Neve Campbell

MonsterMania Con Review

MonsterMania Con Review

I ventured out 6 hours to Cherry Hill, NJ this weekend to attend Monster-Mania Con 42. Like all other conventions I have attended, I try not to be nit picky since it can’t always run perfectly but I’ll get into the positives and negatives shortly.

To start, they had a really good line up this year. Such celebrities include Danielle Harris (Halloween, See No Evil 2), Meatloaf (Rocky Horror Picture Show), All 4 cast members from The Craft (Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Robin Tunney, and Rachel True), Christina Ricci (The Addams Family, Casper, Monster), Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV, The Expendables), and the “Heartbreak Kid” himself Shawn Michaels

Friday which was the first night is usually a hit and miss, sometimes it’s not too packed but boy did I underestimate how it would actually be. It was no where to what a Saturday looks like but it was a little close to it. First, what I normally dread is parking. It gets insane when you have to pay more money to park somewhere. The hotel was kind enough to run shuttles every 15 mins to a location where you can park for free, one thing to cross off the stress list. Now brings us to inside the building right at the start of con, some of the lines were unnecessary, those who already had wristbands could have been let in at the start time, there was no need having them linger in line with those who were waiting to get their wristbands, it started to cause confusion and blocked the entrances to where everyone was on top of each other or couldn’t walk by. 

What I liked was that they now scan your wristband each time you walk in, prevents from scammers which I have seen quite a bit of on the Facebook page with them selling or giving them away. They were also quick to come up with a solution for Fairuza Balk missing her first night. A lot of people bought The Craft group photo op they had to keep pushing the times back since Fairuza ran very very late. I think they handled it very efficiently, they posted about it in their new app and group page and offered a solution right away which was a refund or to have their op on Saturday or Sunday.

They had 2 rooms for the guests and 1 additional room upstairs just for Christina Ricci. In my opinion, if possible they should have spread out the major headliners in one room just so that the rest of the celebs had room at their tables. They had to form 2 separate lines one for Shawn Michaels and one for Neve Campbell in a tiny hallway where everyone had to stand in a file line to make room the best they could, they tried their best to be organized with it but it still had the fire marshals showing up with entrances being blocked. I know that they put all 4 girls from The Craft together for a reason so that when you meet one you have to meet them all, but they could of either been spread out or in the room upstairs with Christina. 

Now brings us to Saturday (which was also my last day here). It was jammed pack like usually but seemed a little more manageable. They capped the lines off when needed and the halls were cleared so there was a tad bit more room to walk by. The main room when you walk in was way too tiny to fit about 7-8 celebs in, it resulted into 3 big lines which went out by the main entrance. However, I will give it to the volunteers who kept up on everyone and did everything they could to keep the lines moving. Before leaving, I had to do at least one photo op. That was the fastest photo op I have ever done. The lines were taped off, everything went so smoothly. I actually enjoyed waiting in line for once. 

Highlight for me would be reconnecting with my “con family”, meeting Neve Campbell, doing the Twins bloody photo op, attending Q&As and just being a part of all the epic-ness. 

I honestly don’t have any other comments I can make, lines will always be a part of cons and it was so nice to see small changes being made to MonsterMania each time I attend. Definitely will not be my last time going.

Posted by Sarah Gregory in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, EVENT REVIEWS, EVENTS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, WOMEN IN HORROR, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Ten – 10/10/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Ten – 10/10/18

10/10 – 1996: SCREAM/FROM DUSK TILL DAWN

1996…It was a draw for me; too tough to narrow down the list of all the great flicks I had to choose from. I finally managed to whittle it down to two: SCREAM, and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, and even then, I just couldn’t bring myself to choose between them. Both are as important and influential to the genre during this time, yet both are certainly unique: one redefined what fans had thought of the teen slasher genre, while the other took vampire lore to a whole new place unconsidered up to that point.

Legendary director WES CRAVEN had always been an innovator of modern horror, re-establishing himself in several sub-genres over the course of many decades. With LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW, he’d done things that most directors in the field never achieve over the course of their entire careers. So when he was looking for the next big thing, he wasn’t even considering sticking with horror, when he crossed paths with a brilliantly subversive script by DAWSON’S CREEK scribe KEVIN WILLIAMSON; a nicely-nasty little number called “SCARY MOVIE”, which was soon to beretitled…SCREAM.

Snarky, self-reverential, almost to the point of being a bit too “nudge-winky” at times, nevertheless, SCREAM never once forgot to bring the laughs, the scares AND the gore in ample supply.  A slasher of teens begins to decimate the youth population of the little bedroom community of Woodsboro, but if that wasn’t bad enough, said killer seems to be every bit as smart as the “Scooby Gang wanna-be” group of horror-loving kids, who soon realize that their stalker not only knows the ‘rules of horror’ as well as – if not  better than they do, and he’s not only using the playbook to take them out one-by-one, but he (or she?) is even bending and changing the rules! Much like Williamson’s TV creation, the cast couldn’t have been more suited as an ensemble, even though the standout was DREW BARRYMORE, if only for the mere fact that she pulls a “Janet-Leigh-in-PSYCHO” on the audience in the first few moments of the film – a shock that has since become legendary, even though people still remember where the idea came from!

NEVE CAMPBELL, SKEET ULRICH, ROSE MCGOWAN, JAMIE KENNEDY, MATTHEW LILLARD, W. EARL BROWN, LIEV SCHREIBER, COURTNEY COX and DAVID ARQUETTE (who married and divorced over the course of the franchise); JOSEPH WHIPP (who could’ve been playing the same character from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET – and probably was!), plus unexpected cameos from LINDA BLAIR and HENRY WINKLER going way out-of-typecasting as an asshole of a principal…It didn’t get any better than this! Plus Craven’s direction, with tongue firmly-in-cheek the entire time, could have you rolling your eyes and chuckling one minute, and yes, SCREAMING the next! This film helped usher in a new age, where the movie and the characters were as smart – if not smarter than the audience that eagerly made SCREAM a box office smash!

Meanwhile, thanks to buddy and sometime collaborator QUENTIN TARANTINO, cinematic ‘one-man-band’ ROBERT RODRIGUEZ was having fun playing “Dr. Frankenstein”, by smashing two unexpected sub-genres together, if not three: serial killers, true crime…and vampires.  FROM DUSK TILL DAWN is the kind of film you never expect…until it bops you upside the head from seemingly out of nowhere!

The notorious Gecko brothers, handsome and sarcastic Seth (GEORGE CLOONEY) and ‘quiet, reserved’ Richard (no less than TARANTINO himself) are cutting a swath of robbery, assault and murder across the Southwest.  The “murder” part of their spree is owed mostly to Richard, who just can’t curb his impulses to kill and rape people. Well, to be a bit more specific, he kills and rapes womennot the men, let’s be clear on that (as Richard would probably say himself.)

Their antics – but especially Richard’s body count – has made it necessary to hotfoot it South of the Border, and maybe lay low somewhere in Mexico, until things die down…If they do. Along the way, as they change vehicles, they hijack an RV and the vacationing family inside it and skip town.

The intent was to just keep on going until they reached their objective, but all that changes when they make a fateful detour to a truck stop on the way.  But not just ANY truck stop: The “TITTY TWISTER.” A blood-and-guts dive that definitely lives up to its name…in more ways than one. And its hours of operation are…well, you know the title.

The bar has some of the most gorgeous dancing girls you ever saw, but they’re all woofers compared to the luscious, insanely beautiful main attraction, a hypnotic dancer who goes by the name of ‘SANTANICO PANDEMONIUM’.  No one into women could possibly resist her, and all men should, as Seth and Richard quickly discover, along with the rest of the hapless ‘Twister’ patrons, when the girls, the bouncers, the bartenders, everyone who ‘works’ there, finally reveal their true faces.  They’re all flesh-and-blood hungry vamps, and less the TWILIGHT variety than the FRIGHT NIGHT kind.

Rodriguez knew exactly what the fans wanted from Quentin’s script, and together, they sure gave it to us…stylish, sensual, sexy and soaked in red. And the Tarantino/Rodriguez combo attracted a cast that was instant boxoffice catnip, right down to the cameos: HARVEY KEITEL, JULIETTE LEWIS, FRED WILLIAMSON, TOM SAVINI; the stunning SALMA HAYEK as “SANTANICO”; everybody’s favorite badass, DANNY TREJO, plus CHEECH MARIN, MICHAEL PARKS, JOHN SAXON, KELLY PRESTON, MARC LAWRENCE; even a special appearance by Robert’s favorite “Hell House band”, TITO AND TARANTULA…Hell, you just knew that if he wasn’t already starring in it, Quentin would have probably directed this one, too!

The “Titty Twister” sequences – especially the gore-soaked fight scenes – are now a thing of legend, (check out Savini’s “special weapon” and the reason why his character’s nickname is “Sex Machine”!) and the closing shot is as breathtaking as any iconic final scene from the best and most unforgettable horror films, (I’d compare it for impact to the last shot of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT; in fact, DAWN’S final shot is probably a tad better.)

But for thrills, chills and maximum blood spills, whether you’ve seen these movies a hundred times or not even once…you can’t go wrong with these choices for a monumentally successful Halloween Night of Frights!

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, OPINION, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, VAMPIRES, 0 comments