So far as personality traits are concerned, there’s little doubt that C.J. Graham’s an Alpha. With a level of confidence that could give Gene Simmons a run for the money, he’d prove his formidability at the 2020 Days of the Dead convention in Indianapolis. It was there Graham, like Alex Vincent from Child’s Play, would find himself the lone participant in a would-be reunion. Covid-19 would turn the event’s Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives panel into a one-man show. But despite portraying the mute character of Jason Voorhees on-screen, ‘the man behind the mask’ had plenty to talk about with his audience.
Prior to the event, the 2020 Days of the Dead Indianapolis convention offered some great horror reunions including Friday the 13th Part VI, Child’s Play, and Rob Zombie’s Halloween. While concern for Covid-19 would slowly whittle the first two films down to a single cast member, Halloween’s top two stars would make it to this show. Taking the stage that Saturday morning was Scout Taylor-Compton (Laurie Strode) and Tyler Mane (adult Michael Myers). Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of Zombie’s Halloween nor Halloween II when I saw them in theaters, both have grown on me over the years. At the same time, I wasn’t sure how practical attending a panel would be in lieu of social distancing. Once I walked in and saw all the audience chairs carefully placed apart from one another, I realized it wouldn’t be an issue. Note to the squeamish – there was a fair share of F-bombs dropped during this panel. I audio-recorded and transcribed everything into this blog, as is. I figure if you’ve sat through a Rob Zombie movie, then what can I possibly shock you with here? So let’s get to it…
When I submitted my 2020 vacation requests back in December, I had all kinds of fun activities in the works. In addition to taking a week off in March for a Spring road trip that would never happen, I also took a chunk of July off for fan conventions. The idea was to attend G-FEST with my sons, Days of the Dead Indianapolis with my friend Jason, and see Svengoolie at Flashback Weekend here in Chicago. Unfortunately, this would not be the year for any of us to travel or partake in large gatherings. When the world shut down in March, I still hung on to the naive hope things would be back to normal by the summer but it was not to be the case. By the time July rolled around, the only event standing was Days of the Dead. Prior to all this, my friend, Jason had purchased his plane tickets from New England while generously getting us both VIP passes. Exactly a week before the event, and with their guests dropping like flies, I persuaded him to postpone his visit for Chicago in November (assuming things are better by then). Jason successfully switched his airfare and DOTD had no problem swapping tickets. They also offered folks who did make this show “half off” on their next one. This amiability, however, would not prevent them from getting roasted on social media by many who found them irresponsible for not just postponing this show in the first place. Undeterred, DOTD would remain steadfast as long as it was legal for them to do so. In a related story, the city of Atlanta shut down there next show in August just days before this one. I’m not sure why they went through with Indianapolis amidst all the controversy but I’m guessing it had something to do with whatever arrangement they had with the Marriott. Regardless, there was no question that this would be a crippled convention; hemorrhaging vendors and guests right up until their doors opened last Friday. For my part, I decided to honor my hotel reservation, follow all safety guidelines, purchase a regular weekend pass, and go by myself. I had the luxury of self-quarantining afterward since my kids would be with their mother and I was not due back to the office until August. Furthermore, I looked forward to pampering myself in a nice hotel while taking a little break from single parenthood and having worked my ass off throughout the shutdown. I make no apologies for my attendance and, at the risk of being judged, will now share that experience.
Boy, that quarantine sure made me appreciate my physical media collection. With so many folks at home streaming, most services had to reduce their quality and, with a few exceptions, didn’t have much I was interested in anyway. I already stood on my physical media soapbox last year so today I’m going to focus on some of the products themselves. Imprint Films is a new premium blu-ray label courtesy of an Australian company called Via Vision Entertainment. Last March (just before the Apocalypse) they advertised their first five releases; films that were never upgraded to Blu-ray before. Three of these, I really wanted in my collection and quickly pre-ordered despite the steep shipping charges. They finally arrived last week and I eagerly watched all three. Was it worth it? Well, let’s dive in and see. Also note that, despite coming from the land down under, these releases are all Region Free and will play on US Blu-ray players.
Although the Covid-19 virus had already begun hitting the news – with many of us probably already walking around with it – we could never have guessed the 2020 C2E2 (Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo) would be our last major gathering before a social Apocalypse. Back then, Corona was just a side story and the only masks seen here were the kinds used to conceal one’s secret identity. If I’d known then what I know now I’d have done all three days of this event rather than just Sunday. But no-o-o-o-o. I had to give in to work demands while saving my vacation days for a Spring break road trip that would never happen. Sadly, “2020” would be an insane year rather than hindsight but it is what it is. So let’s look back on that carefree day that now seems like a lifetime ago.
Board games have sure come a long way since the days of Sorry and Monopoly. My family still enjoys those games from time to time but with my youngest now sixteen years old, we’ve been seeking more sophisticated games to bring to the table. A couple of my kids have formed gaming groups with their friends and I was just in the process of putting one of my own together when the Covid-19 virus hit. Pandemic aside, we’ve been living in an exciting era for board game enthusiasts with new releases being revealed each month. Not surprisingly, many of our favorites have movie themes or horror elements that make them even more enticing. Here are few in my collection we’ve been playing since the “stay at home” policy went into effect.