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.
Regular horror con attendees have their own “A” list celebrities, ones the average theatergoer has probably never heard of. These include folks like Kane Hodder, Felissa Rose, and Tom Atkins – guests who treat their fans like friends. Us horror fans are nothing if not loyal and, in return, make multiple trips to their tables, support their external projects, or even dedicate vlogs and blogs to them such as this one. Amongst those hallowed individuals are the Soska sisters, Jen and Sylvia. These twin film-makers from Canada have a reputation for ramping up the excitement level at every show they attend while leaving with a legion of devoted followers. Somehow I’d never met them, but the 2019 Days of the Dead in Chicago gave me an opportunity to rectify this. On the morning of the convention’s second day, the two would kick off the day’s celebrity panels with a special Q&A. Needless to say, my friends Jason Schoolcraft, Ron & Angela Urban, and I made sure to take advantage of our VIP passes and get ourselves a front-row seat.
Chicago’s 2019 Days of the Dead took place at the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont; a new venue for this convention but certainly not for me. After fifteen G-FESTS and a handful of Flashback Weekends, I was well acquainted with the place as well as its monolithic manager, Don Johnston. This event took place last November; not the most ideal time for me but workable. Several months earlier, my friend Jason Schoolcraft generously purchased VIP passes for us and arranged to fly in from New England to join me. As many of you know, the man loves film and I always enjoy our pre/post-convention movie marathons. We arrived at the hotel around 3 PM that Friday and were greeted by my friends, Ron and Angela Urban. I was just introducing them to Jason when Richard Dreyfuss breezed past us. The Academy Award-winning star of JAWS and Close Encounters of the Third Kind was a bit shorter than I’d envisioned and had noticeably bad knees but there was no denying it was him.
Written by Jason Schoolcraft
A Brief History
In 2012, after two years of planning and preparation, Rhode Island was going to get its own comic convention – an East Coast taste of what San Diego enjoys each year. It got off to a rocky start due to safety codes and its venue unable to contain all the people it would attract but, if anything, it showed how underserved we New Englanders were in terms of our fandom. The Rhode Island Comic Con was an instant hit and has grown exponentially ever since.
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
Horrorhound Weekend boasted a cavalcade of celebrities as well as excellent panels and vendors. We literally left one aisle of MASK-FEST before seamlessly finding ourselves in the middle of it; a transition putting us in immediate temptation. Everything looked so incredible, you could easily blow a hundred bucks without walking more than five feet! Fan conventions have gotten a lot pricier since this site began nearly ten years ago. The biggest increases are from guest celebrities. They charge top dollar for their autographs and you should count yourself lucky if they don’t tack on an additional fee for a selfie. I had brought along a couple of Blu-ray covers I’d hoped to have signed but when I saw those prices…well let’s just say those covers remained untouched throughout the weekend. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the money but rather my being haunted by all the things I could do with that cash instead. And it wasn’t as if Horrorhound didn’t offer plenty of alternatives.