MONSTER MANIA X, March 14th-16th 2008 (Cherry Hill, NJ) Report and write-up by Robg.
So, it was that time of year again! The Late Winter/Early Spring MONSTER MANIA convention! Their 10th show being held again at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ just outside Philadelphia. We’d just gotten back from the FEAR FEST show in Dallas and had barely gotten a chance to catch our breathe before hitting the road again for MM 10! Thankfully we arrived a bit early on Friday before the show started, so we took it upon ourselves to visit the Philadelphia Museum Of Art, mainly to run up the ROCKY stairs again. (They were covered in blankets of ice the last time we tried!) Once we made it back to the hotel, the convention rooms were open and the event was in full swing!
Now, if you stay for the entire weekend, you’ll tend to spot out certain patterns when it comes to convention going. The most obvious one is that every one comes out for the Saturday date and it’s usually packed to the brim with anxious fans waiting to meet their favorite genre celebrities and stock up on amazing horror swag. So, you’re best bet to meeting celebs and getting a few good deals on whatever DVD’s you’re hunting for is to start early on Friday, or wait until Sunday. I knew something was up when it was the first evening of the con and already several celebrities were drawing larger than usual lines. Jason Mewes probably got the most attention in the celebrity room with a line that intersected with Rowdy Roddy Piper’s equally long line. Mews (seated next to his CLERKS co-star Brian O’Halloran) pretty much maintained a long line for the duration of the entire weekend. Not bad for his first horror con appearance. In the other rooms, Malcolm McDowell, JoBeth Williams and Heather Langenkamp also drew huge lines of eager, yet patient fans. A pleasant surprise was seeing Richard Domeier, Ed of EVIL DEAD 2 in his first ever convention appearance. He was only scheduled to be there for this one evening, so most fans probably missed him. However, that might not be exactly true. This was quite possibly the busiest we’d ever seen it on a Friday night for MONSTER MANIA, and I was nervous at how big Saturday was going to be. (report continued below)
Richard Domeier, Ed from EVIL DEAD II in his first ever convention appearance!
Keith David was signing at the table next to his THEY LIVE co-star Rowdy Roddy Piper all weekend!
The lovely JoBeth Williams (POLTERGEIST) signs for her first ever convention appearance!
First things first - one of the most exciting aspects of the convention going experience is being able to shop for just about anything horror related. I’m amazed and thrilled with how much horror culture has grown over the course of the last 5-10 years, and seeing various vendors with quirky T-shirts, horror toys, DVD’s, collectibles, or even filmmakers and independent film companies promoting their latest self-made features is always exciting and what I love about going to these shows. Above all (and despite the crowds), MONSTER MANIA always offers great vibes all around. (report continued below)
The gents from FRIGHT-RAGS always offer the ICONS crew a thumbs up! In turn, we buy their awesome shirts!
FRIGHT book reviwer Scott Lefebvre mans the FEAR WERX table!
The fiends from TOE TAG PICTURES were on hand to represent!
One of my favorite tables of the weekend was the clever fiends at THE GROUND HOUSE table. THE GROUND HOUSE is a new horror film that takes place in a coffee house. The filmmakers had three beautiful cast members from the film stationed at the table all weekend offering out free coffee to fans in need of a quick caffeine fix. And naturally, if you stopped by for a quick cup of java or just to chat to one of those adorable gals, you were bound to hang around and catch the teaser trailer for THE GROUND HOUSE. Hell, I love nothing more then horror, hot chicks and free coffee, so this crew totally sold me! (Kudos to the lovely Donna.) (report continued below)
Wow. Free coffee? Hot chicks? A promotion for a horror movie called THE GROUND HOUSE from Horror Wood Productions? Count us excited for this one!
The gents from HORROR-101.com!
Check out the Wicked Pixel Cinema crew at wickedpixel.com!
These filmmakers made a movie called GREEN EYED MONSTER which also serves as a contest where you can win $10,000 bucks! (This has got to be a movie first!) Go to www.GreenEyedMonsterMovie.com for all the details!
The lovely ladies of SOUR PUSS CLOTHING were on hand! We loved the butcher knife purse!
The incredible work of Terry Cruikshank Creations!
New creations included Michael Myers from Rob Zombie's HALLOWEEN, Victor Crowley from HATCHET and FRIGHT NIGHT dolls!
Another indie movie to be on the look-out for, DROP DEAD TWICE! (Great title!)
Mad props to the LOW BUDGET PICTURES table for entertaining us with their inventive trailers and flicks. Visit the official website for them HERE, and their My Space page HERE!
Need gallons of blood? SCARE HAVEN's got ya covered!
By Friday evening, we were already mingling with the crowds of fans and celebs alike, both in the lobby and in the hotel bar. We ran into several FRIGHT readers who confessed to us that this was their first convention ever, and that they were prompted to attend by reading our convention reports! Knowing this truly humbled this Icons writer. Of course there was the usual handful of costumed attendees, fans & celebs mingling and drunken debauchery! (Kidding, of course. This is a clean show, fiends!) (report continued below)
Yep. This vamp scared the crap out of us as kids!
FRIGHT fan and reader Kim was attending her first convention with her husband & son and recognized us from our convention reports!
With Scott and Becky having a quick smoke break from all the convention excitment!
With our FRIGHT friend, the very talented actor Brett Fallon!
After a late, late night, your Icons crew woke up and enjoyed a quick (over-priced) coffee from the lobby café and just as I had suspected, the convention… was bat-shit crazy! This was by far the biggest attendance this show has ever had. Again, if ANY one had any kind of complaint about FEAR FEST last week, then you’ve obviously never been to a MONSTER MANIA show on a Saturday. And anyone from last week that was bummed about not meeting Robert Englund? Well, this was far worse. Bruce Campbell and Corey Feldman had lines ALL day that wrapped around both the main lobby and outside of the hotel. It truly was unbelievable. And again, all the people that drew lines the previous evening – Jason Mewes, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Malcolm McDowell, all the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE cast members had triple the people they had the previous evening. While I’m sure it was great business for everyone, vendors and celebs, it was terribly uncomfortable for the average convention goer! In fact, I spent the majority of my time hiding out in my room during the peak hours of Saturday afternoon. (report continued below)
This "Leatherface" mask was at Tom Savini's table for $300 bucks. However, Tom still continues to sign your own items for free, unlike everyone else at these shows. Meanwhile, costumes were everywhere in the convention halls!
A horror fan poses with Freddy Krueger and Spawn!
The Raven Dreams Online table had amazing custom Freddy gloves!
Amazing work from HORROR IDOLS of Victor Crowley and the remake "Leatherface"!
NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET's Heather Langenkamp talks with fans! Where's her hula-hoop?
Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface) was sitting next to his TEXAS CHAIN SAW co-stars all weekend!
FRIGHT reviewer Neil meets TEXAS CHAIN SAW's Marilyn Burns!
The "hitchhiker" himself Edwin Neal laughs along with a fan!
Jason Mewes drew some of the biggest lines! His CLERKS co-star Brian O'Halloran was stationed next to him!
Bill Moseley and Sid Haig - always convention favorites!
I thought I could find solace in the panel room, but surprisingly, the first panel of the day for BRUTAL MASSACRE: A COMEDY was packed! Usually it takes a while for the panel room to hit capacity. Writer/Director Stevan Mena was on hand with producer Tom Bambard, stars Brian O’Halloran, Gunnar Hansen, Michelle DiBenedetti & Ronald E. Giles. The group showed the trailer, as well as several clips before taking questions from the audience. Gunnar Hansen’s hilarious scenes drew the loudest applause and laughter from the crowd. I went to grab lunch with the hopes to make it back for one of the next panels, but the honest truth was the room had exceeded capacity and I could not see any more panels for the rest of the day. I was totally bummed when I tried to get in there a half hour before Bruce Campbell’s panel to realize they simply could not let anyone else in! Thankfully, my buddy Ted has more patience than I do and was there an hour early and had the following to report! (report continued below)
Writer/Director Stevan Mena and producer Tom Bambard open up the BRUTAL MASSACRE panel!
Michelle DiBenedetti & Brian O'Halloran during the BRUTAL MASSACRE panel!
Gunnar Hansen & Michelle DiBenedetti during the BRUTAL MASSACRE panel!
Bruce Campbell started off his panel with some self-deprecating humor and then suggested that no one ask him about Evil Dead 4, which he claimed will officially begin filming "about a week from... NEVER." He answered a handful of questions about his career, sometimes giving a straight answer, but more often than not, throwing a sarcastic witticism at whoever was brave enough to ask him anything. He confirmed that Man With the Screaming Brain was "a total piece of shit", which he equated mainly to its filming location, and that Sam Raimi had yet to ask him to appear in Drag Me To Hell. When asked if he'd appear in Spider-Man 4 if it were to happen, he responded, "After the third one, you actually want a fourth?!"
He then showed the first ten minutes of My Name is Bruce, which looked extremely funny - with just the right amount of gore. He seemed very proud of the film. As he concluded his speech, he dropped the usual Bruce shtick and gave a very heartfelt thanks to all supporters of independent cinema, referring to his fans as "his bosses". All-in-all, the best panel I'd ever witnessed. - Ted Geoghegan (report continued below)
While MONSTER MANIA is a fun show, there were a ton of snags that made for a frustrating weekend. One was of course, the long lines. Bruce Campbell was literally only signing for a few short hours each day and it made it nearly impossible to meet him without sacrificing your entire day. Even a die-hard Campbell fan dressed in full Ash garb gave up waiting on line at one point. Another shock was Corey Feldman! (Who knew he was THIS popular?!) His line wrapped around the building from outside and didn’t let up, even when we were prepping to leave on Sunday. It feels like the show has simply outgrown its capacity! The panels are usually the main reason I come to these shows and it was a shame I physically could not get into them. My suggestion? How about more space? The event I would imagine is pulling in plenty of money with this kind of record attendance. Why not rent out the 2nd and 3rd floors? I vaguely recall one MONSTER MANIA show where all of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET guests were all signing autographs on the 2nd floor. All of us would benefit from a little more space! (report continued below)
This is HER boomstick! A die-hard Ash fan preps for her meeting with Bruce Campbell!
Mike C.'s excited to see his first movie poster quote, on an Uwe Boll movie no less!
By late Saturday night, attendance had dwindled, but there was still fun to be had, long into the late hours of the night. Before the traditional ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW performance in the main auditorium, several cast members of the audience came out to perform songs from EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL, which was a great added treat. If you were over in the bar, you could probably spot Gunnar Hansen, Brian O’ Halloran and Stevan Mena enjoying a beer and conversing with fans. Hell, even your ever faithful Icons staff were enjoying shots, drinks and horror related conversations with fellow fans and FRIGHT readers. Can’t emphasize this enough, but there were good vibes in the air, despite the disappointments from earlier in the day. (report continued below)
Before the ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, fans performed music from EVIL DEAD: THE MUSICAL!
Sunday morning came, and by 9:30 AM, there was already a tremendous line outside the hotel to meet Bruce Campbell. (Is he still a curmudgeon lately? Let me know, fiends! Can’t recall the last time he was actually nice to a fan.) With the lines outside rather than in the vendors room, I managed to score some last minute DVD’s from the TROMA table. (Have been meaning to pick up more TROMA stuff ever since BAD KIDS episode 2.) Mike and I also decided to purchase some autographs from Malcolm McDowell and William Ragsdale. Here’s the other big snag about the conventions. The ever increasing price of autographs! Celebrities. Convention agents. Convention organizers. PLEASE! Cut us a break? The industry standard has seemed to hover at $20 bucks per autograph these last few years. Now, it’s slowly sneaking up to $25 dollar per autograph. (Including your item!) Ok, $25 bucks is getting steep for me. I got 2 autographs and it cost me $50 bucks! $50! Look, maybe I’m spoiled. When I was a teenager, I used to attend all the FANGORIA WEEKEND OF HORRORS, in a time when there weren’t this many conventions going on, and I met every one, and I mean EVERY one for FREE. So, the 16 year old in me is nostalgic for those times. I understand that times have changed. This is big business for a lot of people. That’s just the way it works. But come on! I can’t imagine being a teenage kid now and saving up for months and months just to wait in line for 6 hours to blow $50 bucks to meet 2 people. It just… I don’t know… It just doesn’t seem right to me. Am I the only one that feels that way? (report continued below)
Viddy well, Mike C. So says Malcolm McDowell!
Catching up with William Ragsdale from FRIGHT NIGHT after seeing him last week at FEAR FEST 2!
Overall, as usual, I had an amazing time, had so many great conversations and an overall blast at MONSTER MANIA. I always do. The only problems I had were one’s that I’m sure all fans share in. It’s disappointing when you can’t get into a panel room or when a celebrity you drove 2 plus hours to meet has a 6 hour long wait. Again, my suggestion is more space. These shows are getting bigger and bigger. (Which is great!) So, why not embrace that. The other snag is the cost of everything. Not just from the celebs or the vendors, but hell, even in the hotel. We’ve got very little options in terms of food to eat, morning coffee to drink - so if you stay for the weekend, come prepared with plenty food and drinks. It’s annoying to wake up, walk to the lobby and drop $3-4 bucks on a small coffee. (What do I know? I don’t drink Starbucks either. Maybe that’s industry standard for coffee. Oh wait, I should’ve gone back to THE GROUND HOUSE table. Crap, I hate when I remember stuff after the fact!) Regardless, we’ll inevitably see you guys at the next one! Please do say hello! –Robg.