Fred Goes to Monster-Mania Con

I know I said I was going to foam at the mouth about the Cinema God known as Roger Corman this month, but it’s my column and I changed my mind. We’ll talk Corman next month or two.

August 20-22 saw the 15th Monster-Mania Con take place at the Crowne Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ. There are several around the NE portion of the US held under this name and in March and August they hit NJ and attract any number of sci-fi and horror fans all looking for that elusive big name autograph or, in my case, the not so big names. I love the chance to talk to the stars one on one, since the HUGE names never afford you that opportunity because they are the main focus and draw the fullest lines. If you want to meet up with unnamed “victim number four” in Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, however, this is usually your chance.

I’m not one for making an entire weekend out of it because I’ve already seen the films numerous times and I find most Q & A to be filled with idiotic questions that have been answered to death. I do enjoy the memorabilia tables and checking out the local companies’ recent releases, and in that regard there is plenty to choose from. T-Shirts, DVDs, jewelry magazines…..everything down to fake fangs. I check it all out, but my main focus is on the autographs and a few moments of “Hey, how’s it going?”  If you luck out and the line isn’t there, you can have a great chat with anyone, they aren’t there to sit and stare. Most of those I’ve met have been very happy to talk about most anything. Reggie Bannister (Phantasm) and I talked for a good 10 minutes about the hassles of cross country flight ( THAT conversation started when I said how sorry I was that Angus Scrimm couldn’t handle the long flights anymore because I would have loved to have met him) and I had a nice talk with Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni about her career with Argento until someone else had the nerve to want her autograph and I had to move on. She was a pleasure to talk to and I could have stayed there all day despite Allison pulling at my sleeve and telling me to come along.

This time around, we all had someone in our sights and so, with the lovely Allison and my sister Dee in tow, off we went to the land of no left turns…New Jersey. Once inside the hotel and admission paid, it was off to land an autograph from Barbara Steele (Black Sunday and Piranha). I now have her autograph and a picture of me looking stupider than Spongebob’s best friend, Patrick. One for the record books, because I don’t get star struck and she got to me. I grew up on her movies and it shows on my face.

Julian Sands (Warlock)

By now, Allison was ready for her big moment…Julian Sands (Warlock). He could sit there and read the Denny’s menu and she wouldn’t leave until he was finished. Have to say he was a very soft-spoken and friendly man and I can see why people like working with him. He told us he’s read a few scripts for a fourth Warlock movie, but they amount to slasher films and that’s not what he wants to do. Give him a better story and he’s on board. We decided to head upstairs and see how bad the line was for the star of the show, John Carpenter. To our surprise, only a few people ahead of us (lines ranged from a two-to-four hour wait for the most part), so my sister got her VHS of Prince of Darkness signed. That’s right…VHS. He thought it was great to see one still around.

Once we finished with the Save The Yorkies auction, where I landed a Halloween shooting script autographed by Brian Andrews (Tommy Doyle) and an Erin Gray autograph from Jason Goes to Hell, we marched downstairs so Allison could get victim number two: Sean Patrick Flanery (Powder, Young Indy Jones, Boondock Saints), and finally back to where we started so she could meet Dale Midkiff (Pet Sematary). This is a good guy with a sense of humor. We walked up to his table where Allison proceeded to ignore him while looking at the photos available to autograph. I’m trying NOT to laugh and he quietly says “I know that look. It’s the you’re charging HOW much for an autograph? look. ”  I told him that it was actually her “Oh my God, he’s so hot in all these photos, which one do I take” look, and she finally realized that she was ignoring him and we all started laughing at her. He asked her how she wanted it signed and she said “To me”, so he asked her if that was capital or small M. She tends to get a bit flustered and I love that about her.

Denise Crosby

Since the table next to him had his Pet Sematary co-star and Star Trek: TNG babe Denise Crosby at it and the line was gone, I took the opportunity to get her autograph and pose for a pic with her and the Chase the Cat prop from the movie. That done, we visited the memorabilia tables where I found copies of House of Dark Shadows and of all things, a forgotten to all but me and my mom copy of the Burt Reynolds movie Skullduggery. Don’t tell her I’m making a copy for her, it’s one of her most embarrasing moments and it will spoil our fun.

Now, stop vegging in front of the computer and go out and enjoy the sunshine. You’ll be complaining about the winter cold before too long…and next month, Roger Corman, I swear.