Last week we posted Joseph’s account of Monster-Mania from the perspective of a vendor; here’s Jenny Dreadful of Final Girl Support Group with a recap of the horror convention from an attendee’s viewpoint…
As you may have heard from dapper film dealer Joseph Gervasi, horror fans flocked to Cherry Hill, NJ last weekend for Monster Mania 21. Dave Hagan’s Monster Mania is a biannual celebration of the genre featuring, like most conventions, a number of vendors, celebrity guests, panel discussions, and screenings. My crew, the Final Girl Support Group, always attends to acquire an armload of bizarre films, appreciate the costumes, and see our favorite monsters speak.
The draw this spring was Robert Englund, known as Freddy Krueger to most, and devoted fans waited hours in line for a chance to meet him. I’m a fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street, but I was surprised by the intensity of the weekend’s Freddy fever. Dealers selling Krueger gloves ran out of stock. Striped sweaters, claws, and brown fedoras were donned by attendees of all ages, genders, and sizes. Finally, on Saturday, the crowds packed into a panel starring Englund and Nightmare on Elm Street 4 co-star Tuesday Knight. Pleasantly under the influence of a bit too much wine, Robert discussed his feelings on the recent Nightmare remake, the film industry, and, possibly disappointing some fans, his firm stance on leaving Freddy Krueger behind.
Other notable guests included the cast of The Blair Witch Project, Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael C. Williams, appearing together at a convention for the very first time. They reminisced on the filming of Blair Witch and the unconventional methods used by the cast and crew, including decreasing rations of food and isolation, that resulted in overnight success and the rise of the found-footage style. Fans also had a chance to hear from David Prowse (Star Wars), Gunnar Hansen (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Michael Rooker (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer), and many more genre stars. Even a cherry-red Plymouth Fury named Christine made a special appearance.
As for vendors, our first stop is always Diabolik DVD, run by Joseph and Jesse of Exhumed Films. If you’re looking for obscure movies, there are plenty of shady dealers hawking discs of dubious origin, but Diabolik is the booth to hit for an impressive selection of legit rares and imports (a check will be fine, boys). There are plenty more horror-themed wares to peruse including apparel, toys, decor, and lots of art. As fantastic as these finds may be, the dealer’s room is quickly filled to capacity with enthusiastic and increasingly sweaty shoppers. The aromas and immobility experienced while trapped among them on a Saturday can be harrowing. If you love horror as much as I do, but want to keep the claustrophobia to a minimum, I recommend a tactical strike on Friday. Get in. Obsess. Get out.
My introvert terror aside, it’s good to see the convention drawing larger crowds and more interesting guests all the time. An appearance from Clive Barker and a highly anticipated Hellraiser reunion this summer should keep the momentum going. Will we see you there?
All photos by Rae Winters of Final Girl Support Group.