Quantcast SAWMANIA Convention - BLVD in NYC November 14th-16th, 2008

SAWMANIA Convention, November 14th-16th, 2008 (NYC)
Report and write-up by Mike C. (Pictures Robg. & Mike C.)

Last weekend we had the opportunity to hop on a train and head into Manhattan for some horror fandom action. You know, as opposed to flying 3000 miles or driving for 2 hours. It's a treat for the Icons staff to be able to hit up something local for a change, but was SawMania worth the subway fare, or just a trap?

Scheduled to appear at SawMania were a number of actors and crew behind the only theatrical horror franchise in nearly two decades to make it to a "Part 5". Fans lined up to meet actors Tobin Bell ("Jigsaw"), Costas Mandylor ("Hoffman"), Shawnee Smith ("Amanda"), Betsy Russell ("Jill"), and Beverly Mitchell ("Laura" - Saw II). From behind the scenes fans, could meet producer Marg Burg and Kevin Greutert, editor of all the Saw movies and director of the upcoming and inevitable Saw VI.

First thing we noticed upon entering the venue, a bar in the Bowery, was that this was a much more subdued event than the balls to the wall conventions we're used to attending. Guests were seated at restaurant tables sprinkled throughout Blvd. Shawnee Smith was little tucked away in an alcove all to herself. Rather that hustling from guest to guest and room to room fans were happy to just sit around her in her area and hang out, even serenade her with a little acoustic guitar. It was flat out weird, like we'd stumbled upon Shawnee and friends waiting to be seated at a restaurant. Tobin Bell was signing in the basement area of the bar. Well...if there's anyplace you'd expect to meet Jigsaw it might was well be in the basement of a bar in the Bowery. (continued below...)

Tobin Bell signs autographs for fans.

The line of eager fans waiting to meet SAW's JIGSAW!

Fans take photos with Tobin Bell.

All the guests seemed friendly enough, and without the deafening and suffocating crowds fans had the chance to get a very personal meet and greet. Especially friendly and approachable was Costas Mandylor, who was taking the time to talk with each fan at his table, and later was very social during the afterparty. But man, he's was wearing some crazy bedazzled jacket the entire time, looking like a hip-hop matador. (continued below...)

Costas Mandylor meets & greets fans at his table.

Betsy Rusell, aka Jill - JIGSAW's former wife signs posters for fans.

Being that this was a Saw-only event there wasn't a vendor room. There were only two vendor tables to speak of, both close to the entrance and both selling various Saw merchandise (posters, t-shirts, hats...). There was also green screen setup where you could take a picture "in the original Saw bathroom" for a price, and we find that a little hokey. The folks from CollectSaw had many props on display from all the movies, including the original Billy doll. A Q&A took place earlier in the day but we missed it. (continued below...)

A green screen was set up so that SAW fans could take pictures of themselves in the infamous bathroom from the 1st SAW.

We ran into this lifesize Billy doll in Shawnee Smith's section of the venue

The cost of admission was comparable to what you would play for a Fangoria Weekend of Horrors, about $25/day and also various ticketing packages, some with pre-paid autograph tickets. There was also a $25 afterparty on both Friday and Saturday night with several of the stars hanging out with the fans. In addition to the cost of admission guests were charging per autograph (about $25/each).

The event was clearly designed for the hardcore "Saw" fan. For fans of the franchise who might not know or want to attend a full-on horror con this would have been the best way to meet some of the stars and get a look behind the scenes of the film. For experienced convention goers like your Icons staff it left us with a little too much time on our hands, especially having missed the Q&A. A friendly, quiet event, but definitely strictly for big "Saw" fans. - Mike C. (Pictures continue below...)

Original props from all 5 SAW movies.

Look familiar? Amanda's infamous face trap from the original SAW!

Ready to play a game?

Ouch! Prop needles from SAW II.

Eric Matthews leg brace from SAW IV.

From the original SAW, the tape recorder and Doctor Gordon's amputated foot!

The first version of Billy the puppet created from SAW IV.

Agent Strahm's intended death trap from SAW V.

What's left of Troy in SAW III.

An original Billy sits feet away from a prop from SAW IV.

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