Meeting Juliet Landau, and Getting Charmed by Drusilla!

Steinbeck’s famous line, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” would become my unintended theme for this year’s Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend. Before I explain, I should confess that it’s been a long time since I’ve been excited about meeting any celebrity in the horror circuit. Don’t get me wrong, I still love doing conventions but mostly for the panel discussions, costume contests, or meeting up with my friends. This all changed when I learned that James Marsters and Juliet Landau would be headliners at this event! “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is my favorite television show of all time; something I’ve mentioned before on this site and on multiple occasions. In fact, my daughter and I just re-watched the entire series and I’m happy to report that, so far as this fan-boy’s concerned, it’s stood the test of time. Having an opportunity to finally meet the “Sid and Nancy” of vampires, “Spike” and “Drusilla,” was second only to meeting the slayer herself! I quickly purchased a photo op with both of them, together while planning what clever prop I could use for it. Unfortunately, neither would go as planned…

Not long before the event, Marsters cancelled his appearance due to a conflict with his filming schedule. I commend Horrorhound for not only quickly refunding the photo op money but also frantically signing on more “Buffy” alumni in his place. I was disappointed but took comfort in knowing I’d still get to meet Landau and frantically searched for a prop. In the series, Angel (before regaining his soul and becoming a force for good) drove Drusilla insane before turning her into a vampire like himself. Consequently, Drusilla was one of Buffy’s quirkiest villains which also endeared her with fans. One of her hobbies was collecting Victorian dolls which would act as her imaginary children/victims. These were often blindfolded or gagged depending on whatever imaginary transgression Drusilla found them guilty of. Of all the dolls to appear in the series, only one was given a name; “Miss Edith” from season 2, episode 3. After spending a lunch hour searching eBay, I finally found a doll that not only looked like Miss Edith but was “Buy it Now” for less than $10 and with FREE shipping! This was perfect since I intended to toss the damned thing out in some Marriott trash can as soon as the picture was taken. Sadly, it wouldn’t arrive until the day AFTER the event started and never made it to Indianapolis!

Drusilla with the gagged Miss Edith

It was towards the end of that first, Friday night at Horrorhound when I spotted Miss Landau in the Marriott’s “Indianapolis Ballroom.” She seemed to have two assistants: one sitting next to her to handle the money and another standing off to the side. She was charging $60 per autograph (she supplied several different 8×10’s to choose from) and photo to be taken with your own camera. With no line and Miss Edith MIA, I decided that instead of purchasing a professional photo op, I’d save a few bucks and just do it this way.

Miss Landau was very pleasant though she came across a bit prissy; like she was as fragile as one Dru’s porcelain dolls. She was soft-spoken and when she gently took the photo I chosel from my hand, she seemed to whisper, “Ahhh…this one was a great choice!” It kind of reminded of when my kids were toddlers and scribbled all over their coloring books. “Oh, this is just beautiful!” I’d say. She asked if I wanted my autograph personalized which I did.

Anyone that sees me would be hard pressed to recognize me without a Canon SLR camera hanging around my neck. I love those cameras but the problem is finding people who know how to work one when it’s time to take a photograph of me. Chris let me know up front that he was not able to oblige (which is why there’s like five pictures of me this entire weekend) which left one of her assistants to do it. The one standing took my camera and I gave him a quick tutorial while he looked at it cross-eyed. If that wasn’t enough, Miss Landau (whom I must say seemed to be as determined that I get a good shot as I was) kept trying to give the guy directions which he either didn’t understand or chose to ignore. She seemed to get progressibly irritated as he did absolutely nothing you asked him to.

Landau giving photo input..not commentary on my manhood

We smiled for one shot but I already knew it would be blurry because he took the shot way too close.

Landau insisted I check the photo which I’d already decided was bad even before previewing it. Let’s just say that close-ups aren’t my friend. I suggested we take another which seemed to piss off the guy who took it. I said to him, “Sorry, I appreciate you trying,” but he refused to give eye contact and brushed past me. It’s possible it was less about me than his being fed up volunteering for a thankless gig, I dunno. All I can say is that for $60, I was taking full advantage of a retake! This time another conventioneer walking by (who had a Canon SLR dangling around his own neck) obliged

For reasons that weren’t clear to me, Landau was wearing sunglasses. I do recall a past event where a celebrity had just had eye surgery and needed to wear shades indoors so I figured maybe that was it. All I know is that when I asked her if she’d mind taking them off for our photo she said, in that same delicate tone, “How about if I just tilt them down and look over them.” I wanted to say, “No, how about you take the damn things off!” but instead found myself responding with a similar soft voice, “Oh…okay that would be fine.” Just like so many characters on the TV show, I was far from immune to Drusilla’s charms.

Chris and I headed back to our room to drop off our stuff and prepared for Horrorhound’s after hour events. As for that naughty Miss Edith and her not showing up on time, I’m confident she’s learned her lesson. After I got home and found her sitting on my doorstep, I tied the little brat to a clock so it will never happen again.

Dave Fuentes~

Coming Up…Killer Clowns and a Party for IT!

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