I met Tom Savini for the first time twice during my first Horrorhound Weekend back in 2010. Although it would be my last pre-Terror Dave event, I walked in harboring lots of goals concerning the horror hosts and the celebrities that were attending. Of course the main plan was to have a great time and I was joined by my friend, Jason. I remember us being particularly excited about having the opportunity to meet some of the folks behind one of our favorite zombie films; Dawn of the Dead. Tom Savini, Ken Foree, and the godfather of zombies himself, George Romero, would all be there and we couldn’t wait.
TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES is pleased to welcome Richard Church as a guest writer! Mr. Church generously agreed to not only share his personal experiences in collecting autographs, but photos from his amazing collection as well!
Last year I posted a blog expressing my disappointment with what had once been my favorite horror/gore magazine (a post you can check out HERE). Over the last few years, the iconic FANGORIA seemed to go from subversive pleasure to mainstream “sell out.” Disillusioned readers (such as myself) began flocking to newer alternatives such as Horrorhound and Rue Morgue (Horrorhound becoming my new favorite). My devotion to FANGORIA was such that this did not come without a certain level of “guilt.” In fact, I held on to the magazine long after most of my fellow horror friends had given up.
Never say never!
Earlier this year, while visiting my local comic/magazine shop, my eyes were immediately drawn to their newest issue featuring Gene Simmons on the cover. I soon found myself holding it in my hands while sending out cell phone pictures to all of my KISS/horror friends. Soon my phone was “abuzz” with return texts saying “wow!” “cool!” and “Can you get me one?” I grabbed the last three copies and headed towards the check-out.
It’s ironic that this cover would come across as “fresh” to me at all since, for the last couple of years, almost every cover of FANGORIA could be described as ”close-up of a face – usually with blood on the mouth.”
This Gene Simmons visage, while technically not an exception, was different in that it was a painted cover more reminiscent of the old Famous Monsters of Filmland covers than the previous year of FANGORIA. Aside from that, a Gene Simmons painting without blood on his mouth would be a poor depiction indeed! Better still, this issue would also boast a “fold out poster” of the cover - a bonus feature that had been missing from FANGORIA for some time.
While Simmons is still going strong (touring with KISS and appearing in his reality show, “Gene Simmons Family Jewels”) the very sight of his younger face clad in full make-up does carry with it a great deal of nostalgia. And those warm fuzzy feelings of a bygone era was one thing that had been missing from the pages of Fango for some time. Lets not forget that when the magazine premiered in 1979, it was the original Godzilla (1954 GOJIRA) that graced its cover.
Of course fans also want to know what’s new in the horror realm and what movies are “coming soon.” I never had a problem with FANGORIA keeping me updated on the newest horror films slated for release (in fact, I relied on it) and certainly understand that part of being “Number 1″ requires that you appeal to a wider/younger audience. But this should not be done at the cost of your core fans who want ALL that horror has to offer – past and present! FANGORIA does best when it incorporates the best of both worlds.
To my delight, the inside of FANGORIA #298 was as appealing as the outside and the issues that would follow (yes, I was officially “off” the wagon buying all subsequent issues) seemed to get better and better. I am happy to report that I am, once again, a Fango subscriber!
But this begs the question; what happened to cause such a dramatic shift? The answer is a good, old-fashioned “changing of the guard.” The previous editors had been ousted and a whole new team was brought in, demonstrative of how many other fans must have joined the recent exodus. In recent issue of FANGORIA (#305), I got the distinct impression that this wasn’t without some degree of hard feelings. Former Fango editorial assistant, Shane Tea French, writes in the letters section….
Let the professionals duke it out, as a fan I am VERY pleased with the magazine’s direction and hope the imaginative covers will continue. I urge all former readers who may have left in the last few years to give “America’s Horror Magazine” another try. There are some relationships in this world that are worth patching up despite experience seeing some rocky times.
And with that, I’d like to ask Fango’s new Editor, Chris Alexander, to kindly pass the KY Jelly, so I too can join their “circle.”
Happy Friday the 13th! This is the day that horror fans, like myself, don’t bother worrying ourselves over black cats and broken mirrors. Instead we fret over which of the numerous FRIDAY THE 13th slasher movies we’ll be watching that night. For more committed fans, you can even turn it into a marathon event. On one of last year’s Friday the 13th’s, I celebrated the occasion with an old friend….appropriately named Jason.
This year, however, there is even more cause to celebrate. 2010 marks the 30th Anniversary of the original, and without question, finest of the FRIDAY THE 13th movies. Throughout the 80′s it was often imitated (and recently remade) but has never been in any danger of losing its status as one of the best films from that golden age of slashers.
Not surprisingly, it has been deemed worthy of closer examination and analysis, most recently in the latest issue of Horrorhound Magazine, as well as last year’s 2009 documentary – HIS NAME WAS JASON. Since there is little I can add to that discussion, I’m going to focus solely on one of the film’s key players instead. Adrienne King played the character “Alice” in the first FRIDAY THE 13TH installment, and briefly in Part II as well.
Celebrity guest Q&A sessions can be a mixed blessing. Some guests give great insights and behind the scene stories, while others stare at the audience like a deer in highlights. These are the celebrities that usually respond to questions with, “Gee, it was a long time ago and I really don’t remember” or worse still, “It was just a job.” If you are a celebrity reading this post, take heed; Genre fans don’t want to hear that it’s “just a job” (even if that probably was the truth) especially when they’re prepared to stand in line and drop $20+ to meet you. And don’t think your celebrity status will protect you from us “fan boys,” either. As anyone who has ever participated on a fan “forum” can tell you, they can be some of the meanest places on-line!
I am happy to say that Adrienne King scores a perfect “10″ on the celebrity guest rating scale (which I just came up with). Not only did she actually remember her role in the film, she shared great stories and was receptive to her fans. She’s even developed her own wine label called “Camp Crystal Lake Wines.” This comforts her fan base even further as it proves she has embraced, rather than hid, from her role in the film (Kevin Bacon, anyone?). After the Q&A, I went to meet her in the convention hall. I noticed right away that she took a lot of time to talk with her fans while showing genuine appreciation for the attention she was given. When I came up to her she immediately said, “Hi! I remember seeing you during my talk.” I was very flattered that she noticed me, especially since I was joined in the audience by such colorful characters as a man holding a severed head and a full-figured gal wearing a “Wonder Woman” costume.
She also gets credited for selling some great stuff at her table. Aside from being able to order her special wines – in which she promises to personally call you on the phone and “thank you,” she was also selling her hand-painted “Crystal Lake” art pieces. If that wasn’t enough of a personal touch, she also had some GREAT pictures to sign that I can safely say, wasn’t ordered from a “Hollywood” stills catalog. I was drawn to a photo that was created from a shot she, herself, took with her Polaroid during the filming of FRIDAY THE 13TH. The shot was taken in Tom Savini’s studio and shows her and the gore master holding his prop of Mrs. Vorhee’s head! This was one of her newest pictures and she admitted while signing, “I’m still not sure where to write on this one!”
If you should discover that Adrienne King is attending a convention near you, I strongly urge you to meet her. Whether it’s Friday the 13th or not, it’s guaranteed to be your lucky day!
Last March, I attended my first (but definitely not last) Horrorhound Convention. As mentioned in my previous post, Horrorhound Magazine definitely ranks as one of my favorites. Like FANGORIA, they sponsor their own conventions too - attracting some very impressive guests! For the past few years, Horrorhound has done two conventions annually; one in Indianapolis (March) and another in Cincinnati (November).
I had planned to attend the Ohio show last fall, intent on meeting Tom Savini and Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. I ended up canceling these plans, telling myself that I would attend the March show, come hell or high water! I’m very happy that I did. This convention, without question, was one of the BEST.
Joining me on this trip was my old pal, Jason. Although neither of us were sure of what to expect, we did have very specific goals about what we hoped to accomplish. Jason (a musician) wanted to acquire some rare horror music – particularly the scores to some Italian, gore classics. I, on the other hand, was thrilled at the prospect of meeting a number of the horror hosts who would be attending (more on that next time).
Both of us wanted to add new reference books, along with some rare 1980′s slasher films, to our collections. We were also anxious to meet some of the featured celebrity guests. These would include George Romero, Tom Savini, David Hess, and Elvira – to name but a few. I am happy to report that we not only met, but surpassed, ALL of our objectives!
We belted KISS parody songs all the way to Indianapolis, making the trip seem MUCH quicker (though it’s a wonder I could still speak after growling like Gene Simmons for four hours). When we pulled into the parking lot of the Marriott hotel, we saw horror host, Karlos Borloff (obviously, another fan of Simmons) outside enjoying a cigarette. There was no doubt, we had come to the right place.
Tom Savini was the next celebrity we met. He was sitting at a table with an interesting statue of a zombie eating Cheerios out of George Romero’s head. I found Savini to be a bit of a cold fish during this first encounter. I’ve been a huge fan of Savini for over twenty years and was anxious to have an opportunity to meet and talk with him. I started by telling him how much I loved THE GRINDHOUSE films and how happy I was that they had made a feature film of one of its faux trailers, MACHETE. He didn’t give eye contact and responded with a deadpan, “yeah.” He was slightly more communicative when I asked him about the Blu-Ray release date for his version of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1990), stating that it should be at the end of this year after they add in some lost footage (cool!). Jason was gushing compliments left and right and he still barely cracked a smile. That initial meeting left me disappointed but, fortunately, the next meeting would be much better.
Our next celebrity encounter was with actor, David Hess. Hess starred in the original LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT as well as the 1980 Italian alternative, THE HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK. He also starred in HITCH-HIKE, SWAMP THING, and the rare Italian slasher BODY COUNT.
Hess’ co-star in THE HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK was Italian actor, Giovanni Lombardo Radice. Despite not being a fan of horror (particularly gore) movies, Radice has the distinction of starring in some of the gruesomest films ever made. These include Lucio Fulci’s CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD as well as Umberto Lenzi’s highly controversial, CANNIBAL FEROX. Hess was selling numerous photos at his table but the one that quickly caught my eye featured Radice and Hess together. It was more expensive than the other photos but was pre-signed by Radice himself. I was happy to add both autographs to my collection.
The 2010 Horrorhound Indianapolis Convention was a definite zombie paradise! On hand were plenty of representatives from Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD and DAY OF THE DEAD films. There was only one in attendance from his original, 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and that was Charles Craig. Mr. Craig played the radio announcer in the horror classic (as well as a zombie extra) and was happy to pose with us using an actual microphone as a prop. He was a very nice guy and seemed genuinely surprised at the attention he received. I just felt bad that he was stuck handling money transactions while his “assistant” snoozed away!
I thought it was great that the original DAWN OF THE DEAD’s, Mike Christopher, appeared at the convention wearing his Hare Krishna zombie costume. I couldn’t believe that after 30 years he looked exactly the same as he did in that movie! We grabbed a beer off of the table (belonging to his irked assistant) and handed it to him for the shot. I hope I can meet him again so he can sign this photo! Jason returned to his booth on Sunday and we snapped a shot of him without the make up too.
On Saturday, we stood in line for about four hours to meet George Romero. It was well worth the wait. Mr. Romero is every bit as warm and ingratiating to his fans as we had heard. He signed a DAWN OF THE DEAD poster for Jason and a DAY OF DEAD one for me (I prefer DAWN to DAY also but Jason was lucky to snag his last available poster). We asked Romero if he wouldn’t mind doing an intro for our home made video. He said he would but kept flubbing the lines. It was actually pretty comical. Each time he’d mess up, he’d insist on being given another chance to get it right. So we not only received a video plug from Romero, but also plenty of bloopers!
The convention was very crowded and I heard a lot of complaints from fellow participants. I’m not sure if it was our careful planning or just blind luck, but we wouldn’t have changed a thing. We drove home constantly uttering the phrase, “I can’t believe we did it!” It was just an amazing experience and one we’ll never forget. Believe it or not, you’ve only heard ”half” the story. This convention also featured a special tribute to the late Maila Nurmi - Vampira. It would see the largest gathering of horror hosts from across the country. Little did I know at the time, my Svengoolie-centric world was about to bust wide open!