2010 Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend: A Zombie Paradise!

Horrorhound Weekend 2010

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 knew 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!

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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.

borloffKarlos Borloff

After unpacking and having dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, we entered the main hall. It was a huge room full of  vendors, celebrities, and activities. You honestly didn’t know where to start. The first person we saw was J. D. Feigelson. This was a GREAT omen! Feigelson wrote one of my all time favorite films, DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW. This “revenge from the grave” tale, along with my conversation with Feigelson, will be covered in much more detail next month. The post will coincide with the movie’s highly anticipated DVD release (September 28th). Suffice it to say, this convention began on a high note!
Tom Savini & Dave Fuentes

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.

Jason Lucas meets Tom SaviniJason Lucas meets Ton Savini

Tom Savini Grande Illusions Book II

Tom Savini Grande Illusions Book II

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.

David Hess Dave Fuentes Jason Lucas67 year old Hess was quite animated!

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.

David Hess Autograph

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!

charles_craig_1Charles Craig from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

Dave Fuentes and Charles CraigCharles Craig 2010

Charles Craig 2010 Horrorhound Weekend“Where’s my damn assistant!?”

Charles Craig Horrorhound WeekendMaybe after your nap, you can have Mr. Craig fetch you a drink!?!

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 makeup too.

Dave Fuentes & Jason Lucas with Mike Christopher 2010Mike Christopher hasn’t changed a bit!

Mike Christopher 2010 Horrorhound WeekendMike Christopher…Back from the dead!

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!

Dave Fuentes & Jason Lucas with George Romero

George Romero autograph

Day of the Dead Autographs

Other notable actors from the “DEAD” films included Ken Foree from DAWN OF THE DEAD, as well as Terry Alexander, Jarlath Conroy, and Michael Gornick from DAY OF THE DEAD. All of these guys were extremely nice and a pleasure to meet. Jason knew that having a signed DAWN OF THE DEAD poster from Romero and Foree, meant a return trip to Savini. I was reluctant to go with him, but decided to go ahead with it. I’m glad I did. He was much nicer and out-going this time around, thereby restoring my faith in one of my idols.
Dave Fuentes & Jason Lucas with Ken Foree
Dave Fuentes & Jason Lucas with Terry Alexander Michael GornickDefinitely a DAY OF THE DEAD with Terry Alexander & Michael Gornick
Dave Fuentes & Jason Lucas with Jarlath ConroyDAY OF THE DEAD’s Jarlath Conroy
Between the celebrities and the dealer room, it was a damn good thing that I had worked plenty of overtime to finance this trip! Jason found some great CD’s and bought over 20 new movies. He also bought me a great book on Dario Argento.
Dario Argento

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!

Dave Fuentes~

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2 thoughts on “2010 Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend: A Zombie Paradise!

  1. I watched DNOTS last night again and adored it,what an amazing film,i first saw it around 20 yrs ago,delighted it has such a huge following,well deserved 🙂

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