October 4, 2014

Days of the Dead 2014 Recap, Pt. 2

Some thoughts and observations on the celebs who were at the convention (read part 1 HERE):

Dee Wallace (CUJO, THE HOWLING, DEVIL'S REJECTS)
I only caught a quick glimpse of her on Saturday. She was in the same smaller room with Corey Feldman.

NIGHTBREED: Craig Sheffer ("Aaron Boone"), Christine McCorkindale ("Shuna Sassi"), Anne Bobby ("Lori")
I don't remember seeing Craig Sheffer but I saw Christine McCorkindale and Anne Bobby on Saturday and Sunday at their tables. Their tables were right across from Ashley Laurence's section. I didn't talk to any of them but I remember being somewhat star struck by Christine McCorkindale for a hot second. She played one of the more memorable characters in NIGHTBREED, which I'm a big fan of, so it was neat to see her in person. Had the new Scream Factory DVD/Blu-Rays already been available and on sale at the con, I would've been tempted to pick up a copy and have them sign it. Me and Anne Bobby had a brief interaction when one of the pups from the animal rescue organization was wandering around the convention and I stopped to take a picture with it; Anne came over showed the pup some affection as well.

Joe Turkel (THE SHINING, BLADE RUNNER)
Other than hanging out with my friends, the absolute highlight of the weekend was meeting Joe Turkel, who's mostly known for playing Lloyd the Bartender in THE SHINING. He also worked with Stanley Kubrick on THE KILLING and PATHS OF GLORY, making him one of only two actors who worked with him three times - more than any other actor. Honestly, I had no intention of meeting Joe, but I happened to be walking by his table on Saturday and noticed him engaged in conversation with two of his fans. He was telling stories about THE SHINING (specifically of the lighting of the bar scene with him and Jack Nicholson) and putting over Kubrick as the greatest director he's ever worked with. I just stood there and listened. Next thing I know, some dude and his girlfriend were standing next to me and listening to Joe as well. I looked over at them and said "This is amazing." It was like Story Time with Uncle Joe. A few minutes went by and everyone left, so it was just me at the table. I introduced myself to Joe and we immediately hit it off. Unless one of the celebrities goes out of his or her way to engage you in conversation, these meetings can be awkward, especially if you're like me and you're not the best at carrying a conversation. Well, Joe proved to be the NICEST and most charming celebrity I've ever met in my life, hands down. We talked for a few minutes and I absolutely fell in love with the guy. I noticed a sign on his table that said a percentage of the money he makes will go to a charity that assists children with cleft palates in getting plastic surgery - so that, combined with the fact that he's an amazing human being, made it easy for me to throw him 20 or so bucks for an autographed picture. I ended up taking a couple of pictures with him as well. He cracked jokes the whole time. On Sunday, I noticed him sitting at his table looking a little bored, so I went over and said hello. I mean, why not?! We talked about his episode of TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, working with George C. Scott (regarding Scott's death, Turkel called it "A fuckin' shame"), and other things. If any of you out there get a chance to meet him in person, please do so! He's the best.


Barbara Magnolfi (SUSPIRIA)
I was really looking forward to meeting Barbara and buying something from her. I follow her on Facebook and she seems super cool. But alas an unexpected charge from the hotel eliminated a chunk of my spending money, so I had to take a pass on stopping at Barbara's table and taking a picture with her. I did briefly talk to her on Saturday, though. She was very friendly and she didn't hiss at me, which is a good thing. I hope to properly meet her at a future con one of these days.

Tiffany Shepis
I saw Tiffany on Friday and Saturday (or maybe it was Saturday and Sunday). On the first day she was in the main ballroom and her table was near Ian Zeiring's. On the second day she was in the smaller room with Corey Feldman, which I should just call the "Corey Feldman Room" at this point. I didn't actually meet her at any point but I saw her walking around a whole bunch. She's a lot prettier in person believe it or not.

THE THING Reunion: T.K. Carter ("Nauls"), Joel Polis ("Fuchs"), David Clennon ("Palmer"), Thomas Waites ("Windows")
Didn't really interact with them in the convention, but we did walk by their tables a few times. One of the times we walked by their table, Thomas Waites was laying on the ground behind his table with his feet up on his chair. Either he was sick, tired, or just bored. Maybe all of the above. Whatever the case, it seemed kinda rude to the people who were there to see him and his fellow THING co-stars. Even at the panel, he just sat there with his arms folded and barely said a word. So yeah, I don't know what his deal was. The other guys were great though! Me and Kelly caught most of the panel Q&A and it was just awesome to hear these guys talk about working on the film. T.K. Carter was hilarious and David Clennon (currently starring in David Fincher's GONE GIRL) was very animated and excited. One of the highlights of the panel was watching Polis's facial expressions as Clennon got overly-excited at times and occasionally talked over the other guys. Good stuff. All that said, I couldn't wait to watch THE THING again after seeing these guys in person and hearing them talk about it, and so I did just that once I got back home on Monday.


Nick King (SINISTER)
Never saw him.

Andre Gower (THE MONSTER SQUAD)
Ryan Lambert (THE MONSTER SQUAD)
Caught a glimpse of them in the Corey Feldman Room on one of the days (Friday, I believe) but never went in to see them. THE MONSTER SQUAD is a very important film to me, but meeting these guys wasn't even on my list of priorities because I feel like I'd be able to catch them at a future convention (hopefully). If Ashley Bank was there, though, I probably would've at least loitered within their vicinity as opposed to walking by.

NIGHT OF THE DEMONS Reunion: Kevin Tenney (Director), Amelia Kinkade ("Angela"), Jill Terashita ("Frannie"), Cathy Podewell ("Judy"), Hal Havens ("Stooge"), Billy Gallo ("Sal")
Aside from Amelia Kinkade, I don't remember seeing anyone else from the NIGHT OF THE DEMONS crew. They were there, I just didn't notice them. I REALLY wanted to go to their panel Q&A, but I missed it due to a lack of careful planning on my part. I'm sure it would've been an awesome discussion considering the amount of people from the film who were there. Amelia quit acting after NIGHT OF THE DEMONS III to become a Pet Psychic, which is... cool... I guess? But hey, it's good to know she still attends conventions and hasn't completely disowned her past. As far as her presence at Days of the Dead, I saw her around a lot - in and out of the convention ballrooms, around the hotel, etc. But then again, she sticks out from the crowd and is easy to spot, so it's hard not to notice her. I was hoping to see Cathy Podewell in person more than anyone else from the movie (mainly to see what she looks like now), but you tend to be easily distracted by a hundred different things when walking around at these cons.

Philip Friedman (INSIDIOUS)
He was scheduled for only one day but ended up being there for all three. Whoever maintains the Days of the Dead website and handles the promotion is terrible. Look at Barbara Magnolfi for example. She was scheduled for Friday only, but, like Philip Friedman, she ended up being there all weekend. Suppose someone wanted to go to the convention just to meet her but couldn't get out there on Friday? They would've blown off the convention entirely, completely unaware of the fact that she's there for another two days. I doubt anyone would go to the convention specifically to meet Philip Friedman, but hey, you never know! Anyway, he played one of the main apparitions in INSIDIOUS. I walked by his table a bunch and he seemed like a nice, normal guy. If you look closely in the picture below, you can see his table in the center.


Geretta Geretta (DEMONS)
I didn't know a whole lot about Geretta Geretta other than the fact that her image as one of the possessed in Lamberto Bava's DEMONS is pretty iconic. As a person, though, I didn't know much about her. Me and Kelly first saw her at Denny's on Saturday morning; she was ordering food as we were leaving. That was a trip. Clearly we have the same breakfast cravings. Her table at the convention was next to one of the aisles, so she was easily visible when walking through the main ballroom. That said, we saw her quite a bit, but we didn't actually talk to her until Sunday. Again, didn't know much about her, so I wasn't sure how she talked to her fans. Well, it turns out she's pretty fucking awesome with her fans. We had actually just got done talking to Joe Turkel (my second time at his table over the weekend), who's table was right next to Geretta's, and we just kinda walked by her table and nodded and smiled at her. But then I stopped and turned around to look at some of her merch. Next thing I know, a group of us were standing around her table and she was telling us anecdotes about working with Lucio Fulci, Claudio Fragasso, Lamberto Bava, and Bruno Mattei. I also gushed about how much I love MURDER ROCK (she plays the dance instructor) and asked her a few questions about it. Long story short, she was cool as fuck, approachable, very friendly, and proud of her work in Italian genre cinema. I highly recommend visiting her table at a convention if any of you ever see her.

Doyle
Being a Misfits fan, it was cool to see him at the convention, but I never planned on talking to him. However, I decided to buy something from his merch table as a gift for a friend of mine, and I figured I might as well take a picture with him. While at his table, it was evident that he didn't enjoy being there. One of his handlers did all the talking for him while he paced back and forth behind his table and seemingly had no interest in acknowledging me, even once I paid 15 bucks for a piece of his merch. So yeah, Doyle was kind of a dick.

Ron Jeremy
Seeing Ron Jeremy in person was really cool, but he's always been in the public eye for the longest time, so it didn't feel like anything special. We saw him around a lot just walking around, and it's like "Oh hey, there's Ron Jeremy!" and then back to whatever discussion we were having amongst ourselves. I wasn't sure if he was there signing autographs because I didn't see him posted up at any of the tables for an extended period of time. Most of the time, he was just walking around and looking somewhat tired/lost. We did see THIS in the convention though...


Not sure why it was on display (it didn't appear to be for sale), but whatevs. As you can see, it's clearly the most terrifying thing you could stumble upon at any horror convention.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP Reunion: Felissa Rose ("Angela"), Jonathan Tiersten ("Ricky"), Frank Sorrentino ("Young Peter")
We caught the end of the SLEEPAWAY CAMP panel on Saturday and it was pretty cool. Felissa seems super down-to-earth. She was one of the people I originally intended on meeting and purchasing something from, but I had to take a pass due to an unexpected $200 charge from the Marriott that eliminated a chunk of my spending money. We also stopped by her and Jonathan Tiersten's table on Sunday and talked to her for a minute. She seemed nice. I was tempted to buy the Scream Factory SLEEPAWAY CAMP DVD/Blu-Ray combo from her and get it signed despite needing the extra money for dinner and whatnot. I'll definitely try to catch up with Felissa next time. On a side note, the coolest cosplayer I saw over the weekend BY FAR was a little girl who was dressed up as Angela from SLEEPAWAY CAMP post-reveal. I took a picture of the girl and posted it on Facebook and Twitter, where it became quite popular. I first saw the girl sitting on one of the couches in the main smoking area as I went out for a smoke break. I saw her out of the corner of my eye and my attention immediately gravitated towards her. I then made a B-line for the couch where she sat, looking bored out of her mind. I asked if I could take a picture of her, to which she rolled her eyes and sighed, seemingly because she was comfortable and it was a pain in the ass for her to stand up. Her older sister (who was dressed like American Mary) helped her up and she asked "Do you want me to make the face?" "Can you?", I asked. And then this happened...

The SLEEPAWAY CAMP panel

Erich Anderson (FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER)
I don't remember seeing him at the con.

Alec Gillis (Makeup Effects artist)
Not too familiar with Alec. Don't recall seeing him.

Diane Goldner (FEAST)
Didn't see her.

Ron Simmons
DAMN! I saw Ron Simmons at his table a bunch and he still looks as scary as ever. He was in between the Full Moon table and Rikishi's table. I did talk to his handler early on Friday before he arrived and he was pretty cool. His handler was a big dude with tattoos and facial piercings - not the type of person you'd expect to be making appointments for the first black World Heavyweight Champion.

Rikishi
Aside from Robert Mukes, Rikishi is the guy who I saw over the weekend in the most random places. The first time we saw him, he was walking out of the bathroom. I think Kelly shook his hand and yelled something along the lines of "Rikishi just walked out of the bathroom!" while he was still within earshot. He was also out at the main smoking area with his wife quite a bit. I desperately wanted to take a picture with him when he was out and about, but I didn't want to bother him out of fear that he'd back that azz up and give me the Stinkface.

Terry M. West (FLESH FOR THE BEAST)
No idea who this guy is.

SyFy's FACE OFF: Greg Lightner, Jerry Macaluso, Brea Joseph, Keaghlan Ashley
The FACE OFF crew were actually at the con to showcase their makeup skills. For all three days, they had their own little section in the main ballroom where they just applied makeup to people and turned them into monsters. I would often just stop and watch what they were doing. The only person I recognized from the show was Keaghlan Ashley because I've only seen the season she was on. I contemplated asking her to take a photo with me but I didn't have time and she looked busy.


Greydon Clark (Director: WITHOUT WARNING, JOYSTICKS, etc.)
Dude! I didn't even know he was there until the con was over. Needless to say, I never got to see the director of such amazing films as WITHOUT WARNING and the cult favorite JOYSTICKS. He must have been a late, late addition. I checked the Days of the Dead website over the weekend and didn't see him on there until Sunday afternoon when the con was over.

Michael Bailey Smith (THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake)
The only memory I have of him at the convention is that his table was next to Ashley Laurence. Considering Ashley had my undivided attention whenever I was in the vicinity of her table, Michael Bailey Smith was pretty non-existent as far as I was concerned, and I don't mean that in a bad way. He seems like a nice dude, based on interviews I've seen him in and and his presence at Days of the Dead.

Caleb Guss (FRIDAY THE 13TH [2009])
He seemed excited to be there and appeared to be enjoying the experience. I saw a few people at his table here and there. I initially saw him out in the main hallway outside of the ballrooms and wondered if he was somebody important (mainly because he was one of the handful of people NOT wearing black), so it all made sense once I saw him inside.

Kane Hodder
I saw Kane around quite a bit. His table was at the very back of the main ballroom, so I passed his section quite often over the weekend. I didn't talk to him or stop at his table though. I'm a fan, but he seems like the type of person who makes a lot of convention appearances, so I figured I'd catch him at a future con. On Sunday there was a girl who was dressed up as a combination of Jason Voorhees and one of the cannibals from the original HILLS HAVE EYES(?). I thought her costume was really cool, so I asked her if I could snap a picture. She immediately struck a battle pose, which was cute. I wondered if she was of any relation to Kane Hodder though. She hung around his table for a while and Kane referred to her as his "back-up".


Austin Stoker (ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13)
One of the last people I talked to at the convention was Austin. He was only there on Sunday, which was the slowest day of the con. I barely noticed him; his table was somewhere in the middle of the convention in between a bunch of the vendors, so he was hard to spot as we were walking through the ballroom that day. I saw him sitting at his table as we were making our way out. He looked kind of bored and no one was at his table, so I went up and introduced myself and told him I was a big fan. I brought up the movie TIME WALKER and he laughed, asking "Where did you see that?" I told him it's out on DVD and he seemed surprised. He then told me he'd never seen it before and he typically doesn't watch his own movies - including the Blaxploitation horror flick ABBY, which he was selling copies of. He said he saw ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 and SHEBA, BABY because they played on TV, but, other than that, he's not the type of person to go back and watch his own work. I asked him if he saw the remake of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 and he said he hadn't. Austin was incredibly friendly and very soft-spoken. During our conversation, Ken Foree stopped at his table and shook his hand. If I had any money left by this point, I would've gladly bought something from him, just based on how nice he was.

Overall, Days of the Dead was an absolute fucking blast. Well, the weekend as a whole was fun and a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was with good friends and in a great environment. I plan on making this a yearly thing from now on, and I hope they decide to have the con at the LAX Marriott again. I really enjoyed my stay there. The hotel staff was incredibly nice and pretty chill when it came to the drinking of outside beverages on their property. The convention itself was really cool though. My only real complaint is that I didn't have enough time or money to do everything I wanted.

As a bonus, here are pics of some of the cosplayers at the convention:

 The handsome gents above are "Brothers of the Mask", who you can check out HERE


5 comments:

  1. Fantastic post, Aaron! Good to hear you had a great time.

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  2. Sounds like a worthwhile con to attend. Must put effort towards cons!

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    Replies
    1. Bring your ass down to L.A. next time!

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  3. Dude, you're a like convention archeologist! Thanks for the play-by-play.

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