Hello boils and ghouls, it’s your old pal the Cryptkeeper here…no wait, that’s not my name. Sorry, sometimes I get caught up in the moment.
Though I gave up the regular movie review beat, I still thought I’d bang out an article like I did last year on our experiences at TFW. To celebrate, one of the below links will go to a hardcore porn site – the rest are safe. This is your NSFW warning. You’ll never know which one it is until you try. C’mon, don’t be a pussy.
This one will be a bit different in content, since many of you would have already read my post on this from last year, and thus are already familiar with the context. For those of you who are new to the site within the past year, or didn’t read my previous write-up, in brief, TFW is the southwest’s largest horror convention, and my wife & I spend the weekend there every year.
Like last year, I’ll have a few images in the text, but most all the photos will be at the bottom of the article. It’s mostly just pics of costumes & the stuff we bought, because almost all the celebrities this year charged extra for photos with them, and the few times I tried a creepshot, it came out terribly. The other photos are mostly terrible as well due to the fact that this is literally the only time of the year I ever take photos of anything, so please understand and forgive. The only ones I really regret it on are two cosplay photos of Tippi Hedren & Spawn, which were both good costumes but when I reviewed the pics afterward, you can barely see them due to bad backlighting. It was too crowded during the main hours to take shots, so I tried to snag a lot of them in the hotel lobby. Also as before, I had trouble formatting them into a row, so you’ll have to forgive me & simply scroll down the photos in a line at the end.
The guest lineup this year was fabulous. They had all of the original cenobites (minus the chick from the first film, because she never does any conventions, ever – so the guest in her place was the chick from the second movie, which was still a good horror film). To round that group out, we had a *very* special treat – Mr. Clive Barker. He doesn’t do a lot of these kinds of things, so we were overjoyed. In addition to his prolific painting and film work, if you haven’t read any of his fiction, I highly recommend it. His Books of Blood is one of my favorite collected works of short stories ever. If you dig fantasy/horror short fiction, check it out, seriously.
Also making appearances were Ron Perlman, Adrienne Barbeau, Billy Zane, Phil Fondacaro, Tommy Flanagan, Brad Dourif, Tom Savini, Matthew Lillard, all the kids from the new IT movie, Charles Band and a shit-load of people from the various Friday the 13th films. The Friday night party was themed Camp Crystal Lake, so they were heavy on those guests (as this is the 13th year of TFW). Since I’m honestly not crazy about that film series outside of the first two movies & a few creative kills, I didn’t much care about their presence. If you don’t recognize the names of anyone just listed, check the links – I promise you’ll recognize them or at least have heard of their work.
The weekend got started off right, with Adrienne Barbeau flying in Thurs. night to attend a screening of Escape from New York at the Texas Theater, and do a Q&A afterward. The print they used was fantastic, better than my dvd, and Adrienne was an engaging speaker. She said she has done so much voicework that she has frankly forgotten most of it, and only recalls that she took some particular job once every year when some check shows up for $0.96 and has “Judge Dredd” written on the memo line (she was uncredited as the voice of the computer in that film). She tossed that out as the example, but said she just gets checks for tiny amounts every day for random old things she did. I thought this must be a strange thing, to go to your mailbox every day and be like, “Huh, I got 8 checks in the mail totaling $5.72.”
So the next day the spousal unit & I took a half-day off of work & rolled into the convention in mid afternoon, though it doesn’t open until 6. On the plus side, in their fruit-infused water jug up front, the fruit was cut into the shape of skulls.
Also amusingly, the little cute Asian girls they have working there had to wear wound makeup and have silly horror accessories, like this photo of an attractive young lady with scissors sticking out of her head. I’ve often wondered what they think about that, because the racial breakdown of the con attendees is about 70% white, 25% hispanic, and the rest is miscellaneous. Like seriously, my wife is one of maybe 20 Asian people there actually attending, and I can always count the numbers of black folks on my fingers. I have no idea why that is, but it’s true. Less amusing was the eyeroll-inducing naming of the food on the menu. I mean come on, Trembling Turkey? Blood-Dripping Buffalo Wings? And what the fuck happened to the Southwest Shrimp Cocktail, didn’t warrant a new name because it’s already so awful?
The convention started off poorly – it was so fucking crowded that Friday night, I panicked. This thing frankly outgrew the convention space last year, and this year was worse. We try to do signature hunting on Fri. night & Sun., when it’s less crowded. Well we spent an hour in line for Clive Barker, only to be told that he was leaving to do his scheduled photo shoot & wouldn’t return to the signature line that night due to feeling poorly.
So the first hour was a waste, but it kind of worked out. If you recall last year, we purchased a crocheted Count Orlock. Well the same vendor was there and she had a big crocheted xenomorph, but only one of them. She told us it had been a right bitch to make, and she was never going to make another one, so we pounced on it. If we hadn’t been forced to do a little browsing on Friday evening, I’m certain someone else would have bought it & then I’d have had to have killed my wife and myself, and possibly my extended family as well.
We did get the rest of the cenobites, Adrienne, and Billy Zane that night. A few anecdotes – the cenobites, despite being English and therefore you’d think reserved, will talk your ear off, even if you’re actively trying to exit the conversation. Nicholas Vince, who played Chatterer, was dressed in nice proper business-formal attire, except for some weird Pinhead Hello Kitty cufflinks, and to his delight my wife was the first to notice them that evening. Of course it’s because she’s fucking Asian, so she saw the Hello Kitty shit immediately somehow. Also, Barbie Wilde, the female cenobite, was selling her horror fiction books, and apparently is a very nasty-minded girl. Everything was a sexual innuendo or reference, and we all had a good laugh when, midway through our conversation, we could hear someone in another row (a worker, we believe, trying to repair something in a guest’s booth) said, “Damnit, I thought sitting in this chair would make it easier, but I think I was having more success on my knees.” Barbie, my wife and I all just looked at each other for a second before bursting out laughing. The photo you see is of the nice mahogany & etched brass puzzlebox we purchased to collect all their signatures on.
Also true fact: Billy Zane was just a leeeetle-bit of a dick. The best line in Zoolander pertains to him; “You should listen to your friend Billy Zane – he’s a cool dude”. Well we purposefully waited until there wasn’t anyone in his line, so that we wouldn’t be holding anybody up, and I asked him, “Hey, I know this is a bit unorthodox, but could you possibly sign this, ‘You should listen to me – I’m a cool dude’?” He smiled and kind of laughingly said, “Absolutely not”, then just stared at us. We thought he was joking for a second, because he said it kind of jovially, but then he said, “So…you just want me to make this out to the two of you or what?” So we said sure, and that was that. I mean hey, celebrities don’t owe me anything, I know that. But perhaps a, “Sorry man I don’t do personalizations to that extent” could be used instead of, “Hahaha NO”. Anyway he seemed nice enough in every other way, so maybe he’s just sick of that request. He was in a tracksuit & cowboy hat, and so looked kind of like a Russian gangster.
Phil Fondacaro’s line was short enough I was able to chat with him a bit. I asked him if it was just an outsider’s perception, or if there really were fewer opportunities for physically different actors like himself & Warwick Davis, with the advent of digital effects. He said absolutely, but it’s something of a mixed blessing because as he’s gotten older, and especially for someone who is physically limited to begin with, it’s a relief to not have to wear all the latex and costuming that he used to. A lot of the stuff that’s added in post now were the most cumbersome things to wear and act in, so the digital revolution isn’t all bad from his perspective. Of course the photo I got signed was of him as Vohnkar! And if you don’t get that reference, you’re no true child of the 80s.
Saturday was given to drinking, shopping, and making merry. It still sucked, because I had to wake my ass up at 7:30 to get in line for Clive Barker. Keep in mind the convention didn’t open until 11. So over three hours I sat there, but was 10th in line and so assured a chance to meet the great artist. Still, it left me a bit depleted for the remainder of the day.
We learned our lesson from previous years, and brought some beers, a bottle of bourbon (Larceny, which was very good for being as affordable as it was), and a bottle of Fireball. The hotel doesn’t care as long as you don’t get belligerently drunk – like David Arquette from a few years back. We were there and we saw bizarre things from a man still supposedly on the wagon. At least he drunkenly bought me a beer while we were both waiting at the bar. Anyway I attached a bunch of photos of all the shit we bought below, and some of the costumes we encountered.
That evening we spent a bit of time in the karaoke party, & went to a screening of Takashi Miike‘s live action adaptation of the manga, As the Gods Will. Now granted I wasn’t exactly sober, or anything even really resembling sober, by the time I saw this thing, but I still have no fucking clue what was going on. A weird doll was playing red-light, green-light with a class of students, and when it caught them moving their heads exploded, then the survivors went to their gym & dressed as mice and a giant maneki-neko was eating them, and it just got stranger from there. We finished out the night hanging out with all our friends on the patio, and there was a dude giving away free cigars for some reason, so that went well with the last of my bourbon (yes, the bottle was killed, with the able assistance of a couple of our friends).
Sunday was recovery day, so we went to the Ron Perlman panel. He’s a fun speaker – extremely foul-mouthed and self-deprecating. We snagged his signature and called it a weekend. As of the time of my writing this (Monday evening), yesterday was the saddest day of our year. This is our biggest event, and we get to spend it with a lot of great friends, and get a lot of great merchandise and add to our already ludicrous collection of autographs. Monsters everywhere, blood and guts, toys, movies, games, it just doesn’t get any better for the dedicated horror fan. And now it’s a whole other year until it comes around again. Oh well, less than six months to Halloween.