On the evening of Saturday October 26th, 2013 I arrived in Elgin, Illinois for their amazing “Nightmare on Chicago Street!” The previous year I’d shown little restraint in talking up this occasion; gushing about it being the BEST Halloween event I’d ever attended. In that regard I make no apologies and stand behind my hyperbole. It was not only fantastic from a horror/Svengoolie fan’s perspective, but from a Terror Dave one as well. In fact, in many ways, it was something of a game changer.
During the Halloween season, I’ve always been partial to the mom and pop costume shops. For one thing, I like to support the little guy but, for another, they also tend to carry less of the mass produced products bigger chains do. Unfortunately those stores are becoming a rarity thanks, in large part, to chains such as Spirit Halloween and Halloween Town.
Shout! Factory has done it again with their latest blu-ray offering, the 1985 George Romero classic DAY OF THE DEAD. I have always been a fan of Romero’s Dead Trilogy, and to be honest, this is my favorite of the three and I was very excited to hear that it was finally getting its long-overdue blu-ray release. Of the three films this one, in my opinion, is the darkest and why it works so well.
Most of the film takes place underground in an abandoned missile silo where a group of military personnel and scientists have gathered together to try and figure out what is going on above. The characters are perfectly cast and this film is interesting to watch as the group breaks down and collapses; much like the world on the outside did. You really get a sense of how bad things are in this movie whereas, in the two previous films, there seems to be actual hope. This is evident right from the beginning when a visit is made to Florida in search of survivors. The streets are empty and it’s obvious it has been this way for quite some time. The only signs of life are animals such as alligators and tarantulas who have now moved into the once-populated areas.
I woke up early on Saturday and walked around Louisville snapping some pictures. The sky was overcast and I’d hoped to escape the zoo of Fright Night/Fandomfest in favor or an official one. While having breakfast at the local Panera Bread, I asked a guy sitting nearby if he knew what the weather forecast was for the day. I explained that I wanted to go to the Louisville Zoo and was hoping things would clear up. “Why would you want to do that???” he asked, as if I’d told him my plans were to dive into the Ohio River. “The Fandomfest is right down the street!”
Friday night at Days of the Dead didn’t have quite the after party Russ and I hoped for. That wasn’t shocking since Saturdays tend to be when convention festivities kick off and it certainly wasn’t everyone else’s fault that we were only staying over on Friday. After we ate dinner the convention rooms closed but Days offered activities in the hotel lounge which included a monster burlesque show.
A lot of folks in the horror world have been buzzing about the latest big screen zombie opus, World War Z. The film is based on a book written in 2006 by Max Brooks and is notable for starring aging heartthrob, Brad Pitt. Despite initially an interesting trailer, there’d been disheartening tales regarding production problems and reports that the story basically was being developed as they filmed. Not a good sign. Still, it was a zombie movie and I was compelled to check it out.