By: Jamie Lee Cortese
I entered “Horror Host Alley” on Saturday morning ready to meet some horror hosts, and overflowing with pure enthusiasm and excitement at the prospect. What I wasn’t prepared for was for my energy to be more than matched by the hosts themselves, starting from the moment I stepped into the room.
When I first walked in, I couldn’t help but gaze around in complete awe of my surroundings. Before I could take it all in, however, I heard someone suddenly greet me.
I turned around and found that it had come from Dr. Calamari. He and his colleagues from Atomic Age Cinema! were situated in the corner, right next to the entrance into the room. After having a delightful conversation with him for a few minutes (and getting some free candy for my brother in the process), I moved on to other tables, meeting Son of Ghoul, who gave me my first autograph from the convention, as well as Count Midnight. The melons were manning Ms. Monster’s table, but she herself had not arrived yet. Neither had many of the hosts, in fact. But I was content to wait: There was plenty to occupy me until they all made their respective entrances. I introduced myself to Tit and Tat anyway and told them that I had sent Ms. Monster an e-mail a few days back and that I had actually received a reply! Tit responded that the thought he remembered her mentioning it to them. They gave me an approximate time as to when Ms. Monster was expected to arrive, and I thanked them before eagerly exploring some more.
After leaving the room for a moment to regroup with my family, I re-entered and took another look around. I swear my entire face went slack. If my jaw were not connected to the rest of my skull, it probably would’ve fallen right through the floor. My completely involuntary gasp that accompanied this was thankfully lost amidst the delightful din from both horror hosts and fans. My shock and excitement carried me swiftly past the Son of Ghoul table I’d stopped at earlier, then instinctively stopped me dead in my tracks a few feet behind the new arrival. Although he was facing away from me, so I could only see his cape, his slicked-back jet-black hair, and just the tiniest portion of his profile, I knew exactly who he was.
At the moment, he was conversing with the woman who would be helping him at his table that day (whom I later found out is his wife), which they were just starting to set up. I didn’t want to bother him, but I also didn’t want to walk away only to return later and end up standing in a huge line, so I compromised and simply stayed where I was. In hindsight, I was probably too deep in shock at the time to move anyway.
Just a few seconds later, Count Gore De Vol turned around and saw me. Snapping out of my stunned state, but not knowing what else to do, I uttered an enthusiastic, “Hi!” He held out his hand and I took it, expecting a handshake. That would be typical for two people meeting for the very first time, right? Well, I’d forgotten one thing: I was at a horror convention, with a bunch of horror hosts, and doing a school project on horror hosts. In short, this weekend was going to be anything but typical.
At any rate, the aforementioned “typical handshake” did not ensue. Instead, in true Count Gore form, he kissed my hand! Now how in the world do you respond to that?! I sure as heck didn’t know, so after a split second of surprised silence, I told him that I had e-mailed him a few days back. Laughing, he replied, “I have not been at a computer in ten days!”
He followed up with, “What did your e-mail say?”
My e-mail? Who, me?
Here I was, conversing with the Count Gore De Vol, who had a table to set up, autographs to sign, and merchandise to sell, and he wanted to know what my e-mail said?
Of course, I was more than happy to oblige! He listened intently, and when my mother came over and I introduced her to him, he greeted her and said, “She was just telling me about her project!”
Fortunately, the Count was very friendly about the whole thing, and was gracious enough to allow me to interview him during the convention!
I couldn’t help but laugh when I read the two buttons he had pinned to his cape. I complimented him on them, and he joked that people usually see the one that says, “I’m Out For Blood!”, which has larger font, and when they lean in to read the other one, “No Reasonable Offer Refused!”––– “That’s when I get ‘em!” (Luckily, I was able to read them both from a safe distance…)
Before leaving the table, I bought two T-shirts (one of which has an incredible glow-in-the-dark effect!), and a DVD of the documentary Every Other Day is Halloween, which Count Gore De Vol was nice enough to sign for me. He also gave me a poster that he kindly autographed.
For the rest of the day, whenever we passed by each other, Count Gore De Vol made it a point to say hello to me (one time even coming up behind me and literally grabbing me). One time, he exclaimed, “I keep looking for your camera! Where is your camera?” I was confused at first, and took out my still camera. “No, no,” he corrected me. “Your video camera!”
After initially meeting Count Gore De Vol, I looked over and suddenly saw a green tablecloth on a table that its occupants had just finished setting up, and there was no mistaking the man standing behind it!
Coming up in Part 4: Mr. Lobo! Sure, he had responded to my e-mail, but the big question on my mind was: Would he actually remember me? In a word: Yes! Also, find out why my name caused a bit of confusion for him and Dixie Dellamorto…