2019 “Nightmare on Chicago Street!” Part 1

 

This year’s Nightmare on Chicago Street had near-perfect weather and another large turnout. My daughters and I arrived at the Safe Zone early to take photos and peruse a few antique stores located inside. The plan was for us to stay together until the arrival of MeTV’s national horror host, Svengoolie. At that point, I’d take off to assist him while the girls covered what was going on in the streets. And believe me, there was a LOT going on.

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The 31 Horror Films in October that I’d never Seen before!

By Jason Schoolcraft

This year instead of my normal Halloween viewings of (mostly) classic horror films, I decided to change things up a bit. The challenge was to watch thirty-one new-to-me movies in so many days.  It seemed like a great plan but ended up being more challenging than I thought. As many of you know, I’m a movie fanatic and finding a NEW horror film isn’t easy. Now the results are in and here’s a list of everything I saw and my brief reactions to them.  It was a lot more fun than I expected. Remember, I rate a film on its own merit and don’t compare Independent/low budget movies with mainstream Hollywood tentpole films. These are MINE and only my ratings so watch at your own discretion. And here’s the results of my 2019 challenge…

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The Ghosts and Mr. Goolie!

In comparison to most of the Svengoolie appearances I’ve attended, my 100th was rather subdued. It happened nearly two weeks ago at the 2019 Chicago Ghost Con presented by Chicago Hauntings; a true crime/ghost tour company that illuminates the darker side of the city’s history, The heart of this organization is Ursula Bielski who’s something of a local legend if not treasure. Even if you don’t believe in the supernatural you have to appreciate her books/lectures on Chicago cemeteries and the incredible amount of research she put behind them. This event took place at the Holiday Inn Chicago SW-Countryside Conference Center – a large and beautiful building that boasts modern conveniences in a somewhat old-fashioned setting. In fact, when I pulled in, it’s curved brick walls reminded me of a castle. Since I was early, I decided to finish my coffee in the car before going in. During this interlude, I observed a woman dressed to the nines walk outside for a smoke. Either I was way underdressed for this occasion or she was cosplaying as a deceased debutante. Things got a lot clearer when I walked inside only to discover I was crashing a wedding party. Obviously, I’d parked on the wrong side of the building! I quickly drove around to the front entrance which was decisively less regal and jam-packed with cars. In place of a bride’s maid, this time I saw a goth looking gentleman smoking instead. After he crushed out his cigarette, I followed him inside.

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Jack O’Lantern Spectacular: Providence and Louisville Carving Mash-up!

Jack O’Lantern Spectacular is a seasonal event that began in New England and has since spread to Louisville, Kentucky and (more recently) the Minnesota Zoo. It boasts 5,000 carved pumpkins which include your simple jack o’ lanterns along with the “intricates.” These eye-catching works of art feature detailed images that are truly breathtaking. Last year I visited the Louisville event on November 1st but never posted any of those pics since…well…Halloween was over. So when my friend, Jason Schoolcraft, sent shots from the JOLS taking place at his Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island, I figured I’ share pictures of both. I should note that just like any carved pumpkin, these don’t last and are always being swapped out for new designs. So let’s dive in…

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David Dasmalchian Dishes on Horror Hosts and the Rise of Count Crowley!

October 2019 has been a banner month for horror hosts and comic books. We’ve all heard the news regarding Svengoolie joining the DC Universe and the Chicago-gone-national host taking the Big Apple by storm at the New York Comic-Con. Today, yet another horror host has found his way in print courtesy of Dark Horse Comics – Count Crowley! What’s that? You say you’ve never heard of Count Crowley? Well, that’s because he’s the brainchild and alter ego of actor David Dasmalchian. Yes, the co-star of the MARVEL Ant-Man films as well as DC’s upcoming Suicide Squad is not only a big fan of comic books but horror hosts as well. Aside from his current admiration for Svengoolie, he grew up with Kansas’ most beloved horror hostesses, Crematia Mortem! I first became aware of Crematia about ten years ago when I saw the documentary American Scary (now available on Amazon Prime) and have had the honor of seeing some of her old shows through trades. When David reached out to me last month, I was delighted to hear his memories of her as well as his agreeing to an interview. So sit back and enjoy David’s insights on “Count Crowley” and the living horror hosts who inspired him.

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Sven’s “Goolies” Haunt the Bridgeview Paranormal Convention!

I’ve never attended a horror event that was being protested before but this would be the first. I’m not talking Kent State level protesting of course but rather just a few religious people screaming at everyone who was trying to enter. Personally, protesting doesn’t bother me as the right to do so helps make our country what it is. However, being in close proximity to somebody screaming at the top of their lungs is irritating no matter what the cause. Unfortunately, that’s what we had here with a couple guys holding a sign while another yelled about choosing Jesus over the Satan. Instead of just ignoring them, some guy felt the need to go up and start an argument. On the one hand, I was irritated by his feeding into their nonsense while on the other grateful his distraction provided me safe passage inside. 

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Horrorhound’s “Fact or Fiction-Fest” Celebrating UFO’s and Cryptids!

As soon as I saw that framed poster of The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) standing at the entrance of Horrorhound Weekend‘s Fact or Fiction-Fest, I knew I was going to love it. That familiar image of a hairy monster gliding through the water drew the cryptozoology fan in me like a moth to a flame. Or in this instance, a Mothman to a flame. I was very excited when Horrorhound announced the addition of this show; an entire room dedicated to UFO’s, Bigfoot, and even ghosts. It even featured notable guests such as Giorgio A. Tsoukalos a.k.a. the wild-haired personality from the Ancient Aliens series who’s since gone on to become a meme. Continue reading