April 27, 2016

Con Trip: Chiller Theatre - Spring 2016

Chiller has come and gone once again. With the first Monster Mania and Chiller under my belt, the 2016 convention season is in full swing. Granted, there are not many more that I will be attending, but it will be hard to get away from them. It seems like there is one every weekend through the next few months. In any case, this one proved to be another successful run. Sure, I only go for a day, but there is only so much I can do before I am completely exhausted. Still, it was a very successful and full day.

How about a video interruption before getting down to it?

Chiller, more than any other show I go to, can best be described as "You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." Alright, perhaps that is a bit much, but I am always amazed at the bizarre cross section of humanity that shows up. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, where else will you find classic television stars, cult movie actors, heavy metal musicians, mainstream actors, wrestlers, and adult film stars all in the same place? With that mix you have to expect the occasional odd person to be roaming the halls.

So, let's take a look at the day, shall we?

The day kicked off very early, getting up at 5AM to get ready for the drive. My goal was to get there pretty early so I could get in line for my number one target, Alice Cooper. We managed to get there at just about 8:30. A light rain was falling as we made our way to the end of the line at the back of the building, a place where we would be for about 45-minutes. Once we got inside, we went right for Cooper's line, and a quick hour later, we got to meet the man!

Alice was pro photo op only, but we could take candids while he was signing. I got a couple clearer shots, but I like this one because of the smile he had while seeing the loaded Friday the 13th poster I asked him to sign. He was a very nice guy, I am glad to have gotten to meet him.

The next guest we went to meet was Kane Roberts, who played guitar for Alice through a chunk of the 1980's. The man has kept in shape, and still has that Rombo-esque physique. He also happens to be a cool guy and a big horror fan.We talked about diet and how changes can make you look and feel better (specifically mentioning Alice Cooper cutting out sugar). More interesting to me was him talking about his experience of being a zombie in Prince of Darkness and how he was in awe of being directed by John Carpenter. He would also go on to appear in Shocker for Wes Craven, talking about how they ran out of money at the end of the shoot. After taking a couple of pictures, he looked at me and said "That is the longest I've ever held another man's hand."

A couple of tables over from Kane is Cherie Currie, the singer from the all-female '70s act The Runways, where she was bandmates with Lita Ford and Joan Jett. We did not speak for long, but she was very happy to meet with her fans, probably anticipating her performance that night with Kane on guitar.

Continuing the string of meetings, I met Paula Trickey who began her movie career in a movie called Maniac Cop 2. I brought my Mondo vinyl release of the soundtrack that I had just recently gotten autographed by the director, William Lustig. She flipped out, she had never seen it before, she marveled over the art and took pictures of it herself before signing it.

Paula spoke of working on the movie and how she became good friends with Claudia Christian. She also said how she was not supposed to have any nude scenes in the movie, only discovering the footage was still in there while doing ADR (voice recording). She said to Bill that it wasn't supposed to be there and he said they were going to keep it. She said "My dad is going to see my boobs!" She also marvelled at learning that William Lustig was still alive. She was a joy to meet, giving me a big hug after taking the picture.

Next up was some people my sister was interested in meeting. First is Barry Bostwick, probably best known for Spin City and Rocky Horror Picture Show. He was taller than I was expecting and seemed to be having a lot of fun. It is hard not to when one of your available items is a pair of autographed tighty whities.

Next to Barry is one of his Rocky Horror co-stars, Nell Campbell. I did not catch any of the conversation, but she was all smiles and seemed happy to be meeting everyone.

While getting in line for the next guest, we caught sight of Bobby Steele (The Undead, Misfits) and his pet skunk. Yes, you read that right. He was holding it like a pet cat. It was cute.

Patricia Quinn was the last of the trio of Rocky Horror guests in the room. Much like Nell, I did not catch the conversation, but she was all smiles and clearly having a good time.

Next up is Nana Visitor, who had been scheduled at the last show, but was forced to cancel due to work obligations. I was glad to meet her now. She was happy and liked seeing my Star Trek and Friday the 13th posters, filled with autographs.

We moved to another room filled with guests, and after a brief scare where I thought I lost my bag with my autographed vinyl in it, I got to meet Tig, Kim Coates, from Sons of Anarchy and so much more. I had to go with a picture of him from Resident Evil: Afterlife. The photo was where he pulled a gun on Milla Jovovich. Seeing the picture I picked, he looked at me and said he had something to say about that scene that he doesn't say to many people. He said whenever they would roll, he would whisper things to her... "Milla, I like your back.... Milla, I love your bum... Milla Milla Milla Milla" and she would laugh and they would have to cut and reset it. Guy is pretty awesome. Regret not meeting him earlier at other appearances where he has been.

Across the room we went to see Kevin Sorbo, Another nice fellow. We talked about Hercules and how the show was supposed to run a bit longer, but Peter Jackson stole their crew in New Zealand to begin work on Lord of the Rings. We also spoke of Andromeda, and how much he enjoyed working on that show, which was supposed to run two more seasons but got canceled. He also said they almost got bought by SyFy, but they had just started pumping money into Battlestar Galactica. There was also a mention of how Andromeda pulled better ratings than Stargate, and while that got ten seasons, he got three. Didn't seem to be any hard feelings, just a run of bad luck.

What a nice guy Noah Hathaway is. He is best known as Atreyu from The Neverending Story, but has also appeared in films like Sushi Girl. My sister went for a Sushi Girl photo, which Noah seemed to appreciate. We also talked about he was getting beat up for an hour and everyone loses it over the horse, even suggesting he should have out a stack of dollars for anyone who went to therapy over the horse. Very nice guy, he currently works as a tattoo artist.

Here is someone I met a few years back at Monster Mania, but my sister wanted to meet, being a big Nightbreed fan. He is a good guy, having fun meeting the fans, and even reminisced about the Saturday night drinking at Monster Mania, which caused him to miss haf of Sunday because he didn't wake up!

It was nice getting to add another name to my A Nightmare on Elm Street poster. Nick Corri (real name Jsu Garcia) was on hand for the show. He does not make many appearances, at least so far. He played Rod in the film. He was nice, although a little odd, not quite sure how to explain it, just different. Still, cool meeting him.

This show featured a pair of actors from Evil Dead 2. The first I met was Sarah Berry, who played Annie. She was a pleasure to chat with. It did not extend past pleasantries, really, but she was still very nice.

Next up was Danny Hicks who played Jake in Evil Dead 2. He was a trip, take a look at that picture, I was not expecting that front arm to come up, resulting in a headbutt. He also appeared in Intruder, Maniac Cop, Darkman, and many others. We briefly talked about how difficult and rewarding writing is, suggesting you should just wait until you sweat blood and let the blood make the words.

How can you not like Skippy? You remember Skippy, right? Marc Price played the neighbor character on Family Ties. However, the autograph I was looking for was Marc Price, star of Trick or Treat, a movie that should get a Blu-ray treatment. He signed it "No False Metal" and included his character's nickname "Ragman".

Some friends who I finally got to chat with in person, usually all we get is a quick "Hi" in passing. They were spreading their Jedi love throughout the convention, getting plenty of attention, and why shouldn't they? Very nice people.

Where else will you find Kevin Sorbo, Skippy, Alice Cooper, and adult film stars? It is a crazy combination. Here I am meeting the lovely Katie Morgan, who has appeared in mainstream films such as Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

It wouldn't be a convention without some sort of vehicle. Let's start with this replica of the old Batcycle.

Now there is the original Sanford and Son salvage truck. They say this is the original one that was used on the show.. I think I believe them.

Finally we have the heavily modified GTO that the Monkees used!

One of the busy vendor rooms.

Always keep an eye out for a saucy Porkchop.

While waiting in the insane line for Alice Cooper's photo op, we saw a few celebrities pass us in the stairwell. Here you can see the back of Erik Estrada's head and Larry Wilcox coming down the stairs.

Here is someone I was not originally planning on meeting, but am glad I did. We went in to check out the room he was in and there was absolutely no line, so we decided to take the plunge. What a nice guy, very appreciative of the fans, greeting us with a big smile. Glad I decided to meet him.

Here is a parting shot of Kylo Jen showing what happens if you make the wrong move:

Here is the end result of my photo op experience, I also have the printout. I will also say that I hate these things and much prefer the candids taken at the table. I went up about half an hour early to check in and was told they were running late and to come back in half an hour. So, I went to check out the neighboring room with the McFarlane Toys display, five minutes later I came out to find a huge line down hall. You guessed it, it was the line for Alice's photo op. So, back to the front I go to check in and then all the way back down the hall, around the corner, into the stairwell, and down a flight of stairs, and there I would stand for the next hour. The line would go on behind me to the next floor and down a hallway there. It was a nightmare. Picking up the printed photo wasn't any better, too many people crammed into too small a room trying to look at pictures laid out on a table of all the ops. Photos coming out 2,3,4 at a time and in no particular order. Completely disorganized. I will say the picture looks really good, but the organizational side and lack of communication is just a mess.

Overall, I had a blast. I picked up some stuff from Vinegar Syndrome, including their new Dolemite Blu-ray, and a sweet shadowbox creation using a Turkish Escape from New York poster. Also got to see and hang out with some good friends, which is always one of the great things, even over the celebrity meetings. Speaking of celebrities, I did see Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, Tara Reid, Rob Schneider, the Amazing Kreskin, Dennis Haskins, Butch Patrick, Tim Capello, and others wandering around the venue. Always surreal seeing these people out of the context of the movie or music.

Conventions always put a smile on my face, even when there is chaos all around me. Until next time....

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