August 23, 2014

Monster Mania XXVIII - Another Weekend in the Books.

Twice a year there is an event held in Cherry Hill, NJ, that has become something like a second home to me. The Monster Mania Convention is a gathering of horror and pop culture celebrities, vendors, and fans that becomes a family over the course of three days. This latest edition of the convention was no different. I was there for all three days and met old friends, made new friends, hung out with folks, got some cool merchandise, got a bunch of autographs and generally speaking had an absolute blast What you will see below are a whole mess of pictures from the event.

The show had a little something for everyone. There was a Walking Dead reunion, featuring seven members of the cast. We had a gathering of cast members from Return of the Living Dead. The big three from They Live were in attendance. Also in attendance were the likes of Adam West, Burt Ward, Verne Troyer, Julian Sands, Derek Mears, and Michael Berryman. It was a great collection of folks.

Let's start off with the obligatory shot of the hotel, it is almost traditional to take a shot as I make may in:

Next up would have to be a shot of the Friday night lines, there is always a good crowd, but it tends to die off as it gets further into the night, which can be a godsend to some looking to meet some of the bigger names in attendance.

The first person I went to meet was Jeff Kober. He has appeared in recent series like The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy, but has had a long career, appearing on China Beach and many other shows and movies.

Next up is a picture of Liberty Devitto, a late addition to the convention and making it a family reunion with his daughter, Vampire Diaries actress Torrey Devitto. Liberty is probably best known as the long time drummer for Billy Joel. I did not meet him, but I did win his autograph in a charity auction at the convention.

Also in attendance from The Walking was Josh McDermott, better known as Eugene, the scientist trying to get to DC. He was a nice guy, talked about how long it took to put in the mullet extensions and spending time in Atlanta.

First costume picture of the day, Father Evil makes an appearance feeding on the sins of my sister. He is a great character and the guy never breaks.

Besides the Walking Dead folks, the show featured a large contingent from Return of the Living Dead. You know, the classic horror/comedy from 1985. Here we meet Linnea Quigley, aka Trash. She was a delight to meet. I had her sign my A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 4 poster, she was one of the souls in Freddy's chest towards the end (I bet you can guess which one).

Sitting next to Linnea was Allan Trautman who portrayed the legendary Tarman in Return of the living dead. He went on to have a long career as a voice actor and puppeteer, working on Sesame Street and Dinosaurs. He is a nice fellow who is more than happy to talk with his fans.

Continuing the Return of the Living Dead trend is James Karen, who many of you may remember from those old Pathmark commercials but who also had a long TV and film career. He played Frank in the zombie film and was great in it. The actor is now 90 years old, but you'd never guess it, he was full of energy, cracking jokes and whatnot. He loved the Hudson Horror shirt I was wearing and suggested the second pic below.

Also in attendance was Clu Gulager, who played Burt in Return of the Living Dead and has also had a long career in TV and film, some of the older folks may remember him from The Virginian. His son directed the Feast film series.

Here is my sister with Bill Moseley, aka Otis from The Devil's Rejects, aka Choptop from Texs Chainsaw Massacre Part 2. He has been in way too many movies to recount here, but he is always fun to meet and loves chatting with his fans.

You always have to be careful if you turn around and see this:

Weird zombies are everywhere you turn.

Michael Berryman was there, from films such as The Hills Have Eyes and The Devil's Rejects. This guy was really cool and all about meeting the people there.

Denise Crosby from Star Trek: The Next Generation and more recently The Walking Dead was on hand. She was all smiles and really loved seeing the Star Trek poster I had for her to sign.

Here is Lawrence Gilliard, Jr. signing my Walking Dead poster. He was surprised to see how many autographs I already had on it. (he was charging a bit much to get a picture with him, so this will have to do)

Derek Mears is one of the coolest guys I met at Monster Mania. This guy is all about meeting people. He said he even feels guilty taking a bathroom break or getting something to eat knowing people are waiting for him. He really felt like one of us, a guy to hang around with and have a beer. He has playes Jason Voorhees, he was a Predator, he was a mutant in The Hills Have Eyes Part II, he was in Hatchet III, has portrayed many monsters on Grimm, and much more.

Back to the Return of the Living Dead corner, Thom Mathews was here. He was one of the victims of the Trioxin gas, alongside James Karen. Additionally, he was Tommy Jarvis in Friday the 13th Part 6. He has also appeared in movies like Peacemaker and Mean Guns.

Next to him was the delightful Beverly Randolph, Tina from Return of the Living Dead. She was one of the sweetest guests I met. More than happy to talk to fans and was very appreciative of everyone there, not to mention talking of her love for Facebook.

It is not Monster Mania without a Freddy walking around!

Here is my sister with the most anticipated guest of the show, Steve Yuen, better known as Glen on The Walking Dead. He had a huge line most of the weekend, but we lucked out as Friday neared its closing time.

As we wandered through the lobby we stumbled across Father Evil spending some time with Krunk the Klown.

While we neared the elevator, we found Ghostface standing all by himself. I was amused by the sight.

From there we went to the VIP party which featured a They Live cake and a Return of the Living Dead cake.

Rowdy Roddy Piper and Meg Foster came down for the ceremonial cutting.

Then the Return of the Living Dead cast came down to cut their cake, and for the first time I can report, they spent time taking pictures of it! They then decided to all take turns taking a stab at it.

Here is Linnea Quigley meeting the infamous Pork Chop!

A great cast photo:

Here I am with Josh Stewart, star of the two Collector films and one of the The Walking Dead webisode series.

Here I am with my sister having a good time with Derek Mears.

Day two begins with seeing a couple of zombies wandering about.

The first person I meet is Alanna Masterson, better known as Tara on The Walking Dead. She was a lot of fun, sweet and foul mouthed. She marveled at the folks I already had on my poster and commenting on how it will never be done, the way they keep adding cast members.

On our way back up to the hotel room to switch out some posters, we came across this awesome Predator costume.

Next in line is the legendary Keith David, best known for his turns in The Thing and They Live, not to mention the Riddick films, lending his voice talent to Gargoyles and Spawn, among a mile long list of credits.

Next to Keith David was his They Live co-star Meg Foster. The first picture is an awesome one of her and my sister, then one with me.

A few more costumes, including the Creeper and the Winter Soldier.

The last celebrity we met in an autograph line was Rowdy Roddy Piper, a guy who loves a good time and loves a good drink. While signing my poster, he asked how to spell Momma.

Out front we saw the Bat-cycle, it had a few signatures on it, including Julie Newmar there on the gas tank.

Off to the side was Grin's Circus Rejects truck.

Inside the vendor room I came across this delightful Lollipop Chainsaw costume followed by an Ash with an evil hand and a nice looking Shredder.

This scarecrow and the little girl... not sure where the inspiration came from, but I had seen them at another con earlier this year.

Lufarious Hellion was in attendance, snarling and classy.

With Adam West in the house, I was not surprised to see Penguin (Burgess Meredith edition) waddling around.

Pennywise was also there to freak unsuspecting folks out.

This guy was pretty cool, although I bet it was hot inside the getup.

We went to the Bill Moseley/Derek Mears panel and had a blast listening to them.

We then took a break for dinner, and on the way snapped the Batmobile and this big ole military transport.

Upon returning, we ran into Zsasz, another Ash, and a group shot featuring Lufarious and Edward X. Cohen.

Grin was seemingly everywhere.

Then there was Buffalo Bill.... what else need be said? He made me hold the basket...

Adam King made a triumphant return to Monster Mania with his great Ash.

Joker was wandering about.

This couple was fantastic with their They Live alien makeup.

The Return of the Living Dead panel was great, with stories of the set, plus bonus takes of Clu Gulager working with Ronald Reagan.

In between panels, the Joker surveys the situation.

The They Live panel was great, man Roddy Piper is fantastic, the faces he makes...

We stumbled across this amazing Queen of Hearts in the hotel lobby.

We caught the end of the Mads Mikkelson/Katharine Isabelle panel.

Closing out the night was the costume contest.

Sunday, we closed things out with some vendor stuff and the Yorkie auction.

Before we left, we did see this great Mr. and Mrs. Voorhees couple.

That about wraps it up. It was another great weekend filled with celebrities, autographs, vendors, and friends. It is always a sad time to leave, but it also always feel a lot longer than three days. It is an escape where the rest of the world just melts away.

Here is a collection of video clips and other footage from the weekend.

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