Friday, August 2, 2019, 8:30 PM: When the Svengoolie 40th Anniversary panel ends, I rejoin Don Johnston and the crew before heading upstairs the room. Svengoolie and Jim eventually join us and the host gets to work removing his makeup so they all can leave. As it happened, Robert Englund’s panel took place right after his and the two managed to meet up in-between. They’re old friends who see each at Flashback Weekend just about every year. The challenge, of course, is finding a moment between their busy schedules to do so and this year it happened off-camera. According to Sven, Englund was very kind and shared tips on doing out-of-state conventions with him; a subject that came up during Sven’s Q&A. I must say, the idea of Svengoolie venturing outside of Chicagoland and meeting his newer fans is exciting to me. I’m always fascinated by seeing the impact he’s made on people since MeTV went national back in 2011.
The Following highlights were “transcrammed” from the 2019 Flashback Weekend panel celebrating 40 years of Rich Koz’s Svengoolie. The event began with a video presentation narrated by the original Svengoolie – the late Jerry G. Bishop. The panel was moderated by WGN Radio’s Nick Digilio and proved an entertaining 90 minutes – with a few surprises!
I’m pleased to welcome back Mark Spangler who graciously submitted this spectacular retro-review of a film I haven’t seen since it hit theaters twenty years ago. It’s been a few years since his last piece on Once Upon a Time in the West and, if you read that brilliant bit of writing, you know why I was delighted when he reached out again!
At first glance, the raps on Roman Polanski’s 1999 devil-worshipping opus The Ninth Gate ring true… slow pacing, shopworn material, and most importantly, uninspired acting paired with an unsatisfying ending. This reviewer, at first glance, had to agree, but a chance encounter with a two-dollar DVD at a second-hand store provided an opportunity to replay the movie and allowed for some second thoughts on this Johnny Depp oddity. This film, upon further review, it would seem, has aged well and is a worthy successor to the embattled director’s 1968, near-classic Rosemary’s Baby.
5:30 PM, Friday, August 2, 2019: I walk outside the hotel just as the Svengoolie crew parks. Sven’s in the passenger seat with his producer and assistant, Jim Roche driving. In the back is his director, Chris Faulkner, and “hit the theme for us” Chas Ailing. As soon as they come out I hand them their passes. The last to exit is the host, himself, and I jokingly hold up his lanyard like a Hawaiian lei, prepared to put it over his head. “Well, if you’re gonna kiss him, make sure you do it on his cheek so you don’t mess up his makeup,” quips Jim. When it comes to comedy, these folks are “on” whether the camera’s rolling or not.
Welcome to my 4th Annual “Countdown to MASK-FEST!” It’s hard to believe that in less than a month, some of the most creative and ghoulish talents will descend upon Indianapolis and join Horrorhound Weekend for three days of thrills! MASK-FEST is one event that promises something new each year and I’m always astonished at how these artists manage to top themselves every time. There’s so much to see and do you could blow up your Instagram account during the first hour alone. Hats off to the show’s creator himself, Eric Austin from the former Halloween Mask Association (HMA) and his tireless dedication. Austin has taken mask collecting to new heights and nothing is better evidence of that than this phenomenal event. But don’t just take my word for it. In keeping with tradition, I’m going to use every Friday leading up to the big weekend on September 6th to showcase as many of last year’s masks/props as I can. Every year is different so if you want to see the new stuff, get your tickets TODAY!
So let’s get the Countdown started…