It was a bustling Saturday at the 2018 Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend and one could easily lose track of time in the immense ballroom I mentioned last time. Regardless, I was determined to attend at least a couple of the celebrity panels – especially the one featuring some of the child actors from Stephen King’s IT. Horror conventions are in no short supply of players from older projects, so I give Horrorhound props for boasting actors from 2017’s biggest horror blockbuster. The film debuted the same weekend as last year’s Indianapolis Horrorhound and none of us could have predicted how it would have smashed Box Office nor change the world of fandom. Somehow it destroyed all conventional wisdom and endeared us to a new Pennywise the killer clown despite the thankless job of filling in the footsteps of Tim Curry. In fact, I’ve yet to attend any genre event since that hasn’t had at least three cosplayers dressed as Bill Skarsgard’s new version. Unfortunately, Skarsgard was not in attendance here which was a pity since I’ve no doubt he’d of had conventioneers falling at his feet if he had. Fortunately, most of the film’s “Loser’s Club” was here and willing to come together for a panel. I’m glad that Jason and I arrived early because that room was packed by the time Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie Kaspbrak), Wyatt Olef (Stanley Uris), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben Hanscom), Chosen Jacobs (Mike Hanlon), and Jackson Robert Scott (Georgie Denbrough) walked in.
The following was transcribed from audio recordings taken at the Evil Dead II panel. It took place at the 2018 Indianapolis Horrorhound Weekend and consisted of Bruce Campbell (Ash), Kassie Wesley DePaiva (Bobby Jo), and Dan Hicks (Jake). Campbell, himself, acted as the moderator which made the occasion seem less a standard Q&A and more of a conversation between friends. The result was a hilarious 45 minutes that proved that after three decades the chemistry was still there.
That Saturday at Horrorhound Weekend, Jason and I had breakfast at the hotel restaurant (ka-ching) before planning the long day ahead. It started with another walk-through of the main hall and getting a closer look at the masks of MASK-Fest, celebrating its 20th year. The larger venue promised more masks which must have been true since I recently sorted through them for next years “Countdown” and what normally amounts to 25 photos spread over four blogs ended up 30 shots in five.
In many ways, attending the latest Horrorhound Weekend/MASK-FEST in Indianapolis was like a visit to an alternative Universe. For one thing, the huge gathering of horror buffs was taking place at an all-new venue; one that promised better parking and a larger layout to accommodate vendors and fans. For another, I was attending with a friend from Rhode Island who’d never done a Horrorhound Weekend before. Jason Schoolcraft joined me last year in Indy for Days of the Dead and assists me every so often with his “Killer Reviews.” We had a great time at “Days” and Jason loved having an opportunity to meet independent filmmakers which he hoped to continue to do at Horrorhound. For me, it was all about the masks.
For faithful viewers of MeTV’s Svengoolie, you know some of his best “On the Road” segments feature the host interviewing celebrity guests at horror cons. In this regard, 2018’s Flashback Weekend has given us a LOT to look forward to. Just after hosting the event’s annual costume contest, he and the crew made their way out to the main convention hall where the magic all began. I’d been sitting with the audience and quickly grabbed my camera and dodged other attendees to catch up. The team graciously allowed me to join them and this was always my favorite part insofar as it’s always so unpredictable. You see, pinning down convention guests for interviews is something of a crapshoot – even if you are hosting a highly rated television show on prime time Saturday nights. You just never know who’s going to be available nor who will participate if they are. Fortunately, Svengoolie had the considerable might of the hotel’s manager and friend, Don Johnston, on his side.
The crowd hushed as WGN Radio personality, Nick Digiglio, took the platform. For as long as I’ve been attending Flashback Weekend it’s been his job to introduce Chicago’s local-gone-national TV horror host, Svengoolie, to the audience before the annual costume contest begins. It’s a fitting role for Digiglio as they’re genuine pals and Sven’s been a guest on his program numerous times. Whether delving into the illustrious career of his alter ego, Rich Koz, or dishing on their favorite horror films, it’s always a treat for us listeners. On this occasion, however, it was a one-man show as Sven replaced him on stage. The crowd broke into applause and for good reason. For us seasoned attendees, we knew we were in for an hour of imaginative costumes coupled with Svengoolie’s quick wit and banter.