“Pray for me. There are demons in this hotel!”
A woman was overheard saying this into her cellphone.
Why do hotels do this? They book a big Horror convention, an event that brings fans wearing T-shirts covered in blood and violent images, fans in ghoul make-up; in full costume as Jason, Freddy, or Leatherface, and, my personal favorites: the Goth girls.
Where was I? Oh yes!
Anyway, you have a Horror convention booked, so what do you schedule for that same weekend? If your first thought was a Christian Women’s Conference, then, not only are you correct, but you should be working for Marriott.
This Horror Hound Weekend was huge! Not only were there more guests than ever before, more tickets had been pre-sold than at any previous show. Add to that the people who walked in off the street, and, well…crowded was an understatement. But the good news was that, despite the throngs, or perhaps because of them, a wonderful time was had by all.
When we walk in the door, we are greeted by Corey Haim (Lost Boys, Silver Bullet). He likes my T-shirt.
“I’ve always loved that poster,” he says, then as he signs my poster, asks, “You want me to write ‘Death by stereo?’”
I tell him sure. It’s one of my favorite lines.
The next person we meet is Chris Carnel, the killer miner from My Bloody Valentine 3D. A really great guy, just nice as can be. Chris has been working on a remake of George A. Romero’s The Crazies, and he had originally canceled his appearance at Horror Hound due to the workload. After changing his schedule around, however, he was able to make it after all.
“Thanks for coming,” I tell him. “I really appreciate you working it out.”
“Yeah, I really wanted to be here,” he says. “I’m glad I could make it work.”
He signs a still of himself in full costume, and we chat about the film. “Did they really pump oxygen into the mask, or–”
“Nope. I was breathing my own air.”
“The tunnels looked really narrow,” I tell him. “And the 3-D was very effective…it tricked your mind, made you actually feel claustrophobic.”
He laughed, “Yeah. They’re low. After a time, real miners start to walk all hunched over. I tried to do that in my performance. Actually, my lack of claustrophobia is what got me the job. They saw that I worked on Spider-man, and they figured, ‘if he can handle the Spider suit, he can handle this.’”
We then approach G. Tom Mac (above), who sang Lost Boys‘ theme, “Cry Little Sister.” He signs my poster and I tell him how much my kids and I love the song. “We listen to it all the time,” I tell him. “When I put in the CD, they tell me to skip to ‘Cry Little Sister.’”
“That’s wonderful,” he tells us. “I love singing it.”
Beside G. Tom Mac sit two of the vampires from the film, Billy Wirth (above) and Brooke McCarter (below). They could not have been nicer to the fans who came up to them…joking, smiling, and laughing. They appeared to really be enjoying themselves.
Next, we meet Chance Michael Corbitt, the young actor who played half-vampire “Lonnie” in the film. As he adds his name to my Lost Boys poster, my youngest son stares at him, trying to figure something out.
Finally, he asks, “Which vampire were you?”
“I was the youngest one, the little boy.”
I smile. “Eddie Munster.”
“That’s right,” he laughs. “‘The attack of Eddie Munster.’”
We talk for a moment, and, before we leave, the actor picks up a still of himself vamping out. “Here, let me give you this,” he tells me as he signs the still.
I thank him for being so gracious, then it is time to move on.
The next person we meet is none other than Adrienne Barbeau. When I first saw her in The Fog, Escape from New York, and Swamp Thing, I was no older than my children, and, I must confess, I had such a crush. Not to mention the fact that Creepshow is a personal favorite of mine, and her episode, “The Crate,” was the best in the film. Who could forget her famous line, “Just call me Billie–everyone does.”
In person, Adrienne is just a sweetheart, with the widest, brightest smile. She signs posters for The Fog and Escape from New York, and then, on a still from Creepshow, she writes, “Michael, I’ll just call you Mike–everyone does.”
I could not have been happier.
We then met John Kassir, the voice of the Crypt Keeper from HBO’s Tales from the Crypt. I was wearing my Crypt Keeper shirt, and John asked me where I got it. To be honest, I couldn’t remember.
“I like that the lettering is all in blue,” he said. “All the shirts I’ve seen have had the title in that slime green color.”
My sons were amazed to learn all the cartoon voices he had done over the years (Buster Bunny from Tiny Toons was one of my favorites), and, to their delight, he would break into the various characters as he named them off. Then, as the Crypt Keeper, he created a message for my cellphone’s voice mail. Of course, my phone picked that moment to act up–dropping out as he tried to record the greeting. I stood there, red-faced, but John kept telling me not to worry about it. He must have recorded that same message six or seven times, but he never complained.
And the end result was amazing.
When I saw John Saxon, we didn’t talk about Elm Street. Well, not at first. Instead, I pointed to a still of a Gene Roddenberry pilot called Planet Earth. I told him that it was the first thing I’d ever seen him in.
“You know,” he began, “the studio didn’t think humor and Sci-fi went together. That’s why it was never picked up to be a series. Finally, they did it down in New Zealand with that young actor…what is his name?”
“Yes! Kevin Sorbo. He did it for about five years down there.” He then turned to the partially unrolled poster I held in my hands. “What have you got there for me? I can see the New Line logo.”
I showed him a teaser poster from Freddy’s Dead (Born 1984 – Dies 1991), and he was happy to add his name to it.
Andrew Bryniarski (star of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake) signed a Leatherface still and told my youngest son, “Anybody picks on you at school, you tell ‘em Leatherface is my buddy, okay?”
Next, we met Luke Goss. He signed a still from Blade II with a gold paint pen, and the result was quite striking.
“You need to let it dry a little longer,” he told me, “but I really like the look of it.” Then he turned to my oldest son. “You’re dad’s pretty cool, isn’t he?”
My son smiled. “Yeah.”
“To bring you to this thing? My dad’s a cop,” John told him. “He’d have me arrested if he knew I was here.”
I then caught up with Derek Mears, “Jason” from the new Friday the 13th. “Mike, hey!” He shakes my hand. “How are you?”
“I’m fine.” I look at the line for his table and say, “Big difference from last August.”
He nods. “Pretty crazy, huh?”
We talk about his interview on a local morning show the day before, and about the possibility of him putting on the hockey mask again. Then his phone rings and it is a call he has to take, so I wish him well and say my goodbyes.
Derek is not the only Jason actor at Horror Hound Weekend. C.J. Grahm (Above Center, Jason Lives) and Warrington Gillette (Above Right, Part 2) are also in attendance, and, like Derek, both are great, friendly guys who loved their time behind the hockey mask…or, in Warrington’s case, pillowcase.
And, last but not least, we meet Ari Lehman (below). Ari was the child who appeared in flashback, the Jason who drowned, and, at the end of the film, sprang up out of the water to scare the audience. He signs a still of that famous scene and says, “You see all the leaves? It was autumn and that water was freezing.”
I ask, “How old were you when you did the movie?”
“I was 14 when it was filmed, and 15 when it was released…and now you’re doing the math, aren’t you?”
Sitting next to Ari is the beautiful Amy Steel, star of Friday the 13th Part 2 and April Fools Day, but as I look at the stills on her table, I see one role that is not represented. “Nothing from The Powers of Matthew Star?”
The Powers of Matthew Star was a television series that aired on NBC in 1982.
Amy laughs. “Wow, nobody’s asked me about that in a while.”
We then talk about the confusing ending to Part 2.
“I was supposed to be in Friday the 13th Part 3, but I said no…like an idiot. So, when I didn’t come back, they just decided to do something else.”
Next, we find Howard Sherman. Howard played the iconic zombie “Bub” in George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead.
My youngest son is a huge zombie fan, and the only thing he wanted from the weekend was to get an action figure of “Bub.” We find the last one Amok Time toys has at their booth, and then we met the actor. Needless to say, my son was thrilled.
Finally, we attend a screening of the 1981 film, Dark Night of the Scarecrow. I have so many fond memories of that film, and have tried to describe it to my children on numerous occasions, so it is great that they are finally able to see it for themselves.
After the screening, writer J.D. Feigelson (Above Left) answers questions from the audience and tells us the film will be available on DVD for the first time around Halloween. I cannot wait!
At the end of each and every Horror Hound Weekend, I find myself wondering how they can possibly top it. And, every single time, the organizers manage to do just that. With the huge crowds and happy guests, I know there will be another convention in the near future, and you can bet that I will be there to enjoy it.
My only question is…what will the hotel book for the room across the hall?