Back in October of 2007, TV Horror Hostess - Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, debuted her FOX Reality TV show “The Search for the Next Elvira.” The premise of the show was for attractive young contestants to don their own slinky, black dresses while displaying their own hosting skills via a televised competition. Though technically a “reality” game show, this was no “Survivor” nor ”Donald Trump’s Apprentice.” The show never took itself too seriously and the “camp” factor was about as high as the very films Elvira had been famous for hosting. Losing contestants scream in terror as they are ”disintegrated” in a cavalcade of computerized fire and brimstone.
Adding to the cheese was the presence of her midget maid running around sweeping up their left-over ashes along with Elvira’s two drag queen “Manvira” judges; Christian Greenia and Patterson Lundquist.
I distinctly recall the anticipation I had regarding this show when it first aired, as well as being glued to the TV when the big moment finally arrived. Keep in mind, this was back when I was under the impression that Svengoolie and Elvira were the only two hosts in existence and, having just rediscovered Sven’s return to TV three years prior, was anxious to bring his female equivalent back into my life as well. Unfortunately, after watching the first couple of shows, I decided it was probably best that I just stick with Svengoolie while relegating the Mistress of the Dark to those fond memories I had of my 1980′s “Elvira Midnight Madness” VHS tapes!
I felt the show was just too corny (even for me) and was confused by some of the “challenges” presented (e.g. run around a hot theme park and get someone to drink a cup of coffee). Also, I wasn’t sure why they chose to have the winner be a new “Elvira” when Cassandra Peterson is so intertwined with that character they could never be fully accepted. I felt that it would have been more appropriate to have “Elvira Presents: Search for the Next Horror Hostess” where contestants could showcase their own unique characters and hosting schtick rather than just emulating another. Needless to say, I never did stick around long enough to see who finally won.
Nearly four years later, it was a whole new world and perspective. I discovered many more hosts across the globe and joined forces with the other Dave – David Albaugh - in creating this site. We’ve been truly blessed in not only learning a lot regarding the history of horror hosting but also being able to meet them and sample their work We would also see the return of Elvira, herself, to commercial TV via a brand new Movies Macabre series. While her show has received mixed reactions (and for the record we Daves don’t give a hoot what people think, we still love her) it begged the question; “If Cassandra Peterson’s Elvira is back on the air, whatever happened to the “Next” one from the TV competition?”
Having tracked down a copy of the series, I popped it on and watched it from beginning to end. While it was still a bit painful to sit through, after awhile I started getting more into it and picked my own favorite contestant to win. Her name was April Wahlin and she would indeed take home the crown! After conducting my own “Search,” I was able to track her down and was delighted when she took a break during a trip to Europe, to answer a few questions.
DAVE: In the opening episode, it’s hard to gauge how many people actually turned out for their chance at becomming a contestant on “Search for the Next Elvira.” Can you describe that first day on The Queen Mary (where initial auditions took place)?
APRIL: There looked to be about 500 people when I arrived at the Queen Mary, but I didn’t get there until later in the day. The place looked like “Goth night” on the lido deck. My day at the Queen Mary was about 4 hours and, in the end, I never got to go up on stage in front of Elvira. I was kinda heartbroken. They had run out of time so they had us California locals do video interviews. Apparently my tape was the only one that made it out of the cutting room. LOL!
DAVE: Unlike most reality show competitions, there didn’t seem to be a lot of backstabbing and drama between the contestants. Was it safe in assuming you gals all got along pretty well?
APRIL: The other contestants and I got along famously. We had a great time together! Jenny (fellow contestant Jenny Jenson)and I hung out a lot while on set.
DAVE: How much contact did you have with Elvira during filming?
APRIL: No contact with Elvira at all. She had her own dressing room. The only time we saw her was on set.
DAVE: Were the “Man-viras” as tough on contestants as they appeared to be on screen?
APRIL: No the man-viras were sweethearts. Christian was actually really cool.
DAVE: What was life like for you immediately after the show?
APRIL: Stressful, because I wasn’t sure what winning meant. I was very excited, but had no idea what was going on.
APRIL: Officially, for Elvira, I made one appearance as the “Next” Elvira at a Halloween parade in Oklahoma. Had a lot of fun there.
DAVE: Obviously those stilettos are a bit tough to fill. What was the reaction from fans?
APRIL: Fans were mixed on the idea of a new Elvira. Half of them didn’t want the original Elvira to go, even though she really wasn’t, LOL. Others were excited that there might be a new Elvira to return and host movies. There was a lot of confusion. Elvira was never going anywhere, but some people thought she was so they were very critical. I was just supposed to pick up some of the extra work, but that never happened.
APRIL: I’m a nerd. I love comic books and movies. I’m a big STAR WARS fan. I very much enjoy Halloween and all the things that come with it.
DAVE: Overall, do you look at your participation with and winning of the contest as a positive or negative experience?
APRIL: I have thought about horror hosting but don’t really have a way to go about it honestly. Elvira herself was hired to the hosting job and given guidelines for the costume. Everything was set up for her and she could just go. I would have to set up all that if I were to become a horror hostess.. So yes I have considered it but don’t really have a way to go about it.
Special thanks to April Wahlin for her participation in this piece!
EXCERPT FROM SVENGOOLIE NEWSLETTER 7/29/11
Our “Photo of the Month” is actually an autographed picture this time, thanks to our pal Dave Fuentes of the “Terror from beyond the Daves” website that he does along with Dave Albaugh. Dave went to a convention, where he met David Naughton- star of “An American Werewolf in London” – and those “I’m a Pepper/You’re a Pepper” TV commercials from the 70s. He told David about the old commercial parody we did years ago at WFLD where I combined the soft drink commercial with his werewolf transformation from the movie. Mr. Naughton said he had indeed heard of me, and thought the parody idea was “genius” (oh, now, you’re making me blush!). He also signed the below autographed picture for me, indicating that he drinks Dr. Rabies, too! He also told Dave to give me his congratulations on our program going national!
True story! The Dr. Rabies parody commercial was always one of my favorite clips from those “Son of Svengoolie” days.
I was about 10 years old and Mondays on the playground were often characterized by us Sven kids getting together and, after trading Wacky Packages cards, reenacting many of Sven’s skits and songs. I remember we did the “Deadly Cologne” one (parody of Charlie perfume) and various parody songs featured on the show. Of course we butchered the lyrics, relying on our young memories to carry us through. Best of all, it was based on those great aforementioned Dr Pepper’s commercials that still stand as thier catchiest and most fun ad campaign to date!
Original (sorry for the bad quality but this is favorite version of the commercial)
Son of Svengoolie version….
I had always wondered if actor/singer David Naughton had ever seen or heard this parody. I found his fan site on Facebook a year ago and sent the clip - never hearing anything back. This isn’t all that surprising since there are many celebs on Facebook who have nothing to do with their own pages. While attending the FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST last weekend, I would finally be able to meet Naughton and ask him directly (this is what happens when a horror host fan “thinks” too much).
If you’re interested in receiving Svengoolie’s FREE monthly newsletter be sure to sign up via Svengoolie.com!
There was no question that the big draw for the 2011 FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST was John Carpenter. If you’re a horror fan, the prospect of meeting a legend such as this is one few could pass up. After all, this is the man who grabbed a few friends and made a low budget/independent film, not knowing all the while that it would become one of the grandaddy horror films of all time ( HALLOWEEN) and a cultural phenomena. Far from a “one shot wonder,” Carpenter would also give us ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THE THING, and one of my all-time favorites – THE FOG. Like his fellow Master of Horror, Dario Argento, his best work appears to be far behind but is still one of the best film resume’s around.
Carpenter came across, in my opinion, as cold but, regardless of whether or not he shows the same level of warmth and devotion to his fans that one would experience with, say, George Romero, its still an honor just being in his presence. The first meeting I had with him was last Friday. I had a VIP pass which enabled me to jump to the head of the line to meet him. In truth, his line moved rather quickly whether you had this pass or not. I suppose that’s one of the advantages of him not being so personable. I was literally whisked to his table where I brought out my posters of THE FOG and HALLOWEEN to be signed while also grabbing an 8×10 for my co-blogger, David.
What was a major event in my life as a horror fan went so quickly I might of missed it had I had time to blink. He grabbed the posters and noticed the other personalized signatures. “What’s your name, Dave?” signs posters and 8×10,” Thanks, Dave! Who’s next?” We fans were clearly on a conveyor belt awaiting our John Carpenter “stamp” (autograph) before being sent off to market. Of course I have no regrets in doing so as I’m sure none of the other fans did either. For most of us, that John Carpenter “seal of approval” is pretty darn special. We now have the luxury of going back and telling all our friends and relatives for the rest of our lives that we communed (be it ever so brief) with the legendary John Carpenter. Not altogether bad for $30 autograph vouchers and a 5 second encounter when you really think about it.
Carpenter was, in many ways, similar to meeting Ace Frehley a few weeks back (see that story HERE). Again, you’re meeting a legend and should never waste time worrying about whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth. It simply is what it is and you walk away with the “experience” of being in their presence.
Photos with Carpenter were not unlike those done with Frehley either. You pay an additional $30 to get one and they use their own camera (always guaranteed to be out of focus). Unlike Frehley, a photo voucher came with a time stamp. I bought mine on Friday and was told to return the next day at 6:15pm to line up at a photo station. I zoomed over after attending what was, for me, the highlight of the weekend – the DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW panel (which I’ll be covering soon).
Once again, I was quickly brought before Carpenter who looked at my shirt and said, “Terror from Beyond the Daves? What is that?” When I told him, he said, “Sounds great, look over at the camera!” As they snapped the photo I did mention (through grinning teeth) that I enjoyed his commentary on a German documentary about monsters (MONSTERLAND) that I was able to view at a past G-Fest. In it, Carpenter stated that the HOSTEL movies were little more than US propaganda to further perpetuate the post 9-11 feelings in this country that they should fear being outside of the United States. I thought that was an interesting take and told him so. “Thanks!” he said….as I was escorted out the door.
One thing that was better than the Frehley situation was that, a couple hours later, you could pick up an 8×10 copy of the picture rather than have to download it a couple days later. This gave me the opportunity to return to Carpenter on Sunday and have it signed.
Probably the most disturbing aspect of the Carpenter situation was at his Q&A panel which I will give an overview of soon. Carpenter comes across as a cantankerous old coot who looks at his movies as just another “day at the office” as opposed to the works of art we fans (and film history) believe them to be. I didn’t get the feeling that this was simply modesty (again see George Romero who thanks you for standing in line to see him while apologizing because he doesn’t feel he’s worth the trouble) but just overall disdain. It was almost like going to a comedy show where the comedian walks out and rips on members of the audience – while receiving plenty of laughs and applause. In that, I will let you be the judge.
All in all the experience mirrored much of the atmosphere that was ever present at FRIGHT NIGHT. That we horror fans were all spending money to attend a show
….where the joke was clearly on us.
Upon entering the mosh pit (a.k.a. the celebrity room at FRIGHT NIGHT) I was worried that there would be a long line to see Susan Backlinie. Not familiar with that name you say? Don’t worry, you have DEFINITELY seen her before. She is the woman who has the dubious distinction of being JAWS‘ first kill. That 70′s “free love” gal who, after receiving a drunken nod from a stranger, quickly sheds her clothes and invites him for a skinny dip. Running playfully down the beach, she dives headfirst into the ocean….and directly onto the dinner plate of cinema’s most famous shark!
Thankfully, Miss Backlinie had a large banner of the movie JAWS behind her and, unlike many of the celebs, was easy to find. Also unlike the other guests I was shocked to see her sitting ALONE! I had assumed that any alumnus from the world’s first blockbuster would have been a draw. After all, this is JAWS we’re talking about! A movie that still stands as one of the greatest films of all time and made “Steven Spielberg” a household name. If someone told me that they had played one of the “extras” on the beach when young Alex Kintner gets devoured, I’d want a picture with them!
Of course I understand we aren’t talking about Richard Dreyfus here but the fact remains that, of all the people in that room, she was the lone actress in one of the most famous scenes in one of the most famous movies of all time!
Instead I see her sitting all by herself with a group of fans fluttering around the cast of REVENGE OF THE NERDS! Call yourselves horror fans!?!
I walked up to Ms Backlinie and she smiled. I then proceeded to tell her how much I loved JAWS and how her scene was so terrifying to me when I first saw it, etc (there was no one there to see her at the time so I figured I could go into an entire prepared speech I had planned in my head). After I finished speaking, she continued smiling while giving me a blank stare…
She then pointed to her ear and said, “I’m sorry?” I guess, it turns out that Ms Backlinie is now about as deaf as a doornail (swimmer’s ear?)! Hopefully she did at least see my enthusiasm if not hear it. Earlier that week I had purchased a big rubber shark from Toys R’ Us and had her sign it. Even that was bit more work than I had planned…
SUSAN: “What’s your name?”
I ended up having to write my name out for her but she was still very pleasant and, lets face it, diminished senses are all part of the aging process. Even if I would have had to resort to sign language, however, it was still an amazing moment standing next to “the gal from JAWS.”
I just returned from FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST in Kentucky and have mixed reviews regarding the event. Actually, there is another blogger out there who fairly (and from my perspective accurately) describes the ups of downs of this past weekend. Check out Shawn Patrick’s write up via Shawnster the Monster for a really great read.
Due to the busy convention season and number of events slated in and around my native Chicago, I had no intention of going down to Kentucky for this one. That was, however, until shortly after Horrorhound Weekend when the writer of one of my all-time favorite films, DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW called it to my attention. J.D. Feigelson is without question one of the nicest and most personable celebrities I’ve ever encountered. He treats David and I like kings and he certainly never has too.
J.D. informed me that FRIGHT NIGHT would mark the first appearance of DNOTS lead characters, Larry Drake and Tonya Crowe. The prospect of a DNOTS reunion and an opportunity to get some direct quotes for a piece I am writing for SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE meant I needed to be there. So, despite this event being far from perfect, I must admit that I was able to meet all of my objectives – along with the honor of seeing J.D. again and cast members from the film. This, in itself, was a true honor! I was also able to meet John Carpenter and other great celebs and will post those encounters (as well as plenty more DNOTS news) soon.
FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST is really an event designed for Independent film makers – and not so much the fans. Throughout the weekend, special screenings are provided of various unreleased films, while the film-makers themselves are on hand seeking fan reaction. Its also a great way for bloggers such as David and I to promote their work (ONLY if we like it, trust me) while making positive connections in the horror realm.
Its sort of like a high school dance where you start out slow and unsteady hoping that, as things progress, you’ll start gaining better moves and attract the most popular girl in school. The organizers have no trouble drawing fans in by booking big celebrities, such as the aforementioned John Carpenter. This is not unlike those electric bug zappers you hang in your yard but, in this case, its your wallet that gets “zapped!” Regardless, autograph seekers should have left satisfied.
While there was no question the event brought in some amazing celebrities, it was not designed to encourage meaningful fan/celebrity interaction. The main celebrity room was too small and the celebrities were herded in such a way, you could easily overlook them. John Carpenter and Linda Blair are great names in horror but aren’t known for their warmth. That being said, FRIGHT NIGHT must have been right up their alley. My meeting with John Carpenter (which I did on three separate occasions throughout the weekend) was so quick I almost got motion sickness, and my poor friends in the horror host community had the thankless task of being stationed in the hallway to get to them.
Between the retro hotel (which for $69 a night I suppose can’t be criticized too harshly despite being in desperate need of upkeep) and the scorching heat/humidity, I heard a lot of fans and vendors grumbling throughout the weekend.I also saw lots of people I met at DAYS OF THE DEAD a few weeks back who unanimously agreed that this event wasn’t nearly as enjoyable. How much of that was from the heat and hotel logistics vs the event itself probably depends on who you talk to. I would suggest to the hotel that when its 100 degrees outside they might have reconsidered closing the pool. This was done to accommodate more vendors who were spread between two buildings and needed to set up shop near the pool. Not good.
This, however, should not suggest that there weren’t some great moments and connections made here – and we’ll be delving into those in the coming days. Am I happy that I went? Well…uh…yeah. But I wasn’t “glowing” with happiness on the ride home like I was with HORRORHOUND and DAYS OF THE DEAD.
Perhaps I’m wrong, but I think that (considering the state of our economy and how hard people work to raise the funds to attend these fan events) “glowing” is not too much to ask for. If you’re an insider (or trying like hell to become one) who is willing to promote some great people with money not being an issue, by all means go down to FRIGHT NIGHT. If , however, you’re a fan who doesn’t have the luxury of doing multiple events and are trying to decide which one to attend, then I’d advise avoiding this one in 2012. Your money isn’t just important to you, its important to them and, as horror consumers, we should support those who are interested in treating us to an amazing weekend – and not just potential profits.
…or at least not be so obvious about it!
I just returned from the FRIGHT NIGHT convention in Kentucky but wanted to wrap up this event before delving into that one. I attended the VIP party there as well but, it was so horrendous, I couldn’t make a blog out of it if I tried. Let’s just say that the one I describe below was 1,000 times better and showed that sometimes the “new kids on the block” could teach a thing or two to the older ones!
Saturday was a busy day at DAYS OF THE DEAD and, as the doors to the main convention halls closed, I tiredly dragged myself up to my room. I took a shower and, as I was organizing all the materials I’d acquired during the day, was jarred by the ringing of my cell phone. Upon answering, I soon heard the monotone voice of Illinois Public Access host, Count Gregula, asking what I was up to. After revealing that I had no plans for the evening (save zoning out in front of TV) Gregula asked the question that every horror conventioneer longs to hear, “Would you like to attend the VIP party with us?”
For those unfamiliar with fan conventions, many offer an opportunity for fans and celebrities to mingle in a social setting after convention hours. It’s not included with the standard ticket and is usually, on its own, more expensive than your weekend pass. For this reason, I had never attended one before – wanting as much cash as possible for autographs and vendors. When DAYS OF THE DEAD organizer, Adolfo Dorta, agreed to give me press passes for the event, he made it clear that the VIP party was not included.
Needless to say, the prospect of actually being able to experience a VIP party first hand immediately perked me up. I quickly dressed and zoomed down to the lobby to meet up with the Count & Countess Gregula. The party took place in the hotel lounge and many fans and celebs had already arrived.
As we waited for Adolfo to let us in, a small boy dressed as the iconic slasher, Jason, entertained us by running around and mock “slashing” random people. Everyone commented how cute it was and laughed as the little boy happily “murdered” his sister and various guests (including me at one point). Only at a horror convention could a scene like this draw smiles as opposed to a quick call to DCFS. This soon attracted the attention of the real “Jason” from the 2009 FRIDAY THE 13th remake, Derrick Mears. Mears was about as tall as the child was short and it made an interesting contrast, not to mention a great photo op.
After Adolfo arrived and let us into the lounge we could see it was already a full house. A small buffet table offered a fruit and cheese tray which was soon followed by a crate of White Castle sliders. The Midwestern delicacy (and favored food for late night partiers) was set on the main stage while everyone rushed to it like zombies to a brain.
Just as promised, the fans were able to mingle freely with their favorite stars. I noticed James Downing from MONSTERS FROM THE BASEMENT enjoying the company of WALKING DEAD’s Melissa Cowen at a nearby table and waved hello. I’d met Melissa back in October at Rock & Shock covered HERE. Over by the bar, showing off pictures of bikini clad gals on his cell phone to a friend, was Jake Busey. Busey was very friendly and didn’t mind taking a break to pose for a picture. I confessed to him that STARSHIP TROOPERS, with its gratuitous use of nudity and gore, was a guilty pleasure. He gave me warm, “Why, thank you!” while posing for a shot.
Another friendly celeb was William Katt. Like Ms Cowan, I had the privilege of also meeting Katt at Rock n Shock in Massachusetts. He was very personable and we talked about my how my younger brother, Keith, was obsessed with Katt’s GREATEST AMERICAN HERO TV show and made frequent trips to the doctor – a result of his many failed attempts at flight. Katt retained his reputation for being personable here as we discussed the fact that, had Mark Hamill turned down the role, he was the next choice in playing Luke Skywalker in STAR WARS
Other notable celebs who freely mingled with guests was NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD alumnus John Russo and Russell Streiner! I met up with Streiner the next day during an interview with Gregula and asked if he’s recite his famous line, “They’re coming to get you Barbara!” He agreed and then pointed to a pile of quarters at his table. Every time a fan asks him to recite the line they are to pay 25 cents – all in could fun. Before leaving, I had no choice but to ante up!
You assume that celebrities are just there because they have to be but I noticed this was not the case. All the celebs I observed were clearing having a lot of fun and dished out many compliments regarding how the event was set up. Everyone I asked – both celebrity and fan stated they would love to attend another convention such as this.
Soon, all attention was back on the main stage as Adolfo took the microphone…
Thanking everyone for making the first official DAYS OF THE DEAD a huge success, Dorta then began giving away some great prizes for those lucky enough to be carrying a winning raffle ticket. Some of which included some unique gifts from Fable Foundry Creative Studio. We’ll be giving Fable Foundry a much closer look soon.
Freddy fans will be VERY interested in the unique, hand-crafted items coming soon from Fable Foundry!
Aside from generously donating items (that many of us would pine away for) as gifts for lucky raffle winners, the company’s founder and Creative Director, Eriq Chang, has a philosophy that we Daves have come to live by. Unable to attend the event itself, he gave Adolfo some positive words to share with guests. We’ll be sharing those when we delve into why this is a company horror fans can be proud to support so stay tuned and keep your eyes on this company!
The happy mood, ever present but enriched by the words of Mr. Chang, reached a fever pitch when Adolfo unveiled two posters which effectively answered the question we all had on our minds; will there be another DAYS OF THE DEAD? The answer was a resounding YES as not one, but TWO more DAYS OF THE DEAD conventions were revealed!
For horror fans, there are a LOT of events to choose from these days and while many of us base our choices on the celebrities featured let me say that we also would like to be treated like VIP’s. For that experience I urge everyone to consider attending DAYS OF THE DEAD! I’ve done quite a few conventions this year and can safely say that Adolfo and his amazing team will see to it that you receive the best of both worlds!
It’s hard to believe that it has been a year already since David Albaugh and Dave Fuentes teamed up to create Terror From Beyond The Daves. When we met we instantly clicked, finding so many things in common. It was a natural progression for us to take our passions and share them with all of you! This past year has been nothing short of amazing!
Not only did we prove that we have one of the best friendships ever, we have met so many new and exciting friends! This site has opened so many doors for us and we haven’t looked back once. Of course we couldn’t have done this without the support of all of the great horror hosts out there! Hanging out with all of you at HorrorHound Weekend in March of this year was a dream come true for both of us and we look forward to doing it again really soon! We also want to thank all of the convention promoters who have been so kind to us, letting us do our job to promote their shows in the best possible way. Lastly we want to thank everyone who has been a part of the site, whether as a guest blogger, a contributing artist (that’s right Brian Maze…we mean YOU!) or just a fan who visits us on occasion, you are all what helps make this site the success it has become!
We have big plans for the next year and we want all of you to be a part of it so stay tuned and celebrate with us!
If you are a fan of horror hosts (and let’s be honest, if you weren’t would you be reading this?) then you want to tune in to WLIP AM 1050 every Sunday evening from 6 PM till 8 PM CST as Dr. Destruction now hosts his very own radio show that features on air interviews with many of your favorite hosts! As an added bonus Terror From Beyond The Daves’ very own Dave Fuentes will be in the studio as well offering his own brand of humor and expertise!
If you missed last week’s show then you missed appearances by Stella, Mr. Lobo and A. Ghastlee Ghoul! Tonight’s scheduled guests are Ari Lehman (the original Jason from the first FRIDAY THE 13TH movie), Roxsy Tyler and the one and only…wait for it…SVENGOOLIE!!! This is not a show to be missed!
If you do not live in the Wisconsin area you can still hear this awesome show as they stream online as well All you need to do is go HERE to listen!
Coming up next week is the one and only Ms. Monster! This show is guaranteed to be exciting!
Midnight Syndicate to release new Carnival Arcane CD August 2nd.
Gothic horror soundtrack musicians MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE will be releasing their fourteenth studio album, entitled CARNIVAL ARCANE, on August 2nd. “The theme of the new disc surrounds the Lancaster-Rigby Carnival, a shadowy, turn-of-the-century traveling circus with more than a few skeletons in its closet,” said Edward Douglas. “The Victorian and Edwardian eras are a big source of inspiration for us. They also marked the beginning of the heyday for traveling carnivals, so that’s the time period we chose to set the disc in. We spent a lot of time researching early-20th century circuses and carnivals to ensure that the sounds and music work together to really immerse you in this world and the time period. There’s also a big tip of the top hat to Mr. Bradbury whose work inspired many of the more horrific elements that appear in the latter half of the disc.” CARNIVAL ARCANE also features the vocal talents of Jason Carter (LORD OF THE RINGS: BATTLE FOR MIDDLE EARTH, BABYLON 5, THE DEAD MATTER) and fellow THE DEAD MATTER cast members Brian Van Camp, and Dennis Carter, Jr.
The CD will be available through the Midnight Syndicate website, Amazon, iTunes, as well as at Halloween retailers nationwide. It will also be available at select Hot Topic stores starting August 8th. Preview tracks will be made available on the band’s Facebook page and website shortly.
From the CD insert:The train smoke drifting through the pale moon light signals the arrival of the Lancaster-Rigby Carnival. In a forest clearing, these mesonoxian visitors await your arrival. Stroll along the midway and behold wonders both fantastic and macabre from every corner of the globe. And be sure to ride their one of a kind carousel foan experience you’ll never, ever forget.
Midnight Syndicate – www.MidnightSyndicate.com
Midnight Syndicate on Facebook – www.Facebook.com/MidnightSyndicate
Midnight Syndicate Films’ The Dead Matter – www.TheDeadMatter.com
About Midnight Syndicate:
Midnight Syndicate has been creating instrumental Halloween music and gothic horror fantasy soundtrack CDs for the past fourteen years. The group’s music has become a staple of the Halloween season worldwide as well as a favorite in the haunted house, amusement park, role-playing game, and gothic music industries. Whether it’s being featured at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, on Monday Night Football, in an X-Box game, or being used as background music for writers like Brian Keene or Tamora Pierce, their CDs are designed to take listeners on journeys into the darkest, most fantastic corners of their imagination.
David Albaugh here. I also wanted to add that I have been a home haunter since 1985 and the hardest part about doing these haunts is matching up the music to your scenes. Thanks to Midnight Syndicate and their awesome cd’s this is not a problem anymore. I highly recommend these cd’s, even if you just want to add a little bit of atmosphere as you give out candy to the trick-or-treaters on Halloween night!
I woke up early on Saturday July 16th and tip-toed around, hoping not to wake the children. My fear was particularly centered around my youngest child, Luke, and that I’d not only wake him, but that he’d invariably ask where I was going. Although it’s not unusual for him to see me leaving early for work each day, the Godzilla shirt I was wearing would not only eliminate that as a possibility but probably give away my actual destination.
Since 2004 I have, without fail, taken my children to G-Fest (Godzilla Festival) in Chicago. My oldest son, Alex, was 6 years old at the time and was a devout fan of Godzilla (just like his old man) almost since he could talk. In fact, during his kindergarten parent/teacher conference, I recall his shocked teacher showing my wife and I a drawing of the “big G” my son had created along with a perfectly spelled, “I Love Godzilla” written beneath. When I discovered that there was not only an entire convention dedicated to The King of Monsters (as well as all his giant Japanese monster – kaiju -friends and foes) but that it also took place right here in Chicago, I knew that it was one event I could not afford to miss.
I had no idea, at the time, just how true this would prove itself to be. With the perfect combination of children’s activities along with serious forums catered to adult fans, G-Fest is the quintessential “family” convention. In fact, “family” is really a key word here as many of the same fans show up year after year, finally able to walk amongst their peers without feeling like an oddball.
After all the fun we’d end up having at our first G-Fest in 2004 (which celebrated Godzilla’s 50th birthday along with monster-sized birthday cakes to be shared amongst fans), there was never any question that as long as G-Fest returned, we would be there. In fact, in the Fuentes household, it would soon be G-Fest, and not Christmas, for which our children’s impatient lives would revolve.
To further enhance the experience, we would always try and get involved in the various fan activities provided; model making, kaiju poetry contest (for which Alex won first prize one year), and the costume contest. G-Fest is one event where the line between adult and child fans becomes nearly non existent as the home made creations of one stands prominently next to the other – regardless of ones level of skill.
Shortly after the last G-Fest, this blog-site was born, thus forever changing my approach to fan events (as explained in my recent piece regarding PJ Soles). Having recently attended DAYS OF THE DEAD, and with yet another large event (FRIGHT NIGHT) looming on the calendar, I was unable to spend the customary three days at G-Fest. Instead I decided to devote myself to one day – Saturday only – and to cover the event by myself as a reporter as opposed to participant. After all, I now have a responsibility to our readers to cover as many events as possible and the kids would never sit through all the tedious note-taking and interviewing that would be required of me. It was a decision that will, no doubt, forever haunt me….
I arrived early and, as I exited my van, heard the sounds of screaming along with the patter of running feet. I looked over my shoulder and saw a crowd of delirious G-Fans acting as if they were trying to escape the wrath of a rampaging behemoth. Of course this was the very point of the exercise as, last year, my kids represented a few of those same people. In 2010, G-Fest took their costuming thread to the next level by allowing fans to not only show off their costumes but lumber through a miniature city and duke it out for a fan film.
The kids played extras in that film and it was finally to be unveiled this year, just as today’s runners would be featured at the next. Thrilled that they were not only being directed to run but also to scream their heads off, the kids anxiously awaited the director to yell “Action!” Having not had my coffee yet, I decided that my talents would best be served standing across the street while taking pictures. Later we discovered that my daughter, Leia, should probably avoid a career in acting as the pictures revealed that she was clearly having the time of her life as opposed to running for it.
After registering, I had some time to kill before they would open up the dealer’s room, so I decided to sit in on a forum dedicated to kaiju music. This was something I was never able to fully enjoy when I brought along the kids. Sitting on a forum and listening to a bunch of adults hash out the the finer details of their fandom is, from a child’s perspective, no substitute for the numerous crafts and games offered in “Minya’s Place” nor the excitement of playing GODZILLA UNLEASHED with a group of their peers (who unlike the ones back home, actually know all the names of the monsters). I am not a musician but I have to say I found this one to be quite interesting (and I’ll be sharing highlights in a future posting). It soon made me recall the time I quietly watched Alex play with his toy kaijus while applying the appropriate “theme” music to each one.
Later I enjoyed perusing all the wonderful monster merchandise in the dealer’s room and paying a visit to Scary Monsters editor, Dennis Druktenis! Dennis was proudly speaking of his children which got me, once again, to start thinking about mine and how much Luke loved walking around the dealers room at G-Fest. I remembered the first time he entered the room - his eyes becoming as wide as Charlie Bucket’s when first gazing at the main room in Wonka’s chocolate factory.
My favorite aspect of this event is the model room and I am always so impressed with many of the talented entries that come in each year. The amount of skill and creativity really shines through and I believe I may have to post a future blog simply highlighting some examples. Just amazing!
On my way to the model room, I passed ”Minya’s Place.” This was, of course, a room that I’d spent a lot time in during past G-Fests. It’s where my son made me a “Gamera” utilizing green foam and tongue depressors. Although it has since lost one of its eyeballs, I still proudly hang it over my desk at work. This was also the room where my daughter, Jade, made herself a Mothra hat that could often be seen adorning her head the remainder of that particular summer. Yessiree, lots of amazing crafts & memories were made in this room. I gave it a very brief glance before happily moving past it.
The video gaming room and fan art gallery didn’t help much either (did they have to put the model room at the far end of this event, making me pass all these darn rooms!?). My boys consider themselves to be true champions of kaiju video gaming and I remember the look of pure pride that came across Luke’s face 2 years ago when, at four years old, he managed to conquer a 12 year old in the G-Fest game room while using one of his favored (and often dismissed) monsters, Baragon. This year the convention gods took pity on me by showcasing an amazing home-made pinball machine dedicated to Godzilla. This made it much easier to divert my attention away from the group of cheering kids – but not long enough to miss one that looked a bit like Luke.
FINALLY I arrived in the model room and immersed myself in the amazing sites. I was really allowing myself to enjoy the moment when I spied a smaller entry sitting innocently amid the larger and more elaborate ones. There sat a Godzilla inspired Pinewood Derby car that some child made for the climactic Cub Scout event that had, not doubt, taken place this past winter. While the design was original, I knew that the concept was not. In 2005, I remember working on a Godzilla inspired derby car with Alex, holding his little hands as we guided the paint brush over my cartoon sketch. Having spent more time on ascetics as opposed to functionality, the car managed to come in last at every race it was in. Alex didn’t care – in his eyes it was still the coolest car in the competition.
Thankfully, it wasn’t that long after this that my friends, the Count and Countess Gregula, arrived to provide suitable distraction. In fact, after DAYS OF THE DEAD (once again I direct your attention to the PJ Soles post) I am beginning to think that the Gregulas true calling in life is to prevent me from becoming despondent at fan events! Their presence did help a lot in that regard although even the most amusing conventioneer wasn’t going to keep me focused during G-Fest’s annual grand finale – the costume parade!
During this event I was inundated with a flood of memories at my various, and often disastrous, attempts at costume making. Particularly the time I took on the insurmountable task of making Alex into Mech-King Ghidorah! I spray-painted a bunch of foam water sticks to use as the necks which, upon applying some paper mache heads, soon became too heavy to stand up. Further adding to the dilemma, Alex became too hot while waiting for his turn to march that he promptly vomited all over it just as his name was called.
Gregula brought his video camera and, in an effort to amuse myself, I pretended to be narrating a kaiju “fashion show” during its duration. My “tears of a clown” strategy worked at least long enough to get through what would otherwise have been an unbearable experience. My intention was to leave right after but, just as my kids had in previous years, the car-less Gregulas managed to talk me into taking them to the movie featured late that night at the nearby Pickwick Theater. And, just as ALL my kids have done at EVERY Saturday night G-Film, managed to fall asleep before the film’s second act – leaving me to enjoy the movie alone.
At 1am I soon found myself driving back home and, after reaching a suitable safe distance from the event, allowed the tears to flow freely. I had left the kids behind in an effort to capture the essence of G-Fest and, in doing so, had managed to miss it entirely. I thought about Luke and the possibility that maybe when next years G-Fest rolls around he won’t be as interested as he is now. In which case I will have missed my last opportunity to see his young eyes glimmer at the sight of G-Fest’s kaleidoscope of all things Godzilla, along with that awestruck innocence that many of us adults lose as we invariably age. I don’t know whether I will be given another opportunity to make up for this terrible lack of judgement. I do know, however, that if you do see us next year, I will be enjoying the show as “Dad” as opposed to just one of the “Daves.”
Being the “Midwest Dave” of TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand I have more access to many of the horror hosts we feature on our site, including Svengoolie who makes numerous appearances in my native Chicagoland. There are also more conventions and fan events that are within driving distance, thus sparing the costly need for airfare (not that gas is much better these days). When you’re running a horror site, fan conventions go from recreation to inspired work as you busily try to a) cover as much of the featured events as possible, b) snap as many photos as you can, while c) also trying to make meaningful contacts.
My original intention when attending the first annual DAYS OF THE DEAD was simply to enjoy it as a horror fan. Having gathered lots of materials for our blog via HORRORHOUND last March, David (my co-blogger) remained in New England while my goals were more about relaxation and celebrating an old friends birthday (who was slated to join me on this trip) as opposed to “working.”
Unfortunately, there are instances when the friends we had in our 20′s are not necessarily the ones we should be having in our 40′s. Part of getting older and wiser is understanding that its more important to associate with people who build us up and support us as opposed to seeking out “good time Charlies” who wait for you to bend over so they can give you a square kick in the butt! Simply put; when you’re friends with someone who puts you down in an effort to build themselves up, they ain’t your friend. After 20 years of that crap, I finally decided enough was enough and cut the cord. This was one week before we were supposed to leave for DAYS OF THE DEAD so one could certainly question my timing if not my sincerity.
One of the guests I was determined to meet, regardless of my convention goals, was PJ Soles! Ms Soles extensive resume’ included such genre cult favorites as the original HALLOWEEN and CARRIE – two films in and of themselves that would make her a horror convention’s guest dream come true. I met up with her twice at DAYS OF THE DEAD and both times she was very open and candid – as she was during the Scream Queens panel which was covered HERE.
On Friday night I approached PJ and had her sign my HALLOWEEN poster which had already been signed by Tommy Lee Wallace last March at Horrorhound. She asked if I was planning on seeing John Carpenter in Kentucky at Fright Night and I said that I was. She suggested I plan on standing in line awhile since, aside from attracting a large following of fans, Carpenter is known for taking numerous cigarette breaks. I asked if he was still smoking even after his recent heart attack scare and she disgustingly nodded her head.
As the convention wound its way down, there were fewer lines and the celebrities had more time to chat with their fans. Throughout the weekend, I was assisting Illinois public access host, Count Gregula. Gregula was a host without a crew and, in lieu of my situation, decided that a team up would be mutually beneficial. We drove down together while assisting one another in collecting materials for both “Count Gregulas Crypt” and TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES. While he and I have very different work styles I think, so far as this event was concerned, we ended up being a pretty good team.
Gregula, in many ways, is like the little engine that could. What he lacks in journalistic skill & experience he makes up for in sheer drive and determination. Hanging with him not only granted us both interviews with many of the top celebs, but also access to the VIP party (to be covered in a future post). Needless to say, we were both elated when he got PJ Soles to agree to an interview! I am grateful to the Gregulas for there kindness and turning what could have been a depressing weekend (in lieu of circumstances) into an amazing one.
PJ had already given lots of tidbits during the Scream Queens Panel the day before and I didn’t want to ask questions we already knew the answers to. Off camera, I asked her what it was like working with John Candy and Bill Murray during STRIPES. “John Candy was an absolute sweetheart!” she said. “Bill Murray not so much.” I recounted a story I heard during the Dorian Gray Art Show about a possible feud between Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. “I haven’t heard anything about that,” she said, “but Bill Murray was difficult to work with. I think he’s manic depressant or something because we never knew what mood he was going to be in when we arrived on the set each day. It was a difficult situation.”
PJ reiterated that her favorite movie was ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL as she was a huge fan of the Ramones and was able to wear her own clothes during filming. She also spoke of CARRIE and how her ear drum was damaged during the climactic scene where the title character kills her classmates. “The fire-hose was on and hit me full force on the side of my face, directly in my ear. It was a great scene but it hurt like hell and I really was passing out when you see the scene.”
I turned my attention to her co-stars in HALLOWEEN. What I wanted to know was whether or not she still kept in touch with Jamie Lee Curtis (Laurie Strode) or Nancy Loomis a.k.a Nancy Kyes (Annie Brackett). Aside from having PJ sign my poster, I also had her sign one of her own available 8×10′s which featured her and her famous co-stars. I had no sooner fulfilled my Ace Frehley quest (see that story HERE) before starting a new one; my hope being to one day have it signed by the other two actresses featured as well.
I told PJ I had wondered if Ms Loomis did fan events and she said, “yes.” I told her this was a question I wanted to ask her ex-husband, Tommy Lee Wallace, but decided not to. “Good call,” she said. “They had a nasty divorce and I don’t think either wants to speak of the other.” I asked if the two would ever both attend a HALLOWEEN reunion event and her response was, “Never!”
This led to me asking her what I really wanted to know; do the HALLOWEEN gals still keep in touch? “Well, of course I see Nancy every once in awhile at these conventions,” she said. “When we’re together its just like we’re back on the set of HALLOWEEN and no time has passed,” she explained. “Kind of how like being with William (points to William Katt who is seated next to her during this event) makes me feel like I’m back on the set of CARRIE.”
But what of Jamie Lee Curtis?
“We used to keep in touch and send each other Christmas cards every year,” she said. “But as time went on, and our kids grew up, we drifted apart and fell out of touch. I certainly wish her well even though we may never talk again.”
Understanding exactly what she meant, I thanked her and walked away.
By: Jamie Lee Cortese
During the course of my research, I stumbled (Cue Svengoolie sound effect: “Ow, ow, OW!”) across Terror From Beyond the Daves via Svengoolie’s blog. I was immediately struck (“OOOW!”) by how informative, varied, and, of course, just plain entertaining it was. I also enjoyed how it was written by two fans of horror and horror hosts. Before I knew it, I was reading it on a pretty regular basis. Then, I suddenly found myself digging around back into the blog’s archives to read the articles that I had missed, and to reread some that were particularly helpful or fun. It was through Terror From Beyond the Daves that I not only discovered more horror hosts (like Wolfman Mac), but also expanded upon my knowledge of the ones I already knew about. I pondered for months about whether or not I should send out an e-mail to one or both of The Daves. As it turns out, I wouldn’t have to.
When I read that both Dave Fuentes and David Albaugh would be attending HorrorHound in March of 2011, and I finally knew that I was going, too, I made sure I knew what each of them looked like, so that I would know them if I saw them at the convention. I also promised myself that if I did see one (or both) of them, that I would go over and say, “Hi,” and, if time allowed, tell them about my project and just how helpful and entertaining their blog had been.
So, as I weaved wide-eyed about the convention, especially Horror Host Alley, meeting the horror hosts, perusing the merchandise, and with my camera ever at the ready (well, usually), I kept an eye out for them. However, I figured that the chances of even catching a glimpse of either of them were pretty slim, because, in short, the place was packed. Both featured guests and fans ran about the convention floor along with me, with each of us on our own unique path which, despite any and all preplanning and pre-calculation, we were, in all honesty, just making up as we went along.
After stopping at the Chiller Drive-In table, I had checked in once more at Ms. Monster’s booth (which was right across the aisle) to peruse the Ms. Monster merchandise they had on display. I also checked out the Monster Channel table, which was perpendicular to hers.
Today was a day for gasping. After gasping when first glimpsing Count Gore De Vol and Mr. Lobo and Dixie Dellamorto at their respective tables, I involuntarily uttered a third, which, for the third time, was (thankfully) promptly swallowed up by the commotion of the convention. From my vantage point in front of Ms. Monster’s table, I saw a man standing before the Midnite Mausoleum table whose face I vaguely recognized. Thankfully, one look at his T-shirt gave him instantly away! Dragging my dad with me, I made a beeline for… David Albaugh!
As I mentioned before, with so many people, fans and featured guests alike, running around the convention, I never thought I’d run into either one of “The Daves”. And yet, here I was. True to my promise, I gave an enthusiastic, “Hi!”, going on to introduce myself and tell him how much I loved the blog and just how much it had helped my project thus far.
Suddenly, he looked over my head and said, “Oh, and there’s the other Dave now!” I spun around and, sure enough, there stood Dave Fuentes! I introduced myself to him as well, and David (they later gave me permission in an e-mail to call them by their first names) joined in to help me reiterate about my project and how helpful and entertaining the Terror From Beyond the Daves blog has been every step of the way. They both instantly recognized, and were amused (and, as I found out later, actually impressed) by my Svengoolie outfit! They then spontaneously offered to give my brother and me Terror From Beyond the Daves T-shirts like the ones they were wearing (See now why it gave David away?) later on that day!
Sunday morning, my parents dropped me off at the convention center (they would return a little bit later), and, seeing that Horror Host Alley was not yet open, I sat down at an empty table near one of the entrances, so that I could enter as soon as they were ready.
As I waited, I casually went through some of the autographs I had received the day before, while also making sure that my wallet and camera weren’t buried too deeply in my now-empty backpack. I had actually filled it the day before, and had cleaned it out when I returned to the hotel room the previous night; as I would realize later that day, it was a good thing I did, because, by the end of the day, I would fill it again.
Then, just a few minutes later, I heard someone ask, “You don’t mind if we sit here, do you?” I looked up, and saw that it had come from none other than Dave Fuentes!
Who, me? Mind? Of course I didn’t mind!
He and David sat down, and the three of us began to talk again, about anything and everything from Svengoolie to my project. Although the “early admission” we were supposed to have access to never actually happened, I’m still very glad that I actually had the chance to sit down and talk with The Daves casually for a while before the insanity of the convention had set in for the day.
Who, me? Write for a blog?
All this generosity, after only knowing me for about twenty-four hours! I literally couldn’t believe my ears!
Meeting The Daves was just as exciting as meeting more horror hosts, and I am so grateful that, against all odds, I ran into them (thankfully, not literally) at HorrorHound this year.
Coming up in Part 7: Count (and Countess) Gregula! Find out what happens when they suddenly appeared (as if out of nowhere) in Horror Host Alley!
The first official DAYS OF THE DEAD convention received a huge boost when it was announced that the elusive, Ace Frehley, would be its top guest. Frehley, of course, was the original guitarist for the iconic rock band, KISS, and a strong percentage of fans (who proudly count themselves as soldiers in the KISS Army) will quickly site him as their all-time favorite member.
If not for Frehley’s talent than certainly for his lack of conformity. With his inability to adhere to a tight schedule, coupled with his shaky relationship with sobriety, Ace would not only be a thorn in Gene Simmons’ dragon boot but, so far as many fans were concerned, become the living embodiment of “cool.” Ace rejoined the band when it reunited in 1996 then left again in 2002. Despite his replacement, Tommy Thayer, donning his familiar make-up for subsequent touring, the majority of fans know that there is only ONE “spacemen” and that will forever be Ace.
Ace was performing at a Michigan concert on Friday July 1st, when DAYS OF THE DEAD began. His plane was slated to land in Indianapolis between 10-11am – the same time the doors of the convention officially opened. Having attended this event with a couple of late starters, I decided to scope out the hotel a bit on my own around 10am. It wasn’t hard to locate the area where Ace would be signing as a line of conventioneers, many wearing their obligatory KISS shirts, had already begun.
Indeed, this very well could have ended up as much a KISS convention as a horror one. Prior to the event, several celebrities scheduled to attend DAYS OF THE DEAD backed out and organizers considered adding Peter Criss as a suitable replacement. This lofty notion, however, was soon killed by Frehley’s people who were, no doubt, uninterested in splitting the KISS dollar. For this event, it would be Ace and Ace alone.
DAYS OF THE DEAD organizers promised us quick access to Ace so that we would have more time to cover as much of the event as possible – rather than standing in line for hours. Aside from that, I knew that Ace’s plane schedule, coupled with his reputation for being late, meant he was unlikely to show up any time earlier than 1pm. I figured I could track down a convention associate later that day or, if worse came to worse, see him on Sunday. Both options would soon prove themselves unnecessary….
At around 1pm I walked past the area Ace was to sign and saw the same group of fans standing in their same locations as before. Clearly Ace had yet to arrive. One impatient fan garnered big laughs when he began parodying one of Ace’s signature hits and sang, “Shock me! Show up and be punctual!” After awhile even the most hardcore Frehley fan at this event was ready to concede that Gene Simmons may have had a point! I shook my head and went off for a late lunch.
Upon returning, my mouth nearly dropped to the floor. In the time that it had taken me to eat lunch and freshen up, the long serpentine line to see Frehley had been reduced to about seven people! I make a point to never question good fortune and, without hesitation, jumped right in!
Ace Frehley had indeed finally shown up and his handlers ran his line like a well-oiled machine. This, in itself, could not account for the dramatic reduction of waiting fans. It soon became apparent that the true cause of my luck was more than likely due to a good old-fashioned case of “sticker shock!” The average celebrity encounter, at a fan convention, costs about $20 which usually includes one autograph and photo. The more popular the celebrity, the more money can be charged. For example, Lance Henriksen charged $40 for a signature and photo when I saw him at Flashback Weekend back in 2009.
Frehley not only charged $30 for a single autograph but an additional $30 for a photo (which had to be taken with THEIR camera). Larger specialty items would cost more to sign. For example, if you decided that you wanted an Ace Frehley signature on your guitar (and what fan wouldn’t?) that was $500. I kind of understood the mindset concerning that one as many conventioneers are less interested in acquiring mementos as they are in profiting off of a celebrity signature. I once read in Gene Simmons’ blog that he doesn’t like signing guitars for this very reason. Still, considering the status of the economy, it was a bitter pill for most guests to swallow. A couple of fans standing with me complained that the fees were totally “ridiculous” while another gushed that Ace was a legend and, for $30, he’d be content if Frehley “spat” on him. Most of us agreed that that fan could probably use a little work on his self esteem. I had no intention of leaving the line as my true purpose was much less about meeting a legend as it was about fulfilling a quest.
For nearly 20 years Frehley was the lone signature missing from my Marvel KISS comic. While there have been many comic books featuring KISS over the years, the most popular was the first one – printed in 1977 during the height of KISS fandom. In a well publicized event, members of the group had their blood drawn by a registered nurse and added to the ink used in its printing.
In the early 90′s, I purchased my own copy at a Chicago comic convention. In 1993, it was signed by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley during a promotional event for KISS ALIVE III. A year later, Peter Criss added his John Hancock during a small KISS convention in Chicago.
Now, at long last, my dork dream would be fulfilled with the first Marvel KISS comic sporting the signatures of all four original members! I wasn’t going to let the current price of a tank of gas stand in the way of accomplishing this goal, along with getting a photo to prove that the meeting had taken place.
Ace looked pretty good, sporting a pair of shades and goatee that would have meshed well with his former band mates during their “Revenge” days. The handlers provided little time for fan interaction (not that Frehley was known for such things anyway) and, in no time at all, I found myself sitting next to the man himself. Before leaving for Indianapolis, I purchased some playing cards and removed all the “aces” from the deck. As they were about to snap the photo, I held up the cards to add interest and avoid the usual standard fan photo.
As I held up the cards, his handlers began to laugh. Ace (formerly aloof) turned and looked at me. He let out a laugh, pointed to me and said, “Hey, look at this guy! He’s playin’ with a full deck!”
Despite the hefty price tag, I left satisfied. Not only had I obtained the coveted autograph, but I had also been acknowledged by the man himself. And, amazingly, without having to gush all over him or shower him with gifts. Two days later, fans were able to obtain their photos online via a web address given at the time of payment. The quality (as you can see) was TERRIBLE and considering I was walking around with a Canon digital EOS around my neck, downright painful for having paid $30 for! In fact, it’s about the same quality as the one I had taken with Criss using a Kodak film Instamatic (judge for yourself) 17 years earlier! I noticed that this was true with all the photos taken that weekend and available for downloading.
Regardless, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. After all it is what it is, and certainly no one can begrudge me the “moment.” And, if nothing else, I’m sure everyone would agree that it is infinitely better than had the legend simply spat on me!
During the first official DAYS OF THE DEAD convention, guests were treated to a panel of “Scream Queens” which included PJ Soles (HALLOWEEN & CARRIE), Linnea Quigley (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS, & NIGHT OF THE DEMONS), Mark Patton (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE), and Heather Langenkamp (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET parts 1, 3, and 7). The event was hosted by Nasty Neal from WITHOUT YOUR HEAD who encouraged guests to walk up to the stage and ask questions of this unique gathering of screamers. For those unable to attend, below is an overview….
QUESTION TO PANEL: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING CALLED A “SCREAM QUEEN?”
Heather Langenkamp: Considered herself more just an average screamer than “scream queen.” First saw the term used for her in a magazine and was “offended.” As the years went on she learned to embrace the title.
Linnea Quigley: Saw the term used for her in People Magazine and, having grown up with Creature Features and Vincent Price films, was honored!
Mark Patton: “I knew I was one when I was five!” (audience laughs). At first when he heard homosexual jabs at NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 it “hurt a lot.” When Heather Langenkamp found him in exile while creating NIGHTMARE documentary he learned to embrace it. Discovered that there was a list of top film “screamers” in which Jamie Lee Curtis was number one. Mark motions to Heather and Linnea and states, “You’re looking at 2, 3, and 4 right here!” Would not elaborate on which ones were what number.
QUESTION TO PANEL: WERE YOU FANS OF HORROR PRIOR TO LANDING ROLES IN THE GENRE?
Linnea Quigley: Grew up watching Creature Features and loved films such as MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, and Alfred Hitchcock films, and Dario Argento’s DEEP RED. “So yes,” says Linnea. “I was a horror fan!”
Mark Patton: Father (against mom’s wishes) took him to a drive in and saw STRAW DOGS, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, and IN COLD BLOOD (which gave him nightmares). Mark said he was a fan of film in general and not exclusive to horror.
Heather Langenkamp: Had a “wholesome” upbringing and was not a horror fan. The scariest film she’d ever seen prior to NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET was BURNT OFFERINGS. Had never seen a bloody film before and thought NOES was over the top.
PJ Soles (arrives late due to being held up by fans): Had an International upbringing and did not arrive in The United States until she was a teenager. As a result she had very little exposure to TV or film and would later consider herself more a fan of Woody Allen style comedies.
Mark Patton: Recalls sitting outside of the first NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET auditions with Heather Langenkamp and remembers her contemplating whether she should even seek the part as opposed to returning to school.
QUESTION TO MARK PATTON: YOU HINTED AT A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET PREQUEL. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THAT?
Mark Patton: Says that its not an official NOES prequel but more an “omage.” Signed on in Germany and was paid $50,000 (so its official). The story takes place 50 years ago and features a serial murderer (played by Patton). Filming begins this September in Europe.
QUESTION TO MARK PATTON: WHAT YOU HAVE CHANGED ABOUT YOUR NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET CHARACTER, JESSIE?
Mark Patton: Would have made the character darker and suicidal. See previous post where Mark elaborates on this HERE.
QUESTION TO THE PANEL: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE QUOTES FROM YOUR FILMS?
Linnea Quigley: “Do you ever fantasize about dying?” (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD)
Heather Langenkamp: “Screw Sleep!” (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET)
PJ Soles: “They’re all gonna laugh at you!” (CARRIE) PJ says that although the quote was not from her character she uses it all the time as a joke back at home.
Mark Patton: “He’s inside me!” (Audience laughs)
QUESTION TO PANEL: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ON-SCREEN MOMENT?
Mark Patton: The transformation scene in NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 as well as the scene where the character Grady dies.
Heather Langenkamp: Filling the light bulb with gun powder in the original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and rigging traps for Freddy. Enjoyed catching Freddy on fire, and sticking an eel in his eyeball during NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 7. Says she enjoys doing things that would never happen in real life.
PJ Soles: Being made an honorary Ramone in ROCK N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL.
Linnea Quigley: The “Run Judy, Run” scene from NIGHT OF THE DEMONS.
QUESTION TO PANEL: IF YOU COULD PLAY ANY ROLE IN ANY MOVIE EVER MADE, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Linnea Quigley: I’d love to play Faye Wray’s character in the original KING KONG even though she, herself, was not a fan of the term “Scream Queen.”
Mark Patton: Says he’d play the lead character in the film CARRIE or her mother. Says he wouldn’t be adverse to playing a character that was a little of BOTH.
Heather Langenkamp: Would have loved to have worked with (or even observed the work of) Alfred Hitchcock. Said she’d love being in THE BIRDS or PSYCHO.
PJ Soles: Agrees with Heather and said she’d have loved to have done the shower scene in PSYCHO – provided her character could have fought back on Norman Bates by “grabbing the knife and flinging it back at him.” Says it has always been her dream to work with Quentin Tarantino whom she’s a big fan of. Says she wishes he would call her. Heather Langenkamp interjects, “He’s too afraid of us!” (audience laughs).
WOMAN DRESSED AS HEATHER LANGENKAMP’S CHARACTER FROM NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET APPROACHES THE PANEL. HANDS MARK PATTON A CELL PHONE WITH CALLER ON SPEAKER PHONE. CALLER ASKS MARK IF HE’LL BE INVOLVED WITH THE REMAKE OF NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 CURRENTLY IN PRODUCTION.
Mark Patton: Says “no” and that all of the original cast members were bypassed for the new series. Stated that they are indeed making a new version of FREDDY’S REVENGE with the character of Jessie to be played by an English actor.
CALLER THANKS MARK AND ASKS TO SPEAK WITH HEATHER. MARK DRAMATICALLY HANGS UP ON CALLER AND HANDS PHONE BACK TO NANCY LOOK-ALIKE. AUDIENCE BREAKS INTO LAUGHTER.
QUESTION TO PANEL: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE, AND LEAST FAVORITE, SPFX MOMENTS IN YOUR FILMS?
Linnea Quigley: Doesn’t like any effects that requires her to have appliances on her face. She doesn’t like the smell of latex and during the filming of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD and NIGHT OF THE DEMONS the make-up was water proof and she couldn’t get it off between the late nights when filming stopped and early mornings when they resumed. Did not mind having breast or body appliances but leave the face alone!
Mark Patton: Doesn’t like CGI. He did like the transformation scene in FREDDY’S REVENGE because he appreciated the creativity that was involved.
Heather Langenkamp: Likes the death scene of Tina in the original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Without hesitation she said she disliked the “slithering tongue” scene in part 7. Said that effects guru, Greg Nicotero, was making inappropriate sexual “KY jelly” jokes during the filming which she not only found to be “unfunny” but the cause for an entire therapy session regarding it.
PJ Soles: Disliked her death scene in CARRIE where she is hit with a fire hose. Said that she was hit full force in the side of the her face and had her eardrum ruptured. The entire footage of her passing out was REAL and left in the final print. “It looks great,” she said, “But hurt like hell!” Her favorite effect was also from CARRIE in which she credits her Oscar winning co-star, Sissy Spacek, for showing her true devotion as an actress. Spacek was married (and still is) to the film’s effects director, Jack Fisk and insisted that it be her own hand that comes out of the earth during the films final climactic scene.
QUESTION TO PANEL: WHAT WERE YOUR FAVORITE COSTUMES?
Heather Langenkamp: Likes the pajamas that she wore in NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. Says she still has them and tried them on recently for her new DVD cover I AM NANCY. Says Johnny Depp had a petite frame and the wardrobe department kept mixing up their blue jeans.
PJ Soles: Likes the clothes worn in ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL because she bought and wore all her own clothing for the film.
Linnea Quigley: The outfit she wore in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD with the skull in the crotch.
Mark Patton: The Fred Segal wardrobe (in which he was allowed to keep) in FREDDY’S REVENGE. Also liked the overalls worn in COME BACK TO THE FIVE & DIME JIMMY DEAN. A scene in the film depicting his character’s rape, illustrates the importance of that outfit in creating effect (without showing a graphic depiction).
QUESTION TO THE PANEL: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GIFT FROM A FAN & TATTOO SHOWING THEIR FANDOM?
Linnea Quigley: A fan gave her his class ring and another made a moonstone necklace (worn during this panel). Says she is grateful for all the gifts created for her by the fans. Is always a bit shocked when she sees tattoos of her image but really likes the ones of her character “Trash” from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD.
Mark Patton: Sees a lot of Freddy tattoos but was sort of “freaked out” when he saw one of himself (and what part of the body the fan tattooed himself). Says that any gift created for him by fans is made with love and he truly appreciates that. Recalled his first fan letter written by a woman in Japan.
Heather Langenkamp: Pointed to a member of the audience with a Nancy Thompson tattoo. Loved a gift given to her at DAYS OF THE DEAD from a fan who created a Nancy Thompson Teddy Bear. Says she found the gift both cute and sweet.
PJ Soles: Says she sees a lot of Michael Meyers tattoos but her favorite fan tattoo was of Joey Ramone singing (on a woman’s leg). Says she signed the tattoo and the fan returned to show her how she had tattooed the signature. Loves a 16×20 drawing given to her by a fan that depicted her in her various roles. Did NOT love having to carry the picture back on the plane home. Also recalls a family that pushed their baby up in a stroller and told her that they named her “Riff” after her character in ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL.
After the panel ended, the group of Scream Queens stood up and proved why they were worthy of their titles….
DAYS OF THE DEAD coverage continues with ” Meeting Ace Frehley!”
It was a ride for dear life as we headed down to Indianapolis for the first annual DAYS OF THE DEAD horror convention! One could not ignore the FINAL DESTINATION like signs as we made our way through a torrential Midwest thunderstorm, a near collision with a semi truck sporting a decal reading “Drive Safely: Heaven can Wait,” and a large, ominous wooden sign with the words HELL IS REAL glaring at us. The irony of these sights while traveling to an event named DAYS OF THE DEAD was not lost upon us.
Despite these “omens,” we did arrive safely and the only collision I encountered was bumping shoulders with actor, Tom Sizemore, in the hotel lobby. Indeed, celebrities were in no short supply at this convention and were located throughout the three main convention halls. The event was run by a young man named Adolfo Dorta who admitted that this was not only the first DAYS OF THE DEAD convention but his first venture in running one. Judging by the positive reactions from both the celebrities and fans I heard throughout the weekend, it is certain not to be his last.
This event boasted many great names in horror as well as KISS icon, Ace Frehley! The elusive Ace was definitely a priority but, as he was performing Friday night at a Michigan concert, was only slated to sign Saturday and Sunday. Unsure of how that situation would pan out (which will be covered in its own future blog soon) we decided that it was best to meet as many people as we could this first evening.
First and foremost was actress Zoe Bell who played in one of my all-time favorite films – DEATH PROOF. I had the privilege of meeting Ms Bell last October at the Rock & Shock Convention in Massachusetts. I had her sign a photo for my co-blogger, David Albaugh, who unfortunately could not attend this event, as well another 8×10 for me. As always she was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed talking to her. We joked about our first meeting and she told me to say hello to Mr. Albaugh.
I was also happy to finally meet NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE – Mark Patton whom I interviewed for a recent piece you can read HERE. Mark had flown up from his home in Mexico and seemed genuinely happy to be back in the horror spotlight. He had lots energy and spoke of his hopes to be invited to the next Rock & Shock event in October which features a NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET reunion. I am happy to report that he was officially booked the following day and that the Daves will be there!
Mark was part of a “Sream Queen” panel which took place on Saturday. It would include PJ Soles, Linnea Quigley, and fellow ELM STREET alumnus, Heather Langenkamp. That panel was highly entertaining and will be given its own post here on TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES very soon!
Aside from top notch guests, there were also some amazing vendors and an impressive dealer room! The fun, however, was not just reserved for regular convention hours. As the lights of the main halls dimmed, horror fans were treated to even more amazing festivities! On Friday, there was a hilarious stand-up comedy routine presented by wrestling icon, Roddy Piper! Although I am not a fan of wrestling, Roddy was such a natural physical comic that his impromptu stories were “laugh at loud f”unny.
Saturday night featured an exclusive VIP party where fans and celebrities could mingle as well as film screenings and the longest “Human Centipede!” The VIP event will be covered in detail SOON along with many more amazing stories that took place that weekend! There are few things more gratifying to a fan of horror than mingling with his/her like-minded aficionados! Homemade fan costumes not only helped maintain the spirit of the event but provided great photo ops & big smiles from the less bold.
It wasn’t until late Friday that I was finally able to track down Adolfo. He seemed quite pleased as he told me the event had brought in three times the number of guests anticipated its opening night! As he rushed off to motivate his staff and join his wife in the challenging activities of running a horror convention, it was obvious that everyone’s hard work was paying off! The first official DAYS OF THE DEAD was an amazing experience and I am happy to report, will NOT be the last. More on that later…
NEXT POST: “The Scream Queen” Panel!
By: Jamie Lee Cortese
I’m pretty sure it was at this point that I stopped over at the Chiller Drive-In table. Having not seen Wolfman Mac around yet (but seeing many of his fellow cast members, including Professor M. Balmer and Torg), I began to talk to the woman at the table (whom I later found out is Wolfman Mac’s assistant) while perusing the merchandise.
She said that she thought she remembered him mentioning the e-mail to them, but informed me that he actually wouldn’t be able to make it to the convention this year, and was “really bummed about it”. Nevertheless, she handed me one of their promotion cards and asked me to write down my e-mail address on it. I promptly got down on my knees and proceeded to do so. When I stood up again to hand it to her, I suddenly saw that she was on the phone. Not wanting to interrupt her conversation, I stood there silently and waited patiently.
“Hey, Mac?” I heard her say. Huh?! My heart skipped a beat.
But I didn’t have very much time to wonder if it was really Wolfman Mac on the phone with her, because she immediately followed up with:
“Yeah, I’ve got someone here who wants to talk to you!” Without hesitating, she held the cell phone out to me. I probably looked really silly as I took it and stared at it wide-eyed as if it were a foreign object, asking her incredulously, “Really?”
She nodded, and I finally put the phone to my ear.
“Hello?” I asked anxiously, as if I had never used such a device as a cell phone before (which, for the record, I have).
The voice that responded instantly and so enthusiastically was undeniably that of Wolfman Mac himself. My own voice shook as I nervously began to introduce myself to him. Before I could get too far, however, he jumped in, saying, “Yeah, you know what, Jamie? I think I remember seeing your e-mail!”
As the conversation went on, he said that he’d love to be a part of my project, and instructed me to ask his assistant for his cell phone number so I could call him later in the week for an interview! After we hung up, she happily did so, and I couldn’t stop staring at it as I carefully slipped it into one of the page protectors in my binder. By the end of the convention, I ended up buying a very cool Chiller Drive-In pin, and three DVDs from the show: Island of Lost Content: Skits That We’ll Never Show Again. EVER! Volume 1, Evil Brain From Outer Space, and HorrorHound Special: Hercules Against the Moon Men!
I went on to meet even more members of the cast of Chiller Drive-In during the convention, including Son of Froggy and Morbid Melvin!
I called Wolfman Mac on Sunday night, and after a couple of more brief phone conversations, we succeeded in setting up a phone interview later on in the week. Like all of the other horror hosts I was fortunate enough to meet, he really impressed me with his enthusiasm and willingness to be a part of my project, especially since I had never actually met him “in the fur”. However, I hope that I will have the chance someday soon, so I can thank him in person!
Anyway, back at the convention, there was still no sign of Ms. Monster or Count Gregula, but who was that over at the Midnite Mausoleum booth?
Coming up in Part 6: The Daves! Yes, it’s finally time to find out just why I’m here writing this (kind of long, come to think of it) blog series in the first place!