The Mad Monster Party 2017! Part 2

Alright, we’re back with the second part of this year’s Mad Monster Party coverage. Because if there’s on thing I’m good for, it’s trying to drum up excitement about things that happened at a convention from six months ago.

You’ll remember in Part 1 that I met a few famous folks. Let’s meet a few more. I don’t have pictures to back up the first two, so you’ll have to just take my word on it. First off, I had a lovely conversation with Pat Priest, who’s most known for playing Marilyn Munster. She was incredibly gracious and entertained all my annoying questions that I’m sure she’d already politely answered 38,000 times before I got to her.

I also had a great, fairly involved conversation with Mark Steger, who plays the monster in Stranger Things. I had to confess to him that at the time, I had actually not seen Stranger Things yet, but I’ve since remedied that. And brother, WHAT THE HELL TOOK ME SO LONG? It’s fantastic. But, we did chat quite a bit about special effects and makeup in general. Nice guy.

Speaking of special effects, The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was there! Or at least the guy in the suit, Bill Bryan. I was surprised to learn he’d done quite a bit other puppetry work, including being one of the guys who helped to build and puppet Chucky. Sometimes when you choose the form of the destroyer, you end up with a laid back horror movie veteran who kind of looks like Santa.

Other notable mentions would be Mark Torgl (The Toxic Avenger himself) and a female friend of his, who claimed to be an actual exorcist. I kind of regret taking them up on their offer of going out and getting a drink with them after it was all over that night. To be honest, I’d reserved that spot on my dance card for Felissa Rose. On second thought, that was a worthy trade. I do hope to catch them next time though, if there is one. Oh, and Billy Dee Williams was there too. I walked by his table about the time his people were packing everything up and getting him ready to leave. He looked bored.

Alright, that’s it for the celebrites. Bumblebee and Blaster were also there (ok, maybe we’re not done with the celebrites).

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There was also all manner of amusements and other sights to see.

“But Deej, where are the hot girls in costumes?” GOT YOU COVERED:

I’ve never had such conflicting emotions about a Nazi before.

Arterial

I also had couple of these guys. The vendor had several varieties, but the Arterial jumped out at me. If you hear something next year about a short, bald man getting thrown out of a horror convention in Charlotte for getting inappropriate with Adrienne Barbeau, you’ll know The Arterial is to blame. Im not much of a beer drinker, but this thing was DELICIOUS. It was a delightful way to get a nice buzz going right before going into a panel where Mark Patton told stories about sleeping in the same bed with Cher at Gene Simmons’s house.

Speaking of snacks, I’m not too much of a shopper at cons. I always go in with a limited budget, and would much rather blow almost all of it on autographs and pictures than on overpriced Gremlins figures. But this time, I did snag something I’d had my eye on for the last few years — THE MONSTA BAR! They had several different types – Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Almonds, Dark Chocolate Ghost Pepper, and Milk Chocolate Ghost Pepper. I’d love to review all of them, but at $10 a pop, I didn’t want them that badly, so I settled on my go-to variety – Dark Chocolate with Almonds.

Back of Bar

The first thing that jumped out at me was how huge the almonds are. I was honestly expecting something more along the lines of a Mr. Goodbar, but they went all out with some kind of genetically engineered full-on super almonds. Also, they were salty as all hell. I mean, this thing was just as much salt as it was chocolate, but it totally works. It’s definitely one of the better novelty candies I’ve ever tried, even though I winced at the price tag. But, I guess the fact that they only made 100 of them added an extra thrill that made it worth it. This was LIMITED EDITION chocolate from the grave.

Rivals

My other take-home prize was this short documentary on VHS about Charles Manson and Vincent Bugliosi. I haven’t watched it yet, but I certainly plan to, with a possible review later right here. Anyone who’s ever listened to my radio show knows that I’m kind of a student of the Manson case. Being that this clocks in at only 46 minutes, I doubt there’s any new ground covered here that I’m not already well aware of, but I couldn’t pass it up. There were actually more tapes I was interested in from this same vendor, Little Shop of Horror. I have to wonder if they’re an actual store in NC. If so, they win the Best Vendor Name award that I just made up just now. The lady I spoke to was really helpful, but again, they suffered from Convention Price Syndrome. I understand the spot they’re in, because travel and table fees aren’t cheap, but at the same time, when you’re weighing how you’re going to spend your last $20, a Tom Savini photo op is probably going to win out over an old VHS copy of Halloween III…and I love me some Halloween III.

Alright kids, that’s it. I’m leaving you with The Creature from the Black Lagoon playing bagpipes in front of a clown who’s clearly had enough of this . We’re going out on top!

 

 

Let’s go rent a movie!

You ever have a thing that you know you should be doing, but you’re just waiting for the right moment? Like that movie you’re dying to see, but you want to make sure you have the right company for it, or that…other example that would fit perfectly right here that I can’t think of?

Well, this post is a tribute to that. Kids, for the past 10 years, when I’ve visited my home town, I’ve driven past a video store. An honest to goodness video store, and I never went in. I don’t know why. I think I just assumed it couldn’t be that good. Surely not. So, I was just teasing myself, driving past that outside wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall; looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger me off…

Well, last week, the moment was picked and death came to my little town!

Outside

Family Video is a chain I knew nothing about until I decided to finally do this. Some of you may have some of the lingering branches of this chain in your town, so you may have beaten me to the punch on this one, but I’m glad I finally got down to it.

Last week, with Summer slowly starting its retreat, I went in, got myself a membership, and rented a gosh darn horror movie! Just in time to ease into the Halloween season. And it was glorious. Oh, and apologies up front for the blurriness of all these pictures. I don’t know why, but I still get weird about taking pictures in businesses, and try to do a quick “click and move”. There is some ridiculous paranoia there that I’m just one candid shot of Three Men and a Baby away from being kicked out.

As soon as I walked in the joint, a flood of memories hit me. It brought back all those Friday nights of my youth, perusing the shelves, selecting something you knew next to nothing about, based solely on how cool the box art was. Then later on, I’d spend some time in high school and college working at a series of video stores. I’ve done my time on both sides of that counter, Jack. But, this particular Family Video has a bonus feature. They’ve gone in kahoots with the Marco’s Pizza next door.

window

Yes, you can order a pizza and have it delivered in that window while you shop! And they have a promotion. If you order at least $10 worth of pizza, you get a free rental. And you better believe I did, brother!

pizza

But, it doesn’t stop there. Just for getting a membership, they pretty much throw the whole store at you. I’ve got several coupons for future free rentals and popcorn, and half off everything for like the first 30 days or something. Factor in the super cheap costs of rentals in the first place, and I can only assume they’re staying afloat on the nostalgia appeal alone. They’re doing pretty well though. While I was there, they had a pretty steady stream of customers coming and going, and it wasn’t even a weekend night. Of course, being the only game in town helps. I got everything in the picture above (pizza, 2 things of popcorn, the movie, and a load of coupons for later) for just $15.

The selection was pretty impressive, and while it didn’t completely live up to the volume of a Blockbuster or the oddball charm of your average mom-and-pop joint from back in the day, it had a dash of both. The New Release wall was nearly Blockbuster-esque in terms of the number of “big titles”, even if their definition of “New Release” was nearly anything released in the last two years. The rest of the store was pretty well organized, but not really broken down into too many genres. One section was just called “Prequels and Sequels” and was exactly that, with genres all mixed in.

boxes

But Deej, WHAT DID YOU RENT? I actually went there with this one specifically in mind — Blair Witch, the 2016 sequel to the original. It was one of those horror releases from the last few years that I just missed for one reason or another. My LIST has way more additions than subtractions these days, but I’m slowly working my way through it.

REVIEW TIME!

Blair Witch essentially is a retread of the The Blair Witch Project, but is handled in a competent manner, so it made for some good pizza eating, video renting fun. It centers around the story of James, the little brother of Heather from the original film, who leads a group of his friends into the woods in search of Heather, in the hopes that she may still be out there alive after all these years. And well…that’s pretty much all you need to know.

I think you know how things go from here. People start turning on each other, start getting offed one at a time, yadda, yadda, yadda. I know I may not be exactly selling it, but I promise it was absolutely worth the rental and captures the tone of the original fairly well. Oh, and as you can imagine, it pretends Book of Shadows: The Blair Witch 2 never happened. I know a lot of fans also wish that were the case, but I’m not one of them. I thought that one was good, stupid fun and I know Jay of The Sexy Armpit agrees with me. So yeah, it’s worth a rental…if you ever get the chance again to actually do such a thing.

Oh, and guess what. I just got a line on another video store a fairly short drive from here…The quest continues.