May 2, 2013

My Trip to Chiller, Spring 2013

This past weekend I took a day trip to Parsippany, NJ. That's right, Parsippany, and yes, New Jersey. I know this is not exactly a big tourist town, so you may be wondering just why I went there. The answer is pretty simple. The Sheraton Hotel in Parsippany plays host to the Chiller Expo. If you don't know what it is, well, let's just say you are missing out.

Chiller is a convention that sated twenty some years ago and has been growing ever since. Now I am really new to the convention scene, but with each one my enjoyment and appreciation for these things grow. This location is really fantastic, the hotel looks like a castle out of a Hammer film.

So, on Saturday I made my way to the hotel for my second Chiller experience. My first trip was last October where I met stars like Tiffany Shepis, Julia Adams, Linda Blair, Bai Ling, Stefania Casini, Adrienne Barbeau, and Billy Gray. It was a great time.

Anyway, I got to the hotel shortly before 10AM. I made my way to the back of the pre-show line and chatted with a few other con-goers, people I would then run into a few times during the day. I made my way inside, took a quick look through the extensive vendor room before beginning my exploration of the multitude of celebrity rooms.

I walked into one of the rooms and saw Butch Patrick and Barry Bostwick, David Warner, Patricia Quinn, and John Billingsley and immediately wished I wasn't on a budget. I got in line and met Karen Allen, Raiders of the Lost Ark's Marion Ravenwood! She was very kind and it was a pleasure to meet her.

I then made my way down to another room, I swear there are celebrities all over the place. I walked I'm and saw Mariel Hemmingway and Burt Young, Patty Duke, and Van Williams. Along the far wall from me were Michael Dudikoff and Antonio Sabato, Jr. Who looks exactly like his dad.

Michael Dudikoff

Van Williams

Nancy Allen

Antonio Sabato Jr.

Jake Lamotta 
Patty Duke

Robin Zander of Cheap Trick

Tia Carrere

Then I saw the man I was looking for, William Forsythe. He was still getting himself ready, but was more than happy to stop and chat while signing my Halloween and Devil's Rejects posters.

I moved a couple tables over and got in line for William Zabka, who was making a rare con appearance. You may remember him as Johnny in The Karate Kid or perhaps from Back to School or European Vacation. While I waited I saw 93 year old boxing champ Jake Lamotta arrive as well as Jerry the King Lawler and the lovely Tia Carrere all arrive. When I met William, he was great, commenting on how Marty Kove took p a good chunk of my poster to sign before him.

I moved on to the next room, which is more like a long hallway lined with tables. Before I even got there I almost ran over Todd Bridges! Now this room I me a number of people,l, but due to photo costs or me completely blanking on asking did not get many pictures in here.

The first person I went to meet was Priscilla Barnes of Three's Company, Mallrats, and my reason for wanting to meet her, The Devil's Rejects. She was really nice as I struggled to keep the poster unrolled for her to sign.

I moved on down the row and arrived at the neighboring tables of Travis Love and Theodus Cane, both from The Walking Dead. These guys were really cool, looked like they were having a blast and despite Love's rep wanting way too much for a photo were fun to meet. They talked about how the met when Love was working the props department and then was cast and started appearing in a bunch of episodes. Love even showed me a picture on his iPhone of the two of them before he was cast. Cane also asked permission to be the asshole to sign in black over the Walking Dead logo of my poster while the rest were higher up on silver.

Moving down the row I saw Larry Cohen, writer/director extraordinaire with some cool pictures and a stack of prop Stuff cubs from The Stuff, actual screen see props. The man was quiet but seemed really nice. If you aren't familiar with his films, do yourself a favor and look him up.

Continuing right along, I passed a room win a good sized lie for John Amos. The my eye caught a man I really wanted to meet, Kevin Van Henteryck, star of the Basketcase films. It was cool talking about the old New York that they captured that will never be seen again.

I squeezed my way out of the tiny hallway and moved on to another room, less full of people, but filled with celebrities I was looking to meet.

First was a star of a history making horror film, Judith O'Dea, Barbra from Night of the Living Dead. Oh man, what am awesome and sweet lady, she was so happy to meet her fans, thankful for everyone who came to see her. She was quite taken with my poster, she says she had never seen it before, you ca see it in the picture below.

Moved to my left just a little to find the distinctive features of Udo Kier. Another very cool fellow. I was happy to add his signature to Dario Argento's on my Suspiria poster.

Continuing in the same room I came to find the incredible Jeffrey Combs, one of my biggest wants from this show was to meet him. He has been in so may great films and television shows, the man is a legend and the reason I wore my Fright Rags limited edition Reanimuppet shirt. He loved it, he had never seen it before, making sure to note Bunsen looks nothing like him. I went with a list for him, we went through Star Trek pictures and Frighteners pictures and Reanimator pictures. It was a blast.

Still in the same room I went to meet writer/director Jeff Lieberman. We talked about Squirm and the awesome mini poster he had there for it, about my oversight of Just Before Dawn, and how I thought Satan's Little Helper was underrated.

Next thing I did was go looking for Akira Takarada, but his line was crazy long and it was being cut off so he could take a break. I moved down the hallway and found one Ricou Browning, someone I never thought I would get to meet. He was the creature in Creature from the Black Lagoon, doing all the underwater sequences. He also created Flipper and directed the underwater sequences in Thunderball. The man looks great, 83 years old and going strong.

I took a detour through the vendor room where I stopped by the Troma table where Lloyd Kaufman was hanging out, talking movies, talking pictures, signing autographs and having a good time. Fortunately I happened to pack my copies of Poultrygeist and Father's Day to sign. Here I am with him and Toxie:

I went back to Akira Takarada's room again and he was indeed back and the line was much shorter. He is another man I had never thought I'd ever meet. I mean, he was Ogata on the original Godzilla in 1956! The man is 79 years old and looks 15 years younger. He was dressed in a suit and was very gracious, everything about him said class, I feel honored to have met him.

I kept moving down the hallway of small autograph rooms and got in line for one Micky Dolenz from the Monkees. I did not get a picture with him, but I did get to chat for a moment as he signed my Halloween poster. I got to tell him how I used to watch reruns of the show when I was a kid. Cool guy.

Lastly I went right across for the Monkees room and met another pop sad from my childhood. I may be a metal guy now, but there was a time when pop music was. Big thing for me, consider I a gateway drug that helped me get where I am today and his room introduced me to one of those stars, who really isn't much older than me, Debbie Gibson. She looked fantastic and it was just a really nice to meet her, she was very sweet and seemed genuine.

Another pass through the vendor room and I was all done, worn out and exhausted from a log day. Chiller is a great time, a ton of celebrity guests, a well stocked vendor room, and lots of things to see this is a early convention that shouldn't be missed. Related Posts with Thumbnails

some other random shots, costumes, and vendors:


Anonymous said...

kauffman/troma is a cancer on this business.

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