SATURDAY: (Continued) Earlier in the day, as fans lined up on the side of the auditorium in hopes of scoring an autographed HOSTEL PART 2 poster from Eli Roth, director Joe Lynch took the stage with the beautiful Erica Leershen and Henry Rollins! Joe, an enthusiastic fan at heart, and humbled to be on the FANGO stage introduced the opening scene of WRONG TURN 2 when it was interrupted with the fire alarms! (A problem that struck last years Burbank show during the Masters Of Horror panel and forced the panel guests to leave the stage.) After a few minutes of futzing, they finally got the alarm off, and they restarted the scene from the beginning. Now, most of us (I think) were skeptical of a sequel to WRONG TURN, but by the end of this opening sequence, there was huge applause and practically a standing ovation. The gory clip showed reality star Kimberly Caldwell driving to a new gig lost through the woods, and accidentally hitting a deformed man on the road. Let’s just say when she gets out of her car to check on him, things don’t end too well for Kimberly and she’s essentially beside herself. This clip alone made this flick shoot to the top of my “must-see” list for the year. And by God, with the amount of energy and intensity that Joe showed on stage, I hope this guy gets to make more and more horror movies over the course of the next few years!
Henry Rollins, Joe Lynch and Erica signed for fans after their panel.
John Torrani was once on Ultimate Film Fanatic & Henry Rollins was one of the judges. Here they are reunited!
John meets with The Misfits Doyle Von Frankenstein out in the vendors room.
And now for the other big surprise of the convention, the HATCHET panel. It was originally supposed to be moderated by our buddy Ryan Rotten but he fell ill right before the convention, so HATCHET writer/director Adam Green did the honors, and screened a few clips from the movie. The one you’ve all heard about? With the sweet old couple meeting a violent end to the frenetic Victor Crowley (who rips this poor woman’s face in half after he hatchet’s her husband in half)? It got huge cheers of approval and a standing ovation. Joining Adam on stage were genre faves Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, FX artist John Carl Buechler and stars Joel David Moore and the lovely Tamara Feldman. Adam interviewed his cast, took fan questions and shed some light on the much exaggerated appeal with the MPAA over HATCHET’s rating. He assured us that HATCHET will be in theaters EVERYWHERE on September 7th of this year. But we absolutely have to do our part and support it. So, we’d better see every one of you at the theaters on September 7th!!!
The surprise guest of the entire convention was Rob Zombie, on hand to talk about his re-imagining of HALLOWEEN, currently in it’s editing stages and set for an August 31st release. He was joined by Kristin Klebe (Lynda), Hannah Hall (Judith Myers), Danielle Harris (Annie), Scout Taylor-Compton (Laurie), Sheri Moon Zombie (Deborah Myers) and Daeg Faerch (Young Michael Myers). They showed the trailer and that’s about it. No clips were prepared and Rob was very curt with most of his answers pertaining to details of the movie, often responding with, "You don’t want me to give it away, do you?" While I love Rob and always find him entertaining, I (along with the rest of the audience) got the impression that he really didn’t want to be there. So, yet again, another panel where people showed up, didn’t have anything to show, or anything they could say about the movie they were promoting. The biggest disappointment to ALL the fans (and I had heard about this earlier in the day) was that Rob would not be signing. At first I immediately thought back to his bit during the closing credits of the documentary ‘GOING TO PIECES’ where he says, "Not signing an autograph for a fan is the most asshole-ish thing you could do." Granted, I understand that he does have a tight schedule and probably has to edit the film, but what about the rest of the cast? One of the last questions of the panel was “What are you all up to next?” And everyone with the exception of Sheri and Rob answered, “Nothing.” “Unemployed.” “Looking for the next gig.” If they all had nothing to do, maybe they could’ve saved some face by staying around to sign for a while? What gives? Need I remind you that my ticket was $150 bucks? $200 for GOLD members?
Shawnee Smith took the stage afterwards to talk with Tony Timpone about her experiences as Amanda in the SAW films, as well as her other genre credits which include Stephen King’s THE STAND and THE BLOB remake from the 80’s. Shawnee seems like a cool gal (and she’s cute in that kinda crazy way, which I love) but she seemed very uncomfortable on stage. Regardless, it was good to see her here.
SUNDAY: The first panel we managed to catch on Sunday was with Thora Birch, doing her first convention appearance and promoting her new horror flick DARK CORNERS, now on DVD. Her panel was brief but informative, but she stayed afterwards for autographs. Now, we waited for a bit, and she was really nice, but half way through the convention we were told there would be no photographs with the guests. I’m not used to this. Especially when I’m snagging a picture of one of the panels and one of the ushers comes over to me and asks me to move along. My lady friend wanted a picture with Thora, and she explained to her that she would but that the convention organizers asked her not to in order to keep the line moving. Yet again, another slightly disappointing aspect of Fango that I don’t recall ever being an issue as a young teen.
The Masters Of Horror panel was next and Mick Garris hosted it with new panel guests Tom Holland (Fright Night, Child’s Play, Psycho 2) and Peter Medak (The Changeling, SPECIES 2). They showed clips from Mick and Peter’s episodes and a trailer to Tom’s episode. (Which even Tom hadn’t seen.) They all traded stories about their experiences – Tom about writing PSYCHO 2, and his early work such as THE BEAST WITHIN, which got some applause to which Tom retorted, “Yeah, right! You know that one!” Overall, a fun panel, and these guys were the biggest draw for Sunday. They had a huge line for autographs, and they stayed as long as they could to meet and sign for fans.
New fan fave Neil Marshall made an appearance for this Fango. He answered fan questions about his feature debut Dog Soldiers and last years break out hit THE DESCENT. And gave us some clues about his upcoming DOOMSDAY. Again, no trailer or clips, just some brief tidbits about what fans can expect from him in the future.
The movie you guys SHOULD have traveled miles to support was BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON. And on hand to promote the upcoming DVD release was Leslie himself, actor Nathan Baesel, Angela Goethals and director/co-writer Scott Glosserman. They previewed & talked about what we can expect from the DVD release, and Scott seemed very appreciative of the support from the fans. Some fans asked about Nathan’s work on the television show INVASION. And afterwards the whole crew stuck around to sign promotional posters and Leslie "masks" courtesy of Anchor Bay. Every last one of you better make it up to me for not seeing this in theaters and buying the DVD on June 26th! I’ll be at Best Buy that day on my lunch break!
FRIGHT friend Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson hosted the next panel, which talked about horror in comics. Steve and Bernie talked about collaborating together on their current series CITY OF OTHERS, and Steve talked about his future work. He’s just as excited as the rest of us to see the movie version of his vampire creation 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. He’s been kept in the loop by director David Slade (Hard Candy) and is confident that they’re being faithful to his original books. (Which if you haven’t read, go on Amazon and pick it up right now!)
Clive Barker returned to the Fango stage to talk about his latest book The Scarlet Gospels, as well as several other projects he’s begun. He’s apparently on an inspirational high, from the sound of it. And he answered plenty of fan questions in his usual joking manner. Including one, which led him to go into a pitch for how he’d made an American Godzilla movie. (In which the monster would be the hero and fight a giant Dick Cheny.) He signed autographs after the panel, but they were limited to one per person, and anymore then that, you were required to purchase an autograph ticket. (I’m not even sure if General Admission patrons were granted an autograph. At first they were only giving them to GOLD members, but we reminded the staff that the website also included PREFERRED.) Regardless, again this was kind of disappointing considering at last years New Jersey show, Clive signed multiple items and chatted with each and every fan until way past the conventions hours.
Last but not least was Spanish acting legend Paul Naschy. Honestly, I wasn’t too familiar with his horror movies until the recent re-release of Night Of The Werewolf and Vengeance Of The Zombies, but he was on hand and answering questions via an interpreter. He signed after the panel, and I waited for a half hour on line only to be told he’d only be signing one item for free for GOLD members only. $20 dollars for any additional items and for everyone else. The last big disappointment of the weekend.
Because I waited all that time to possibly get Paul Naschy’s autograph, which didn’t even happen, I missed (but heard most of) the panel for THE SIGNAL, one of my favorite genre movies in years. It seemed like a lot of people missed this panel, but I’m calling this one now as one of the best of 2007. It opens August 10th, so keep your eyes peeled. We’ll have interviews and a First Look up for next months July 2007 Edition.
So overall, I enjoyed myself. Fango is always a fun time, and I did score a lot of great DVD’s in the dealers room, mostly old FULL MOON stuff that I haven’t seen since the days of renting from a "mom and pop" owned video store. I loved seeing the horror community and friends I’ve made through the years, and was proud of the overwhelming response for the HATCHET and WRONG TURN 2 panel, considering both filmmakers are my friends and DESERVE the recognition. But add up all the disappointments, and it doesn’t add up to the high I’ve obtained from previous shows. Sadly, I’ll never get to experience any convention the way I did as a kid. Too nany people involved, and too much money involved. I’ll still be coming to these shows, but even next time, I’m dropping down to a General Admission ticket, because why spend close to $200 dollars these days, and not have a guarantee? ‘Til next con. –Robg.
Go back to PART ONE with Anthony Ferrante, Ken Badish, Alan Howarth, Steven Felty, Trish Coren, Jeff Rector, Fred Williamson, Martin Cove, Christa Campbell, Alana Curry, Jason Carter, The LADIES of The EVIL DEAD - Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly, Tom Bambard, David Naughton, Tony Moran, Frank Darabont, Thomas Jane, Bernie Wrightson, Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Doug Bradley, Heather Langenkamp, Eli Roth, Bijou Phillips, Vera Jordanova, Michael Madsen, Robert Kurtzman, Scott Licina, Mark Kidwell, Patrick Durham, Ti West, Marc Senter, Noah Segan, Rider Strong, Guiseppe Andrews and Lauren Moews.