Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Son of Monsterpalooza

We have finally wound down from the horror adventure that Son of Monsterpalooza turned out to be! The whole weekend was non-stop exploring, excitement, anecdotes, and pictures; and thanks to Justin KillDozer, we had a day full of tourism to keep us busy before check in at 6 PM.

Our field trip began in the middle of the night on Thursday. We set out for Los Angeles a little after 2 AM, arrived a little after 8, and went directly to the first stop in our sightseeing tour. This stop was Pat & Lorraines Coffee Shop, which was featured in Reservoir Dogs. In actuality, it was a sweet little diner that served huge portions of amazing food, and perfectly hit the spot for all four of us in attendance. I got shy and only snapped one shot of the building ...

Now that we were full and satisfied, we got back in the car to climb up a windy road into the richest hills to get to the next stop on our itinerary: the House on Haunted Hill house. Unfortunately, there was some kind of construction or renovation happening, so we didn't get any pictures of the front of the building (no one wanted to remember a bunch of strangers sitting around the courtyard) but Lord Battle managed to get a very opportunely timed shot of this towering fortress.

The last Hollywood location on our list was the blood soaked murder house from the first season of American Horror Story. This was the shortest stay we had, and the least inviting. The front yard was scattered with a selection of warnings not to trespass... or else. Seeing the two versions of this house side by side is the best way to do it.

The person shaped sign next to the walk way is captioned "Beware of Owner" 

By the end of all this sight seeing, it was probably not even one in the afternoon and the heat was noticeably sweltering. So we decided to hit up some thrift stores to look for any cool Halloween stuff (at least I planned to). We went to a couple of cool places but the one that had the coolest back story was called It's a Wrap. This is a second hand store that only carries clothes, shoes, and accessories that have been featured in movies and TV shows. There were teasers with a code throughout the store that gave customers something to look for.

Corresponding items had these codes on their tags, which took us a minute to piece together.

Unfortunately, the one thing Lord Battle purchased from this store was from an unidentified show, suspected to be a home improvement type. By this time, it was well into the high 90's and we bay area kids were dying to sprawl out in an air conditioned room. We headed to the hotel.

Unloading the car in nearly 100 degree weather was god awful; walking felt like you were constantly pressing through a very hot wall of gel that was determined to just slow you down. Gross. Luckily Los Angeles is all air conditioned on the inside. We got our wrist bands and headed inside.

This first day was the lightest attended day of the convention, and I probably should have taken advantage and met all of the icons that I wanted to, but the hot weather and long day left me somewhat unprepared to do much talking. I did happen to meet the star of Naked Zombie Girl on the way in to see the preview for her film.

This is a short movie about a girl tearing through walking corpses with a giant chainsaw, all while wearing nothing but their splattered blood. Hopefully we'll post the review shortly after its release.
After this teaser, there was an all star cast movies screening that I'll let Lord Battle explain, followed by the first screening of Vampira and Me, a documentary and extensive interview with the original scream queen, Maila Nurmi. The writer/director R. H. Greene gave a brief introduction to the film and talked about how important it (and its star) were to him. Sadly, just about all of the footage of this iconic host was lost to the time; her broadcasts were done live and lost immediately after airing. But this loving film maker managed to find previously lost footage of the horror hostess and put it all in this documentary.

Day two of Monsterpalooza featured two of the main panels of the weekend; Day of the Dead and Phantasm. My only complaint about either was that they were only given an hour each.

These four told stories about filming in a cave, working with George Romero, fan favorite lines, the social issues and commentary they saw in the film, and also attempted to take questions from the audience with the little time they had left.

Attempting to squeeze the Phantasm franchise into one hour was even more impossible! Especially with the format the moderator started using; showing a lengthy clip of the movie and having the panel members comment on it. It worked out better when the guests just stated talking over the clips. This panel revealed some of the secrets surrounding Phantasm, and subsequently ended year long debates for more than a couple of people. The most devastating secret seemed to be that the Roman gods above the doorway in the mausoleum did not hide a deeper meaning.

Sunday held another huge panel: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre!

This was another video clip commentary panel and they screened most talked about moments from the film, including all the deaths. Stories ranged from funny recollections of things that looked too real actually being so - like the sledgehammer to the head that Kirk really took - to the drama Toby Hooper intentionally planted to ensure cinematic authenticity. Hearing all of these familiar stories proved Gunnar Hansen's journalistic abilities to me for sure; the book he wrote about the making of this huge film, Chain Saw Confidential (which I am currently enjoying), was so thoroughly prepared for, that many of these stories were included. Then the air of the room turned bittersweet and a little heartbreaking when the moderator asked about Marilyn Burns, who passed just a little over a month ago. The reactions of everyone in the panel, lowered heads, unsteady voices, and the beginnings of tears, were all testaments to how close this group was with each other.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This trip was a huge adventure, too huge for this one summary. I can say, without a second thought, that the best part was getting to meet and talk to the people who participated in the creation of the horror stepping stones that were celebrated at Son of Monsterpalooza. Everyone at the con seemed to genuinely enjoy talking to each fan that came their way, answering questions, and just sharing a moment with someone who is like-minded in at least one aspect. It was a complete community experience I'm very glad I was a part of.


1 comment:

  1. I still can't believe Tom Savini was too cool to join the Day of the Dead Panel!