Monday, October 11, 2010

Spooky Empire, Part the Second

I awoke and headed down to the hotel restaurant Augustine's for breakfast. I got overpriced silver dollar pancakes, pretty good potatoes, and to see one of the actors brought in for the weekend being a douche because he was running late and he ordered the wait staff around like little more than chattel. I won't say who he is because maybe he was having a bad day and perhaps doesn't deserve to have his name dragged through the mud, but still. Wheaton's Law must always be in effect: Don't be a dick.

After breakfast, I meandered over to the con and got in line for the first photo op: Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund. Since Robert Englund's solo op was first, I thought it would be prudent because the lines were a bit of a mess. I didn't care about being first (though that was cool because Mr. Englund and Ms. Langenkamp hadn't settled into a rhythm so I got to see a little behind the Con versions of themselves), I just wanted to make sure I got in there! I didn't know that Mr. Englund would have a glove...every picture I saw that he wore one, I just thought it was provided by the fan so I didn't have an appropriate pose in mind when I went in. Guess I'll have to take another one next time the two of them are in a con near me! Oh darn!

The photo op process is one that, by necessity, goes quick. The printing process takes about an hour or so so I went off to take in more of the con. I bought a couple of shirts: one is a composite of the posters for Nightmares 1-6 (although they used an Asian version of the Nightmare 1 poster, but at least Nancy's represented by the original Nightmare 3 art!) and the other is a shirt for Lucio Fulci's Zombie. :D I may have been there to meet Heather Langenkamp, but I'm still a fan of horror!

My next photo op was with Ms. Langenkamp solo and wasn't supposed to happen until 4:30 so I kill some more time walking around and taking in the environment, then I got into line around 3:45 / 4:00. Then I found out that they were going to smush the one-on-one photo ops for Ms. Wyss, Ms. Langenkamp, and Mr. Saxon into the same time frame as the trio photo op and they pushed it an hour. I figured that was to give more time to the John Carpenter photo op, but then I learned that I was the only one to buy the photo op time for Ms. Langenkamp. (Turns out there were two of us, but judging by this book's cover, I was the less scary one...) So, I went outside to chat with my mom until it was time to get into line for the photo op when two ambulances pulled up.

There are a lot of things that happen at cons. There was a table selling real metal Freddy claws (dulled down, I'm sure, but not collapsable and people are stupid.) People cosplay, some with real weapons as part of their ensemble. Some cosplay in outfits they really shouldn't be wearing and for a multitude of reasons. And some people are just jerks and bring these attitudes in with them. I'd been witness to some douchiness already, mind you, so I thought some stupid fan did something stupid. I found out the next day that the ambulances were for John Carpenter because he'd had a seizure.

Ho. Ly. Crap.

He's okay and when he showed up on Sunday for the Q&A, he looked fit as a fiddle, but that was shocking news, especially when I heard it from a source outside of the con. No one talked about it. A stupid fan does something stupid, you don't hear about it. When one of the fathers of modern horror suffers a seizure at the convention where you're conventioning, you'd think it would've been talked about, but no...weird...

Back to Saturday: I got into line for my solo photo op and got my photo taken with Ms. Langenkamp again. She took a moment to thank me (remembering my name!) and said I should stop back by so she could give me an I Am Nancy button (even though I was already wearing one.) I wasn't about to pass up another I Am Nancy button! I lost my first one in New York when I was there for a film festival and Arlene Marechal and the I Am Nancy crew were nice enough to send me more, but I plan on giving some of those away during Hallowscreen if I'm able to secure a special teaser clip to play. I wanted the movie, but Ms. Langenkamp told me they just submitted to Sundance. Sundance gives special attention and consideration to premieres and it wouldn't be a world premiere anymore if Hallowscreen got it. I hope they get in to Sundance!

Once the photo was printed out, I went in to the autograph room and got her to sign it. She couldn't believe that I didn't have a favourite quote, but liked it when I asked her to sign it with a lyric from the Just the Ten of Us theme, "Life is a race and I know I can win it." Uplifting. Wholesome. Not "screw your pass!" or "9, 10 Never Sleep Again!" or anything like that. Hahahaha! I thanked her again and left to go to the special effects panel hosted by Rick Rodriguez.

Rick isn't a very engaging host. He lost the interest of the once-packed house pretty early on and they all started talking amongst themselves which was very rude, but he seemed to be more focused on name dropping and the effects demonstrations than actually talking to us. To be more precise, it felt more like a long, slightly boring version of Universal's Horror Effects Make-Up Show with pauses to sell products that were made by some of his colleagues. Personally, I wondered why they didn't get Ms. Langenkamp's husband, David LeRoy Anderson, to come in and talk about effects. His work is top notch, but he's not local so maybe that's why the organizers didn't bother. Instead, this guy showed the KNB anniversary reel (he's not a part of KNB so I'm not sure why it was there), a clip from the original Day of the Dead (his army zombie ripped out Miguel's throat at the end of the film, but you don't see the zombie in the movie, you just see the rope latex effect of Miguel's throat), and a few effects clips from other movies.

After that, I went back to my room to give myself time away from people before I went to the VIP party. I got there just in time to see G. Tom Mac play "Cry Little Sister" and see a little kareoke, but a large group of people and alcohol do not a friendly mix make so I hung around for a little bit, then went to see She Wolf Rising at the Freak Show Horror Film Festival. The trailer makes it seem a little goofier than it actually's more of a mindtrip fairy tale of sorts, but Tiffany Shepis was excellent. I talked to the associate producer, Glen, after the film was over about picking up a copy for my festival and he said that I could pick up the back up DVD from the festival organizer the next day so with that all worked out and the movie over, I went back to my room to get some sleep. Sunday was a big day after all!!


I got up early on Sunday and the first thing I noticed was that the world was spinning. Again, I don't drink and I don't do drugs so it could only mean one thing: my vertigo decided it wanted to dance. Yay. I was dizzy, depending on the position my head was in, from 9 am until I went to sleep around 10 pm, but I wasn't about to let it put a damper on the final day of the con!

The VIP badges are good for getting into the convention area early. Mainly, that applies to the dealer's room. I planned on going back to get one of the 3D Elm Street posters so I went in, but, alas, they were all sold out and there were several sprinkled throughout the dealer's room. They had a plethora of Friday the 13th 3D posters, but no Elm Street. Ah well. Instead, I found a WGON shirt, then I got into the VIP line for the first Q&A of the day: Return of the Living Dead!

I love RotLD, not enough to get autographs, but I'm so glad I went to the Q&A! They were all hilarious and warm and they were kind enough to pose for group photos after the show. When the Q&A was over, they asked the staff to lower the house lights and for the audience to illuminate our faces with our cell phones. I was the fastest on the draw with the flashlight app on my phone so they all pointed at me and took my picture. If I can find any, I'll come back and post them.

Immediately following them was the Q&A with John Carpenter! All the general admission schlubs had to get out, but us VIPs got to stay where we were. That's the kind of perk I can enjoy! ;D

That is actress Erin Gray next to him. I don't know why she was his handler, but I thought it was pretty cool regardless. He seemed to take the constant Halloween questions (and questions about the sequels that he has no part in) in stride, but when asked about his newest project, The Ward, he didn't really say much. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Halloween and Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China and Cigarette Burns and everything, but I really wanted to hear more about The Ward as it's a new project and he says it's old school horror probably coming out next year. Most importantly, though, it was good to see that he felt well enough to be there!

After that, they kicked everyone out, even VIP, to reset for the Elm Street panel...which was pointless because as soon as I got to the back of the VIP line, they ushered us back in. I lost my seat, though, and ended up a whole seat to the right. :D At first, they were saying it was going to be just Robert Englund, which would've been fun, sure, but I wanted to hear from the whole cast, not just him...then, at the very last second, they brought out more chairs! Yay! The whole cast was coming out!

You'll notice that some of the photos use the flash and some don't...this is the story for all of the photos I took during the Q&As. I didn't want to blind anyone because I wanted to take lots of pictures, but the lights on stage weren't quite good enough for flashless photos. Then, the light wasn't all that good to focus by, either. Ah well. I tried!

Anyway, the Q&A was great. Of course, the questions were focused on Mr. Englund, who does talk a lot, but he tried to involve the other cast members. I was able to ask my question before the end of the Q&A and it went something like this: "This is mainly for Ms. Langenkamp, but I'd love to hear Ms. Wyss weigh in as well. Freddy wouldn't be who he is without Nancy, you need to have the strong hero to balance the strong villain. Were you aware at the time that Nancy would be so important or was that something that dawned on you as the popularity in the film grew?"

I meant the question as more of a Feminist / Woman in Horror type question as opposed to a character centric question, but I really liked the response Ms. Langenkamp and Mr. Englund gave which was that the two of them (mostly Mr. Englund) went for a Beauty and the Beast style energy not so much in the romantic sense (though that was there, too), but in the sense of these diametrically opposed beings struggling with each other and yet they're part of the same energy. Originally, Freddy really was just a dream, a part of Nancy's subconscious as a young girl burgeoning into womanhood. A real life pedophilia scandal in the area around the time Elm Street was being filmed made Wes Craven decide to tone down the pedophiliac aspects of the character, and then producer Bob Shaye wanted the possibility of sequels so he and Mr. Craven fought over the ending until we have what now ends the film.

My favourite thing about Nancy is that she defeats this demonic child murdering pedophile without the conceit of superpowers. Even the series' next strongest female character, Alice, has superpowers in the dream as the Dream Master (which really doesn't help her much at all, to be honest.) Nancy doesn't belong to any clique, she's beautiful in a very real way, she's very smart...she's a regular girl who's been thrown into this impossible circumstance and no one will believe her when she warns them about what's happening. The same thing goes for movie!Heather in Wes Craven's New Nightmare unless you want to call being a dedicated mother a superpower to which I would concede.

This very same thing is what I hate about remake!Nancy: they made her a freaky artist chick, said she knew what was going on when she had no flippin' idea until the Glen surrogate told her what was up, and made her little more than a plaything for Jackie Earle Haley's terrifying portrayal of remake!Freddy. Without that equality between the main characters, the whole story is lost.

And I'm babbling. But I won't delete it, so there. :P

After the Q&A, Ms. Langenkamp happened to pass by me out in the hall so I was able to thank her once more and she thanked me, too! By name! I suppose it's silly to be so giddy that she remembered my name, but I don't care. She remembered my name! :D

Still on a high, I wandered around a bit. The con was winding down and I watched actors pack up their wares to head back to their hotel rooms or catch the next flight out. I thanked Linnea Quigley for coming out (and soon after discovered that she was going to be at a film festival in Ybor which is about an hour north of me, but I'll be at a friend's Halloween party) then remembered that she had a presentation at 4:30 so I went to see that. She and this dude named Erik have put together a half hour comedy pilot about paranormal investigators. Funnily enough, Steve Gonzales from Ghosthunters was in the audience. The show needs work...all the jokes are too "hey, look at me, I'm funny! See? See how funny I am?!" There were a couple of funny bits, but they would've been better with a more subtle build up. At least, they would be in my opinion. I booked out of there kinda fast only because I needed to make sure I was able to pick up the back-up DVD for She Wolf Rising from the Freak Show Film Festival and I wanted to attend the awards ceremony. Ms. Quigley's thing was supposed to end within ten minutes of the ceremony starting, but either the presentation ran late or they started the awards early because I made it back in time only to hear the final award: Best Feature went to Kiss the Abyss.

I was able to get She Wolf Rising from Robert Massetti and then went to my room because the return bus was to leave at 5:15 in the morning. The vertigo went away while I watched something on my iPad before turning it off to go to sleep and other than a little bit of dizziness today, which might have just been tiredness, I've been vertigo-free since I woke up! Yay!

So...long story short (too late), I got to meet my heroine and she was absolutely lovely. I had a great time and I'm glad I was able to do the con at my own pace instead of trying to please a group of people because I was there just to meet Heather Langenkamp and I did a lot of waiting to make sure I got to meet her / see her. All of the other experiences were like the sprinkles on top. It was well worth the time, effort, and money to go to the con and I'm so glad I did it!

As I ate dinner last night, the last actor I saw before heading back to my room was Robert Englund...a nice, circular way to close out a fabulous weekend.

Not that she'll ever read this, but thank you again, Ms. Langenkamp! And thank you Spooky Empire for having her as a guest!


Marvin the Martian said...

Sounds like it was a blast! Overall. Sorta.

Hallowscreen Film Festival said...


It was! The vertigo sucked, but I stuck it out and didn't pass out or throw up so it's all good and I wasn't about to let some self-important jackass I wasn't there to see anyway ruin a perfectly good weekend, but poor Mr. least he's okay!

Hallowscreen Film Festival said...

Hahaha! I didn't even realize I was still signed in as Hallowscreen! Oops!