Transmissions from ScareFest X

Ah, ScareFest. Truly the most wonderful weekend of the year.

This was a big one. For the 10th anniversary of the convention, they held a Nightmare on Elm Street reunion. Robert Englund, Amanda Wyss, Ronee Blakely, Brooke Bundy, Tuesday Knight, Lisa Wilcox, Andras Jones, Ricky Dean Logan, Miko Hughes and more, all there to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of this incredible con.

There were a lot of non-Nightmare celebrities in attendance as well. Dee Wallace, Danny Trejo, Kristy Swanson, Barry Bostwick, John Kassir and the normal assortment of ghost hunters that I have passing familiarity with.

I always get excited to see what celebrities are coming to the conventions I’ll be attending. To be honest with you, I don’t know why I do it. With the exception of a couple moments – like, say, the chance to get Joyce Summers to wear Wolverine claws – I never go up and talk to celebrities. It’s a combination of not having money and not knowing what to say. I know I’ll end up talking like I’m hosting The Chris Farley Show. “Hey. Remember when you killed that guy? That was awesome.”

I’ll go to the occasional panel, but I spend the bulk of my time walking the floor talking to people. People running the booths. People dressed up as their favorite horror icons. People eating lunch. Just people, man.

So let’s get to it. Who did I meet this year? What wonders did these eyes uncover? And, more importantly, who will survive and what will be left of them?

I met this gentleclown last year. His name is Calypso and he has been doing this for a very long time. See that black thing he’s carrying? That’s his homemade air cannon. He walks around the floor on stilts, blasting the air cannon at unsuspecting passerbys. But he doesn’t just shoot at anyone: he’s into the psychology of it. He likes to read people. If they seem like they won’t enjoy being messed with by a 7’5″ clown with an air cannon, he moves onto the next person.

If you happen to encounter him when he’s not terrorizing the villagers, I highly recommend starting up a conversation with him. He’s terrific.

Also, it’s worth noting that I have issues walking the floor as a regular person. Putting on stilts and navigating through the horde? No thank you.

Billy the Puppet likes JIGsaws, not CHAINsaws, you halfwit.

As always, Circus Envy and the Deadly Sins were at their normal booth. I feel like I talk about them every year, but I cannot stress this enough: they are some of the friendliest people you could meet. When they’re not putting on their show, you can find them talking to anyone and everyone who comes up to them, whether that’s at their booth or while walking the floor. They seem to love being there and they love interacting with people.

Here is Creepy Ronald “Pennywise” McDonald.  She’s the best. They’re all the best. Best best best.

Speaking of Pennywise, here we have BFFs Pennywise and Georgie. Terrific costumes, but I didn’t care for the way Pennywise was looking at me.

It was odd. I turned around for a minute and when I turned back, it was just a giant spider. Crazy world, man.

Pennywise waiting in line to meet Robert Englund. Just goes to show you that even your heroes have heroes.

This was my favorite moment of the weekend. The man crouching is Andras Jones. You may know him as Rick, the karate-loving high school student in Nightmare on Elm Street 4. This was immediately after the Nightmare on Elm Street panel and he was making his way back to his table. A lot celebrities that go to conventions make a beeline for their table and don’t really interact with fans unless they’re back there.

Andras saw a little girl dressed like Rick on the way back. Not only did he stop to chat, he crouched down to get on her level; to make sure he was eye-to-eye with her. I absolutely loved this. I’m not going to lie: I think a speck of dust got in my eye as I was taking this picture.

Hey. Speaking of the Nightmare on Elm Street panel…

It was a tremendous amount of fun and I learned a lot about the series as a whole, but there was one other thing I learned: when you have a long-running series and one actor is firmly in the center of every one, the vast majority of the questions are going to be answered by that one actor. Granted, when you have a star as well-known and charismatic as Robert Englund, it’s going to be a good panel. But I began to feel bad for those who weren’t as involved.

Amanda Wyss was in maybe 15 minutes of the first movie, but she was the first of Freddy’s on-screen victims, so she got to answer a couple questions. Andras Jones didn’t get any questions directed his way, but he was sitting next to Englund and is an outgoing guy, so he piped in on some questions that weren’t directed his way. Brooke Bundy proved herself to be extremely adept at comically cynical one-liners. But Miko Hughes – the son of Heather Langenkamp in New Nightmare – sat at the end of the table, silent as could be. Not a single question came his way, nor did a single opportunity to jump in on someone else’s question.

It was a fun panel – it was my first time seeing Robert Englund in person and that dude can command a room like few others I’ve seen – but I left feeling slightly bad for those who were less involved in the series.

One final note on this panel: Andras Jones repeatedly referred to Lisa Wilcox as “sis.” I love that.

This is just perfect. I can’t imagine it would be comfortable to walk the hot convention floor in a plastic bag, but I’m glad she did. I sincerely hope Amanda Wyss saw this.

This guy was standing in the entrance, staring like a maniac and moving his fingers in a supremely unnerving fashion. I loved him.

This Killer Klowns costume was…
[Don’t do it, Dusty. Don’t do it.]
KILLER.
I’m not even sorry.

More from Circus Envy. I cannot stress how much I love this group.

Dinosaur trainer and her dinosaur OH MAN LOOK AT THE LITTLE GIRL’S FACE!

The costume is too big for her, so that T-Rex shuffled all around the floor. Maybe the cutest thing I saw all weekend.

(Please take note of the discoloration in the bottom left corner. HAUNTED FLOOR!)

Also in the running for cutest thing I saw, this little girl with her hand on R2-D2. She wants to be Luke Skywalker in Rey’s vision so bad.

Absolutely my favorite costume of the weekend. She’s Beauty and The Beast. It’s so simple and so clever and so perfectly done. Words cannot stress how much I love this outfit.

If you’ve ever talked to me or read anything I’ve written, you know how much I love Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. I know I’m not alone; it’s highly regarded by a lot of horror fans. That’s why it’s so strange that I rarely see anyone dressed as the titular villain/hero/killer. So, when I come across someone dressed as Leslie Vernon, I proceed to get super excited, jump up and down and take pictures.

Such a cool looking costume. I need more Leslie Vernons at my conventions.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Freddy’s eating the pizza filled with meatballs with human faces is one of my least favorite scenes in the series. It makes my skin crawl.

Anyway, here is Freddy serving up some “soul food.” I did not look closely at the pizza, so I cannot confirm if there were faces. For my own peace of mind, I’m going to go ahead and assume that it was just a normal pizza. No faces at all, no sir.

This was at the back of the floor. This man was huge and had arms that didn’t seem capable of doing anything but sticking straight out. I have no idea how he made it through all the aisles and I don’t particularly care. I’m proud of you, Mr. Count Chocula, sir.

I would also like an official Count Chocula meddallion. No rush or anything, but Christmas would be cool.

Like the terrible journalist I am, I neglected to get this artist’s name. Every time I walked by, he was working on this charcoal piece of Nosferatu. It’s incredible.

Jareth, The Goblin King. More approachable than I would have though, given the whole “goblin” thing.

They’re looking at me. They’re both looking at me. My time has come. Tell my family I love them.

/checks calendar

Oh, nevermind. The Purge isn’t for another month or so. GET LOST, HIPPIES.

This was a husband/wife team. I’ve seen them before and I’ve never bought anything. I have no idea why. The paintings are amazing, but it’s the wood burning that really drew me in. All of them are done by hand. They have a perfect recreation of the poster for Freaks – you can see it a little to the left of the man in the picture – that took them over a week to create. It’s perfect. It’s all perfect. Next year I’ll be all moved into my new house and I will be buying at least one thing from this table.

One of my favorite things of going to conventions is seeing characters from different movies interacting with each other. Pinhead and the Ghostbusters? Sure. Why not?

This was the last picture I took before I left the floor. I saw them quite a few times, but it was always on the other side of the floor from where I was. So I stalked them across the convention floor. I was tired and my feet hurt, but I needed a picture of Tucker and Dale so I kept it up. I was relentless. And when I finally got my picture, I was not disappointed. Their facial expressions are absolutely perfect.

I don’t know about you guys, but those legs look pretty heavy for half a guy.

One final story, sadly unaccompanied by a picture.

I have a system at conventions these days. It’s relatively dead on Friday, so I hit the floor on Friday and scout everything. If I see something I can’t live without, I buy it. I stop and talk to a lot of vendors. I’m relatively free to roam and look around. I take a few pictures, but not many, mainly because there aren’t a ton of people around.

But Saturday? Oh, Saturday. My only agenda is to roam the floor and take pictures of everyone in costume. I stop and talk to people if they’re up for it. But, mainly, I just walk the floor a dozen times looking for good costumes.

So there I am, walking the floor aimlessly. I feel a little pressure on my back, but I think nothing of it. I feel a little more pressure and it’s clear that someone is pushing me to the side. I turn around, ready to give a disapproving look, and find myself looking directly at Danny Trejo. He could have killed me with his mind if he wanted to, but he spared me. Danny, I thank you and my family thanks you.

It was another tremendous year at ScareFest. If you ever get a chance to go, I can’t recommend it highly enough. The floor is huge, the panels are great and everyone is amazing. And if you happen to see a guy with a camera around his neck, grinning like an idiot the whole time? That’s just me. Stop me and say hey.

I’m already counting down the days until next year.

Transmissions from ScareFest 9: Part I

Most of these words are true.

This would be my third year attending ScareFest – a horror and paranormal convention held in Lexington, KY – but my first as a member of the press.  I had planned to cover the event in a professional manner, as I would be representing Horror-Writers.

 

I quickly remembered that I don’t know what “professional manner,” means.  In lieu of upstanding professionalism, I grabbed my wife’s nice camera so I could at least look the part.  I didn’t know what any of the settings meant, but learning is a sucker’s game, and I’m no sucker.  So, armed with a press pass and a Canon EOS 30D, I made my way to the ScareFest floor.

As a member of the press, I got to get in a little early.  While hundreds of people waited in line for the doors to open – like zombies pressing against the glass in Dawn of the Dead – I brushed past and headed to the Black Carpet event.
The Black Carpet is essentially a Red Carpet type event, but spookier.  In front of a ScareFest backdrop, celebrities would walk in front of the backdrop, pose, maybe say a few words, then head off to do celebrity things.  Like talk about how much they didn’t like me.
In reality, the main difference between the Red Carpet and Black Carpet is that the Black Carpet can turn into a thick, black tar and pull the person standing on it into a hell dimension in the blink of an eye.  It’s really quite thrilling.

 

While trying to get a picture of Kane Hodder and Felissa Rose, a voice rang out from behind the crowd.  “Free beer!”  I turned and immediately started sizing up the people around me, trying to figure who I could take out to make my way to this fabled “free beer”.
As it turns out, there was no free beer.  It was yelled out by Steven Williams.  I know him as “X” from The X-Files, but he is also known from his role in 21 Jump Street, and more recently in Supernatural. He thought this was funny, but he made a mortal enemy this day.

You will rue the day you crossed me, Williams

Steven was funny and charismatic and honest, proclaiming, “Some of these people think they’re stars: I’m just doing this to pay my rent.”

At some point, Ernest P. Worrell – or rather Son of Ernest – began walking around with a box full of comic books, passing out random issues to everyone standing around.  I walked away with Spawn #2.  I have a confession to make: I have never read an issue of Spawn in my life.  But now that Ernest has handed me one, I suppose I had better start.

Eventually the Black Carpet event ended and we were all allowed to walk the floor.  The theme this year was Camp ScareFest, and they did it up right.  Camp Crystal Lake could be found near the back of the floor, complete with dead campers and a dock featuring sack-headed Jason Voorhees patrolling with an axe.  There was also another Jason popping out of the astro-turf water, because you can never have too many Jasons.

 

 

Being a member of the press affords certain luxuries, like getting to walk the floor for roughly 30 minutes before the doors are open to the public.  This gave me an opportunity to check out the layout without having to navigate my way through the mass of bodies that would soon descend on the area.  It also gave me an opportunity to talk to a couple of the celebrities without waiting in line.

I was going to talk to this celebrity, but he looked like he was in the middle of an important business deal. Stock trading or some such nonsense.

A couple friends of mine were also there, and we spent most of that time milling around.  We found ourselves talking to Ari Lehman, who spent most of the time talking about how great his Camp Crystal Lake hot sauce was.  “Man, you gotta smell it.  It’s made with ghost peppers and garlic.”  He popped the top and, sure enough, it smelled spicy and garlicy.  I also detected a hint of blood that had been extracted from the lifeless bodies of irresponsible camp counselors, but I knew better than to ask.

 

We moved on and spotted Rachel True, which caused one of my friends to come very close to hyperventilating.  He was basically Jay Baruchel’s character in Almost Famous when talking about Led Zeppelin.  He went up and talked to her while me and my other friend hung back, so as not to ruin his moment.  “It’s all happening, it’s all happening,” he muttered under his breath.
As it turns out, we ruined his moment anyway.  While he was talking to her, she was looking at me.  Sorry buddy.  I can’t control these powers I have.

I apologize for nothing

After he recovered, we walked the floor a bit more, splitting up if we found something that struck our fancy: one of us to ponder purchasing a “Stab” t-shirt, another drawn in by the Christine display, and so on.  In my solo travels, I had seen one of the celebrities walking around the floor.  “That’s cool,” I thought.  “Just checking out the booths like everyone else.”

I eventually met back up with my friends and we stumbled across this celebrity.
“Hey guys.”
“Hey.  What’s up?”
“Do you know where my booth is?”
“Uh…sure.  It’s in the back.  Just follow this row and you’ll run right into it.”
“Thanks.  [Pause]  I just got high.”

And off that person walked in the direction of the booth.
We all smiled and nodded and agreed that we loved this place completely.

Oh this? Just a stroller full of your nightmares

We eventually wandered up to the Thoroughbred Ballroom to catch the Scream panel.  Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard would be there, talking about Scream or whatever else they felt like waxing poetic about.  It was something we didn’t want to miss.
It was better than I thought it would be.  While Ulrich sat behind the table with his microphone, Lillard wandered the room, speaking hilariously and candidly about Scream and the life of an actor.  And Ulrich’s abs.  He talked a lot about Ulrich’s abs.  The entire thing was hilarious and eye-opening and over far too soon.

 

My friends took off and I attended a short story workshop with Elizabeth Fields (friend of the website, and overall terrific person).  She talked about the power of the short story, and finding power in very few words.  I learned to “write what scares you,” and took that lesson to heart.  It was a tremendous workshop.

Me, Liz and the all-seeing eyes

Before heading out for the day, I decided to take one last pass of the floor.  It was mostly cleared out by that point, but I got a chance to talk to an odd group for a while.  They were a ghost hunting trio: one dressed as 1966 Batman, another as Tim Burton’s Batman and another wearing a Superman hoodie.  It’s hard to put the entire conversation into words, because it really felt more like a fever dream than an actual, regular conversation.  But I did manage to write down bits of it before my brain shut down.  I present to you a random assortment of conversation snippets:

  • Superman Hoodie died twice: once by falling off a cliff. I don’t remember the other way, but I do know that it involved a two-week coma and something about throwing a 250 pound man across the room when he woke up.  Superman Hoodie was 70 and weighed roughly 160 pounds.
  • 1966 Batman nearly cut his finger off with a samurai sword when he grabbed the blade instead of the hilt. He removed his elbow-length gloves to show me the scar.
  • Superman Hoodie told me he has diabetes in his leg, and was once doing a paranormal investigation in the basement of a haunted house when something dark flew through him. I do not know if these two events are related.
  • Superman Hoodie is 70 years old, has a 37 year old girlfriend and will berate you if you mention retiring. Or not retiring.  I get the feeling he would berate you no matter what you do.
  • Tim Burton’s Batman told me they were paranormal investigators and showed me their card. I asked if I could have one, but she quickly withdrew the card and told me they didn’t have any more.  These were the only words I heard her speak.

It was a strange, perfect conversation to cap a lovely day.  I had seen what I wanted to see and bought what I wanted to buy.  I would return the following day with a couple simple goals: take pictures of people in costume, look for odd interactions and strike up random conversations when the moment presented itself.  My feet were killing me, but I couldn’t wait to get back to the main floor.

 

As I left the main floor and wound through the building on the way back to my car, I saw Adrienne King and Amy Steel walking down the hall together, sharing a laugh.  I couldn’t help but smile.

Tomorrow.  There would be more stories tomorrow.  I hope you join me.

To be continued…


More convention/travel fun:

Transmissions from HorrorHound Indianapolis 2016

Transmissions from Wizard World Comic Con

Transmissions from the International Cryptozoology Museum

Transmissions from ScareFest 7

Transmissions from HorrorHound Indianapolis, 2016

After hearing so much about HorrorHound, I decided that I should probably see what all the fuss was about.  Indianapolis is roughly a 3 hour drive from my house, so it was a bit of a commitment, but it was one I was willing to make.

I haven’t really had a chance to collect my thoughts into anything even approaching coherent, so I decided to make this post a kind of dumping ground of uncollected thoughts.  I know you’re probably asking, “Well, if you can’t make your thoughts coherent, why post anything at all?”  I would respond that I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it.

1. I hung out with CC and Sophie from the Bloody Good Horror crew for a little bit.  (Also, CC’s friend Andi.)  They were amazing.  I wanted to get my picture taken with them, but they all told me that their images wouldn’t show up on camera.  They told me this in unison, then looked me directly in the eye until I put my phone back in my pocket.  I reached up to touch my eye to find a small trickle of blood. But I’m sure it’s fine.  It’s FINE.
I also briefly met Joe from BGH.  He’s a tall gentleman with a firm handshake and would probably kill a man if he had to.  I liked him.

2. I stopped at Bojangles on my way out of town.  It was my first experience.  Some people swear it’s better than Popeye’s.  Those people are liars.

3. I walked into the main celebrity autograph room, heard a child screaming in delight and a man gruffly and loudly saying something I couldn’t understand.  I looked towards the sound to see a man holding a kicking child while the child’s parents laughed.  The man who was holding the child and speaking gruffly was Michael Rooker.  I assume the child survived.  I should probably not assume this.  Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer still haunts me.

 

4. Speaking of Michael Rooker, I saw the above monstrosity – what became of Rooker’s character in Slither – shuffling towards the celebrity room.  I should have followed him to see how that interaction would go, but I didn’t.  Whenever someone asks me if I have any regrets in my life, I will think about this moment and fall silent for a long time.

 

5. Not many Jokers showed up, so this guy really stood out.  Less because he was The Joker and more because he looked like Garry Shandling in really thick make-up.

6. Tony Todd seems like a super nice guy.  If I felt like spending money to have awkward conversations with celebrities, he would have been my first pick.  Instead, I opted to stand across the room from his table and stare at him as he talked to people.  Shockingly, I was not ushered out by security.

7. Every time I walked by Danielle Bisutti’s table, she was signing autographs and talking to people.  She always looked incredibly, sincerely interested in what they were saying.  I wanted to tell her how awesome I thought that was, but, again, I didn’t want to spend any money to tell her this.  I toyed with the idea of writing a note and asking someone in her line to give it to her while I stood across the room giving her a thumb’s up, but I didn’t have a paper and pen with me.

8. I want to adopt Tom Atkins as my grandfather.

9. One of the celebrity rooms hosted a Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers reunion.  There was a man dressed as Michael Myers standing outside the room all day.  He always agreed to a photo-op, but he never said a word and I never saw him take a break.  Pretty impressive commitment.

10. I was in a screening room before Yoga Hosers (more on that in a moment).  Chris Sarandon popped in, talked about how we would be watching a music video starring himself and directed by his stepson, then promptly left.  It was fine.  Chris Sarandon is still handsome.

11. After that music video, they put on a short film called Born Again.  I loved it.  Think if the ending of Rosemary’s Baby wasn’t quite as well orchestrated by the Satanic Cult.  It was a great concept and hilarious execution.  I can’t wait to see it again.

12. I really wanted to catch a screening of something while I was there.  I had pegged The Exorcist pilot, but I got in too late for that.  So I went with Yoga Hosers.  The trailer looked terrible, but I thought I would give it a shot.  After all, Tusk didn’t look great and I enjoyed that movie pretty well.
I should have known what I was in for during the introduction.  Robert Kurtzman stood in the front of the room and essentially told us that the movie was getting mixed reviews because some people don’t like to have fun.  “It’s a Kevin Smith movie.  They’re fun.  Just have fun with it.”  Someone yelled, “Kevin Smith is awesome,” and the crowd nodded in agreement.  I sat in the back of the room, ready to make a quick escape if the room saw I wasn’t enjoying myself and decided to turn on me.
I lasted roughly 40 minutes.  Here is what the bulk of the jokes involved:
– “Canadians say some words different than Americans.”
– “Teenagers sure like social media.”
– Women have periods.

There is also a scene in which it is strongly implied that a tiny Nazi sausage climbs inside a man’s anus and kills him.  I’m no prude, but death by Nazi sausage rape is not something that makes me laugh.  I know, I know.  Call me crazy.

Maybe I’m just old, but none of it was funny.  I thought about staying until the end, but I was tired and wanted to take one more pass of the floor before leaving, so I got up and left.  By that point, I had a good enough feel for the humor to know that if I didn’t enjoy it so far, I wasn’t going to suddenly find it funny.

13. This made me laugh entirely too hard.  They appear to be a couple of Michael Dougherty fans, with one more committed than the other.
Something to note: Sam’s sucker isn’t in its knife form.  That must be pre-murder Sam.  It was a simpler time for him.

14. I didn’t see Bruce Campbell, but I did see “Hall Of Heads Bruce Campbell,” and it will be sure to haunt my nightmares.  Those little teeth, man.  Those little teeth.

The Bruce Campbell mask was part of HorrorHound’s MaskFest: an entire room filled with masks.  I spent a lot of time in that room.

 

15. Sad Slenderman.  I can’t look at this picture without thinking about this:

16. I saw a young girl – 5 or 6, I would say – dressed like Taryn from Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.  She had little switchblade knife combs and everything.  It was perfect.

17. There was a set of twin brothers: one was dressed as Ash from the Evil Dead franchise, the other was dressed as Ace Ventura.  I had seen these guys at the Lexington Comic & Toy Convention earlier this year.  Ace Ventura is always in character.  It’s impressive and it also seems like it would be exhausting.

I saw all of those things and so much more.  I had a blast.  It was a different experience than ScareFest – instead of one big room, this was broken up into a few different rooms, which led to some great people watching in some of the main areas – but I loved it.  The long drive will likely stop me from attending every year, but I can pretty much guarantee that my first visit won’t be my last.

Until next time, Mr. HorrorHound.


More shenanigans!

Transmissions from ScareFest 7

Transmissions from Wizard World Comic Con

Transmissions from the International Cryptozoology Museum

Transmissions from ScareFest 7

Most of these words are true.

On September 13, 2014, I attended ScareFest, a horror & paranormal convention held in Lexington, KY.  This is the 7th year of its existence.  I happen to live in Lexington, KY, and I have no excuses for missing the previous 6.  Before my Wizard World experience, I had never been to a convention.  I attribute my attendance to ScareFest this year to the great time I had at Wizard World.  Still, it’s ridiculous that this convention takes place in my town and I had never been.  I have brought shame upon my family.

Unlike Wizard World, I would be flying solo.  So I got up, threw on my Zombie Fights Shark t-shirt(seemed festive), and made the 10 minute drive to Rupp Arena.  Home to the Cats, and, on this weekend, home to the ghouls.

I parked a few blocks away and walked.  On my way through the parking lot, I passed many cars with bumper stickers.  The Misfits.  Necronomicon.  Michael Myers.  Jason Voorhees.  Zombies.  I looked around and smiled, knowing I was about to be among my people.  By the end of the day, I would be adding a new bumper sticker to my car, signaling to the others that I belonged.

Hail to the '01 Prizm, baby
Hail to the ’01 Prizm, baby

It wasn’t hard to find the entrance: all I had to do was follow the screams.  I found myself traveling in a group of people dressed as various characters from The Walking Dead.  “Those screams aren’t real, right?” I wondered aloud.  None of them looked up at me.  They just put their heads down and shuffled forwards.  If I were to die, I would do it with characters from a show I sorta-kinda like sometimes.

Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line were playing a concert at Rupp Arena later that evening, which gave the crowd a bit of a weird mix.  I saw people dressed as monsters, bloody clowns and zombies walking among people wearing cowboy hats, boots and tight jeans.  The Grim Reaper made small talk with John Wayne while waiting in line for food.  It was strange and beautiful.

I never did discover the source of the screams, but I found the ticket window, grabbed my wristband and headed through the doors.  A skeleton stared at me from above as I walked underneath.  I thought it kind of looked like me, though that could have just been my brain playing tricks.

sf-02-banner

 

I stepped inside the doors to find a young child being attacked by Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, while Billy the Puppet sat on his tricycle grinning like an idiot.  I thought about stepping in, but I’m only one man.  That kid lived enough of his life to enjoy it, but not long enough to be cynical.  I hope you find comfort in the next life, young man.

sf-03-child-attacked

 

As it turns out, I could probably find him in the next life, as the next thing I saw was a sign for the Ghost Hunter Shop.  Books.  Vests.  Smudge sticks.  If you’re looking for ghost hunting supplies, they had it there.  The Ghost Hunter shop is owned by Patti Starr, who puts on ScareFest every year.  They have a website as well as a physical location here in Lexington.

sf-04-ghost-hutner-shop

 

I poked around in the shop a little, but I had no haunting in my own home and had neither the time nor energy to hunt for them elsewhere, so I shoved off to the main floor.

Ah, the main floor.  What joys would I find there?  Would I find something to love immediately, or would I have to wait a while?

sf-05-beetlejioce-staypuft

 

I would find something immediately.  Just Betelgeuse and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man hanging out together.  I tried to get up close enough to hear what they were talking about, but I’m not good at sneaking.  I also couldn’t stop singing, “Tale as old as tiiiiiiiime.”

I thought ol’ Puffy would be taller, but I had only seen him on TV.  All celebrities are shorter in person.  Apparently Stay Puft and Keifer Sutherland are the same size.

sf-06-large-zombie

 

I found out early that security would not back down from anyone.

sf-07-me-mm

I happened upon Michael Myers.  I don’t even think it was someone dressed as Myers: I believe that this was the real Michael Myers.  I followed him around for a while, observing his movements.  He never spoke a word.  He walked around the floor, looking around him.  I can only assume he was looking for a gaggle of babysitters.  While he was stalking them, I was stalking him.  Eventually I walked up to him.

Me: Can I get a picture with you?
MM: [Nods head]
Me: So, you just don’t talk then?
MM: [Shakes head]

Me: Halloween: Resurrection was really terrible, huh?
MM: [Nods head violently]

Me: You…uh…you going to kill anyone here?
MM: [Dead silence]
Me: Alright man.  I’ll catch up with you later.

I saw him after that from time to time.  Still walking the floor.  Still not talking.  Occasionally he would stop for pictures with people, but he never spoke a word.  I saw a woman walk up to him and ask, “Can I get a picture with you, sweet pea?”  It killed me that someone referred to Michael Myers as “sweet pea”.

My encounter with Michael Myers spooked me a little, but it didn’t last long.  I looked to my left and saw the table for the Western Kentucky Ghostbusters.  I tried to calmly walk over, but I’m pretty sure I ended up awkwardly jogging.

“Hey.  Are those proton packs?”
“Yes.  For $1 you can wear one and stand next to Vigo the Carpathian.”

“You mean Vigo the Butch?”
I giggled and threw some money in the pot, and was then armed with my very own proton pack.  As I waited for the people in front of me to finish with their pictures, I kept repeating to myself, “Bite your head off, man.  Bite your head off, man.”

It was finally my turn.  I walked up, powered on my proton pack and said, “Only a Carpathian would come back to life now and choose Lexington, KY,” then muttered a few lines about Carpathian Kitten Loss.

sf-08-me-vigo

 

I tried to look tough, but instead just came off as looking vaguely indifferent, and quite possibly like I’m a little sick.  I think I looked quite dashing in that proton pack.

I walked off and came across two very pale people pushing a stroller.  “Oh, lemme see the cute little baby.  Who’s the cute baby?  Is it you?”

sf-09-babies
GAAAAAAAAAH!

 

While I was still trying to rub the evil out of my eyes, I felt someone push me in the back.  Before I could execute a super-sweet roundhouse kick, he was past me.

sf-10-sean-astin

 

It was Sean Astin, traveling with a security guard.  “Gotta get back to my table.  Mr. Frodo needs me,” I heard him say softly to himself.
“I kind of thought you’d be talking about D-Bob.”
“What?”
“Nothing, Mr. Austin.  Go tell them about how you hope they won’t be able to get their balls out.  Give ‘em hell, sir.  Goonies never say ah he’s gone.”

A voice came over the speakers.  “Cary Elwes is back at his booth, so if you want his autograph, it’s as you wish.”  I cackled loudly.  I looked around for anyone to share my laugh with, but all I could find was this guy.

sf-11-me-zombie

 

He didn’t find it funny, but I doubt he really found anything funny.  The blood of the innocent, maybe?

I saw Dick Warlock – legendary stunt man, and Michael Myers in the stellar Halloween II – wandering around his booth while wearing a terrific jacket.

sf-12-dick-warlock

 

I thought about trying to steal it, but I figured he would snap my arm in 6 places without breaking a sweat.  I backed away slowly.

I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to pay money to meet any of the celebrities today.  Sure, there were people I loved, but I didn’t feel like waiting in line and spending a bunch of money just to have an awkward interaction with someone I’d never see again.

But then, as I was walking along the back, I spotted Caroline Williams, most famous for playing Vanita “Stretch” Brock from Texas Chainsaw Massacre II.  There she was, standing in her booth all alone.  I had no choice, really.  I had to say hi.

sf-13-me-caroline-williams

 

I walked up and chatted with her for a while.  She struck me as a genuinely sweet and caring woman.  I got my picture taken with her and walked off.  I’ve always been a fan of her work, and I’m an even bigger fan of her now.  I now have an autographed picture of Caroline hanging out with Tobe Hooper, Tom Savini and Nubbins hanging up in my home office.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.

I made new friends (who would gladly kill me at a moment’s notice).

sf-14-me-freddy-jason

 

sf-15-me-harry-warden

 

sf-16-me-predator

 

I found Salvatore blood.

sf-17-vampire-blood

 

How much do you think Salvatore blood goes for these days?  More than I thought it would.  Sure, it promises immortality, but there’s a decent change you’ll turn into some version of The Ripper.  Or, at the very least, have someone screaming, “FLIP YOUR HUMANITY SWITCH,” at you when you’re trying to go to sleep.  It’s my switch, buddy.  I’ll flip it when I want to.

I found the disembodied head of Bughuul.

sf-18-sinister-mask

 

I saw someone getting a picture with Nick King, the guy who played Bughuul.  “Do you want me to hold the mask?” he asked the person?  No.  I just want to take a picture with the guy who played Bughuul but have the mask nowhere in sight.  I’ll look back in a few months and think, “Who was this guy?”

I saw Universal Monsters rising from the ground…

sf-19-gill-man

 

sf-20-wolfman

 

…and others trying to end their miserable existence.

sf-21-hanging-frankensteins

 

It’s not your fault you have an abnormal brain, buddy.  I’m sure you still have something to live for.  What about that girl you’ve been talking about?  The one with the cool hair?  Maybe try giving her a call.  I think you can build a life together.

I stopped to take a picture of an odd spectacle, only to have a fella in a Jayne hat come up afterwards and basically demand money for taking the picture.

sf-22-jayne

 

Jayne don’t mess with mudders.

I spotted a stormtrooper and Sam, just hanging out

sf-23-sam-stormtrooper

 

I wanted to get in closer to hear what they were talking about, but Sam tightened his grip on his lollipop.  I quickly turned and walked in the opposite direction.  I put a Jack-o’-lantern outside my house on Halloween.  I have no quarrel with you.

When I turned the corner, I ran into this:

sf-24-mystery-machine

 

“Hey Scoob!  SCOOB!  Here’s a mystery for ya.  Why did 6 hate 7?  Huh?  Hahahahahahahaha!  Try running around robbing banks all wacked off of…hey…I was having a conversation here, officer.  About what?  Well, that’s between me and my friend here.  Where are you taking me?  What is…is that a chloroform rag?  You’re not a real cop, are you?  AIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE!”

The rest of the day was a haze.  I’m pretty sure I saw Corey Feldman walking around with a scantily clad angel, but I could be mistaken.

sf-25-corey-feldman

 

For all I know, I’m still there, somewhere in the halls of ScareFest.  Maybe I’ll be there forever. I don’t mind.  There are worse ways to spend eternity.  I’ll see you all there next year.