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 II

You can read Part I here.

I had accomplished what I wanted to accomplish during my first day at ScareFest.  I bought a couple t-shirts (a Stab shirt for me, a Monster Squad shirt for the munchkin), Elizabeth Fields’ new book, and a couple other random items.  My goal for Day 2 was clear: take pictures, strike up random conversations and look for stories.  This was always my favorite part of going to conventions, but this was the first convention I would be able to devote a whole day to it.

So off I went in search of adventure, beauty and immaculately dressed people performing everyday tasks.  Onward and upward!

What follows is, more or less, a photo journal of my time as I walked the floor, accompanied by entirely too many words by me.  I’m the worst.

img_9137I encountered this gentleman (gentlemonster?) before I even arrived on the floor.  I knew then that it would be a very good day.

img_9120 img_9139This guy spent the entire time in his booth, painting and talking to anyone who came up to him.  He was gracious and kind and had a true passion and I loved him.

img_9140I can’t decide which I love more: the dead, sad eyes or the Crocs.
Okay I can.  It’s the Crocs.  It’s always the Crocs.
Is it because they match his gloves?  Is it because those Crocs seem like terrible shoes to wear in a butcher shop?  I don’t really know, I just know that I love them.

Let’s get a better look at that bad boy, taken slightly later in the day:

img_9225From the time I took the first picture to the time I took this one, he had changed his mask and his weapon.  I really want to know how that conversation went with the TSA.

“Oh…that?  That’s my second pig head.  Yes, that’s correct sir.”

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Oh, hey there little guy.  You looking for your mom?

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GET AWAY!  GET AWAY!

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“Excuse me. Do you have directions…TO HELL?  MUWHAHAHAHAHA!
Or, like, Pizza Hut or whatever?”

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I have no idea what this was, but I’m pretty sure it has my soul now.

img_9150

 

This girl is with a group called Circus Envy and The Deadly Sins.  They’re always set up in the same place.  I love the look of their “booth.”  Here it is without anyone present:

img_9118It’s a great look, and everyone involved is extremely friendly.  You can often find them milling around the floor interacting with people.  I love them.

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Speaking of milling around interacting with people, here are a couple of the girls stopping in for a photo op with Ash and Ace Ventura (twin brothers whom I have seen at multiple conventions).  The table they’re sitting at is from the dream sequence in Rob Zombie’s Halloween II.
To break this down: we have Ash Williams, Ace Ventura and two vampire girls hanging out with a prop from a Rob Zombie movie.

When people ask me why I love conventions, I point to moments like this.

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Join me as I gaze upon the head of Pamela Voorhees.

 

img_9153It’s like someone took Pinhead’s face and created a poorly constructed mask from the loose skin.

img_9156I’ve seen these guys at a number of conventions and they always make me laugh.  The mask must be impossible to see out of, because Bloody Lab Coat Man has to lead around Leopard Head by the arm the entire time.

I noticed something this time I hadn’t noticed before: Leopard Head is wearing a name tag.

img_9156-copyHis name is Purrcival Stroppington.  How perfect is that?!  I love him completely.
Also, his mouth moves when he talks or growls or whatever a man/cat hybrid does.

img_9159I have never seen the movie Hocus Pocus – leave me alone – but I know these outfits were spot-on.

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Wolf Run – a great wildlife refuge in Kentucky – was there. For $25 you could get your picture taken with a real wolf. Here is the wolf, hanging out with his best friend: Freya, the frightened fox.

YOU GUYS! They’re best friends and they’re snuggling and this may have been the best thing at the convention.

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Valak was there, attempting to eat the souls of babies. Like demons do. Let’s get a closer look…

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I’m glad Lorraine Warren carved your name in her Bible. And brush your teeth.

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Theirs is a beautiful friendship. They will also kill you if you come within 5 feet of them.

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This guy was there the entire time I was. Armed with a couple different horns, he walked the floor with one goal: to scare unsuspecting victims. He scared a great many people while he was there.

However, the horns were loud and the floor was open, so you could always tell where he was. If you paid attention, you could avoid ever jumping in the air with fright. He still got a lot of people, but, by the end of the second day, people were getting wise to his antics.

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Sorry buddy. You’re not scaring this girl.
This is one of my favorite pictures from the weekend.

img_9178This blurry Bigfoot looking clown is named Calypso. When he wasn’t walking around on stilts with an air cannon, he was walking around with huge box strapped to him. When he opened it up, a severed head on a spring would come shooting out of it.

I ended up talking to him for about 15 minutes about why he does what he does. He talked about the need to read people. “If I start walking up and notice someone looking a little uncomfortable, I’ll just get someone else.” During non-convention times, he dresses up as a non-murdery clown and does a lot of kids birthday parties. It was an extremely enlightening conversation.

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I don’t think he really was a “Camp Clownseler,” but I wasn’t going to ask him.

img_9192I took this picture, then watched as the both of them became a cloud of mist and slowly drifted away.

img_9195DEMON SELFIE!

I have a feeling his demonic brethren would frown upon such actions, but it’s a new age. Perhaps these actions are now celebrated in the pits of Hell. Who am I to judge?

img_9196I didn’t actually ask him if he went by “Preddy Krueger,” but I assume he does.

img_9198This made me laugh entirely too hard.

Hey. Since we’re on the topic of Matthew Lillard…

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Here he is sharing a laugh with one of the members of GWAR.

You can’t really see it here, but his shirt says “Clive Barker Rules,” in the same style as the iconic “Stephen King Rules” shirt from The Monster Squad.

monster-squad-stephen-king-rulesAs it so happens, I was wearing my “Stephen King Rules” shirt that day. When I passed Matthew Lillard on the floor later that day, we made eye contact, gave a little nod then fist-bumped. I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure that means we’re best friends now.

The point of this story is that Matthew Lillard is awesome and I love him.

One of my favorite things on this day was spotting the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man towering over the masses in random areas.

img_9213 img_9215 img_9228

img_9270 img_9242 img_9243 img_9259And now witness the time Stay Puft terrorized Camp Crystal Lake.

img_9244 img_9245 img_9247 img_9249No matter who wins, we lose.

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I was particularly proud of this shot. Got down on the ground to take it and everything, like a real photographer.
Then I remembered that a ton of people walked through that area, a lot of them likely with terrible, unspeakable things on the bottom of their shoes. I burned my clothes as soon as I got home.

img_9226Sometimes you’re in GWAR, but you also get a little lonely and thirsty.

img_9241What’s that? Just Courtney Gains taking a selfie with Ash Williams.

This is where I remind you that The Burbs is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I absolutely love Courtney Gains. This picture makes me happy.

img_9277This picture of Amy Steel and Harry Manfredini walking around like old friends made me smile like an idiot. I think that’s why Amy is giving me that look: I’m pretty sure I was giggling when I took this.

img_9276This guy had one of my favorite costumes of the weekend. I don’t know what it was about it, but his entire look was terrific. I must have passed these people a thousand times and I liked his costume a little more every time I saw them.

img_9282Oh ScareFest. Never change.

img_9283After going to conventions over the past few years, I can honestly say that, while this isn’t the best Blade I’ve seen, it is still a very good Blade.
I love that I can have absolute opinions on these things.

img_9290I’m pretty sure these kinds had weapons on them. They weren’t messing around.

img_9298This is the last known image of Sexy Stay Puft and Son of Ernest. I hope you find peace in the next life.