The most important lesson I got from Linda Blair at Chicago’s Days of the Dead is that sometimes celebrity encounters offer a learning curve. The last time we met was over seven years ago at Chicago’s Wizard Con where things didn’t go as I’d planned. Back then, I was fairly new to the convention circuit and assumed, incorrectly, that celebrity guests were all fan-driven and eager to discuss their movies. Instead, meeting Blair was like getting a crash course from the conventioneer’s “school of hard knocks” as it was evident the The Exorcist star was much more interested in discussing her canine-driven, Worldheart Foundation, rather than horror films. Since I was such a fan of her iconic role, that really disappointed me. So this year I decided to literally throw all expectations to the dogs and lead in with her foundation rather than wait for her to drag me into it. In doing so, I’d inadvertently gain a new respect for the actress along with a hard lesson about mistaking ones passion for standoffishness.
Smack dab in the middle of Erie, Pennsylvania are 75 acres dedicated to its dead. The 167 year old cemetery is treasured by its community for its beautiful setting and historical markers while others whisper of its darker side. I, myself, knew nothing of it until that cold Saturday morning in early March when the other Terror Dave, Dave Fuentes, drove me through its gates. That in itself wasn’t unusual, we Daves enjoy visiting old graveyards, but there was something rather unique about this one. And so, within minutes of our arrival, we’d begin our search for the crypt of a vampire.
With a few exceptions, I can’t say I was overly impressed with 2016’s horror movie selections. In fact, I’d pretty much written it off as yet another lousy year until the other night when I popped on a screener copy of The Autopsy of Jane Doe. The film made its debut last September at the Toronto International Film Festival before receiving a limited theatrical release here in the States on December 21st. It was filmed in the UK and marks the first English-speaking movie by Norwegian Director, André Øvredal, who also directed and produced a film the other Dave discussed back in 2011, Trollhunter. I can only hope this won’t be his last.
My fellow Terror Dave, David Albaugh, celebrated his birthday just a week shy of our road trip. Since we’re rarely within nine hundred miles of each other during special occasions, I offered to treat him to dinner while we were on the road. My plan was to find something fun and unique; ideally in Roswell, New Mexico. Unfortunately, while the UFO capital of the world was chock full of gift shops they came up decisively short in terms of gimmicky food places. Not to worry because, as fate should have it, there was an alien themed restaurant right down the street from a hotel we were already booked at. And so, just two weeks after David’s special day, we’d celebrate at the E.T. Encounter Diner in Sedona!
Upon entering the immense exhibitor hall of C2E2 (Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo) we made a beeline for our pre-scheduled Insidious: Into the Further 4D Experience. Despite the size of this event and its countless attractions, our destination wasn’t hard to find. Located at the far end of the convention, our destination was two large truck cargo holds adorned with an Insidious: Chapter 3 poster and converted into a thrill ride. The previous Insidious films were both somewhat rides in their own right and, in my opinion, highly satisfying. Their original stories (a novelty in the horror world these days) were chock full of frightening imagery and effective atmosphere making it a personal favorite. When I saw this amazing opportunity to experience these films in a whole knew way, and that it was coming to C2E2, I knew I had to get on board. This was also a great way to gear up for the new film opening in theaters this Friday. The experience being in 4D meant you could experience the films almost as participant, rather than a mere viewer and what horror fan would ever pass up on that?
One of the things we were most looking forward to on our 2015 road trip was getting the opportunity to partake in an actual ghost hunt! Ghost hunting has become a popular form of entertainment with such TV shows as Paranormal State, Most Haunted, and Ghost Hunters intriguing the public with their weekly stories of spectral encounters. If there’s one thing these shows teach us, it’s that the best locales for stalking spirits are those rich in history and lore. In that regard, the Civil War torn city of Chattanooga, Tennessee could very well be a paranormal smorgasbord and one we Terror Daves couldn’t pass up.