G-FEST XXIII and the Many Faces of Godzilla!

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Last month I attended Chicago’s G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) for the thirteenth year in a row – a lucky number for me as it marked the return of my eldest son, Alex, to the Godzilla fold. Back in 2004, when we first started attending, he was a six year old Godzilla-obsessed kid who’d later anticipate this event more than Christmas itself. That is, of course, until puberty reared its ugly head and whisked away all love of dinosaurs, spaceships, and the “King of Monsters” in favor of hanging with peers and militaristic video games like Call of Duty. Needless to say, I was taken aback when he requested to join my youngest son, Luke, and I for this year’s event. I’m thinking it might be his way of seeking past childhood comforts before he leaves for the Air Force Academy next month. Whatever the reason, it was great having him back as the Fuentes headed to Rosemont.

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Countdown to MASK-FEST 2016…5 More Weeks!

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It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since I attended my first MASK-FEST. Back then it took place during the Spring Horrorhound Weekend and the other Terror Dave from Rhode Island was able to join me. In fact it was getting together for these events that eventually evolved into our annual road trips. The 2011 event was where it all began and David not only bought me my first mask there, but also taught me a lot about the industry itself. Up until that time, I thought masks were just those mass produced things you’d see at Wal-Mart during the Halloween season. I had no idea what amazing companies and skilled artists were out there, nor the intoxicating smell of latex and joy of displaying them year round. Over the years things gradually changed from me focusing more on the celebrities and Horrorhound aspect of the convention and almost entirely on the mask portion. I even love how it’s in September now instead of March as it really gets me geared up for Halloween. It reminds me of how excited I’d be as a kid when the department stores released their Christmas catalogues. Now that I much prefer the fun Halloween season versus the consumer driven stress of Christmas, MASK-FEST is every bit the kick-off that those old Sears or JC Penny’s catalogues were for the latter.

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Joe Hart’s GATE-FEST: 30 Years to Hell and Back!

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A few years ago I had the honor of covering THING-FEST  at Days of the Dead Indianapolis where Canadian super-fan, Joe Hart, brought his immense assortment of props and collectibles associated with John Carpenter’s The Thing. Joe has a heart of gold and his enthusiasm for the movie, coupled with his enviable collection, made for one unforgettable weekend! Many of the actors from the film were on hand as well and one of my favorite moments was getting a photo with Thomas G. Waites (“Windows”) along with the actual microphone prop he’d used in the movie. I’ll always be grateful to Days of the Dead for hosting Mr. Hart as it was the magnetic pull of his collection that inspired me to cross state lines and attend!

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BOOK REVIEW: Pete Von Sholly’s History Of Monsters

Monsters. Those things that as a child scared us, gave us nightmares and provided us with so many hours of fun. If you were like me you grew up on monsters. I was never into playing (or watching for that matter) sports of any kind. My Saturday afternoons were spent in front of the television trying to draw in with rabbit ears channel 56 out of Boston, Massachusetts, with their weekly Creature Double Feature show. In the safety of daylight I was thrilled week after week with giant bugs, Godzilla and all of the Universal and Hammer classics.

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