FRIDAY: As with every Fangoria show, we were greeted to the opening days festivities by Adam Malin from Creation Entertainment and FANGORIA editor Tony Timpone. This was the first 3 day Fango event in NJ, so things were kicked off right away for the jam-packed event.
Fangoria's Tony Timpone and Creation Entertainment's Adam Malin.
The first panel featured John McCarty, the author who originally coined the term “SPLATTER MOVIES” back in the early 80’s. John was on hand to debut a 10 minute clip from his 10 part documentary series ‘FEARMAKERS’, based on the book of the same name. Each half-hour episode will focus on different filmmakers from the earliest era’s of horror to the 70’s. Some of the episodes subjects included Jack Arnold, William Castle, Roger Corman, Roman Polanski, the cast of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and more. Among the people interviewed for segments of the show were John Carpenter, Joe Dante & Stuart Gordon. (In what all looked like vintage clips!) All 10 episodes of the series are completed. Right now, they’re looking into different distribution options. (Fangoria TV being one of them.) They’d like to broadcast all 10 episodes and then release a DVD set, which would feature even more extended interviews & bonus goodies. ‘FEARMAKERS’ definitely looks like a highly entertaining look at some of horror's forgotten fore fathers. Can’t wait to check it out!
Next up was the ‘FEAR OF CLOWNS 2’ panel, featuring actor Johnny Alonso, actor Tom Proctor, writer/director Kevin Kangas, & actor Mark Lassise (The Clown). We were treated to a few gory clips from the flick. In one scene, a naked gal goes down on the male lead and when she looks up, the killer clown has decapitated him. Then in one shift swoop, he splits her in half. The effects were fairly decent for a low-budget production. (Filmed in Maryland!) Kevin Kangas promised a more straight-forward horror approach to this sequel as opposed to the “suspense” format of the first film. The second flick also feature 2 other clown killers, both mental patients that escape along with the clown of the first film. ‘FEAR OF CLOWNS 2’ definitely looks like a fun, gory time and will be released on DVD sometime next year. The panel’s guests gave out 100 free copies of the first ‘FEAR OF CLOWNS’ on DVD and signed them for Fango attendee’s.
Producer Michael Ruggiero was on hand to show clips from the upcoming documentary ‘GOING TO PIECES: THE RISE AND FALL OF THE SLASHER FILM’, which will debut on Starz on Friday October 13th with a DVD release shortly thereafter. The doc takes an extensive look at the horror sub-genre known as the “slasher” film, which was at the height of popularity in the early 80’s. Chiming in with their thoughts during the promotional piece shown were genre celebrities Greg Nicotero, Joseph Zito, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, Rob Zombie, Felissa Rose & many, many more. Producer Michael Ruggiero told audiences that his all time favorite horror movie is ‘Susperia’, but when it comes to “slasher” films, it’s William Lustig’s ‘Maniac’. He also promised extended full interviews for the eventual DVD release. Check out our FIRST LOOK review of the doc!!! And don’t forget to catch it on Starz on October 13th!!!
Writer/Director Ted Bohus (Deady Spawn) hosted a panel for his latest horror/comedy ‘HELL ON EARTH’, which featured actress Mary Corinne Miller, actor Peter Stickles, actor Brett Fallon, and make-up artist Terry Cruikshank. Ted introduced a 7 minute montage clip with various scenes from the flick. Among them were some humorous chats between the teenage leads trapped in the house, and some gory good stuff such as a female zombie ripping open her boyfriends head and taking a bite out of his brains. And another cool gag where a zombie’s chest bursts open and his ribs shoot out like projectiles. Interesting side-note, Icons own Jsyn and his WICKED EFX team actually met on the shoot for this movie and did that zombie brain effect! (Which I believe you can check out on the WICKED My Space page) ‘HELL ON EARTH’ looks like some funny low-budget fun.
Last month, Fangoria announced the launch of their new comic book line, Fangoria comics. The Fangoria comics panel featured writer Jesse Blaze Snider, artist Mark Kidwell, writer Jack Ketchum, writer Phillip Nutman, Dee Snider, editor Scott Licina. The first comic to come under the Fango comics banner will be Dee Snider’s STRANGELAND, written by his son Jesse.
Author Jack Ketchum stayed on stage for a panel on the latest film based on one of his novels, The Girl Next Door. The Girl Next Door panel consisted of screenwriter Phillip Nutman, producer Andrew Van Den Houten, actress Blanche Baker, director Gregory Wilson & Jack Ketchum. They showed us a disturbing clip of the recently completed film. (Which was co-scripted by FRIGHT friend Dan Farrands!) In it, a boy looks on as two young boys are attempting to molest a girl. Her crippled sister is hiding in the closet and then their aunt comes in to break the whole ordeal up. She blames the crippled girl for not doing anything, and spanks her raw hide! Child abuse with a crippled little girl?! Definitely uncomfortable material here! This was actually the first time that both Jack (whom everyone on the panel kept calling by his real name, Dallas) and co-screenwriter Phillip had seen any footage from the movie. Phil also talked about the long task of adapting the screenplay with Dan Farrands and how they were able to option ‘The Girl Next Door’ from Jack for $1. I’m only recently getting into Ketchum’s stuff and I think he’s up there with Stephen King and Clive Barker. I haven’t seen ‘The Lost’ yet either, but am so excited to check out more movie adaptations of his work.
At the same time, Anchor Bay offered a special presentation of ‘SUPERSTITION’ a film that commences with a teenage boy’s head exploding in a microwave. This film fuses two popular trends from seventies horror: haunted houses and demonic possession. The film features a house haunted by the malevolent spirit of drowned witch. When a young priest gets the idea of renting out the house in order to raise money for the church, the results are disastrous for all involved. Lynn Carlin, who gave a stunning performance as mother who suspects her son has turned into a monster in Dead of Night, also plays a mother here desperately trying to protect her family from increasingly dire circumstances. (Bunni)
Legendary actor John Saxon took the stage for a panel. “Sax Attacks!!! Sax Attacks!!!” is what John Torrani kept whispering to us after running into John Saxon in the elevator. John answered questions from the audience about his experiences on the Elm Street films, playing Nancy’s father. And also talked a bit about working with Bruce Lee in ‘Enter The Dragon’. Someone in the audience even asked him about ‘The Glove’! John told the audience that he loves working on independent films and thinks it’s great that anyone can grab a camera these days and make a movie. We were treated to a preview of his latest independent venture, ‘TRAPPED ASHES’ – a throw-back to 70’s anthology films, featuring segments directed by Sean Cunningham, John Gaeta, Monte Hellman, Ken Russell and Joe Dante. ‘Trapped Ashes’ looks worth checking out, and all in all, Mister Saxon delivered an entertaining panel.
Afterwards, Last Rites of Dead has it’s first public showing. (It was announced during the weekend that it will be showing again at the NYCHFF). The premise is simple: one day, the dead will not stay dead. There is no pseudo scientific investigation, it is simply accepted as fact. A young woman is murdered by her abusive boyfriend, and thus her personal journey in the afterlife begins. She joins a zombie support group and attempts to keep living her unlife just as she did when she was alive. Unfortunately, her ex-boyfriend joins a radical anti-zombie military group while continuing to stalk her. She’s fired from her job for being a zombie, and Christmas is coming up and how is she going to break the news to her mom? This film reminds me of Zombie Honeymoon in that it is a very personal look about trying to cope with the increasingly horrible truth about oneself intermingled with moments of very effective comedy. (Bunni)
Fangoria broadcasted their Sirius radio show live from the convention auditorium with hosts Debbie Rochon and Dee Snider. Special guests included Carrie Anne Fleming (from Dario Argento’s JENIFER) and HATCHET writer/director Adam Green, who was a guest judge for this week’s scream queen contest. The winner was the lovely Erin, seen below with Adam Green and the Icons staff. It was late and perhaps some of your Icons staff were a bit intoxicated, so we spent some quality time with Adam, the Sniders and the ever-so lovely Debbie Rochon.
Debbie Rochon and Dee Snider broadcast live from the convention.
Mike C. with Dee Snider.
Tony Timpone with Mike C.
The Sniders with John Torrani!
Robg., Debbie Rochon, Mike C., & Dee Snider.
John Torrani and Adam Green.
Adam Green with scream queen winner of the evening, Erin!
Kevin (from Troma), Rogue (Scream Queen runner-up), Mike C., & Robg.
SATURDAY: Troma head-honcho Lloyd Kaufman kicked off Saturday morning’s panels with another peek of his latest flick ‘POULTRYGEIST’. He also brought with him the stars of his upcoming film. Afterwards staff member Bunni Speigelman found out that not only is Poultrygeist Jason Yachanin’s (who plays the male lead) first film, but this was also his first horror film convention! He seemed to enjoy himself though and was pleased to take a picture with Bunni and her personal assistant Marv the Killer Rabbit. Quite frankly, I just want to see this movie already! When’s the next New York screening, Lloyd?!
DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS director Harry Kumel did a panel with Blue Underground’s William Lustig (Also the director of Maniac, Maniac Cop and Uncle Sam!?) Blue Underground will be putting out a new DVD edition of ‘Daughters Of Darkness’ and some clips were shown here. When asked about the possibility of Bill and Harry working together, Bill replied that they are talking about a number of projects they’d like to work on together, including a Daughters Of Darkness follow-up. Bill also said he’s not convinced about the benefits of HD & Blue-Ray DVD’s and will look more into it before releasing any Blue Underground titles in those formats.
Anchor Bay Entertainment was the subject of the next panel moderated by Fango’s own Ryan Rotten. Featuring guest actresses Carrie Anne Fleming (Dario Argento’s JENIFER), actress Haley Joel (ABOMINABLE), and Satan’s Playground producer Millie Stanisic and actress Christie Sanford. First on stage was Carrie Anne Fleming, who played the title role JENIFER in the Dario Argento directed episode of Masters Of Horror. She admits that she wasn’t familiar with Dario’s work until after ‘Jenifer’ but she loved working with him. In fact, another actress had already been cast as Jenifer, but freaked out over the make-up, which is how she got the role. She cites Evil Dead 2 and Army Of Darkness as two of her all time favorite horror films, and was excited when she learned that Howard Berger would be doing her make-up on ‘Jenifer’. (Howard worked on both ED2 and AOD)
Next, Haley Joel from Ryan Schifrin’s ABOMINABLE took the stage. She talked a bit about her experiences working on the flick and talked about her monstrous co-star. She described how real the creature looked because it smelled horrible and had bladders which made it appear to breathe. She also said that if there were a sequel, she’d be game to return.
Last but not least, actress Christie Sanford (Judy from Satan’s Playground) took the stage with Satan’s Playground producer Millie Stanisic. Millie talked to the audience about the troubles of filming a low budget film in the Pine Barrons in what turned out to be one of the coldest winters in over 50 years for Jersey. Christie talked a bit about her working experiences now with writer/director Dante Tomaselli, having appeared in all his films, and how they’ve developed a short-hand which can only be described as “magical”. Anchor Bay also announced a few of it's DVD titles for 2007, including a special edition of 'The Manitou' and a new special edition of 'Re-Animator'. Overall, a really interesting panel for early Saturday afternoon. And after this, there was no slowing down for the remainder of the day!
Carrie Anne Fleming spent the rest of the day signed DVD’s and pictures at the Anchor Bay table.
Mike C's Report From The Dealer Room:
I had an exhausting weekend and I'm never content to sit around the main stage for hours and hours during the day so I spent most of my time in the dealer room this Fango. That's fine by me.
For one, it was great seeing the Wicked EFX crew doing makeup demos at the Fangoria table this year, seeing as they started at the Icons of Fright table last year. I spent an hour Saturday in their makeup chair getting some burn makeup stuck to my face. Now I know why Linda Blair didn't want to do the makeup again on “Exorcist II”. You have to give it to your favorite horror actors who put themselves through this everyday on a movie set. It's gloppy, it's gooey, it's a little uncomfortable. It's just weird having 3 people poke at your face with brushes and smear smelly slime on your face for an hour. The end result looked great, they stuck a “Wicked EFX” business card in my forehead for good measure and sent me on my way. I hate to admit it, but I rather enjoyed the attention, and a lot of people wanted to take their picture with me. I was like a gross horror clown. (cont.)
I found some choice crap, I have to say. I'm finally pleased to report that the video dealers seem to be pulling away from the ridiculous amount of Japanese discs I'd seen over the years and moving into real American 80's video nostalgia. I could have spent way more money than I did, but I choose wisely and left with just 4 DVDs: “Deathrow Gameshow”, “Unmasked, part 25”, “The Midnight Hour”, and “Children of the Stones”.
The dealer room could have used a few more celebrities signing, I thought, but since you're pretty much guaranteed an autograph from every featured guest at Fango (included in your admission cost, no less) it's no surprise. “Friday the 13th, part 7”'s Kevin Spirtas was on-hand, nice to meet him. Ran into “2001 Maniac”'s Tim Sullivan, and was excited to hear from him that his next film Driftwood might be screening in NY sometime in December. Can't wait for this one, it's grabbed my interest from the first trailers shown back in Burbank. Also Carrie Anne Fleming, who played Jenifer in Dario Argento's “Masters of Horror” episode was signing DVDs all weekend at the Anchor Bay table. (Mike C.)
Mike C. with Bunni.
Bunni with Robg.
Continue to PART TWO featuring HATCHET (Adam Green, Kane Hodder, Will Barrett), TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING (R. Lee Ermey, Jordana Brewster, Diora Baird, Jonathan Liebesman, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller), THE GRUDGE 2 (Amber Tmblyn, Takashi Shimizu), Ron Perlman, Larry Fessenden, Darren Lynn Bousman (SAW 3), Robert Joy, Max Brooks, REST STOP (John Shiban, Jamie Alexander, Jamie Kelman), Mariano Baino, Raine Brown, Joe Zaso, Robert Stock, JT Petty, William Finley, & Tim Sullivan.