Quantcast Fangoria Weekend Of Horrors CHICAGO SAT. March 4th, 2006 Rosemont, IL

Fangoria's Weekend Of Horrors CHICAGO, DAY ONE - Sat. March 4th, 2006 (Rosemont, IL)
-by Robg.

It was obvious from the lines reaching the main entrance of the Wyndham hotel as early as 8:30 AM on Saturday morning that something big was going on. And it wasn't the auditions for the Oreo commercial jingles! (Although that WAS in fact also going on in the lobby.) Sure enough, it was a group of enthusiastic horror fans waiting for the FANGORIA Weekend Of Horrors convention to begin, returning strong to the Chicago area after a 6 year absence! As soon as the crowd walked it, we were treated to plenty of vendors set up and fronted by the fine folks from Anchor Bay Entertainment. (Also, the convention's sponser) John Torrani from the Icons crew dug this 'Dreams In The Witch House' display. And all through-out the day, you could spot Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon or Ellen Sandweiss hanging out and greeting fans at the Masters Of Horror table. Before the panels even began, it sure as hell felt like a Fango show!

At about a quarter past 11 AM, host Adam Malin welcomed FANGORIA editor-in-chief Tony Timpone to the stage to kick off the weekend event. Fans in bloodied costumes could be seen gracing the first few rows of the auditorium. After giving us the show run-down, Tony welcomed the weekend's first guest, Troma head honcho Lloyd Kaufman!

The crowd welcomed Lloyd Kaufman to Chicago. It's hard to be a fan of the genre and NOT love Lloyd. He kicked off his presentation by showing us a trailer to one of Troma's latest, 'LOLLILOVE'. Just so our readers out there have a bit of backstory here, writer James Gunn (Dawn Of The Dead 2004, Scooby Doo & the upcoming SLITHER) got his start working for Troma and even wrote the flick Tromeo & Juliet. James Gunn is also married to the lovely Jenna Fischer (from television's 'The Office'). Lollilove is a mockumentary/documentay written and directed by Jenna where essentially her and James play themselves and they try to help homeless people. My description doesn't do this trailer justice, but if you're a fan of the oddball stuff that Troma puts out, then you'll love this. Also, Lloyd premiered both the trailer and music video for his hilarious new soon-to-be classic 'POULTRYGEIST', which he said was largely inspired by the new McDonalds that opened up next to the Troma building. The film is still in the editing process and he may even do a few re-shoots to add scenes, but what we saw looked awesome and it should be out in independent theaters later in the year. He also announced plans to release a novelization of 'THE TOXIC AVENGER'. "I know, it only took us 21 years to do the novel adaptation." He revealed that the novel will essentially be the plotline of the first movie, but with plenty of backstory in regards to the history of Tromaville and Melvin's family. It'll be something that Toxie fans will really love!

Next up, we were treated to a panel for the upcoming '2001 MANIACS', which will be out on DVD March 28th, 2006 thanks to the folks at Lions Gate. The panel included guests Tim Sullvian (writer/director), actress Wendy Kremer, actor Dylan Edrington and actress Christa Campbell. Tim started off by saying he got his start by interviewing Gene Simmons of KISS for Fangoria issue #27 (I believe) and that after 200 or so issue's, he finally made it into the magazine himself with his own movie. Tim's enthusiasm for the genre shows, and he brought with him a 7 minute featurette from the upcoming DVD. We were treated to some gory bits from the movie along with some interview footage with various members of the cast including all those present, Robert Englund, and producer Eli Roth. Overall, 2001 MANIACS seems like it'll be worth the wait. Tim mentioned that he just finished another full length titled 'DRIFTWOOD' and a few years back, he wrote a feature 'Snoop Dogg's Hood Of Horror'. 'Driftwood' will be out later in the year, but no word yet on 'Hood Of Horror'. Christa Campbell revealed she'll next be seen along side Nicolas Cage in 'THE WICKER MAN' remake.

Next up was the Mindfire Entertainment panel, which featured producer Mark Altman, director Mike Hurst and the lovely Ellie Cornell (Halloween 4). They were previewing 'HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2', 'DARKROOM' and 'ROOM 6'. Director Mike Hurst mentioned that the idea to make a movie like 'Room 6' came after he saw 'Freddy Vs. Jason' and was terribly disappointed with it. At this point, I confess I got a tad hungry and had to bail early for some lunch!

I made it back in time for the Anchor Bay Entertainment panel, in which they were previewing some of this years upcoming releases, including the 'Master Of Horrors' TV series. The majority of the panel was about Dante Tomaselli's destined-to-be a cult classic 'SATAN'S PLAYGROUND', which they finally announced a release date for! (August 27th, 2006). The disc will be a special edition and will feature plenty of goodies. They showed the 5 minute trailer and on board to field questions about 'Satan's Playground' was star Ellen Sandweiss. She came out and joked "Hmm... me running through the woods? Does THAT look familiar?" referring to her early days in 'THE EVIL DEAD'. She told us how she spent the time between 'The Evil Dead' and 'Satan's Playground' concentrating on raising her two daughters, but is looking forward to continuing acting in the horror genre. In fact, her next film 'THE DREAD' is currently in post-production and should be out later in the year.

The highlight of the first day was by far the 'SLITHER' panel, hosted by writer/director James Gunn and featuring stars Elizabeth Banks, Nathan (Firefly) Fillion, Michael (HENRY) Rooker, Gregg (Body Double) Henry, Jenna Fischer, and producers Paul Brooks and Eric Newman. As soon as James walked out, someone called out that "Fast Zombies Sucked". Followed by some kind of Scooby Doo comment from the back of the crowd, but James just made a joke of it. They previewed the trailer to the flick, followed by a making-of featurette and then fielded questions from the audience. James swears that he didn't see 'Night Of The Creeps' until after Slither was completed, but does admit that all he was going for was a really fun, gory horror flick that called back to the films he loved from the early 80's. Judging from the material at hand, it looks like he accomplished exactly that. Troma fans will be happy to know that James has not forgotton about his roots. Lloyd Kaufman has a cameo in SLITHER and there's a character in the film who actually watchs 'The Toxic Avenger' at one point. (continued)

He joked how he has no interest to make another Dawn Of The Dead. "A sequel to a remake of a sequel? Come on!" An audience member asked, "Why in Dawn Of The Dead did that stupid girl go across the street for the dog?" to which James replied, "I don't know. That's the one scene I didn't write." Everyone turned to producer Eric Newman who replied, "Look... we needed to get them all across the street somehow. I guess it didn't come out the way we hoped." Michael Rooker was nutty as always but entertaining. He was joking on stage with everyone up there and James claims that Rooker calls him twice a day, every day. Nathan Fillion had plenty of fun for his castmates and the audience members as well. When asked if there will be a Serenity follow-up, he replied "It depends on you guys. Buy the DVD, we'll make more. Simple as that." He mentioned that his next flick is 'WHITE NOISE 2'. An audience member called out "Why?!" Producer Paul Brooks answered, "I'll give you 60 million reasons why". The whole crew signed free 8 x 10's from SLITHER for Fango attendee's after the panel was complete. Naturally, I offered them all Icons Of Fright pins, and I was bummed when later I noticed Elizabeth Banks left her's behind. Ouch!

The hilarious son of comedy legend Mel Brooks, Max Brooks took the stage and answered questions on how to beat the impending threat of the living dead. Max wrote the book 'ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE' and argued on "all things zombie" with comedic perfection. If you get a chance, check out his book. His routine lead beautifully into the biggest guest of the day, George A. Romero...

Filmmaking legend George A. Romero took the stage at around 3:15 PM to a packed auditorium. He gladly answered all questions, but if you've watched any of George's recent interviews, most of the information here was nothing new. He reflected on 'LAND OF THE DEAD' and mentioned that theres's interest to do follow-ups, but he isn't sure if it'll happen just yet. He feels something else in the world has to change to inspire the next flick. If Land was a hit, he would've just continued with those characters. He also talked a bit about DIAMOND DEAD, which he would LOVE to make, but doesn't think he'll be able to because it's "too weird for everyone. No one gets it." There was a bit of a mix-up for his autograph session after his panel, but it was straightened out and I'm pretty sure everyone that either had a gold ticket or a $20 autograph ticket got to meet George. (Yea, it is a drag to pay to meet George, but blame his greedy agent!)

Tom Savini, Debbie Rochon and Fango president Tom DeFeo made up the FANGORIA TV panel. They're still working on some original programing and just where Fangoria TV will have a home, but they assured us that there's plenty of cool content streaming over at www.FangoriaTV.com now and to check out the site regularly for any and all updates.

Sadly, I was on line to meet George Romero during the 'Masters Of Horror' panel, so I missed what they said. But I did catch up with series creator/director Mick Garris, Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon and screenwriter Dennis Paoli who were signing cool little 'Masters Of Horror' trading cards after their panel.

The last panel for the first day was with writer John Bisson and director Robert Kurtzman. (The K in KNB and the director of Wishmaster) They were previewing their latest independent feature 'THE RAGE'. They showed the trailer and it's needless to say that the make-up effects were top notch. The flick stars Andrew Divoff (the Wishmaster himself) and fan fave Reggie Bannister (PHANTASM). You can check out more about the movie (including the trailer) for yourself over at the official RAGE website. A nice close to an exhausting day!

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