Motor city nightmares has become one of my semi regular stops – it’s not one of the can’t-miss events on my convention circuit, but it seems like I’ve been showing up there more often than not for a few years now. The consistently impressive guest lists in addition to the relatively easy two hour drive and low cost have kept me coming back to this one.
Inflation keeps hitting, but I can’t help but notice most of the guests here are keeping the prices down to around $30 – and even bigger names are reasonable, I expected Udo Kier to be charging more than $40 and even the Walking Dead folks are only charging $30 for signature… Though they were adding on an extra $20 if you wanted to take a photo with them (got a find some way to gouge!).
Speaking of the Walking Dead cast – Xander Berkeley was bizarrely jovial. He is friendly and funny and the absolute opposite of the dire character he plays on the show. Xander is positively goofy… I followed another person in line who had the exact same poster as me, marked up in much the same way. I presented mine and said “I’ve got the same thing but smaller”. Without missing a beat, he smiled and replied “Well I’m sorry to hear that!”. He asked about my Fulchi T-shirt, inquiring if it was a band or not. I’m a little appalled that I had to explain who Lucio Fulchi was (to both him and Pollyanna Macintosh), on the other hand it’s kind of cool being the person who gets introduced them to the legendary filmmaker. He told me a strange story about being at a party once more the DJ pulled out an interesting techno beat with a sample that just keep repeating “I am a zombie… I am a zombie “… I hypothesized it was likely Mantan Mooreland’ voice and that the sample was likely from King of the Zombies. The film is still in the public domain. We joked a bit more and I moved along to Pollyanna, again friendly and charming though not quite as talkative. Xander is one of those people who can practically hold both sides of a conversation all by himself.
I’ve got to express some shock that Malcolm McDowell’s line wasn’t longer. He signs quick, but doesn’t push you through and will chat with you for as long as you like. A couple of friends of mine got to him earlier and got into long discussion about Russian history of all things!I’ve corresponded with McDowell through the mail before so the last time we were at a convention together I was actually going to pass his table by – took a while to make up my mind that I really ought to run over there and get a picture. By the time I had decided, he was gone from the table… doing a panel or a meal break or something along those lines… He didn’t make it back before I had to leave. I’m grateful I got my chance to connect with him this time.
Also on my hit list this time around was Nancy Loomis – the last cast member that I needed from the original Halloween (unless of course some bizarre twist of fate finds me a way to get Jamie Lee Curtis autograph on this poster – HorrorHound tried a few years ago but that didn’t work out well). As we were chatting, I saw a flash of blue and white fro mteh corner of my eye and realized Michael Myers was right behind us. I asked if he’d join us for a photo. Some opportunities you just don’t pass up!
I love that MCN focuses so heavily on programming as well. There’s always a panel and two movies going on at any time. I actually made a point of catching some of the short films going on (Bong of the Living Dead was far less comical than I had expected and Finis was just heartbreaking) while making sure to attend the panels. I actually wandered out of the Walking Dead panel because honestly, there wasn’t much there that I hadn’t already heard from the same people on Talking Dead. However the Iconic monster panel with Ken Kirzenger, Johnathan Brecht and Eugen Clarke was a great deal of fun. Eugene is a character and a lot of fun to listen to and big presence in the panel too, – odd since most of the questions were directed at Johnathan and Ken.
Sid Haig and Bill Forsythse’s panel may have had a Devils Rejects introduction, but it was really just two old friends chatting about thier experiences in the industry. Sid is a real gift to the horror community and it’s always fun to hear him speak. He even had a Star Trek story this time around! “When I did Star Trek everyone was tryign to quit smoking. All of them had the nicotine gum and it was almost every take the director would scream at them to spit out the gum. So between one take, Bill Shatner, being the joker he was, he grabbed a bunch of bubble gum. Double Bubble, Hubba Bubba, whatever. He handed it out to everyone on set and the second the director called ‘action!’ everyone turned around, blowing a bubble at him.”
I caught my friend Brandi in the parking lot. She and her husband live up near this con – it’s about the same drive for them as Cinema Wasteland is for me. The diffrence is, Motor City is definately beginning to outgrow it’s space. I’m glad she mentioned it to me because I know I’m not the only one seeing it. the bottleneck as you enter is really rough and inside, it’s frequently shoulder to shoulder. Honestly, I’m not staying as long as I usually would because it’s just too crowded. As much as I prefer hotel shows, it may just be about time for MCN to expand to another location where they can continue to grow.
Happy 10th anniversary MCN! Here’s to 10 more!
Over the years, motor city nightmare it has become a semi regular stop for me on the convention circuit. It’s kind of like Monster Bash in that I like it but can drop it from the schedule if I get overbought and not feel too bad about it.
Motor city is one of those conventions that really does try and give attendees something for thier admission – something more than just a dealers room and guests with increasingly skyrocketing autograph charges (I think I’m just about priced out of the market now – I may be getting out of the autograph game before too long here), with panels and two movie rooms going on all day.
One of the clever things I noticed, is that the upstairs movie room appears to be playing mostly SkullHouse pictures – if you weren’t aware, those are the people who are behind this convention and it’s a great way of mixing programming and self promotion. I like Skull House by the way, and I always make a point to pick up one or two of thier films every time I head to this con – sitting in on some of those screenings was a good way to figure out which one I should grab and which ones I should perhaps avoid (Monsters of Carnage : Dinobeast -AVOID.).
Motor city is consistently growing – and they certainly want to be a bigger convention. They do try and bring in a few bigger name guests– this year inviting George Romero, Matthew Lillard and Dee Snider to the show, as well as old fan favorites like Sid haig and Lloyd Kauffman (and God bless Sid for holding to the $10 for a signature on your item and photos always free. God Bless Lloyd for always siging for free and taking photos with everyone he talks to!)They also pull the VIP upgrades that I so detest… granting better seats and special after parties to the VIP passholders. It shows greater ambitions – and indeed, motor city maybe realizing them. This year, for the first time it felt like they had outgrown your space at the Sheraton hotel. The Saturday crowd was shoulder to shoulder, and moving around was difficult. I found myself fleeing the dealer room because I couldn’t get around in any practical way. Still, it’s a good problem to have and I wouldn’t mind seeing the move to a bigger space as long as they still retain the heart – with film festival and panel programming.
I managed to catch the 31 panel – I know that Rob Zombie is a device of filmmaker, but I generally enjoy him and I thought 31 was a great return to form (I reviewed it when I came out). While interesting, the panel I have really come to see you this time around was Dee Snider.
Dee’s talk was energetic and informative and one of the most entertaining panels I’ve seen in a long time. He really connects with his audience no matter what subject he is covering – Twisted Sister, strange land, or Holliston… It doesn’t matter you find yourself riveted by his energy, his wit, and his performance.
Dee’s panel was followed by S Don of the dead panel – standing room only, filling the room to capacity. It’s the same old stories, but they never really get old.
Motor city is overhaul the panel system by the way, moving them to a different room with a much better sounding PA – my complaints in years past of not being able to hear other people speak have been well answered.
With a $30 admission and the constantly rising autograph prices – motor city nightmares is likely to remain an optional con for me rather than a can’t miss like cinema wasteland or concoction. But I’ll definitely say same thing about motor city that I say about days of the dead – I’ve never failed to have fun there. It’s never been a disappointment, it’s never been a drag… In motor city in particular is made all the nicer by the fact that I have friends who regularly visit this convention so I never have to worry about being alone.
I’ll see you later motor city. Not sure when, but I’ll be back.
I remember being pleasantly surprised by MCN when I hit the con back a few years ago. But rising prices, bigger crowds and the constant cash-grab attitude I seem to be running into more and more on the con circuit has left me feeling a little jaded and trepidatious, so I wasn’t sure what to expect here.
I was pleased to find it’s just as much fun as I remember. MCN tries really hard to put on a good show with panels, screenings of dozens of new indie films and shorts, along with engaging panels. They bring in high profile guests to draw the crowds and that leads to some good discussion.
While I enjoyed the PJ Soles/Nancy Allen panel and fought my way to get into the Return of the Living Dead one (The line for this panel got cut off! Small room, big crowd – I told the doorman “I’m just one guy, and I’ll stand in the back! He found me the last seat in the last row) the best panel by far was the Devil’s Rejects one. Not because of the film – they barely discussed it. It was mostly because of the way you can just see Bill Mosely, Sid Haig and William Forsythe genuinely enjoy hanging out…and that’s a lot of what I was seeing.
The local Haunted House had a booth – and what a booth! they were doing free makup (airbrushed) which I of course took advantage of (after I got my photos and autographs out of the way) but even cooler was the mini-haunt they set up. About a minuet to go through, with a couple of workers inside to jump out, along with lights, sounds, obsticals…I’ve been doing cons a LONG time and NEVER run into this! I know it was the vendor, not the con, but man, more cons should court vendor s who do this kind of thing and perhaps partner up with them. It was really the highlight of the show for me!
I Headed over to Tiffany Shepis, I haven’t seen her in a long time, and had a comic book she appeared on the cover of. She perked right up as I pulled my item out of the folder I was keeping it in, exclaiming “Is that an Angel Fire comic???” in astonishment. Then she reached under the table.
“Hang on, I have something that only someone who owns a Angel Fire comic would appreciate.”
She pulled out several posters that featured similar images of her astride a bike, but in different outfits and on different bikes. These were the Japanese alternates for the cover of this issue of the comic book. Ironically they feature her on a Harley with a flag painted on it as opposed to the American cover that features a Ninja (a Japanese bike).
She hates her hair in these pictures because she would keep cutting it short, but it would stay wavy and never grew out the way she wanted. It was fun that not only did she recognize this picture but was so excited to see it.
Tiffany is great fun, and I sadly departed, to go see Sid Haig. I have a photo of him with Julie Newmar. He gave me a big smile, and talked about how much fun it was to work on Buck Rogers, the last show of the first season and the first show of the second. He said Julie “was so beautiful, whenever she walked in the room, everything just…stopped.”
He asked me where I got the picture from and I mentioned I had gotten a screencap from the TV show, but it had taken some work to line it up just right. He told me it was perfect.
I managed to catch a bit of “Chubbies”, making up for having to leave the Wasteland screening early, and also watched a bit of a new Sci-Fi film called “Magnetic”. I fear my interest in europop music increasing as a result.
Clu Gulager is getting senile. I’m certain of it.
I mentioned having to almost fight my way into the Return of the Living Dead panel. The line stretched down the hotel hallway and around the corner, and we inched out way in after the vip pass holder’s had been seated (I know, don’t get me started). I commiserated with the couple ahead of me, our anticipation building as we got just a bit closer – that’s a small room (and they really need a PA system. NO ONE was miced). But finally I was in, and just a couple minuets after the panel started.
Clu talked so much you could easily mistake him for the moderator, he really felt like he was trying to fill that position. but he’d also talk over other people an not notice, he’d ignore questions from the audience in favor of his own tangents…it was a bit strange.
But not as strange as what he did to my poster.
He signed on the side…and I thought “He’s getting close to John Russo…..” but figured he was just trying to squeeze it in. Scott Speigle had tried to do the same thing on my Evil Dead 2 poster, and kind of ran into another sig, but not badly.
Clu on the other hand – he just kept going….apparently clueless. He signed straight over John Russo’s autograph – bizarrely, inexplicably. I had no idea what to say.
It’s not that bad. John signed years ago in black, Clu signed in gold – both are actually visible….but how strange….
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the cosplayers. Horror cons don’t get as many costumes as Comic conventions, and not nearly as many as Anime cons, but MCN drew in more than it’s fair share. They held a costume contest in the afternoon, and lined up all the cosplayers, then paraded them around the dealers room, going past the jusdge seated above the haunted house. It’s a great touch, and something I’d like to see more of. Some of those outfits were stunning; the Predator was pitch perfect. The woman in the Trick or Treat outfit got absolutely mobbed when she came in the door and snake Pliskin…what can I say?
Motor City is actually a con I should hit more often. It’s less than two and a half hours away -not even as far as Monster Bash, and they put on a really good show. We’ll have to keep an eye on who shows up next year!