I like Horror Relm, I really do – I enjoyed it all the way back to that first show they were doing, when they were still located in the Crowne plaza. The DoubleTree Hilton is a good home fore them, back at the Crowne, it felt like they were spread all across the hotel, while here, everything is fit in to one wing of the hotel. There’s a cozy fireplace with a great big Horror Relm banner greeting you as you walk in, a nice touch to have here in the dead of winter.
I’m honestly not sure why I haven’t been back since that first show – it’s a small event, and I really like small conventions. The larger ones I’ve been going to for the last couple years kind of made me forget how much I like these kind of little cons. The big problem with Horror Relm, is that they have far too many repeat guests. I see the same names on that website every year, and the ones that aren’t the same are pulled directly out of the convention circuit. I was planning on going to the show last year as well, but when it came time to streamline my schedule and drop a few shows this was one of the first ones to go, particularly since I discovered that every guest I was going to meet I could find at a different show on my schedule later on in the year. It makes it hard to justify the 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive to get out to Pittsburgh.
That’s a problem they seem to have solved this year… At least as far as familiar faces from the convention circuit go. They manage to grab every Nightmare on Elm Street character they could who didn’t actually appear at HorrorHound last year – a real coup for me, trying to pull together that collection of Freddy victims. In addition to that, Horror Relm gathered a really nice, respectable Return of the Living Dead cast reunion including a few people that had not managed to make it out to Motor City Nightmares last year! The theme thing really seems to work out well for them, especially considering the size of the show.
Horror Relm tries very hard to give you the most for your money. They run a film room, a panel room and an extra one for either photo ops or occasionally the author’s panel – I love that they have different things going on here like that! It’s always been a very literary based show, (which is a little unusual for horror cons) but they also include a best tattoo contest as well as a VIP party and an interesting little bit that they like to call “The Horror Match Game”. This was hilarious, based on the old match game TV show, they broght up a panel of familiar faces – Ken Kish and Amy Lynn Best who I know from Cinema Wasteland, as well as Mike Watts, another familiar wasteland face. They would bring up guests to ask questions, and you would score points if your answer is matched that of the panel that I kind of wish I could’ve got me in on this game, I didn’t realize that you had to sign up for it earlier in the day…
They’re running some very interesting movies as well – I’ve never seen “Spookies” before, and they’ve managed to dig up it’s unofficial sequel “Killer Dead” a film so rare I can’t even find a trailer for it on YouTube! They do have “Spookies” though, as you can see below.
Both great fun although “Killer Dead” was very poor quality and apparently that’s the only way it comes – there is no good print of it out there. I also popped my head in for The Survivors, the newest film from Silver Spotlight pictures. I’m already familiar with their work from “Captian Z and the Terror of Leviathan”, … I know I’ve seen posters for “Red Christmas”. Indie stuff and rare films is one of the best reasons to go to good horror convention and this was marvelous.
It was still fairly early in the day and I noticed that there was no line at Felissa Rose’s (of Sleepaway Camp fame)table. You’ll recall I met her back in June last year at Days of the Dead in Indiana. I dropped by her table to chat about that show quickly. She was one of the most fun people I met at that con and I told her so. We drifted onto the subject of her appearance on Adam Greene’s Scary Sleepover a few weeks ago and had so much fun talking about the show concept as well as her specific episode. She grabbed Tiffany Shepis (sitting at the next table over) who had been on last season to join in with her recollections about doing the show. I love Felissa. If I have a con crush, she’s it. To really understand how effervescent she is….here. Let me tell you a story.
A couple came up to meet Felissa and get an autograph. Felissa discovered this fan was having a birthday. She immediately got everyone in the surrounding area up on thier feet clapping and singing Happy birthday. When the crowd didn’t sing it loud enough she raised her hands and got more people singing. It was kind of like that thing where the servers at Applebee’s surround your table and sing you a birthday song crossed with just a touch of a charismatic Church revival…
Back in the dealers room I came across this fascinating model maker. His main display was a stunning graveyard, which he had funded by selling individual gravestones. You could see in a little book who each stone belonged to. There were mausoleums up with names in the back, people, monsters, cars, all sorts of great bits. he hadn’t even brought out the entire thing, as it had grown too big! He also had several dioramas done up utilizing old heroclix and horror clix. nice to see some of these getting a good home.
The dealer’s room was just a bit too small. You can pretty much do that thing to your satisfaction in about fifteen minuets. maybe half an hour. As a result, most of my time was spent in the film room or the panel room.
The Elm Street panel was predictable but somewhat enlightening that I wasn’t aware of some of Ken Sagos other roles, and it was interesting to hear this ecclictic cast talk about later Elm Street sequels. In particular it was interesting to hear about the speed in which they made those movies, how rushed the production was and how lowof the budgets were… You don’t think about that with these films considering how successful they were, but really it seems like nobody want to spend any money on these movies and yet they still came out with these amazing productions!
I ducked out a little early, we did hit some dead space in the show and I missed the return of the living dead panel… I’m still hoping it shows up on YouTube, but figured I could either wait for an hour and a half to see the panel, or I could get a head start on my way back to Cleveland and hit the Ghoul’s 40th anniversary party! But that’s a whole other story, and you can read all about it over at Kreepy Kastle.com!
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 astridea bike, but in diffrent outfits and on diffrent 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.”
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!