
Don Coscerelli was a delight to meet. He’s got a practiced friendliness that I can appreciate. I told him that my wife only made it through about half of John Dies at the End and he asked me where she had to leave. It was the bit where they check the back of the truck and there’s a fiendish thingie in there. He laughed and replied “Well, she gave it a good try!”. We talked about Angus a little bit and he mentioned that Angus has almost a photographic memory….he’ll remember if you sent a letter or if you met him before. He also promised to try andget him on the phone for the panel. He in fact did do this, but the speaker on that iPhone was a little garbled. Still, though, really nice to hear from Angus even if he couldn’t be there that day!
I also connected with the guys from the Fear.Net TV series Holliston. I hadn’;t heard of this before, but apparently it’s like the Big Bang Theory…only for Horror fans. They were giving away posters and signing for free – I mentioned this at the last DOTD, the guys from the Collection did this as well. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy. I had no idea this series even existed. Now I’m a fan. The creator, Adam also directed Frozen, a film I liked (recommended by the guys over at Horror Ect) and Hatchet, which I keep meaning to see. Very cool to meet them. We talked a little about piracy and how they really wanted to get the brand out there. they actually gave the liscence to one company that was going to make statues of one of the characters, all they wanted in return was one. Not only did the company not send them a statue, they abused the liscence and now keep avoiding them at cons. Another vendor slipped by and grabbed a handful of the posters they were giving for free and then started selling them for ten dollars at a booth down the aisle. What a shame, that kind of backstabbing going on, especially to these guys who have had just a little success and really are trying to connect with the fans. They did a great panel and I really loved what I saw.
One of the cast is Oudrous, the lead singer of GWAR. I stopped by to see him out of costume and chatted a little while – and did one of the stranger things I’ve done with a guest. I mentoned that Danny Bonaduche (whos show I podcast every day) loves GWAR. Anytime they mention any type of metal on the show, Sabbath, Zeppelin, Ozzy, he responds “oh, metal, like GWAR! I love GWAR!”. I finished telling the guy this and he just stared at me for a moment….like he wasn’t sure what to say. Then he replied. “Are you serious? I love Danny Bonaduche. We should try to get on his show!” I told him the radio station and location. I’d love to see that happen myself.
Towards the end of the day, I noticed Lisa Wilcox was finally at her table with Tuesday Knight. They were both in Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and I had a special picture I had printed out for them both to sign- a screencap from the movie. However, after waiting all day and it was late…I was debating on heading back out to the car to get the pic and going to the table…I was just tired. I decided to make the trip and I’m so glad I did. They were both perky, friendly and LOVED the photo. Seriously, it was the weirdest reaction. Tuesday in particular gushed over it…”Look and it’s a profile! I love profiles! that’s such a great picture! LISA! Come over here and look at this photo! isn’t this cool? Can you send me one?”
I have to be the only guy in the world who gets girls phone numbers at a horror convention….I’ll be emailing that photo later today I think.
All in all, it WAS a fun con, and Days of the Dead does put on a good show, but unless Angus shows up next year ( he said he might) I don’t think I’ll be back to Indy. I’ll stick with Chi-town in the future.