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.
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!
Saturday, August 3, 2019, 5 PM: The Flashback Weekend costume contest ends and Svengoolie reunites with his crew before we all head, single file, to the main convention hall. Don Johnston takes the lead; helping to reel in celebrities for Sven to interview. I’m the caboose of this entourage doing my best to stay out of the way while taking photos. Suddenly, Svengoolie makes an unexpected detour to visit one of the vendors. She’s a Svengoolie fan who follows him on social media and mentioned how they’ve never formally met despite his passing her booth every year at Flashback Weekend. This time, he makes sure to break tradition and say ‘hello!’
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…
Berwyn, Illinois’ Route 66 Car Show didn’t just offer a slice of tasty Chicago pizza (courtesy of one of their sponsors, Paisans) but a slice of good ole Midwest Americana as well. Admittingly, my enthusiasm for cars is mostly utilitarian. As long as it gets from Point “A” to Point “B,” I don’t really care what it looks like. What drew me towards this event was the presence of MeTV’s national horror host, Svengoole. I do, however, have a genuine affection for the “Mother Road” – something I mentioned a few years back during a trip I took through the southwest. From 1926 until its fragmentation in 1985, Route 66 stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles; giving birth to the American road trip along with countless references in popular culture. Part of its charm (and the part I like the best) are the numerous novelties and pit stops peppered along the way. These attractions were designed to entice tourists and, thankfully, many of them still stand today. In fact, New Mexico and Oklahoma have recently begun restoring many of their old signage and landmarks. Despite living so close to where it all begins, I’ve been rather oblivious to my Chicagoland Route 66 heritage, and this Svengoolie appearance was the perfect opportunity to appreciate some of the histories in my own backyard. Ogden Ave (named after the city’s first mayor) was once part of Route 66 and runs straight through Berwyn; a city now famous beyond the Illinois border thanks to the chidings of both Jerry G. Bishop and Rich Koz’s Svengoolie. As a fan of Koz and an avid road-tripper, how could I resist the opportunity to celebrate boh…especially on a near-perfect sunny day like last Saturday?