Thursday, November 18, 2010

HorrorHound Weekend 2010

Here's a recap of my entire journey to and from HorrorHound Weekend 2010 in Sharonville, Ohio.

My plan was flying from Iceland on Thursday, the 11th of November, to Boston and from there connect to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). A couple of days before my trip, I noticed there was no way I could make it to Boston. So, I switched over to New York, JFK Airport. I asked if this would be a problem with the connecting flight with Delta since it said Boston on my standby ticket. They said most likely not since there are fewer miles from New York to Cincinnati than Boston to Cincinnati, so I wasn't cheating on paying less here. Plus, I had no problem with this when I traveled with American Airlines in March.

I woke up about 10 in the morning on Thursday and got myself ready for the flight. I bought a book at the airport to read on the trip, called Ancestor by Scott Sigler. I read it while on the airplanes and while waiting for flights, it was a good read. Everything worked like a charm, I got on the flight, flew to JFK. At the customs the man asked me where I was going, and I told him that and Linda Blair from The Exorcist was going to be there. He replied that she was scary in that one. No argument from me there. I got on the shuttle to LaGuardia, there was a flight leaving at 6 in the morning that was wide open.

I had a box of Icelandic candy with me called Draumur (dream, or dreamy if used in that context), chocolate with licorice inside (very good). I needed change for the soda machine in the terminal so I went to this coffee/bakery shop and I got the necessary change from the tip jar because she had closed the register. I thanked her by giving her a piece from the candy box, she liked it and her co-worker as well. She offered me some stuff that she was going to throw away by the end of her shift, I picked the pastry and had some of that during the night.

I waited the entire night, killed time with reading the book and taking micro-naps here and there. At 4 in the morning the ticketing opened and there I was informed that Delta had changed their rules. It HAD to say New York on the ticket, didn't matter if Boston had more miles or not. It HAD to be within the same zone, area or state. Foolishly I took a taxi to JFK right away and waited till 4 in the afternoon when Icelandair opened their ticketing to have my ticket re-issued.

The ladies at the British Airways were stumped by my predicament and offered me to sleep in a couch area reserved for first class passengers (nobody was there, so no harm). Actually, the lady was early and I didn't bother asking if she was the Icelandair employee. This took a lot longer than I thought to make this ticket, she didn't want to make any mistakes. So, I missed the last flight from JFK, and thus, had to take another taxi to LaGuardia to make the last flight around 7:30 in the evening. Needless to say, my day was a waste of time and money.

The ride from the airport and to the hotel was a good 45 minutes since the guy didn't know where it was, but thankfully we have GPS! The photo is taken after having crossed the Ohio river. I got to the hotel in Sharonville, Ohio just before midnight and sweet sleep was what the doctor ordered...after being awake for almost 2 days with only small naps here and there.

The hotel suited my needs (which are the bare minimum, the essentials: clean, shower and quiet) and I was afraid it was some sort of hell hole because there was hardly any reviews on it, plus it didn't paint a pretty picture. I chose the cheapest hotel which was still on the same road as the convention hotel, it was less than a 5 minute walk. And 5-15 minutes from fast food places, Target and the Tri-County shopping mall. Very convenient.

As I walked into the convention hotel I met a guy which I saw at the Chicago Flashback Weekend in 2009, we had planned on having a beer at the after-party that evening. But it was still quite a coincidence to meet him straight away since we really had no means of communication outside of me just having the computer in the hotel lobby where I was staying.

Anyway, my first stop were a trio of nice ladies which have one thing in common, of being associated with the Stepfather films. I already had met Meg Foster in Texas last March, she remembered me but obviously forgot the name. She was so happy to see me again and was a total sweetheart. She told me to come back later and get something extra before I left.

My next stop was Caroline Williams who was with Meg Foster in Stepfather II. She was nice as well. Since I had my Icelandic candy box with me, I decided to just share it with any celebrities that I came across. Caroline said it was wild, hadn't tasted anything like it. I guess licorice isn't used much in American candy. It's very common in Iceland and Denmark for instance.

Here are the autographs from Meg and Caroline on my Stepfather II DVD.

Jill Schoelen was next, she was nice as well. I was surprised to see she had a music CD at her desk, apparently she's doing this jazz fusion thing, I'm curious alright, even though it's not my cup of tea. Jill accepted to try the candy at a later time and told me later she liked it. I let Meg Foster test the Icelandic candy and she liked it as well. Caroline told her she must try it, it was that good.

Here Jill's autograph on my Stepfather DVD.

Across the three ladies, were the nice guys from the film distribution company Synapse films which released Stepfather II on DVD (plus Brain Damage and Maniac Cop and many more). These two guys, Jerry Chandler and Don May Jr. are the men behind Synapse. Jerry handling the business side of things while Don deals with the technical aspects of the DVDs they're releasing. I had a nice chat with Jerry and found myself stopping by their table throughout those two days I was at the convention. I complimented them on the Stepfather II DVD, the bonus material really makes you appreciate the film much more. I grabbed Maniac Cop on the spot, it's been a long time since I saw it. It looked like a good package and I want to refresh my memory, is that cop really that much of a maniac? Plus, Bruce Campbell is in it. It's a keeper. Jerry liked the candy and took one for his daughter to have later.

My next victim was Julian Sands. I had already met him at Texas Frightmare Weekend in March. This time I had something for him to sign, my Naked Lunch DVD. I reminded him of the fact I was there in Texas and I think he remembered me. I gave him candy and he said it was good.

As there was a long line for Malcolm McDowell, who was next to Julian Sands, I decided to look around some more. And I stumbled onto Richard Band's table and I gazed at the CDs he had to offer. So many to choose from, and I could only really get one, which enabled me to get it autographed and a photo with him (so, it's a pretty good deal). It had to be Re-Animator, but there were 3 versions to choose from. I asked Richard which one I should go with, as I wanted as much of the score as possible. He pointed out the fact that the interview which is on one of the CDs is available at his website. There are differences, but he said the one I went with was the most complete and had choice cuts from Ghoulies as well. I chatted with him and it was a pleasant chat. I told him about how I was against the likeness of Psycho was used in the soundtrack when I saw it first on VHS when I was younger. But as I developed my music taste, I was drawn to electronic music more and more. And I just love the drums in Re-Animator, so over the top and fun. It was always meant to be quirky and fun. I also gave him candy but he opted to eat it later.

A little later the line wasn't so big at Malcolm McDowell's table, it felt like now or never. I had my Blue Thunder Special Edition DVD signed, and he seemed to approve of my choice. Sounded like it might have one of a few Blue Thunder's he signed, then again, maybe he does that to everybody. I offered him some candy. He asked me what it was and asked Julian Sands if he had tried it. Julian Sands told him it was good, so Malcolm tried it. Malcolm said it was delicious. Yes, Iceland makes damn good candy, who would have thunk it!

UPDATE: I waited with this since I didn't want to spoil the surprise. I borrowed my friend's A Clockwork Orange DVD and said I wanted to see it again. That was just a few days before I went to the US. I decided to have the DVD signed and put it with my Christmas gift to him. He told me it was quite a surprise. He had even been wondering where that DVD was and even though he had read this very blog, he didn't connect the possibility of me having the DVD signed by Malcolm McDowell.

I took a break, it was probably around 1 PM, I decided to have something to eat since I hadn't eaten anything this morning. Burger King was my choice, I did go there in the morning but they only serve breakfast stuff in the morning. I expect a burger when I go to Burger King, jeez. I went back to the convention so I could see the Re-Animator Q&A session, I was a bit late thus I was in the back, although I had a gold pass, I didn't want to intrude since the show had started. It was a lot of fun and plenty of laughs, I'm sure a video will pop up on youtube and I'll put up a link to it when that happens, because I didn't hear everything.

After the Q&A, I noticed only a couple of people were in line for Linda Blair. She had taken a break, I figured it wouldn't be long. And it was probably only 15-20 mins at most and it was worth it, since the line this morning went almost out of the hotel, it was in the lobby. I didn't want to take up much time so I wasn't very chatty, plus I just don't know much or seen her other work. Apparently she's very into saving dogs and gave me papers about her charity organization to help and adopt dogs. She seemed nice.

UPDATE: Another surprise I didn't want to spoil. I decided to have something signed by Linda Blair for my good friend Laura. Laura and her husband, Frank, do a podcast called Spooktalkular and it was sort of a plan to meet them but there were complications. I had a small Exorcist poster signed and put it with a Icelandic folklore CD as a Christmas gift. Boy, was she surprised. If you enjoy horror and the paranormal, please check out Spooktalkular.

It was around afternoon now, and I noticed that the line which were for Jeffrey Combs and Danielle Harris was nowhere to be seen. So I was able to just get to Jeffrey Combs right away. He was a nice guy, and I regret not asking him about stuff or complimenting him on his role in The Frighteners and one time role in CSI. They really don't make the artwork easy for people to sign them. There are so many chemicals, gadgets and flasks on the Re-Animator cover, it was really hard to decide where to have it signed and who to sign it. As it happened, Barbara Crampton didn't make the convention. So, that made it easy, it would be only Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott who would get the honor, besides I was trying to be on a budget (and I had way more signed this time around than both Chicago and Texas conventions combined, I think). Jeffrey Combs loved the candy.

Bruce Abbott was at the next table and he was very nice and friendly. He had no trouble finding a spot on the DVD cover, he told me he had done this before. No way! He spotted I had The Exorcist with me, and he told me he saw the film when he was 19 and it scared the hell out of him. I asked if he heard anything about Dark Justice coming on DVD as I was a fan of that show. He said he had heard nothing and said it was unlikely it would come out. It was a really cool show, I want to see it again, I'm not sure if I saw the entire series or if all the seasons were shown here in Iceland. Jeffrey Combs snapped a photo of us and it was good, I guess he re-animated that photo. Bruce Abbott also liked the candy and pretty much everyone mentioned the fact it had salt in it (the licorice is the likely culprit) and that never had occurred to me since I'm familiar with licorice. It's rather exotic, I guess, to Americans.

I next stopped at Danielle Harris' table. Since I haven't seen any of her films except The Last Boy Scout, I brought that flick with me. I said she was very fun in that one, even though she had a potty mouth. She was nice and still as cute as when she was a kid. Somehow, I managed to delete the photo that was taken of me and Danielle. I guess I was deleting multiple photos next to that one and accidentally deleted it. Very strange, but I don't lament it.

Since I was here and I want to try to make the most of my trip, I said hi to other people. It's okay to say hi even if you don't intend to have anything signed, my budget ran out and I had the autographs I came there for.

I said hi to Peter Kent, who was in Re-Animator and he was Arnold Schwarzenegger's stunt double in pretty much all of his film, if not all. He was a nice guy and liked the Icelandic candy as well. Peter Kent told this funny story at the Q&A, he was with Arnold and his buddies and went to see Re-Animator. They were in front of the screen and smoking cigars. And close to the end, (I think it was Arnold, rather than some of his body builder buddies) Peter looks at Arnold and his face is sort of pale and green. Arnold said it was a disgusting film and walked off, I think. Just hearing that with Arnold's accent is pretty funny. When I told Peter Kent I was from Iceland he told me he met an Icelandic stripper in Sweden, or something, and she was wild. Plus, he remembered her name and his pronunciation wasn't half bad.

On the next table was George P. Wilbur, who was Michael Myers in Halloween 4 and 6. He's a stunt man, and has been in loads of movies. Apparently he did stunts in Re-Animator as well. I said hi to him since he wasn't getting much attention. Nice guy. He told me he's retired from movies. Like always, the candy was well received.

I did say a quick hi to Dean Cameron (from Bad Dreams and Men at Work) and Jennifer Rubin from (Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and Bad Dreams). Funny how there were these mini-reunions when you saw these connections all over the place.

It was dinner time, so I took off and ate at Pizza Hut Express/Taco Bell. I had some pizza and bread sticks. It was just okay, I guess I'm not a fan of the pepperoni in the US, there was something off. But it could have been a lot worse.

I went to the after party and it was at the Coco Keys water resort and it was hot as hell in there. It was a strange location for horror fans to have a ball, for some reason the place reminded me of Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California. Must be the yellow color of the walls plus there was this fake balcony over the entrance to the swimming pool area. I met my buddy and we drank a beer or two. His wife and her sister persuaded me to take a swim. I persisted but resistance was futile. She drives a hard bargain. I managed to enjoy about 10-15 minutes in the water. There was this big water slide which consisted of tubes inside walls of the place so you were in pitch black for most of the slide. It was worth it for that reason only. I don't know how many years ago last time I went swimming, probably when I had to attend swimming in secondary school/high school (or whatever you call it that comes after elementary school). The thing with us Icelanders, when we decide to drink and paint the town red we stay up really late. Often people drink at home and go downtown well after 1 AM and stay until when the bars closes at 5-6 AM. So, of course everything was over at 1 AM and everything closed at 2 AM. While I respect this custom to drink early and go to sleep early, makes sense, I could have stayed up later and drink some more (since I didn't drink much at the party). At the party I chatted to some two nice ladies, Jennifer and Barbara. I'm usually terrible remembering names but these I could remember. As I had bought Back to the Future earlier that day, it was on my mind that Marty McFly's girl was named Jennifer. And who can't remember that "they're coming to get you, Barbara. Look! Here comes one of them now!"? And on my way out of the party, I stopped to look at this guy's T-shirt, it was a Human Centipede T-shirt. With the psycho doctor on the front with the demonstration sketch on the back. Plus, there was this funny blurb in a balloon on the front, ASS TO MOUTH! I chatted to that fella, his name was Otis. See, another name I remember, how about that? The axe in The Frailty had the name Otis carved on it plus the elevator brand. And I kept thinking of Clerks II, "you never go ass to mouth!".

I used Sunday morning buying some Christmas presents at Target. Then it was time to check the convention and say hi to some more people, I had to make the most of my trip. There was this Ghostbusters room which I sort of ignored on Saturday. I decided to look around in a bit more detail than before. Lots of gadgets from the films or maybe they were replicas, could have fooled me. I said hi to Billy Bryan and Mark Bryan Wilson, they both worked on Ghostbusters. I had a nice chat with Billy. He asked me if I had seen Let the Right One In, I unfortunately haven't seen it yet. But I'm aware of this Swedish vampire flick which has been remade as Let Me In (which is the title of the book the films are based on). He told me how much of a mistake it was seeing the English dubbed version of Let the Right One In. I told him I saw this subtitle snafu where a lot of things where simplified or simply dropped. He had some lines from different languages on his phone. I let him record me saying The Ghostbusters in Icelandic and "my work is hard but somebody has to do it" as well in Icelandic. I sort of regret not having said Ghostbusters, in Icelandic. Since the films don't use the definite article, but then again, there are only one ghostbusters, therefore it really should be okay. He played the "my work is hard" line in African, which was filled with click and pops. He noticed the salt in the candy and he asked me about it. And true enough, salt, was in the ingredients. And it's spelled "salt" in Icelandic as well. He also showed me a video of their version of the giant French puppet princess that toured Iceland and other countries a few years ago. I told him that I saw it by chance while working, me and a co-worker had to drive to the capital and we saw a car with a knife stuck through the whole body of the car. We had seen a picture of it earlier and were contemplating if it was a photo-shopped image. Then we saw it for real. Billy was very nice and fun to talk to. I'm glad I decided to check them out, it was Ghostbusters, so I had to, right?

I stopped once again by the Synapse's table and gave into buying yet another title. The cover art was just too cool to resist, plus it looked like a sweet package. The film I bought is called Blue Sunshine, I had never heard of it before. But it has an interesting plot and Jerry recommended it, so I was sold.

There was not a lot going on, people were packing their stuff pretty much the whole day. I was just going through the rooms and checking in on the people. Stopped by Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott again and gave Bruce another candy. Bruce told me that Jeffrey was raving about those things, so naturally I gave him another one as well. They were the only ones who got a "re-fill".

I said hi and chatted to Chris Carnel, he was
a stunt double and the stunt/fight coordinator on The Crazies (the recent remake). He was a fun guy to talk to. I told him I hadn't seen the film but wanted to since I thought it was a very welcome update. He took his laptop and showed me b-roll footage of this car stunt he did in the film. He's driving on a road and the car then does a flip and crashes off the road. It looks like nobody is around and when the stunt is over, people come all over the place and seeing if he's alright. The stunt was a success and he showed me this one shot, which was thankfully used in the film, where the camera is in front of the car and the car flips over the camera after one of the rolls. Some debris almost hit the camera if I remember correctly, or was it the car itself that was skidding close to the camera? I'll know for sure when I see the film, as I bought it at Target later that day. Sadly, he told me he's half as busy as he used to be since the economy went down the tubes all over the world. When I got home I saw he's been in the stunt business for a long time and saw that he did one of my fondly remembered cop show, High Incident. Chris told me through Facebook I was probably the only one who remembers that show. And he was very lucky, he got the last candy and he loved it.

Next to Chris was Brett Wagner who was also in The Crazies. And Brett is Norwegian, I didn't know that. I'm pretty sure it's not Norwegian what the man in The Thing mutters in the beginning of the film. And I can assure you, it's not Icelandic nor do many of the players have Icelandic names in The Mighty Ducks.

I sort of made an ass of myself, when I was gonna spend my last 20 bucks on an autograph. I was in front of Kathleen Kinmont's table and I had the first Austin Powers film with me. Now, I had confused her with Fabiana Udenio, who didn't make it to the convention due to being snowed in at an airport. Thankfully, Kathleen was a good sport and told me she was not in that one. It's a good sign when actors DO know in what movies they weren't in and which ones they were in.

I said a quick hello to Erik Preston, who was young Michael Myers in Halloween 4, and I'm a really bad fan since I haven't seen hardly any of the Halloween sequels outside of the latest ones. He was a good sport and thankfully he had a good time at the convention.

I swung by Peter Kent's table again, and he gave me this VHS tape of The Occultist. Someone had given him it at the convention. It was a special prize, the most farthest traveled for this convention prize. Peter signed the tape and George P. Wilbur was at the next table and he said he would sign it as well and I took him up on it. The funny thing, they weren't in this film. What a collector's item, and THIS IS The Collector's Edition of The Occultist on VHS. I wonder how much money I could rake with this on eBay. I'll never find out though, this baby in never leaving my side.

On my way out, I stopped by the three ladies and said goodbye. As promised, Meg Foster let me have another picture signed. We chatted for a bit as she was packing up her things, she had to leave soon after the convention was over. Will the third time be a charm? Only time will tell.

I bought some horror DVDs at Target and ate dinner at McDonald's. I returned to my hotel and was channel surfing. Watched a bit of Mythbusters and later I stumbled onto The Walking Dead. AMC were having a marathon and I sadly missed most of the first episode. I saw the last 5 minutes or so, I did keep watching and saw episode two and three. And for some reason episode three was repeated after that. There are three more episodes that completes season one. I'll be keeping my eye on this series.

Monday, time to go back to JFK and be on my way home. There were no hassles this time around. Expensive 35 minute taxi ride, a little more than an hour flight and I was at JFK before 3 PM. It was waiting time once again, I finished that Ancestor book and quite enjoyed it, could make a good film with the right budget and I could see how those Ancestors looked like, my imagination is rubbish. I got home safe and sound Tuesday morning in Iceland.

I'm sure I'll attend other conventions but which one will be next and when it's hard to say. It will be 2011 for sure though. It was a fun trip, safe for that Friday fiasco. Had some lovely chats with lots of people and nice weather to boot. I guess I could have gotten more out this trip, but I'm getting there. I guess the shy Icelander is coming out of his igloo a little bit. Just kidding, we live in shells...I mean, houses. We do have cars and bubble gum...just don't be out of bubble gum when I come walking with a shotgun.

Cheers from Iceland!

1 comment:

  1. The box of candy for the guests was an interesting anecdote, and the line-up sounded really great.

    - WaveCrest.