The last convention The Daves attended together was New England’s “Rock & Shock“ back in October. One of the highlights of that event was the opportunity to meet Adrienne Barbeau (see full details HERE) as she was a key player in one of my all-time favorite films, THE FOG.
The 2011 Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend provided two more celebrity encounters from that iconic film; Tommy Lee Wallace & Tom Atkins. The Daves meeting the Toms was one of our top Horrorhound priorities! Aside from THE FOG, both men have been involved in many other iconic horror films from the 1980′s (our teenage years). This was also the golden age of slashers as well as a prolific period in the horror genre itself.
First up was the great Tommy Lee Wallace. Wallace served as John Carpenter’s production designer and co-editor for both the original HALLOWEEN as well as THE FOG. Wallace, himself, would later assume the director’s chair for HALLOWEEN III.
This film was being given a special Horrorhound salute – also being tied in with this year’s MASKFEST. As most horror fans are aware, HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH broke rank from its slasher franchise by dropping Michael Myers in favor of a completely unique storyline featuring a sinister warlock and his diabolical plans to turn America’s trick-or-treaters into bug infested corpses. He would accomplish this with the assistance of his Silver Shamrock masks – producing one of the catchiest, fictional TV ads of all time.
As an 80′s slasher fan, I (and many others at the time) weren’t pleased with this breach of HALLOWEEN protocol. Looking back, however, I have gained a much better appreciation for it. The film is unique and, in many ways, a more fitting tribute to the “Halloween” holiday than any of the other entries. Regardless, it was a poster of HALLOWEEN & THE FOG that I opted to have Wallace sign.
Wallace was friendly and seemed to appreciate the praise I gave him regarding his work in THE FOG. Of course I really wanted to ask him about his ex-wife, Nancy Loomis, who played Laurie’s feisty friend, “Annie,” in Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN. She was always one of my favorite characters and I wanted to find out if she ever made rounds in the convention circuit (like P.J. Soles).
I chose not too, figuring it might be stretching the boundaries of good taste, and the last thing I wanted was Wallace getting offended and folding my posters into paper airplanes. Although I didn’t mention it in my ”Celebrity Encounter” blog a few weeks back, I’m going to suggest that asking celebrities about their personal life is a no-no.
I have to go on record and say that my favorite celebrity at Horrorhound was Tom Atkins! He was an absolute hoot, and definitely worth meeting (in our case twice). I walked up to him and asked him a question that had been posed to him during THE FOG. It was a bit of a risk as actors aren’t always familiar with their past roles, let alone one filmed over 30 years ago.
We all laughed as I said, “Thank GOD your weird,” and had him sign both a poster of THE FOG as well as one of his own photos. He happily allowed us to pose with a replica of a “creep” from NIGHT OF THE CREEPS – another fun horror film from the 1980′s. The black, slug-like creature, famous for animating the dead, was sitting on his table and perfect for a photo op.
He got a kick out of our TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES shirts and, throughout the weekend, whenever we walked past his table he’d smile and yell – “Look! There’s a Dave!” Atkins had some amusing shirts of his own for sale and David picked one up for Richard, our young computer wiz kid!
Atkins gets a “10″ on the TFBTD celebrity Meeting Scale for having lots of enthusiasm, genuinely making the fans feel special, offering his own props for photos, and for selling hilarious shirts. I was so pleased with our Friday meeting, we ended up paying him another visit on Sunday – this time I had him sign a HALLOWEEN III still and pose with co-star, Stacey Nelkin.
MASKFEST paid tribute to another iconic 80′s film, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, and we’ll be covering that in greater detail soon, along with even more celebs. But first, a quick visit to the Horror Host Room…..
While many horror fans site 1978 HALLOWEEN as their favorite John Carpenter film, I would not be one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that movie and would quickly name Michael Myers as my all time favorite slasher. The way I see it, however, Carpenter has three masterpieces; HALLOWEEN, THE FOG, and THE THING. If forced to choose a favorite among these gems, I would easily pick THE FOG.
THE FOG is one of a handful of movie greats I can watch over and over again without fatigue. As you may have gathered from past blogs, I am a big fan of “revenge from the grave” tales and, in that regard, THE FOG is the silver screen’s cream of the crop!
It is hard to pinpoint any single facet of the film that makes it so delectable to my horror palate; the gripping story, the creepy atmosphere, or Carpenter’s amazing score. If pressed, however, I would choose the performance of its star – Adrienne Barbeau! Barbeau plays DJ, “Stevie Wayne,” who runs her own radio station via a California, coastal lighthouse. Between Wayne’s sultry voice and WKAB’s electrifying “elevator music,” its no wonder her Antonio Bay listeners aren’t all wafted to sleep along with peaceful smiles on their faces. Barbeau, however, manages to make even the “squarest” music sound downright sexy. Perhaps this is why her complete on-air unraveling during the course of the film manages to create such tension during the film’s thrilling climax.
Barbeau has made numerous appearances at fan events, but I somehow always missed them. “Terror from Beyond the Daves” friend, Richard Braden, met Barbeau a few months ago at a Pennsylvania horror convention and agreed to obtain her autograph for me in exchange for Linda Blair’s, whom I met at Chicago’s Wizard Con. I had two requests; the photo he chose had to be from THE FOG along with my specifications as to what I wanted her to write. Braden delighted me by not only getting her to do this but by also choosing the perfect complimentary picture to go along with it.
Little did I know, I would be meeting her myself at the 2010 “Rock & Shock” show! As David and I stood in line to meet her, I turned to him and said, “Okay, you’re about to see me do something that I don’t normally do when meeting celebrities. I’m about to completely GUSH all over her!” David, knowing how big a fan I am of both Barbeau and THE FOG, laughed out loud. Whether he took me seriously or not, I did just that when finally standing before her.
I told her that of all the stars at “Rock & Shock” she was the one I most wanted to meet. I told her I liked her in absolutely EVERYTHING she’s been in from CREEPSHOW to BACK TO SCHOOL. “My favorite of all,” I said, “is THE FOG! I can’t tell you how much I love this movie!!!” Barbeau smiled and agreed that people have really warmed to the film over the years. Perhaps she was referring to the lukewarm reception it received upon its release. While mentioning that I also liked her in a recent appearance on the hit cable series, “Dexter,” she also informed me that she is currently acting on the television soap opera, “General Hospital.” I don’t watch soaps but, if I did, I’m sure she’d quickly be my favorite on that venue as well.
David is also a huge fan of THE FOG as well as Romero’s CREEPSHOW. He even enjoyed SWAMP THING in which he sites Barbeau as the main reason. Both of us found the 65 year old actress quite stunning and thought she was a genuinely wonderful person to talk to. Barbeau had an impressive collection of stills available for signing from her vast career as an actress. Of course I had to choose yet another picture from THE FOG and asked her to write something appropriate for the scene.
We joked about how horrible we both found the 2005 remake of THE FOG, a film I found comparable to getting raped with my pants on while watching. She said that she had never seen the movie but has heard nothing but terrible things about it. I said, “Do yourself a favor and DON’T!”
Later on we watched her interact with other fans and commented on how nice she was. At one point she spotted a baby and quickly asked its proud parents if she could hold him. I imagined the child grown up, watching THE FOG, as his elderly parents lamented on the day he was held by “Stevie Wayne.” A smile came across my face as I thought to myself…. “Lucky bastard!”