Report: Son Of Monsterpalooza 2014!

I’ve said it before publicly and I have no problem repeating myself by saying it again, Monsterpalooza is my favorite convention out there. It perfectly captures that sense of awe and wonder that genre fans my age had when they first went to the old Fangoria Weekend of Horrors conventions and yet, it still feels new, fresh and exciting to be surrounded by so many like minded ghouls. Now, to be candid, it’s always been difficult for me to make it over to Son of Monsterpalooza (the 2nd and slightly smaller version of Monsterpalooza every year) primarily because it’s often set in the middle of the absolutely hectic Halloween season here in Los Angeles where there’s just too much going on. It all becomes overwhelming! But this year, Son of wisely was bumped up to mid-September and hence now it officially kicks off the Halloween season right! (Even if it occurred in the middle of an un-Godly heat wave like no other!)

For the regular Spring version of the show, the mayhem expands beyond the convention center and into the Marriot hotel itself, but for Son of, it’s all conveniently packed into the convention center. And while there’s no museum set up for Son of, there’s still plenty of amazing things to see such as guests, vendors, mask makers, FX demonstrations and this Fall’s two highlights, the Clive Barker exhibit and the “It’s Alive” project. First up, to the right of the entrance and against the main windows, you’d find the cast & crew of the PHANTASM franchise. There’s always some fun life sized statues set-up, so it was great to see this amazing standee of Angus Scrimm as the iconic Tall Man!

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I have always been a huge fan of Clive Barker’s work. It’s hard not to be in awe of the man if you’re even remotely interested in the horror genre, but I confess that up until this weekend I’d never seen any of his personal paintings up close and personal. I didn’t realize just how large they all are! And up close, their vibrant and full of color. Because Clive paints in oils, you can make out a lot of texture in each piece. The large clunks of dried paint made from oil strokes tends to exhibit a sense of passion behind the artist, so it was truly a treat to see these up close. The icing on the cake? HELLRAISER star Ashley Laurence was also in the same room displaying a handful of her excellent art pieces as well.

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One room was the “It’s Alive Project” sponsored by Mucklebones, LLC and wow, this was the surprise & highlight of the weekend! There was a consistent line to get into this exhibit the entire weekend but the brief wait was totally worth it. Here’s what they did. 90 different artists were given the original mold for the Bride herself, Elsa Lanchester’s face. And they were each tasked to create their own version of a Bride based on that mold. It literally could be whatever they like. And so we got radical reinterpretations of the Bride as if she were the Creature’s Bride, or Frankenberry’s Bride or the Mummy’s Bride and so on and so forth. There was even a David Bowie Aladdin Sane Bride! Have a peek at the images below!

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Ah yes, then there were the panels! I caught a little bit of the Godzilla panel on Sunday. I was just in time to watch the legendary Kenpachiro Satsuma (who performed Godzilla in the suit from 1984 thru 1995) teach a packed room of convention attendees how to “be” Godzilla. In this short clip below, the entire audience is getting their monster on and showing off their smashing skills!

I’m always humbled and thankful when Eliot Brodsky, the head honcho who conceived of Monsterpalooza, asks me to moderate a few panels. And so I was tremendously honored to help guide the casts of PHANTASM and THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and the audience through a series of clips from both films and discuss them on stage. I opened up the PHANTASM panel by gushing that as a 14 year old kid, I met Angus Scrimm at the NYC Fango show and said what an honor it was to now share the stage with such a wonderful gentleman. That goes for the whole cast as we had a great, great time. Our friends over at Culture Crypt were kind enough to write up a full transcript of the panel so if you want the full scoop on what was discussed, including the new film PHANTASM V: RAVANGER, head over there right now!

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CHAIN SAW is currently celebrating it’s 40th anniversary and the power of that original film is still palpable to audiences today. We discussed the newly restored version, watched some clips and the cast shared some hilarious stories of the many mishaps (which are the basics of low budget independent filmmaking) that made up the legendary film. It also was emotional for everyone involved to talk about the recent passing of Marilyn Burns, who I cited on stage as being THE best “final girl” survivor in ANY horror movie ever. No one will ever come close to the commitment she gave to Sally Hardesty. She is greatly missed.

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One last walk through the vendors room and I stopped by the Death Waltz table! It’s no secret that I love collection horror vinyl, so I took this opportunity to pick up the “atomic” version of their GODZILLA release. And while it wasn’t available for sale yet, I got to look through the packaging for their upcoming HOUSE OF THE DEVIL release and I’ve got to say… it’s the most gorgeous and best vinyl soundtrack I’ve ever seen. I’ll tease you with a few pics below!

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Once again, Eliot and his crew have pulled off an exceptional convention where I feel everyone that steps through those doors gets their money’s worth. If you’ve never been to a Monsterpalooza show, I’m telling you, this is the one to come out for. And you’ll have another chance! The next one has already been scheduled for March 27th-29th, 2015! Keep tabs on for the full scoop!

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