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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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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The MASK-FEST Manifesto

Although I’ve attended every Horrorhound/MASK-FEST for the last eight years, this one had me nervous. Having outgrown their old Marriott hotel guests were treated to a significantly larger (and pricier) one last year that didn’t seem to make a lot of folks happy. This year they finally graduated to the Indianapolis Convention Center – a venue I’d last visited back in 2005 for STAR WARS CELEBRATION III. I had no doubt it was large enough but was primarily concerned with the logistics and parking situation. Thankfully, it couldn’t have gone better. The 2019 Horrorhound Weekend would prove itself not only a winner in terms of organization but a true fan-pleaser by offering THREE events for the price of one. In addition to Horrorhound Weekend and MASK-FEST, there’d be a third show called Fact or Fiction featuring notable personalities from the world of the unknown. So if you’re a horror fan who’s also into UFO’s AND Cryptozoology like I am, this was the event you’ve been waiting for! 

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Flashback Weekend Diaries: Kids Conquer the Costume Contest!

Saturday, August 3, 2019, 4:15 PM: I enter Ballroom 1 at the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont and quickly take a seat next to my friend’s, Ron and Angela Urban. Those two always show up to panels and events early and get the best seats. The participants in this year’s costume parade were all lined up against the wall. The first thing I notice is how many kids there are. Usually, the Flashback Weekend costume contest kids division is lucky to have three or four entries. This year, however, they were a force to be reckoned with. But I’m getting ahead of myself here…

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