The 2008 Fangoria Weekend Of Horrors in Secaucus, NJ kicked off with the usual introductions from Creation Entertainment's Adam Malin and FANGORIA's editor-in-chief Tony Timpone welcoming the East Coast audience. The first announcement was a big one - this would be the last FANGORIA Jersey show. 2009 will see the FANGORIA WEEKEND OF HORRORS returning to where it originated, New York City! (Finally!) The next monstrous East Coast show is already locked down to a June 6th-7th, 2009 date at the Javitts Center in NYC. FANGO's Michael Gingold then took the stage and treated us to a series of theatrical trailers for a slew of upcoming genre fare, such as AMUSEMENT, ASYLUM and more before introducing Friday afternoons 2nd panel for Timo Rose's THE BEAST. On hand were stars Raine Brown and Joe Zaso. (report continued below)
The duo premiered the trailer and a clip from Timo Rose's latest, and THE BEAST definitely looks like a fun werewolf romp. (Joe Zaso has hair in it!) The pair talked about working together on various projects including BARRICADE and DARKNESS SURROUNDS ROBERTA and discussed the differences of working on horror in different countries. (report continued below)
A highlight for Friday afternoon was the ALBINO FARM panel, which featured director Sean McEwen, stars Richard Christy (from The Howard Stern Show) and WWE champ Chris Jericho. Richard professed his love of the horror genre, as well as FANGORIA magazine and said it was an honor to take part in a genre film. He traded stories on stage with Chris Jericho about the shoot and seemed genuinely excited for the audience to see ALBINO FARM. (It screened at the convention in one of the other rooms on Saturday afternoon.) (report continued below)
FX artist and filmmaker Tate Steinsiek took the stage and talked about his recent directorial efforts including THE DEVOURED, which he co-directed with Ari Novak. He showed the trailer, along with one for MY NEW WINTER'S COAT. Steinsiek has ambitious plans to make these shorts available for download as a horror series that you can take with you on your ipod! Check out his official site www.illwilled.com for more! (report continued below)
The last panel of the evening was hosted by yours truly and featured genre vet Ken Foree and Kristina Klebe. The pair both appeared in Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN, and just wrapped on a zombie movie called ZONE OF THE DEAD. We tried to get the first word about their recent brush with Serbian zombies, but Ken dominated the majority of the panel's conversation, joking around with fans and professing his love for Kristina... (report continued below)
When asked about the recent announcement from producer Richard Rubinstein on making a sequel to the original DAWN OF THE DEAD, Ken confirmed it to only be a rumor and that he wasn't involed. Tony Todd is rumored to be up for playing the Peter character originated by Foree in DAWN, but no word on if any of that is official. (report continued below)
Before we could be kicked off the stage, Foree grabbed FANGO's Tomy Timpone and forced him to join the panel, hence buying the pair a few extra minutes to chat with fans. Timpone was surprised to be shifted suddenly into the spotlight! But it made for one of the days most humorous moments. (report continued below)
Saturday afternoon, ICONS took a walk through the dealers room. Most fans and dealers complained of the sub-zero temperatures, but it felt comfy to us! At the Cinema Image table - Bryan Norton (PENNY DREADFUL), Joe Zaso, Raine Brown and Ted Geoghegan (writer BARRICADE). (report continued below)
Anatomy FX were providing make-up demonstrations at their table all weekend! You can visit them at www.anatomyfx.com. (report continued below)
Kristina Klebe hung out and chatted with fans all weekend, taking fun pictures like the one below! (report continued below)
The masters of Italian horror! Lamberto Bava (DEMONS), Sergio Stivaletti (WAX MASK) and Ruggero Deodato (CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST)! While it was an asbolute thrill to have them all here, there was much confusion about the proceedure to meet them and what autographs and pictures would cost. I can't afford "GOLD PASSES" anymore, so I usually pick up "general admission" and hope for the best. It was to my understanding that a GOLD PASS would entitle you to one free autograph per Italian guest. There was no mention on their tables that autographs were $25 bucks each per item. (Weather it was yours item or theirs.) We witnessed one fan go up to Bava with 10 posters. He got them all signed and was shocked to hear "$250 dollars please!" The fan, not having the money to cover such a pricey autograph charge was embarrassed and didn't know what to do. "I make you deal! $180", said Bava. "I guess I could go to the ATM", said the fan. Bava said, "I wait!" (More on the pictures/photo ops later) (report continued below)
The Italians however love Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni! But don't we all?!
John Russo was chatting with fans & seated next to his fellow NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD alumni. We stopped by his table to ask him the status of the upcoming ESCAPE OF THE LIVING DEAD. "Well, you already know, we have Tony Todd, Gunnar Hansen, Amber Stevens from the show GREEK on the ABC Family Channel and Kristina Klebe cast. It looks like we have Kristina’s uncle Pierre Brice, who is one of the most famous actors in Germany & he’s going to play the part of Smokey."
To those unfamiliar with the ESCAPE OF THE LIVING DEAD, Russo wrote a screenplay for the project which he eventually adapted into a 5 issue mini series for Avatar Press. The book was so successful that it spawned 10 sequels in the comics. Considering the overwhelmingly positive response from the fans, it seemed only natural to go back to the original script and make it into the movie as Russo originally intended. When asked if any changes have been made from the original story, Russo explains, "The comic book was set in 1971 and this movie is going to be contemporary. It will be the same basic story, which is a really good story. Lots of twists and turns and great characters."
With the principal characters cast, Russo seems very excited at the prospect of working with these actors. "Well, Tony Todd was in our 1990 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I got along great with Tony during the making of that movie, so did Russ. So, it was a natural. I suggested Tony right away for the father. And then I met Kristina in Dallas and we got along well as friends. We seemed to be on the same wave length creatively and I think she’s a very charming person and a great addition to the movie. Amber I don’t know, but I’ve seen her in GREEK and she’s beautiful. And Gunnar, wait’ll you see what we turn him into!"
Lastly, Russo went on record to say that he's become a huge fan of Icons Of Fright! "I want to say one thing. I was not familiar with the Icons Of Fright site until Beth did the interview and you guys do such a fantastic job with that site, it’s absolutely beautiful. When Russ and I saw the interview and how you laid it out, let me shake your hand. It was very well done, the whole thing. Russ saw it and said to everyone in our movie making program that they have to see this interview, because it’s terrific." (report continued below)
On the main stage, Tony Timpone moderated a panel with actor Tom Noonan. His sarcastic wit and blunt responses made this one of the most entertaining panels of the weekend. He shared stories from the set of THE MONSTER SQUAD and spoke about working with the late Stan Winston. "He'd clue my eyelids shut and my arms to the chair." And joked how the kids would ask if his name was on the theatrical poster. He touched upon his original performance in ROBOCOP 2, which the producers considered too over the top, hence all the reshoots. He told the story of his audition for Michael Mann on MANHUNTER and how Mann would fire whole crews off of that movie if everything wasn't perfect. And he briefly touched upon his upcoming projects HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and THE ALPHABET KILLER. (report continued below)
Another fantastic panel was with filmmaker Eric Red! He showed 4 clips from his latest 100 FEET starring Famke Jensen and Michael Pare. And then talked about THE HITCHER, NEAR DARK, BAD MOON and BODY PARTS. He explained how one stunt went wrong on BODY PARTS, but thankfully no one got hurt and it ended up being one of those rare amazing stunts they captured and used in the film. He talked a bit about his upcoming vampire picture NIGHTLIFE. (report continued below)
Naked zombie in the audience? Ah! These shows DO have a costume party!
Filmmaker Larry Fessenden hosted the SCAREFLIX panel with James Felix McKenney, Graham Reznick and Glenn McQuaid. The group showed a series of clips, including the trailer to Fessenden's episode of FEAR ITSELF titled SKIN & BONES starring Doug Jones. Quite frankly, on the basis of the trailer alone, I'm saying this looks like the best episode by far of the series! We also got looks at SATAN HATES YOU (currently shooting), I SELL THE DEAD and I CAN SEE YOU. (report continued below)
I love Frank Henenlotter. So, I was beyond thrilled for the BAD BIOLOGY panel! The reclusive Henenlotter wasn't there, although Timpone promises he'll be out next year to promote BAD BIOLOGY when it's officially out, but instead co-writer/producer R.A. Thorburn and stars Charlee Danielson and Anthony Sneed were on hand. They screened a teaser trailer, which didn't show a lot, but was still enough to get this Henenlotter fan excited! The group talked about the making of the picture, which was obviously very grass roots and low-budget. Danielson and Sneed were not familiar with Henenlotter's work prior to shooting BAD BIOLOGY, but they loved the experience of working on this bizarre flick. Interesting enough, the gorgeous Danielson was cast over other "screamqueens" because of her innocent look, which makes her character's deeds more shocking. Based on what we saw, BAD BIOLOGY looks like one hell of a SICK ride! (report continued below)
Probably the highlight of the entire weekend (and the panel with the biggest draw), FANGORIA welcomed the "Masters Of Italian Horror"! Present for the panel were Ruggero Deodato (CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST), Lamberto Bava (DEMONS), Sergio Stivaletti (WAX MASK), actress Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni (MOTHER OF TEARS) and the panel was moderated by Italian horror journalist Paolo Zelati. (report continued below)
During the discussion, Deodato was asked about the status of his proposed CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST sequel simply titled CANNIBALS (or as Deodato referred to it "CANNIBAL METROPOLITAN"). (See original post HERE!) He told the Fango audience that the script was complete and that shooting was scheduled to begin in September of this year. However, he confessed to us that the producer wanted him to change one thing from the script, and Deodato doesn't want to compromise. So, shooting won't begin until he can resolve this one discrepancy with the producer of CANNIBALS. He joked, "Hopefully... I win!" He also talked about all the controversies surrounding the original, and how he once attended a party and was
attacked! (report continued below)
Later, an audience member asked Lamberto Bava if anyone's asked him about remaking DEMONS yet. Bava replied that he's "sick of remake-mania" and that while no one has brought up a remake to DEMONS, if they ever did, he would NOT want to be a part of it. Sergio & Coralina talked about working again with "master" Dario Argento on his latest MOTHER OF TEARS. (report continued below)
Back in early 2007, there were several reports about a proposed "MASTERS OF ITALIAN HORROR" series. Not a television series however, but instead a series of 4 films, each helmed by a different Italian horror director. Umberto Lenzi, Lamberto Bava, Sergio Martino and Nicola Rondolino were all attached but then, no word since that original announcement. However, the group announced that now helming each of the 4 movies will be Ruggero Deodato, Lamberto Bava, Sergio Stivaletti and the Manetti Brothers (Antonio & Marco). Bava told the audience that he hopes they can bring back the sensibilities of the "80's Italian horror cinema" but modernize it. September 2008 is the proposed shooting date for the first feature, with the intent to finish it by years end. (report continued below)
Several months ago, we posted a teaser trailer for an upcoming horror movie titled BLOOD NIGHT: THE LEGEND OF MARY HATCHET, which stars genre vets Danielle Harris (HALLOWEEN) and Bill Moseley (THE DEVIL'S REJECTS). (See trailer HERE!) We caught up with director Frank Sabatella at their table in the dealers room to get a status update on the project. "We just finished the 2nd rough cut and we just sent it over to audio," Sabatella tells ICONS, "so we're currently doing a little bit of sound design and cleaning up all the dialogue, then we’re going into a pretty solid polishing phase while the film is scored."
When asked how the editing process has been going, Sabatella couldn't be happier. "It’s definitely on track. It has the feel I wanted, which is being a classic slasher movie but modernized. To me, I think it portrays that exactly. The story is there, the gore is there and it’s looking really good."
Speaking of gore, BLOOD NIGHT's FX artist Jeremy B. Selenfriend is also at the table, and with plenty of left over goodies from the film's murder sequences! (See photos below) "The movie's got 26 on-screen kills," gushes Selenfriend. "I’ve known Frank for a lot of years now and a lot of it, Frank gave me the starting point and asked ‘What are your ideas? What can you do to make this more then just another death scene?’ So, some of them we got to go really, really elaborate and neat, and some of them he wrote that way to begin with. I don’t often get to put in my ideas, so this was nice. Frank and I know each other well enough that he trusted me to come up with some cool things." (report continued below)
As far as an official release, Sabatella tells us, "We have a pretty healthy list of distributors asking us for a final cut, so right now we’re focusing on making the (final) cut as amazing as we can. We also definitely plan on getting it out to festivals. I want to see how the audience reacts. That’s the point, right? We want to see the audience’s reactions, so the quickest & best way to do that is find a good festival, get it in there and screen it – I can’t wait to watch this with an audience and see how they react. Hopefully they like it!"
Visit the official website for BLOOD NIGHT at: http://www.myspace.com/bloodnightmovie (report continued below)
Late Saturday night, the crews from all the horror publications kick back and enjoy "adult beverages"! From left to right, Paul NOMAD (Dread Central), FANGORIA's Michael Gingold, Johnny Butane (Dread Central), ICONS own Robg and actor Brett Fallon. (report continued below)
Sunday afternoon, I was fortunate enough to moderate another panel with filmmaker Stevan Mena. As most ICONS readers know, we are HUGE fans of Stevan's debut film MALEVOLENCE. We were able to screen the BRUTAL MASSACRE trailer, along with several clips from BRUTAL MASSACRE, and also the trailer to MALEVOLENCE: BEREAVEMENT. The majority of the conversation centered around working with the extensive genre heavy cast on BRUTAL. We did however get to delve into the psychology of the new MALEVOLENCE movie and talked about how it ties into the original. (This new entry being a "prequel" film.) (Thanks to DREAD CENTRAL for the pic!) (report continued below)
Stevan Mena signed autographs for fans following his panel.
Probably just as well attended as the "Masters Of Italian Horror" panel was the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD reunion, which featured George A. Romero, John Russo, Judith O'Dea, Kyra Schon, Russ Streiner, Bill Hinzman, Charles Craig (the TV news anchor in his first ever convention appearance), and the Sheriff George Kosana. (report continued below)
The group spoke about the origins of the film, meeting for the first time, and of course the lasting legacy of the original NIGHT. Probably the funnest highlight was hearing Charles Criag recite lines from the TV reports we've all come to know and love from the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Otherwise, as a die-hard fan, you've probably heard all these stories before. (On a side-note, you really should pick up that new NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: 40TH ANNIVERSARY DVD. It's fantastic!) (report continued below)
And with that, the Icons crew ended up leaving a bit early on Sunday afternoon. Of course, we would've loved to have seen Angus Scrimm and Ray Wise, but after 3 days of non-stop horror, you just want to get the dreaded drive on the Jersey Turnpike over with! Despite the turn-out (hey, there were 3 conventions going on this same weekend), we (as always) had an absolute blast. In fact, because it wasn't terribly crowded, it made for a very intimate show. My final complaint is again with the "photo ops". I truly wish Creation would abondon this from the FANGO shows, only because it led to confusion in the dealers room. Guests like Ken Foree and some of the Italian directors either wouldn't take pictures because of the photo-ops, or would charge for them. (Again, not sure what the policy was with the Italians.) Bottom line is... it's expensive enough getting into these shows, let alone paying for any one's autograph. At the very least, you should be able to pose with a quick photo with your favorite genre stars. For them it's 2 seconds, for us it means the world. And I can't help but think it'd sour that picture anytime I looked at it if I knew I had to pay "extra" for it. (Or if I didn't get one at all because I was obligated to get a $40 photo op.) I'm optimistic about next year's big show in Manhattan and hope that these slight problems can be rectified in due time! 'Til the next con! -Robg.