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CON REVIEW: Monster-Mania Con 39

CON REVIEW: Monster-Mania Con 39

Monster-Mania held its 39th show last week, this one in Cherry Hill, NJ. Their lineup, a dream list of who’s who in horror. Tim Curry, John Carpenter, Richard Dreyfuss, Sean Astin, and 6, yes count them 6 actors (Steve Dash, Ted White, Tom Morga, CJ Graham, Kane Hodder, and Ken Kirzinger) who have all played Jason Voorhees in some fashion were among the mega guest list for this show. Add in Kathleen Turner, Joe Pantoliano, Terry Kiser, Paul Reubens, and 5 of the new IT kids, and you are going to draw a crowd A notable absence was Randy Quaid, but we’ll get to that shortly.

Let’s address the hiccups first and there were a couple. When you bring in a lineup like the one described above, there are going to be a lot of people. If you have been to a convention, you know Friday night can be slow or at peak, steady with the crowds coming. That was not the case for Monster-Mania. The Friday night attendance rivaled a lot of shows’ Saturday crowds. Also, it can be tough and in some cases impossible to know what some guests will draw as far as fans.

A perfect example is the kids from the film IT (2017). In Atlanta for Days of the Dead, two of the young actors were there and had some eager fans wanting to meet them, but it was a good steady pace. In Cherry Hill when 3 more of their co-stars were added, young fans came in by the hundreds at a time.

Also, lets address kind of a big story from Friday night. I was there and heard at least 4 different versions of what happened, so let’s just clear the air on this. Kane Hodder and his co-star from Death House Steve Nappe were sitting next to each other. A fan gave Kane a machete to sign (as is normal with any Jason actor). Kane pretended to cut Steve’s arm. The blade was very real and very sharp and when Steve got distracted he moved, so he was cut in the forearm with it. He got stitches and was back later on. It was a freak accident and nothing more. Case closed.

Saturday, everyone knew the crowd would be massive. I do not believe anyone could have anticipated how massive. The Fire Marshall had to be brought in and did not allow anyone else in the hotel, fans in line for photo ops were lined up outside and ticket sales were cut off before Noon. That is what kind of numbers I am talking about here.

The photo op situation was its own monster. When there are a lot of photo ops all scheduled back to back in the same room and some of the guests have to get into costume, it will cause delays. Tim Curry was the only one (up until Saturday night) that had a specific area for just himself doing photo ops. Everyone else was in one area. The thinking behind this is that many fans buy several photo ops (I bought 4) and this gives them a chance to not miss any due to them being scheduled at the same time. Tim’s went all day because he was only doing photo ops, so you could go when you wanted.

Mix the delays with the fact the IT kids photo ops may have been oversold and delays are inevitable. How do you fix this in the future? Some cons limit the number of photo ops for each guest. The downside to that is you may limit who attends the show. There is no perfect answer for that. Credit the staff when the photo ops were going, they were moving. I did hear some cars in the parking lot were broken into. I don’t have any insight or any facts on this, so I won’t address it further.

What do you do if you are a guest and your scheduled photo op is delayed? If you are Sean Astin, you talk to the group of fans waiting for the op. Astin came into the room where all of the fans were waiting and to his credit, hosted a 7-10 minute impromptu Q & A. He talked about a live show he would be performing in the following night and gave his thoughts on his favorite characters that he has portrayed. First class, Sean…first class all the way.

Let’s talk Randy Quaid. He was scheduled for Friday and Saturday. I have yet to attend a show where no guest has canceled and this is no exception to the rule. On Friday, Monster-Mania posted on their Facebook page, that they had spoken to Randy and he was stuck in New York. Randy then canceled altogether on Saturday. To his credit, he offered to call or send a picture to any fan who was disappointed. All they had to do was send his Twitter a direct message. I can’t speak for every fan that reached out, but he did deliver when I did.

I will not end on any negative marks and so far this show seems like it was a giant disappointment…it really wasn’t. Were the lines insanely long? Yes. Were there way too many people? Yes, I mean the Fire Marshall enforced the rules. Does Monster-Mania have a few things they need to figure out before their 40th show this summer? Of course, they said that themselves. But let’s focus now on a lot (and there was a lot) of good that came from the show.

The guests were friendly and a lot of fun to talk to. There were a LOT of vendors to visit and choose from. There were some very creative fans that took their cosplay seriously and came up with some memorable costumes. They also had TNP – Philly’s Own Rocky Horror Cast, put on a whole performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with prop bags for the viewers and the movie in the background and full partici……..pation from the audience. I will say here and now, that performance by that cast was nothing short of spectacular. It was truly an experience and if you live near Philadelphia, you should catch one of their show.

As a fan, I had no trouble meeting all of the people I wanted to meet and get the photo ops I wanted. I know it was very frustrating for a lot of fans. I know some people were angry, but I didn’t let some delays damper meeting some bucket list celebs. This was a very difficult show to put together, and was the space too small for a show of this magnitude? Probably. But the flip side is, “why don’t you guys get so and so as a guest?” So, let’s credit the organizers of Monster-Mania for bringing in guests that have never been to their show, are huge names and are people some of us will only meet once in a lifetime.

Conclusions. Was this show perfect? Of course not. Did they make people upset? Yes. Did they also gain some new fans? Probably. This was a swing for the fences. There are a lot of shows in New Jersey and 3 of them happen in a 6 week period of time. You have to try new things or the competition will eat you alive. It benefits the fans because we can take advantage of seeing a lot of our favorite horror stars and heroes. A great attempt will often result in speed bumps.

Overall Grade B-




Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
CON REVIEW:  Mad Monster Party 2018 (Carolinas) Charlotte

CON REVIEW: Mad Monster Party 2018 (Carolinas) Charlotte

Last weekend Mad Monster returned to the Queen City of Charlotte, NC. Their lineup included Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund, Jen and Sylvia Soska, Felissa Rose, KISS Co-Founder Peter Criss, Alex Vincent, Christine Elise, Tuesday Knight, Amanda Wyss, R.A. Mihailoff, and many more. Thousands of fans from several States flocked to the Hilton to meet their favorite stars, take advantage of the photo ops (done with amazing backgrounds by Prints Charmn), watch movies in the 7th Annual Mad Monster Film Festival and get to see a 10 minute clip of the upcoming film Death House, introduced by co-writer and director Harrison Smith during the Death House Q&A with Smith, Felissa Rose, and R.A. Mihailoff.

Be sure to check out my interviews with Harrison Smith and Felissa Rose and my EXCLUSIVE pre-release review of Death House.

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. Like any event that attracts thousands of people into one venue, there are going to be speed bumps. Not everyone is going to be happy. There has yet to be a convention, sporting event or any large gathering where every single person went home completely satisfied. Robert Englund is a huge icon in this genre (easily top five over the last four decades) and him attending a show is not a common occurrence. He is a massive draw. Robert is also very gracious to his fans and enjoys sharing a few words and memories with them. He appreciates the fans coming to see him, so his line doesn’t move as if you were scanning two items in the express lane of the grocery store. It can take some time. Many fans were in line for quite some time.

Both Friday and Saturday, the line had more fans than could be accommodated and something had to be done. Credit the staff at Mad Monster for coming up with quick adjustments. They had a system where the fans that remained in line received a number based on where they were in line. Was it perfect? Of course not. Was it the best option? It was the only option. The staff knew that people were going to be upset but came up with a solution with their limited options. It could have been easy to say “that’s it for tonight, please try again tomorrow”. That was not what they did and they handled the issue the only way to make as many people as happy as possible.

Crypt Keeper Clint at Mad Monster Party

Sunday, a light rail (train) knocked out the power for everything in the vicinity of the venue, including the hotel itself. This caused a delay in allowing fans into the show. The power was eventually restored and the show went on, business as usual.

Now that the hiccups are out of the way, let’s talk about the positive aspects. The celebs engaged and enjoyed talking to the fans, there were plenty of vendors for fans to shop from and the panels were informative. For me, one of the highlights of the weekend was the R.I.P. (Mad Monster’s VIP) Party on Saturday night. It was more of a moderate social gathering than a party. The RIPs along with the celebs that attended all gathered to celebrate. Saturday was Tuesday Knight’s birthday and everyone sang and had cake. The RIPs, STIFFS (volunteers), and celebs at the party mingled and shared stories til past midnight. It was a relaxing way to spend the evening after a busy and packed house on Saturday.

The show ended on Sunday and despite the hiccups, the show went off with success. The staff at Mad Monster deserve commendation for how they pulled through. Despite being short-handed (the flu has been nasty and caused several volunteers to have to miss the show) several worked double and triple shifts to ensure there was enough coverage on the floor. They also had to deal with the power issues on Sunday, photo ops selling out in advance and long lines for Robert Englund and Peter Criss. The team was able to power through and make sure as many fans left with amazing memories.

Overall I grade this show a B+.

Next up for Mad Monster is their annual Phoenix, AZ, show July 13-15, 2018.

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in EVENT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
INTERVIEWS: Felissa Rose & Harrison Smith at Mad Monster Party

INTERVIEWS: Felissa Rose & Harrison Smith at Mad Monster Party

Crypt Keeper Clint here with the first of my two articles on Mad Monster Party (Carolinas), which as held February 16 – 18, 2018. I will keep this introduction brief, but I had the great fortune to interview two amazing individuals – Felissa Rose and Harrison Smith. Check out their interviews below and be sure to subscribe to House of Tortured Souls on YouTube.

Also, watch for my review of Mad Monster Party coming up in the next couple of days.

Crypt Keeper Clint Interviews Felissa Rose at Mad Monster Party (Carolinas)

We talk Sleepaway Camp (1983), No Solicitors (2015), Victor Crowley (2017), Family Possessions (2016), and much more.

Crypt Keeper Clint Interviews Writer/Director Harrison Smith at Mad Monster Party (Carolinas)

We talk life, the universe, Death House, and Gunnar Hansen.

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
WiHM Salute: Deborah Voorhees

WiHM Salute: Deborah Voorhees

Deborah VoorheesWhat’s in a name?  If you are the subject of this latest Women in Horror Month piece, the answer can be everything.  In 1985, Deborah Voorhees (then known as Debi Sue Voorhees) was an unknown actress and former Playboy Bunny, whose biggest acting gig was a 7 episode run on the TV series Dallas.  That changed when she went for an audition of the fifth installment of Friday The 13th.  She would beat out future Friday The 13th alum, Darcy DeMoss for the role of Tina in Friday The 13th: A New Beginning.

Deborah VoorheesIt was in the role of Tina that Deborah would have one of the most memorable deaths in the franchise.  Her eyes were sheared by a pair of hedge clippers.  Unfortunately, A New Beginning is often the most criticized film in the series.  Why?  Because Jason isn’t the killer and it is the disgruntled ambulance driver, Roy? (If that is a spoiler for anyone, the movie came out 33 years ago, so spoiler rules don’t apply.).   What is funny about Voorhees (who was going to be cast in the movie one way or another because of her last name) is when you talk to her about horror movies, she is an admitted scaredy cat.

Deborah VoorheesSo what has happened to Deborah Voorhees since Friday The 13th Part 5?  She has tried her hand in a couple different fields.  Voorhees was a teacher and also has worked for The Dallas Morning Times.  She has also began writing, producing and directing films for her own company, Voorhees Films.  Just recently, she ran a contest where fans could submit a “kill” for her upcoming Horror/Comedy, The List.  Deborah Voorhees also runs and moderates a Facebook Page called Deborah Voorhees Shear Horror Group.

As far as what is in store for Deborah Voorhees.  She has hinted at a new project.  Not much is known about this mystery project except that it incorporates some of her fellow Friday the 13th Alumni.  So we have something to look forward from Deborah.  Deborah also has attended some Conventions in the last year, including Texas Frightmare and Horror Hound last year.

So please join me in saluting the Deborah Voorhees (Tina in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning) and let’s wish this multi-talented woman a very Happy Women in Horror Month!

Deborah Voorhees

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
EXCLUSIVE Pre-Release Review: Death House (2018)

EXCLUSIVE Pre-Release Review: Death House (2018)

Who prays for Satan, the original sinner?

This is the opening line to the highly anticipated film Death House. Originally written by the late, great Gunnar Hansen (co-written by B Harrison Smith, who also directs the film), Death House has been called by some “The Expendables of Horror”. In reality, it is a 90-minute cross-genre, mixing horror and action. So sit back, buckle up and let’s take a ride through Death House.

Death House is a virtual who’s who in the horror world. It is easier to tell you which horror icon is NOT in this film. Kane Hodder leads the pack on this all-star lineup. He is joined by Tony Todd, Bill Moseley, Dee Wallace, Sid Haig, Felissa Rose, Tiffany Shepis, Sean Whalen, Vernon Wells, RA Mihailoff and I can go on.

Bill Moseley and Michael Berryman in Death House (2018)

The story follows Agents Boone (Cortney Palm) and Novak (Cody Longo) as they prepare to take an in-depth journey into “Death House”, a federal maximum security prison that does experimental testing on its inmates. The Prisoners experience virtual environments and studies are run in their natural environments prior to confinement. There are 9 levels of the Death House, with the 9th level holding “the 5 Evils”. This is going to be a key thing to pay attention to in the film. The agents take a virtual reality tour of the prison, its history, and are “introduced” to some of the prisoners.Satans in Death House (2018)

As the agents are touring the prison, the electricity goes out and all hell breaks loose, as do the prisoners. The prison runs on auxiliary power (it will be explained why they cannot restore power right away). The prisoners are able to leave their cells and begin to roam the prison, leaving dead guards in their wake. Like any great film where an escape is needed for survival, there is only one way to escape…get to the 9th level.

That is the general plot of the movie, without giving any key plot spoilers away. Time for my thoughts on this film. When I said that it is a roller coaster, I meant it. This movie takes you on a ride for 90 minutes and when you are done watching it, you have to ask yourself if you just watched or experienced your very own virtual reality tour. You will want to applaud when you see all of your favorite icons appear on screen and there are a few surprise cameos that are sure not to disappoint.

Speaking of things not disappointing, let’s talk about Kane Hodder. His performance in this film is nothing short of award-winning. In an ensemble cast of mega icons, he stands out. Following a private screening at Scare-A-Con, this past June,

Kane Hodder in Death House (2018)Caroline Williams said, “no one will ever call Kane just a stuntman again”. This has been referred to as “Kane Hodder’s movie” and I have no argument against that. Kane will always be known for his voiceless monsters (Jason Voorhees and Victor Crowley especially), but in this particular performance, he kills any rumors that he cannot be a leading ACTOR. He is absolutely brilliant in this movie.

I will admit, this movie will take watching more than once to truly grasp. Let’s be honest though, how many of us got the concept of Fight Club the first time through (put your hands down because you know just like me, you went back and watched it again after you figured it out)? Does this make Death House a bad film because you may have to go back and re-watch it? Of course not. Maybe you were in awe of the cameo to come on screen and missed something. There could be a lot of reasons why this may take seeing 2-3 times before you grasp everything. Guess what? That is by design and WHY this movie works as well as it does.

Let’s now address the white elephant in the room. This is NOT Freddy vs Jason vs Leatherface or any combination. Death House is a stand-alone movie that does pay homage to a lot of the classics that made us fall in love with horror. But it is not a retread, a reboot or anything like that. It has its own identity. It mixes the gore that the diehard slasher fans love, with the action the adrenaline junkies crave and also throws in a strong psychological plot that the thinkers lust after. This truly has something for EVERY horror fan.

Tony Todd in Death House (2018)

I’ve heard some people complain that the lighting was terrible, and the movie was too dark. I have 2 comments on that. Number 1, there was a power failure and all anyone has are flashlights, so how much light can there realistically be and give this movie the feel it is going for? And second, how many of us walk through a GREAT haunted house with little light? That type of haunted house where there was a new surprise at every turn. That one great haunted house where, when you are done, you want to go back! That is exactly what you feel while you experience Death House. I no longer say watch Death House, I say experience it.

Final thoughts

There are a few things I want you to take away from this before you Barbara Crampton, Cody Longo, Dee Wallace, Cortney Palm in Death House (2018)go and experience Death House. Dee Wallace is a living legend and her portrayal of Dr. Fletcher stands toe to toe with her performance as Donna Trenton in Cujo (and I am not kidding). Kane Hodder is a legit actor and no longer “just a stuntman” or “just great on-screen monster.” As I have mentioned time and again, this is a 90-minute roller coaster ride that will leave you wanting more. This movie was Gunnar Hansen’s dream and his baby. Go see this for Gunnar and view his vision. I wish he could be here to see this come to fruition. He, however, left it in great hands. You can see what Gunnar wanted, through the eyes of B. Harrison Smith.

And last, this movie is not your typical good vs evil. It was never intended for that. This shows that good is dependent on evil and evil dependent on good. The two cannot exist without the other. If you ever have an opportunity to meet and talk with B. Harrison Smith at a convention, he talks about this very thing.  This is actually the oldest storyline in existence. Was Lucifer not a fallen angel? The very opening line of the movie which I will remind you of is, “Who prays for Satan, the original sinner?” That line narrated over the opening credits is not just a cool way to open a movie. This film is the ultimate example of you cannot have evil without good and good without evil.

Death House was scheduled to open this weekend, but unforeseen circumstances created a delay. Next weekend it will open in LA and the following week it will expand to more markets including Philadelphia, (wherein the suburb of Cherry Hill, NJ, Monster Mania Con is going on that weekend and will have at least 2 stars from Death House, including Kane Hodder).

Overall Grade on Death House:

A+ and I wish I had a 3rd hand so I could give it 3 thumbs up.

For more on Death House and all updates on where and when you can experience this thrill ride, visit their official social media sites:

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in EXCLUSIVE, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 2 comments
WiHM – The Soska Sisters

WiHM – The Soska Sisters

Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009) from the Soska SIstersOn April 29, 1983, the horror and comic worlds were blessed by not one but TWO women. Identical twins Jen and Sylvia Soska, collectively known as the Twisted Twins were born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on their mother’s birthday. As young girls, after watching the film, Poltergeist, they were hooked. They decided they wanted to work in films and went into acting. In 2009 while in school, the Soska Sisters wrote and directed a film for a project. They made the movie for less than $3,000. Despite critics bashing the film, Dead Hooker In A Trunk has since drawn a huge cult following on DVD. It has also recently been released on Blu Ray. From Dead Hooker In A Trunk, the Twins went to make American Mary, starring Katharine Isabelle in 2012. They then directed See No Evil 2 starring WWE Superstar Kane, Danielle Harris, and Katharine Isabelle.

In 2015, the Soskas hosted the popular show Hellavator for two seasons, and in 2016, the Soska Sisters began taking the reigns of directing the reimagining of David Cronenberg’s 1977 classic, Rabid. Recently, it was announced the film will be distributed by Shout! Studios.

American Mary (2012) from the Soska SIstersIf that was all we knew of the Twisted Twins, that would be enough for them to be saluted this month. However, these two ladies are so much more than just talented filmmakers. They organize the Women In Horror Month Massive Blood Drive PSA Film Fest (Check out our coverage here). They also write daily inspirational messages and thought-provoking posts.

The Twisted Twins have become fan favorites due to their extremely caring personalities, their love for all people regardless of race, religion, orientation, etc. They love their fans and have become so beloved that not one but two t-shirt companies have produced Soska Brand T-Shirts. It has to be two; everything is always doubled with these amazing women. Fans can buy these various shirts from Fright Rags and also Atomic Cotton. Both companies feature a Dead Hooker In A Trunk shirt (not bad for a movie that was bashed and for which the Twisted Twins took a LOT of nasty criticism by alleged experts).

See No Evil 2 (2014) from the Soska SIstersThis past weekend the Soska Sisters attended Mad Monster Party (watch for my con review) in Charlotte, NC, and also made an appearance on Good Day Charlotte on the local Fox affiliate. All weekend, both Jen and Sylvia met with their fans, signed autographs and showed everyone their love and appreciation for the fans coming out and supporting them.

These women show that we should all go “follow our stupid f—ing dreams” and to show love and respect. They are advocates for equality and have been outspoken with scandals that have been an embarrassment in the entertainment industry. They have not just sat back, but they have informed their fans and followers about the stories that have emerged. The Twins have also spoken out against hate daily.

So please join me as I salute Jen and Sylvia Soska and wish them a Happy Women In Horror Month!
Hellavator (2012) from the Soska SIsters

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
WiHM: Felissa Rose

WiHM: Felissa Rose

Felissa Rose and Jonathan Tiersten in Sleepaway Camp (1983)Outside of the horror world, most people won’t know the name Felissa Rose, but in 1983, a 13-year-old girl playing the role of Angela introduced herself to the genre. What’s extremely impressive about Felissa’s role in the now cult classic Sleepaway Camp is that she was so memorable while hardly speaking. The character Angela rarely spoke throughout the film and sucked viewers into the story with her facial expressions. She makes you really feel for the character until you find out that young Angela is actually Peter, Angela’s brother, who was “killed” in a boating accident 8 years prior. 2018 celebrates the 35th anniversary of this iconic film and the launch of a brilliant career.

Christopher Collet and Felissa Rose in Sleepaway Camp (1983)Felissa has been a mainstay in the horror genre over the past three and a half decades. She has also been a frequent guest at various horror conventions around the US. Known for her bubbly personality, posing making the “Sleepaway Camp Face”, and her ability to remember names and past interactions with her fans, Felissa is very popular at these shows and leaves her fans old and new with memorable experiences.

Felissa Rose in Terror Tales (2016)

The last calendar year has been one of – if not the – best year yet for this iconic actress. Felissa has several new films that have been released in the last month or will be in the coming weeks to include No Solicitors (a film shot in 2015, but released last month on DVD, where she also served as Producer) where she plays ill-fated Pricilla. Victor Crowley (the surprise fourth installment of the Hatchet series), she plays the role of Kathleen. And in the upcoming film Death House (theatrical release of February 23rd), Felissa plays the role of Dr. Angela Freeman (and also filling the role of Associate Producer). Felissa has been certainly busy over the past several months as these are three of the nearly two dozen projects she has already or is in the process of completing.

Felissa Rose - Shears

Felissa’s next convention appearance will be next weekend in the Queen City of Charlotte, NC, for Mad Monster Party Carolina.  She is celebrating both the 35th Anniversary of Sleepaway Camp and the newly released Victor Crowley.  She is also promoting the upcoming release of Death House, which some of us lucky fans were privileged to see during convention viewings last year.  Thousands more are eagerly awaiting to see the film on February 23, 2018.

So please join me in congratulating this amazing woman on her accomplishments both past and those yet to come.

You can check out what Felissa is working on next by visiting her on the Internet at:

Let’s wish Felissa Rose a very HAPPY Women in Horror Month!

Felissa Rose Official Site Welcome

Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments