Back from Monsterpalooza in Burbank and it was pretty darned fun. :)
Got there around 11:30am and there was a line already down the full length of the convention center and around the corner! Someone must've blabbed, 'cause Monsterpalooza was three times as popular as it was its first year! It was busy last year, but this was ridiculous! Thankfully, I spotted my friend Erik and his dad in line already, so we were didn't have to wait that long to get inside.
This dude was outside entertaining the crowd and this little girl's expression was just priceless!
The front of the dude.
We got into the main hall and that was packed, too! The Burbank Marriott convention center isn't really that big and this con will probably have to move to a bigger venue next year. This same con center used to hold what was then Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors, but it seems all cons (except the fantastic and perfectly-sized Hollywood Show) outgrow its modest-sized walls.
One of my favorite parts of Monsterpalooza is this really cool museum area that houses a lot of amazing props from various films. Last year's was pretty good, but this year was even better! Since I had my hella awesome Nikon D40 this year, I was able to take some really good photos of the stuff. I was astounded at my little camera's ability, especially since this room is shrouded in near-darkness! Here are a few highlights:
Even with this rather hilarious sign, morons were still touching the poor dude!
This is apparently from a Clive Barker movie? Whatever it is, it certainly looked cool.
These props were part of a stunning setup from Bill Malone's film, Parasomnia, which I keep forgetting is not on DVD yet here in the U.S. (although I own a R2 from the UK already), but will be sometime in July. Worth checking out.
As this con is mostly geared towards makeup people (but not limited to them), this guy was getting made up to show this studio's work and then walked around trying to scare people for the rest of the day.
After going through the museum, we headed off to the first panel, which was a talk given by half of KNB EFX (the B - Howard Berger, as Greg Nicotero was ill and couldn't make the show) and it was highly entertaining. Mr. Berger is a bit...how do I say this...catty and didn't mince words about a certain Bride of Re-Animator director being a total douchebag. My mouth pretty much fell open as I've heard a few small stories about Mr. Y, but nothing this hilariously Hollywood. Opened my eyes, it did. Quite fun.
We went back into the dealer's room where all the celebs were and I fulfilled a little wish/bet.
Here's the background:
One of our Plan Nine from Cyberspace podcast listeners, known fondly as Metal Mikey, asked me if I would get photos of the whole cast of Return of the Living Dead. He also made a special (albeit strange!) request for me to specifically get my photo taken with the actor who portrayed the Tarman in the film, Allan Trautman. In exchange, Mikey would phone into the podcast and sing a song of my choosing. Well, I couldn't say no to that, could I?
Here are the results:
Don Calfa (who played Ernst "Ernie" Kaltenbrunner, the mortician) was my absolute favorite pic I took of the day. He's also my favorite character in the film.
Wish fulfilled! Me with Tarman! The things I do for our podcast listeners! LOL! Many thanks to Allan for being so sweet. :)
Linnea Quigley (who played Trash)
Erik and his dad with the lovely Beverly Randolph (who played Tina)
(Pretty cute) Thom Matthews (who played dimwitted Freddy)
John Philbin (who played Chuck). Incidentally, John asked me if I was with a publication!!! LOL! I said, "No, I just have a nice camera." XD
And (the very posed) Jewel Shepard (who played Casey)
Although I've only seen ROTLD once, I remember enjoying it, even though I didn't remember all the actors/characters that clearly. And damn, don't my camera take some nice-ass photos?! :D
Then it was time for the next panel, which was with Michael Westmore, who comes from a family of prestigious makeup artists. Westmore did a lot of the makeup for Star Trek - Deep Space Nine and Voyager as well as dozens of films, including Mask and Raging Bull. Westmore's daughter (who was the star of the bizarre, yet somewhat awesome soap, Passions) was there too, so she got up on stage for a little chat. This is the slightly strange yet cool thing about L.A. - everyone and their family lives out here who's in "the biz," so random people showing up at cons is commonplace. Ken Foree just decided to show up halfway through today to sign autographs at Fangoria's booth!
Westmore mentioned how wonderful it was to work with Teri Farrell, who played Jadzia Dax, probably my favorite character on Ds9. I remember reading he painted on her Trill "spots" every day from scratch with a sharpie marker(!) and that Farrell felt every creation was like a new work of art. Westmore had so many stories, he only managed to get into the early 70s of his career before the hour was up! I could've listened to him for another two! He's supposedly working on his memoirs, which would be highly fun to read.
I really liked this dude's work. He even had a full chest (with chest hair!) done up as a canvas as well. Don't know if I'd like these gracing my apartment walls, but they were sure neato to look at!
The next panel was a really fun trivia contest hosted by THE Vincent Price fan, Luci Chase Williams, whom I had the pleasure of speaking with at the first M'palooza last year. Audience members tested their skills on monster movie questions from the "golden age" of the 1930s-50s. They had people from both sides of the audience and both times I guessed who would win the trivia contest! Both dudes who won the prize, I just felt like they'd be the winners. Surreal. Maybe I should start betting on the ponies or something...or maybe not. :P
After this second panel, I took a break, and went out to sit in my car for awhile. Crowds get to me after a certain point, and I was almost at the end of my rope.
After some PB Puffins and a little rest, I was ready for the last panel of the evening, the Q&A with the cast of Return of the Living Dead. EVERYONE was there, including Clu Gulager and James Karen! As there was an open bar in the lobby, they were all a bit sloshed, which made for an absolutely hilarious panel that was a real treat to watch. Everyone was full of happy stories of their time onset and it really seemed like they all bonded as a "family," as they called it. The panel especially made me want to watch Return of the Living Dead a second time.
The thing that amazed me most about today was that although Monsterpalooza has grown by leaps and bounds from last year, they seem to be suffering minimal (if any!) growing pains. The whole con was run like clockwork, and everyone seemed to really have a blast. I recommend this con to anyone who likes any decade of horror. I don't know much about the "older stuff," but I still had a great time and learned a lot!
For anyone who wants to see the rest of my photos from Monsterpalooza go here.