September 16, 2013

FantaCon Returns! - A Con Experience

It was probably about a year ago that I first heard about FantaCon. Of course, it isn't hard to believe that a convention would fly under my radar, I have not been on the con going circuit for very long. I came to learn that this was a popular sow that had started up back in the 1970s, but for one reason or another stopped in the late 1980s. It was announced last ear that it would be making its triumphant return to Albany, NY. By the looks of it, it was a small show compared o some of the ones I have been going to, but it had an intriguing guest list.

So, I decided long ago that I would make the trip up. With a friend in tow, we headed up to see what it was all about. What we found was indeed a small show, but what I lacked in size, it more than made up for in personality. There was a nice, laid back atmosphere with vendors and celebrity guests sharing a single room. Sure, some vendors spilled into the hallway, but it mostly all in one room.

We went in and got the lay of the land. Celebrity guests lined the walls with most of the vendors taking up a couple of rows down the middle. There were artists, collectives, Halloween costume goods, and comic book dealers. The vendors were all friendly and seemed to have very good deals. I did not buy much, but hat wasn't for a lack of desire. My main goal was to meet the guests. The show had a big draw of having six people from the original Night of the Living Dead. Two I had met before, but that left four more folks to meet. Additionally, they had a few guests involved with the original Friday the 13th.

Besides the guests I wanted to meet, there were a few others of note. The others included A. Michael Baldwin from Phantasm, Theodus Cane from The Walking Dead (who I've met before), director Jeff Lieberman (who I've met a couple times, including at a screening of I), and Belinda Belaski from The Howling and Gremlins.

There were also a lot of artists in attendance. Included among that number was the creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and owner of Heavy Metal magazine, Kevin Eastman, who was signing for free, provided you had something for him to sign.. I did not get a picture with him, but I did have him sign a copy of the 20 Years of Heavy Metal hardcover book.

Now, I had already met her and did not need an autograph, but I did have a nice conversation with Judith O'Dea, she was Barbra in Night of the Living Dead. We talked about love for horror and understanding what it means to people, changes in special effects, and other topics. I was a wonderful conversation ad she is an absolute joy to talk with, very appreciative of the fans.

Here are the people I did meet..

George Kosana, he was the sheriff in Night of the Living Dead. He spoke about how everyone had multiple jobs on the set and how no one said it wasn't their job. It was a lot of work, but they all had a great time making the movie.

Judith Ridley, she was Judy, one half of the doomed teen couple. She was a delight to meet and told me i smelled like fresh laundry.. weird.

Russ Streiner, he was Johnny, Barbra's brother with the famous line "They're coming to get you, Barbra!" He was a blast.

Kyra Schon, she was the little girl in the basement who went all bitey. She was really nice and is a big Godzilla fan! We chatted about the new film, and she is rather excited for it.

Third time meeting the legendary Tom Savini and I do not think I will ever figure him out. he is nice enough, but his personality seems to be on a light switch. I had him sign my Friday the 13th poster.

Taso Stavrakis, he is good friends with Savini and has worked effects and stunts. He was the guy in the woods in Friday the 13th and was Pamela Voorhees when she was decapitated. Also numerous zombies in Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. Also appeared on The Walking Dead.

Ari Lehman, the original Jason Voorhees, now rock star. we talked for half an hour about his desire for lines as a young actor, his touring circuit, the late Jason - Richard Brooker (who had been booked for this show), his almost series about a young Jason Voorhees. Plus his hot sauce. The guy is a blast!

That about wraps it up. It was a lot of fun, nice and laid back. It was great having time to actually have a conversation with the celebrities. Hopefully this is a success and the show becomes a regular event.

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