COSPLAY

CON REVIEW: ScareFest, Lexington, KY, 2018

CON REVIEW: ScareFest, Lexington, KY, 2018

Over the weekend, I ventured out on an 8-hour drive to attend ScareFest in Lexington, KY. The celebrity guests included Tobin Bell ( Saw and Jigsaw), Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator), Jonathan Breck (Jeepers Creepers), Shawnee Smith (The Blob (1988)), Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Eileen Dietz (The Exorcist), and many more.

The crowd of fans from all over came in very excited and ready for an amazing weekend. It is great to see fellow horror fans — especially the younger crowd — come together and show support to the celebrities of their favorite films. There were many fans with awesome cosplay from Twisty the Clown (American Horror Story), Pinhead (Hellraiser), various clowns (including Pennywise), and a lot of Michael Meyerses.

Pinhead/Sarah Gregory

The con was hosted at The Lexington Convention Center, which was very spacious. There was one main room which held all the guests and vendors making it very easy to navigate. Staff were very friendly, approachable, and knowledgeable, and if for some reason they didn’t have the right answer to your question, they made sure to find someone who did.

Saw/Sarah Gregory

With any con, there are negatives and positives, and ScareFest was no exception. My only negative comment would be that the website was a little confusing with how to purchase photo op tickets. I felt that it took a bit to search to discover how to obtain them. They had a list of the scheduled times, but I did not see anywhere to make a purchase. The only celebrities on the main page were Tobin Bell and Cassandra Peterson. Again, this is the only thing I saw that could maybe use a tweaking. Other than that, the positive part would be that the rest of my experience was a great time. The panels and movie times were right on schedule, and anything that was canceled was communicated over the loudspeaker.

ScareFest/Sarah Gregory

With the con weekend having to come to an end, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed making new friends and reconnecting with other friends I met from previous cons as well as with getting to meet Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Barbie Wilde (Hellraiser II), and Shawnee Smith (The Stand). ScareFest is one down in my books, and I would gladly attend again.

Overall experience: B+

Posted by Sarah Gregory in EVENT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
CON REVIEW: Monster Mania 37

CON REVIEW: Monster Mania 37

Event: Monster Mania 37
Location: Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Date: Saturday, August, 19, 2017

It’s 10:15 am, and I have arrived for what will become my fourth time to Monster Mania horror convention. The guest list was actually pretty decent this time around, and I always look forward to seeing my horror family and friends who attend regularly. As I pull in front of the hotel, I'm automatically routed through the parking lot, past what was a free parking lot of a closed on the weekend business plaza but is now a $15.00 pay to park ripoff. Well, that shit ain't going to fly with me, so I ended up about three blocks away. My choice, but honestly, I think having to pay to park now is a pretty shitty deal. Onward to the CON!!
Aside from honestly wanting to see the faces of old friends, I had an agenda. You see, House of Tortured Souls - after much waiting and pulling of hair - finally has merchandise. T-SHIRTS!!! I had one on (looking awfully dapper, I must add), and the three that I brought with me were spoken for. Two were for the Soska sisters, Jen and Sylvia. How could I present a shirt to only one of them? The final shirt was slotted for ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian. I was on a mission from God!
Monster Mania, I am here! The lobby held the usual handful of stragglers and lines already formed for certain celebrities. I made my way through the lobby to the ticket table to pay. Now I understand conventions and also understand a large percentage of the staff is comprised of volunteers. I could only hope the two not so pleasant ladies I encountered were volunteers and not representatives of the convention itself. No eye contact, no verbal greeting of any kind, didn't even ask how many. As a matter of fact, I actually had to get their attention, not that they were busy, but they just didn't care. It was as if I was placing a food order - although at least at a fast food joint, the employees would have acknowledged me. After I got my wrist band from Ms. Happy, off I went.
The layout is always the same, and in my opinion, is done quite nicely. Having to go from one end of the building and through the always crowded lobby to get to the main celebrity room can be a pain if you’re in a hurry - and especially so if the hallway leading to the celebrity rooms is packed with people waiting in lines that have been formed to keep the main room operable. So it works, no one to blame, it's a busy place. And when it's busy, and in the middle of August, it tends to get a bit warm and the air conditioners just can't seem to handle the demand. Again, no one's fault.
After getting my wrist band, I headed over to the main celebrity room to find where the lovely Soska sisters were. To my surprise, they hadn't even shown up yet, and there were only about 10 people in line for them. So I became number 11. They didn't show up for about 45 minutes, but I really didn't mind because I waiting next to Ms. PJ Soles, who was already hard at it, working alone. An autograph and picture combination was only $20.00! I wish more were like that. She had a good, constant line going, and everyone - including her - seemed to be having a good time! For those of you who know me, I've always said that PJ Soles is the nicest lady you would ever want to meet.
At last the Soskas came out and were cheery and loving to everyone there! Of all the celebrities I have been fortunate enough to meet, I've got to say that the Soska sisters are by far the most energetic and appreciative of the people who come to see them. When it was my turn at bat, before I could even say hello, they were literally on the table giving me a hug. Everyone got a hug. I told them of the website and presented EACH of them (lol) with a t-shirt, sticker, and business card for House of Tortured Souls. Jen read off my phone number to me and said, “Halloween will be here and I will be pretty busy, as you can imagine, but don't be surprised if I do call”. She gave me her email address and told me to reach out to her for the interview I had mentioned earlier. The two of them offered to do a video promo with the shirts I gave them, hugged me again, and I was gone. It was a pleasure and honor to have had the opportunity to meet them. So that's one – or two! - down.
I made my way back through the now heavily crowded ticket area and lobby to get to one of other celebrity rooms on my way to meet Scott Ian!! I have been a big fan of Anthrax since....8th grade? I've seen them numerous times in concert but have never actually met any of them, so this was a really big deal to me - especially since Scott is a horror fan himself. I walked straight through the room and right up to his table where, to my surprise, there is not one person there to see him. I smiled, introduced myself, and explained the website and how he was part of my mission. I inquired about trying to set up an interview, and without even looking at me, he said simply, "Contact my label". Nevertheless, I presented him with his shirt, also with card and sticker, and he quickly handed it to the person that was with him and it was out of sight. I had to think quickly as his attention wasn't on me and he didn't seem to even want to be there. I asked if I could grab a picture of him just holding up the t-shirt. Sadly, he gave me this look and said simply, "Yeah, I really don't like to do that". Before I could feel like any more of a loser (since I now felt completely destroyed), I shook his hand and thanked him for his time, turned, and casually walked away. Maybe he had a bad morning, maybe there was no hot water in his shower, or maybe his breakfast was cold. Who knows? There could have been a million different things that might have been wrong with Mr. Ian that morning. After talking to others about him later, they all said how much fun he was the night before. Well, he is a rock star, and they usually don't do mornings. What was I thinking? What I was thinking was that he was there for his fans, and despite what issues may or may not have been, he was supposed to be there for his fans. I am still a fan, but I do wish things had been different. He was just very unreceptive. Oh well...
I then made my way through the now pretty damn crowded venue and skimmed through all the vendors. Sooooo many vendors… I truly wish I had a lot more money to spend on because I wanted it all - from t-shirts to action figures to DVDs and custom, handmade crafts! And yes, although you will find a lot of the same items at some vendor tables, there are still many unique items that you just don't find anywhere other than at cons.
I especially loved these awesome shadowboxes from Curious Goods.Halloween and Trick 'r Treat shadowboxes
I did have the pleasure of running into a good handful of friends, and it was, as always, great to geek out with all of them. Then, I looked past them to see a dark figure in the distance, a man with a certain presence about him. It was the one and only Father Evil. Father is a good friend of mine personally and I always look forward to seeing him at the show. It's a thrill to see just how far he has come and to know how far he's headed! Lou, to you and Sarah, all our love and support!
Now, from the moment I stepped foot in the lobby, there was something not right...something was amiss. It actually took me a while to put my finger on it, but I suddenly realized what it was. There was next to no cosplay. There were, of course, fans dressed as their favorite horror characters, but there was really no cosplay to be found. This was something that always welcomed me to the con as clowns would at the entrance to the circus big top. And that’s what had been missing all day - the circus! If you’ve ever attended a con, you know that attendees take tons and TONS of pictures with those cosplaying. It really kind of warms you up and gets you in the festive spirit of the convention. Through trusting friends, I found out later that day that the promoters of the Monster Mania wanted all cosplay people to pay even if they were just hanging out in the lobby. Many cosplay people attended and staked out in the lobby, just to add to the party, free entertainment if you will. Were they causing issues? Not that I could tell. Now, for whatever reason is was - be it money alone or what, I really don't know, sadly many have since sworn off returning. This was not just a shame; it was a damn shame. It really seemed to have taken away from the spirit of what I knew to be Monster Mania.
As 2:00 pm neared, I had done just about all there was to do. I hadn't planned on staying late, or even till dark, but to be ready to go at 2:00 pm was just wrong. Something was seriously amiss. I made one last round through the building to say my goodbyes. I stopped and thanked the Soskas again and, while doing so, got to shake hands with Sid Haigas he was passing through. So there’s that.
Please, don't get me wrong. I didn't have a bad time at Monster Mania, and I'm not bashing it. I've seen tons of pictures from others who were there, and they all had a good time. I love horror conventions, and yes, I'm a big boy and understand that things are what you make of them. But there was a different feeling this time around. Here’s hoping next year it’s back to abnormal.Trick 'r Treat shadowbox
Keep It Evil.
Posted by John Roisland in EVENT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

Interview: Lou Avilleira: The Mind Behind FATHER EVIL

By John Roisland

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Many of you have come to him as Father Evil, the lone evil priest who wanders the conventions in search of sinners. Now we take a few moments to meet the man behind the character , Lou Avilleria.

For years now, people have been going to movie and comic conventions and dressing up as their favorite character. Many of the cosplay (as its called) artists, often enjoy many different characters. That wasn't the case for Lou, he found and created Father Evil, and the world has quickly come to know his name!

I first met Lou online, and we quickly became good friends. I think it was a little over a year later that I then met Father Evil in person at Monster Mania in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. It was a thrill! What a showman! I look forward to see both Lou and Father Evil soon at upcoming events, ...but I must be honest, of all the celebrities that may be in attendance,...Lou is actually more exciting to meet.

Lou is a loving husband and very proud father. He hails from the Garden State of New Jersey, where he balances his family life, and the life he created as Father Evil. Doing many guest appearances in local events, Lou has also be seen doing the tri-state area conventions. Well he has spread those evil wings and has been seen in conventions as far as Texas and most recently Atlanta, GA.

 

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Lou took a few minutes to give me a short interview to catch us up.

 

House of Tortured Souls: First, Lou, thank you so much for taking the time out of what must a very hectic schedule you are growing into to spend a few moments with House of Tortured Souls.

LA: You're most welcome!

 

HoTS: At what point did you realize that you wanted to join in the cosplay world?

LA: It was around 2010. I went to Chiller Theater with a character I made up over 20 years ago through one of my sketches. It was supposed to be a one time thing...a "goof" but as soon as I showed up, people lost their shit and wanted pics. What really floored me was when a featured guest and Italian director (his name escapes me) flipped his shit and wanted pics as well. He actually excused himself from his fans to take pics of me. I figured if I got his attention I may have something here... and the rest is history. (Mind you it was just a $20 costume from Party City when I first appeared.)

 

HoTS: Upon creating what the world is quickly knowing as Father Evil, how long has it taken you to get to the point of his outfit, look at it, and say "Now, its perfect!"?

LA: Two years. To where I was like okay, this is authentic... But I'm never or will never be done "evolving". It will never be "perfect" in my eyes.

 

HoTS: What other, if any, other cosplay characters had you tried before deciding on Father Evil ?

LA: Never tried any other...I was going to do a vampire, but by that time people we're too engrossed with Father Evil. I even mentioned about cosplaying another character, but one guy said, "No dude, you can't be anything else. You are Father Evil & Father Evil is you."

 

HoTS: Father Evil has become what it seems to be an almost over night sensation. I know you've worked hard, put in lots of hours, and done numerous events to support his character. Did you ever think that he would have gotten such a huge following?

LA: No… nowhere near to what he is now, not at least this fast. I mean I knew that, hey, I got something here but never believed it would be this big, this fast. Never.

 

HoTS: From autographs, to fan photos, to celebrity photos - at their request, what is the one thing that a fan has done that has just put you over the top, to where you can't really believe it just happened?

LA: When a fan got a tattoo of Father Evil. I was like, “I don't even have a movie or comic, yet. Did this really just happen?” I was BLOWN away to be at that status.

 

HoTS: On the same note of dealing with fans, at the end of the day, when you're out of costume, do you ever just sit and think, "Is this really happening to me?"

LA: Yes, every other day.

 

HoTS: I've seen people swarm to Father Evil, I've seen them run scared from you, with your outfit being that of an evil priest. My question is have you ever encountered any, let's say, religious fanatics scolding you or, on the flip side, any individuals, from, let's say, the dark church approach you?

LA: No… nothing negative, nasty stares but nothing verbal. Maybe they're too scared. Who knows? I have met three Baptist pastors, and all wanted a pic. One said I was "grotesquely beautiful ".

 

HoTS: So I hear there is really big news in the work for Father Evil. Care to fill us in?

LA: Graphic novel. That's all I'm going to say... for now.

 

HoTS: Lou, you are a hard working man. You have a gorgeous family. How do you balance time between Lou and Father Evil?

LA: When I'm on vacation, Father Evil stays home. When I'm not doing something in the convention scene or hosting, I'm just a dad who loves to play with his kid.

 

HoTS: In closing, Lou, thank you so much for your time. We all wish you the absolute best with Father Evil and hope to see you soon. Is there anything you like to say to the readers of House of Tortured Souls?

LA: If you have an idea for something, do it. No matter how crazy it may sound, do it. I read a quote by Henry Rollins that really spoke to me and basically it speaks for itself here it goes… "There is no such thing as downtime, spare time, or part time all you have is lifetime. GO !!!"

Keep It Evil.

Posted by John Roisland in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
The Walking Dead Season 6 Returns Sunday!

The Walking Dead Season 6 Returns Sunday!

The Walking Dead
Season 6 Begins October 11, 2015

By Nicole Robinson

Rick, Carol and DarylThe excitement is building as viewers wait for The Walking Dead to return this Sunday to AMC for its sixth season after a very long summer for fans. The premiere of the season 6 trailer at this year’s San Diego Comic Con panel left viewers on the edge of their seats. Many are curious how the high adrenaline zombie drama will play out after last season’s cliffhanger. That ending made the summer so hard for fans they had to provide a spin off show to get them through it.

*****Caution: Spoilers Ahead.
Read At Your Own Risk*****

After the intense season finale "Conquer", we left our favorite sheriff turned anti-hero Rick Grimes played, by English actor Andrew Lincoln, who had just come face to face with his past in the form of fan favorite Morgan, marking the return of actor Lennie James. Last time Morgan and Rick came face to face in the season 3 episode "Clear", Rick found Morgan, alone, with an arsenal of weapons.

Walker 2

Robert Kirkman, the driving creative force behind The Walking Dead universe, has stated the reunion “will be the spine of season 6”. Does this mean fans should be prepared for a showdown between Rick and Morgan? Or will we see these two combine forces to lead the Alexandria Safe Zone during what is sure to be an action packed season? It seems at the forefront of this season will be the inevitable conflict between these two characters and the effect it will have on the residents of the safe zone.

Last season and the later end of season 4 showed leader Rick Grimes move to sheer brutality to stay alive and protect his family. From ripping Joe's throat out to save Carl, Michonne, and Daryl to killing Pete without a second thought, Rick has evolved into a fearless leader willing to do whatever it takes to survive. Season 6 brings something more than survival. Rick will be fighting for his home and he will defend it at any cost, against any threat, even if that threat comes from within.

Scenes of a large herd at the gates of the Alexandria Safe Zone shown during the trailer lead us to believe that the new home of Rick and friends will be invaded. Considering the "No one is safe" theme behind the show along with the new found abundance of new characters to kill off, the possibilities are endless. This also brings in a new factor: characters are now replaceable.

New characters Denise, Heath and CarterWith the ability to now introduce new characters in the form of Alexandria Safe Zone residents, the “No one is safe” theme could very well find its way into the group. Last season’s death count was rather disappointing aside from the death of Emily Kinney’s Beth, which managed to divide viewers. Who were either happy she finally stopped singing or angry that Daryl’s heart was broken, and spawning petitions to bring her back, even though she was shot in the head. This could mean that we are in store for some gruesome deaths this season and possibly of characters that have been with us since the beginning. There is a chance could be the season that rioting begins...

The trailer spoiled a new character coming to the series in the form of Heath, played by actor Corey Hawkins, who recently played Dr. Dre in NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton. A well-known character from The Walking Dead comic (YES, there is a comic), Heath is a Washington D.C. survivor who goes on supply runs with his best friend Scott (who could be the other new character for Season 6). A familiar face found in the trailer was that of Ethan Embry, known for his role in films such as Empire Records and Can’t Hardly Wait, who will be playing Carter, according to showrunner Scott Gimple. Not much is known about the character or the role he will play in the Alexandria Safe Zone but it exciting none the less to see how he will fit in with Rick and friends is the upcoming episodes. Other characters that have recently been announced include, Paul “Jesus” Monroe, played by Tom Payne, and Dr. Denise Cloyd, played by Merrit Weaver, as well as a casting call for a brutal psychopath who is narcissistic, egotistical, quick to braggadocio and anger, his own skin is his principal concern... Hmmmm... should we worry?

WalkerSeason 6 is expected to pick up very soon after the events of the season 5 finale, no doubt showing viewers how strong personalities with a will to survive will mix inside the walls of the Alexandria Safe Zone. This will be a crazy and intense season for fans with lots of surprising events coming to shake up Rick and his crew. Tune in this Sunday at 9 PM EST on AMC to watch the 90 minute premiere of season 6 of The Walking Dead followed by our resident therapist Chris Hardwick for the season premiere of The Talking Dead immediately after the show.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments

INTERVIEW: The Circus Rejects

The Circus Rejects"Bring in the clowns!" "Always leave them laughing!” "Everyone loves a clown". These sayings having been associated with clowns for many, many years. Clowns bring a smile to a small child's face and laughter to crowds everywhere. Well the days of little Johnny and little Susie asking, "Golly gee, Mom...can we please go to the circus to see those funny clowns after all our chores are done?" are gone!
Dark clouds have moved over these once beloved characters, and they are back in full force with a very dark side and reaping havoc across the land. These days clowns are more feared than loved.
I have the exciting privilege of bring you the leaders of a group of clowns that are terrorizing the east coast from New York to Virginia. This group goes by the name The Circus Rejects and are headed up by Karnage and Grin. These two fine young gentlemen took a moment from their busy schedule of looting, kidnapping, and genuinely scaring the shit out of people to tell me a bit more about themselves.
The Circus RejectsHouse of Tortured Souls: Gentlemen, give us the low down on the history of the The Circus Rejects. What I mean by that is how you guys came to be.
REJECTS: Grin and Karnage met in clown college which we flunked out of after the first semester. Karnage couldn't get the juggling figured out and was caught eating the grease paint. Grin didn't want to give up the chainsaw and was expelled for chasing the dean down the hallway when he tried to take the saw away from Grin.
We were clown college dorm mates so we figured we had learned enough to give this clowning thing a go on our own. The name The Circus Rejects just kinda of stuck after the first few gigs went terribly wrong. Children's parties and chainsaws don't really go together very well, so we thought why not call ourselves The Circus Rejects so that people know what they are in for when they book us.
We are available for weddings, parties, corporate events, just about anything you have going on.
The Circus RejectsHoTS: I first met you both at Monster Mania horror convention in August of 2014 in Cherryhill, NJ, where both of you chased my daughter with chainsaws through the hotel foyer for her 16th birthday. It was at THAT moment I knew we would become great friends! Other than conventions, tell us about some of the other jobs The Circus Rejects have done.
REJECTS: We are booked for our second Halloween wedding this year. Hmm, lets see... It's been a busy couple of years for us. We've done quite a bit of fun events such as the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival two years in a row now - might we add that it's the second largest beer and music festival in the country! Definitely don't want to miss that in 2016! There is also Bizarre AC 2 that we were a part of last June, and we are gearing up for the third installment of Bizarre AC this coming October at the Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City from October 16-18, 2015. We have done a bunch of cool events, such as The Beard and Moustache Championship of the Universe last November. We have become fairly popular at some area tattoo conventions as crowd entertainment. We were a part of the Strange Exchange, Oddities Flea Market, which is ran by the Weird NJ Guys, really cool guys too! We have done a couple of local commercial spots. It's just been a fun ride so far, and we're looking forward to where this is going to take us!
HoTS: Halloween is rapidly approaching. I can only imagine how busy this time of year is for you! I understand you are often found at Bloodshed Farms Fear Fest. Tell everyone about that and when and where we can find it.
REJECTS: The farm used to be run by a family know as the Levid family. Legend has it, that the Levid family had a very dark secret. During the time the Levid Family ran the old farm, 16 reported people went missing in a span of three years. Investigation never lead to the farm. The Levid's themselves even had a daughter amongst those gone ... unaccounted. It wasn't until after the family was forced off the land that people stopped disappearing. Soon after that, the shed was found.The Circus Rejects
Hidden well within the farm's sprawling forest, the tiny red shed was revealed to be the gruesome location related to at least 14 of the missing people. No bodies were ever found, well...none that were easily recognizable. DNA from blood, flesh, teeth, feces, and other human parts were used for verification. Those who managed to stomach even talking about the shed revealed little.
A wooden chair sat directly in the center of the shed, surrounded by shelves full of items used for various torture and killing methods, the chair itself, a device constructed to help aid in the sadism and madness. The locals started calling the place Bloodshed Farms. None of the members of the Levid Family were ever found.
For those brave enough to come check out the property that is now known as BloodShed Farms, open every Friday and Saturday in October, at 2919 Route 206, Columbus, NJ, on the same property as Columbus Flea Market.
HoTS: The Circus Rejects have been pushing and plugging away for some time now. I understand its about to pay off...and on film. Fill us in!
REJECTS: We wanted to make a legendary horror film, so we kidnapped a director by the name of JP Hoffman and our plan is to force him to make our film. He (JP) has a strong fear of clowns and didn't want to shoot what we had in mind, due to the graphic intensity and crazy shit we have planned but he doesn't have to much of a choice. We want to give people the best goddamn clown movie ever and hopefully we can raise enough money that we can shoot this soon. The film is mainly about Grin, Karnage, and Kisses and our revenge for our father’s death. Thats all I'm saying for now about the film.
HoTS: Thank you both for taking the time out of your busy schedules for us! We are huge supporters and fans of Karnage, Grin, and the entire Circus Rejects family!! Anything you'd like to leave the House of Tortured Souls viewers with?
REJECTS (Grin): i tRuLY cAn'T tHaNk eVeRyOnE eNoUgh FoR tHe CoNsTaNt SuPpOrT To ThE FiLm AnD eVeRyThInG wE do!! wE CoUlDnT dO iT wiThOuT You aLL HavInG oUr BaCkS AnD pUsHiNg Us tO bE bEtTeR aNd BeTtER eVeRyDaY! aNd My PrOmIsE tO yOu aLL iS tO mAkE tHe BeSt cLoWn fiLm EvEr. CoNtInUe To foLLoW griN. tHe moViE, aNd ThE reSt Of tHe cLoWnS aNd StAy Up To DaTe On WhAt WeRe dOiNG.. YoU nEvEr KnOw WhAt MiGhT p0P uP nExT!
REJECTS (Karnage): Just a big thank you to everyone and your continued support of what we are doing. We will try to keep doing it bigger and better and creepier!! Remember, we make creepy fun!!The Circus Rejects
Posted by John Roisland in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments