Thursday, July 15, 2010
It seems to be a Famous Monsters Of Filmland month for me! I was honored to be an invited guest at the first Famous Monsters Convention this past week (see previous blog for event coverage) and I am equally honored to be a part of the new book CINEMASSACRES: A TRIBUTE TO FORREST J. ACKERMAN. Forry Ackerman started it all for me when I first discovered his Famous Monsters Of Filmland Magazine many years ago, as a child. I’m pleased to be able to pay tribute to him in this book that features interviews with myself, Don Calfa (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD), Muse Watson (I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER), director Fred Olen Ray, Courtlandt Hull (WITCH’S DUNGEON MUSEUM), Boris Karloff’s daughter Sara, director Jim Wynorski, and many more.
This book is available now and you can easily pick up a copy on Amazon at:
Thanks for reading,
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
ABOVE: Bryan Wilson (UNDERGROUND ENTERTAINMENT), Jim O’Rear (DAY OF THE DEAD), and Mike Christopher (DAWN OF THE DEAD) walk the red carpet at the Famous Monsters Convention.
Famous Monsters was the horror magazine that I grew up with. It really shaped my love of the genre, so it was a great thrill to be invited as a guest to their first convention in Indianapolis. It was three days packed with excitement. So much excitement, in fact, that it’s going to be tough fitting it into a short blog… but, here we go!
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear and Bryan Wilson prepare to enter the Famous Monsters Convention.
I arrived Friday morning with my friend, Bryan Wilson, and my son, Brandon. From the interstate you could already see that monsters had taken over the convention hotel. Sitting atop the Wyndham was a giant, inflatable Godzilla and King Kong. Childhood memories of how fun Famous Monsters Magazine was immediately flooded my mind.
ABOVE: Hollywood Ghost Hunters team members in attendance… Steve Nappe (JASON X), Danielle Harris (HALLOWEEN, HATCHET 2), Kane Hodder (FRIDAY THE 13TH, HATCHET), and Jim O’Rear (THE DEAD MATTER).
Upon entering we were immediately greeted by being flipped a bird by Kane “Jason” Hodder (FRIDAY THE 13TH, HATCHET), then quickly teased about the portable green screen we were carrying by Tom Savini (FROM DUSK TIL DAWN, PLANET TERROR), followed by affectionately being called “Muther Fu**ers” by Joe “Rhodes” Pilato (DAY OF THE DEAD). Yes, we were among “our people.”
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear outside the entrance to the Hall Of The Living Dead.
After checking in we were shown where my table for the weekend would be… appropriately inside the Hall Of The Living Dead room. What a great room this was… filled with the stars from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (Judith O’Dea, Kyra Schon, Bill Hinzman, John Russo, Russ Streiner, Charles Craig, and more), DAWN OF THE DEAD (Tom Savini, Leonard Lies, Jim Krut, Mike Christopher, Sharon Ceccatti, and more), DAY OF THE DEAD (Me, Joe Pilato, Gary Klar, Terry Alexander, Michael Gornick, and more), and RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (Beverly Randolph, Thom Matthews, Allan Trautman, Don Calfa, Jewel Shepard, Brian Peck, and John Philbin).
ABOVE: Joe “Rhodes” Pilato (DAY OF THE DEAD), Jim O’Rear, Bryan Wilson, and Gary “Steele” Klar (DAY OF THE DEAD).
ABOVE: The cast of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD.
We also had acting legend William Forsythe (DEVIL’S REJECTS, HALLOWEEN, RAISING ARIZONA) in our room, whom I had the pleasure of sitting next to all weekend. This guy is always a top-notch class act.
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear, William Forsythe (DEVIL’S REJECTS, HALLOWEEN), and Bryan Wilson.
The first day got off to a leisurely start, allowing the guests to catch up with one another in between waves of attendees. Along with visiting with William Forsythe and the DEAD films cast members I also had some time to chat with Ernie Hudson (GHOSTBUSTERS, THE CROW), Tony Todd (CANDYMAN, TRANSFORMERS), Terrance Zdunich (REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA), Cerina Vincent (CABIN FEVER, POWER RANGERS), artist Billy & Heather Tackett, Shannon Sylvia (GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL), director George Demick, and briefly ran into Bridget Marquardt (GIRLS NEXT DOOR) before the show activities began.
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear, Cernia Vincent (CABIN FEVER), and Bryan Wilson.
ABOVE: Bryan Wilson, Ernie Hudson (GHOSTBUSTERS), and Jim O’Rear.
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear and Bill Hinzman (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD).
There were a ton of activities to participate in on Friday, including a beauty contest, Charles Band’s Full Moon Roadshow, film screenings, and panels. G Tom Mac also performed, best known for his song “Cry Little Sister” from LOST BOYS. And, of course, you could shop the dealer room for horror collectibles and get autographs from the actors. Other genre personalities that were very common to run into include the cast of vampires from THE LOST BOYS, Billy Drago (THE UNTOUCHABLES, THE HILLS HAVE EYES), director Mick Garris (SLEEPWALKERS, THE STAND, MASTERS OF HORROR), Miko Hughes (PET SEMATARY), Bela Lugosi Jr., Alex Vincent (CHILD’S PLAY), and Rupert from SURVIVOR, just to name a few more.
ABOVE: Bela Lugosi Jr & Jim O’Rear.
ABOVE: Shannon Sylvia (GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL) makes Bryan Wilson her bitch.
Everyone was starved when Friday came to a close so we organized a dinner away from the hotel where we were joined by Danielle Harris (HALLOWEEN), William Forsythe (DEVIL’S REJECTS), Cerina Vincent (CABIN FEVER), artist Billy & Heather Tackett, and several other personal friends. It was a nice way to wind down after a busy Friday.
ABOVE: The massive Friday night dinner crowd.
Saturday got off with a bang as attendees were lined up around the building to get in. Of course, shenanigans ensued as Gary Klar & Joe Pilato exchanged friendly insults with each other all day (often getting into mock shouting matches) and Tom Savini started a rubber band war with us and the cast from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. It was controlled chaos that kept things fun all day.
ABOVE: Bryan Wilson, Tony Todd (CANDYMAN), and Jim O’Rear.
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear is trapped in a contraption from SAW.
ABOVE: Bryan Wilson and Jim O’Rear flank a pesky Predator.
ABOVE: Some of the many lovely critters to be found with Charles Band and the gang from FULL MOON.
Wanting to get out of the hotel for a few minutes for a late lunch, we grabbed Terrance “Grave Robber” Zdunich (REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA) and ran down to a local pizza joint. This place serves the largest pizza I have ever seen (which takes several hours to prepare and cook). We ordered a much small version of the pizza and chowed down before heading back to the hotel for more fun.
ABOVE: Our server holds up the tray for the largest pizza I have ever seen.
ABOVE: (L) Jim O’Rear, Bryan Wilson, (R) Brandon O’Rear, and Terrance Zdunich (REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA) grab lunch.
The convention was still in full swing when we returned, hosting costume contests, tattoo contests, and more film screenings and panels. After the showroom closed it was time for a VIP Party with food, drinks, and live entertainment. This was fun event that grew quite a crowd…even when Bryan Wilson and Joe Pilato decided to start singing acapella Beatles songs together.
ABOVE: Gary Klar (DAY OF THE DEAD), Brandon O’Rear, Jim O’Rear, and Terrance “Grave Robber” Zdunich (REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA) party it up.
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear, Judith O’Dea (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), and Bryan Wilson.
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear, Alex Vincent (CHILD’S PLAY), and Bryan Wilson.
ABOVE: Russ Streiner (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), Bryan Wilson, George Kosana (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD), director Mick Garris (SLEEPWALKERS, THE STAND), and Jim O’Rear.
ABOVE: Partying with Gary Klar, Shannon Sylvia, and many more friends!
After a couple of hours at the VIP party Danielle Harris was interested in going to the carnival that we had passed the night before on the way to eat dinner. It was late and we didn’t know if the rides would still be running, but we decided to go check it out. Unfortunately, the carnival had closed, but we did have a very entertaining drive as we explored a bit of Indianapolis.
ABOVE: Brandon O’Rear, Jim O’Rear, Danielle Harris, and Bryan Wilson take a road trip…with Twizzlers!
Sunday offered much of the same… screenings, panels, celebs, and more. Afterwards, it was time for some “see ya laters” and “safe travels,” as opposed to “goodbyes,” since most of us are an extended family and knew our paths would cross again in the near future.
ABOVE: Bryan Wilson, Beverly Randolph (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD), and Jim O’Rear.
The Famous Monsters Convention was a blast from start to finish. Great guests, fabulous fans, and a fantastic convention staff made this a very festive and fun event. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the next one! Until then, here are a couple more photos from the event…
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear & Billy Drago (THE UNTOUCHABLES, CHARMED).
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear, Terry Alexander (DAY OF THE DEAD), & Bryan Wilson.
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear, Tom Savini (FROM DUSK TIL DAWN, PLANET TERROR), & Bryan Wilson.
Thanks for reading,