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!
Imagine if you spent the the last twenty years meeting annually with a group of like-minded friends for a weekend of fun. Sure, these gatherings were comparitively small, but that was the beauty of it. The atmosphere was relaxed and everyone had an opportunity to participate in the numerous activities provided. Each year you’d see the same faces and even if you didn’t know their names, they somehow felt like family.
Now imagine your intimate group suddenly becomes four times larger. The comfortable venue you’ve always used swiftly becomes claustrophobic and overheated. Navigating the dealer’s becomes a frustrating fight for survival and finding an empty seat at a popular panel a luxury. Where once you’d stay the entire weekend and feel sad when it ended, now you’re anxious to leave. Such is the plight of my beloved G-FEST (Godzilla Festival); an event that appears to have fallen victim to the Legendary Godzilla, himself.
I recently hunkered down with my new Blu-ray copy of Night of the Demon (1957) from Indicator (Powerhouse) Films and held my breath while pressing “Play.” As it was a British import, it cost more and I’ve had my fair share of disappointments with so-called “upgrades” of Black & White classics. 96 minutes later, I was grinning from ear to ear.
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.
Last month, G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) celebrated its 25th show. The kids and I packed into Rosemont’s Crowne Plaza like sardines; amazed at how popular this event’s gotten since our first visit 15 years ago. Thanks to the unexpected success of Legendary’s 2014 Godzilla, the world’s most famous atomic monster has been enjoying something of a renaissance these days. Consequently, these last few years have seen G-FEST become something of a giant monster itself. Of course, this isn’t the first time an American version of the “Big G” made some waves. Two decades ago there was another. One so controversial that die-hard fans will only refer to it only as “Zilla” or GINO (Godzilla In Name Only). That being said, I was pretty surprised to see “Zilla’s 20th Birthday Party” listed in this year’s itinerary. Almost as shocked by how badly I wanted to be there for it.
After leaving Braxton County West Virginia and checking out their tributes to the Flatwoods Monster, we headed further south to the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant. I’ve been wanting to see this place ever since Brian Maze from Maze Studio shared his experience with this site back in 2011. It’s dedicated to a large, winged creature many claimed to have witnessed back in 1966-67. Though these sightings have never been sufficiently explained, they preceded the collapse of the Silver Bridge – a giant suspension bridge that joined West Virginia with Ohio. It would be years later when a connection would be suggested of the two; most notably illustrated in the 2002 thriller starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney – The Mothman Prophecies. This museum offers props and memorabilia from this film along with just about everything else associated with the creature. Though my experience will be documented in greater detail in my WEIRD USA column for Scary Monsters Magazine #111, here are some visual highlights to tide you over…