Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Last Gasps of the Horror Convention

Well I was planning to go. But I didn't. I was thinking of going to go to the NYC Fangoria Weekend of Horrors last weekend. I elected not to go. Not because I was booked to do anything else, I just got that very eerie feeling it was going to suck.

And from my Evil Adam's account via UGO.com it really sorta did.

I've been to my share of Fangoria fests and Chiller conventions. When I first heard of Chiller being the mecca of horrorfests, I was psyched.

In my first Chiller, I met Kelly Hu (super hotness!) and Virgil (the former Million Dollar Man bodyguard) who happen to be sitting at his rented dealers table wearing a nWo shirt begging people to get his 'graph and pic for $20. $20!!! You gotta be frakin kidding me.

You entered the tent outside (you Chiller vets no what I'm talking about) and could meet the girl from Night of the Comet, WWE divas and former washed up wrestlers, that guy who played Jason in that Friday and of course Tiffany fuckin Shepis.

You could stare at the big breasted Playboy model from 1975 or you could see that bikini model on Page 3.

You could meet Leslie Neilsen, meet a dealer hocking his own home made movie or buy a rare toy from a dealer who kept that He-Man doll from 1985.

You could meet Tom Savini and Kane Hodder.

You could buy that old Inspector Gadget cartoon from the Saturday morning cartoon dealer or buy a vintage poster from the poster guy.

The dealers rocked. This was before the commonplace ebay/torrents/internet rare palooza that now makes it easy for us horror fanatics to get our fix. I picked up so much good shit back then. 2nd and 3rd generation dubs on VHS. Bad box and cover art. The rarity of getting something on DVD-R was like finding a needle in a stack of needles.

I remember my dealers.

Long haired guy
Mexican wrestling video guy
Blackheart (aka Blackest Heart Media)
JJ (aka Maggot Video)
Mr and Mrs. Old man and old woman selling rare shit

But that's all over now.

The 21st century horror convention is filled with "reunion" specials, special previews, bad TV collectable peeps and overpriced DVD specials.


I bought a Herchell Gordon Lewis Bloodfeast for $5 and I couldn't fuckin believe I got such a bargain. Everything else...$30 or over.

My biggest gripe of all was I was just plain bored. Possibly the excitement of these fests was gone but nobody had the rare shit I was looking for.

I couldn't find one exploitation or grindhouse film I was looking for. Blaxploitation movies? Nada. Sexploitation?... zip. Ilsa? I couldn't even get a fuckin Ilsa movie.

There was a time I would be a kid at the candy store sugar rushing as I looked at all the crazy fucked up horror movies I could buy. The rarest of the rare. Movies bootlegged over and over again. Shared horror community trades. Circa 2002 I was part of this community trading horror movies on the internet.

Read this post. Here's an excerpt.

Watching a horror/exploitation/cult film on an underground, imported, no cover art, mislabeled VHS tape in your slowly decaying VCR is an unbelievable feeling. The picture is kinda grainy after the 8th generation dub. The sound is kinda off. Volume goes from high to low. You try to fix the tracking. That doesn't do shit. And you watch.

Then towards the end something mysterious happens. The dude you bought or traded this flick from just taped over midget porn and you see the tale end of it. Or he's used a tape where all his old cartoons were on.

It's oh so magically delicious. This is where bootlegging becomes special. Where you feel like your part of the mainstream. The mainstream of the underground.

Ahh bootlegging + horror conventions (circa late 90s early 00s) were a dynamic punch. We recommended titles, shared stories and propagated the urban legend of snuff.

And just like a horror remake, this new 2009 version of a horror convention has raped my childhood.

It's almost now obiliterated into smithereens. Gone. All gone.

The modern horror convention is going to die a gruesome death soon...and all that will be left is Kane Hodder sitting in a corner by himself reading a copy of Fangoria.

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree with you. As a former Chiller Staff member for 13 years, I saw the show hitting the wall back then and bailed. It's not about the fans anymore , it's all about egos and prima donna bullshit. It's waiting in line, overpriced autographs, surly "volunteers", and bootleggers.

    All about making money, not giving the fans anything for the price of addmission, and telling everyone do other shows, your not welcome at mine. Shame to see something that was a big part of my life get flushed down the corporate toilet. 42nd Street pete