Days of the Dead Part 2!

Alright kids, I’m back for Part 2 of this. I hope you guys have enjoyed your extra long Memorial Day weekend. I spent it catching Solo, doing my radio show, and catching up on some reading. I would have gotten more done that involved being online, but I had a huge thunder storm here today and my power knocked out for most of the afternoon. It only just came back on about an hour ago. Time to read on and check out some pictures of me getting even more dwarfed by tall celebrities.

After awkwardly flirting with Taryn from A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 3, it was time to make the most of what I left of the afternoon. As I’ve said in just about every account of every convention I’ve ever been to, time flies by when you’re spending a paycheck on autographs. At this point in the day, I just had a couple of hours left before everyone packed up and made their way to the bar or some screening or just back to their hotel rooms to get some peace and quiet.

One of my biggest priorities this time around was Tony Todd. Of course, we all know him as The Candyman, but he’s had an incredibly versatile career and has earned his horror icon status. Also, if you haven’t caught 1990’s Night of the Living Dead remake, directed by Tom Savini and starting Tony Todd, you haven’t lived. Made long before the current trend of rebooting/remaking/re-imagining/re-whatevering every single genre classic, it actually is one of the rare examples of a remake that not only does the original justice, but was made by people who had a genuine passion for the material. With that horror pedigree involved, it didn’t disappoint. And neither did Tony!

Tony ToddCandyman autograph

First off, dude is incredibly nice. He was kind enough to talk to me a little bit about my show, some of his hobbies, and some of the films he has coming up. He even hosted a college radio show back in the day.

Notice, he wrote “Goth Radio” just above his name in the autograph. Dark Entries has officially been blessed by The Candyman.

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Nearby was also Dee Snyder and Linda Blair, who I’d met before. But was more interested in the guy around the corner – Derek Mears. But Deej, you’ve met him before too, right? Yes, but I’m an idiot and the first time around, I totally forgot to get a picture with him. I told him that, and also warned him against the overpriced drinks at the bar, because I was still nursing my $12 whisky and coke from before (Sorry about nearly spilling it on some of your pictures, Derek!). We chatted a bit about L.A. and projects he’s been involved in, and he was cool enough to give me a pic for free. It’s something he does because he’s just that cool. Despite all the monsters this guy has portrayed over the years, he is hands down, the coolest, nicest guy in horror, and a true fan. I can’t say enough good things about him.

By this point, the lines were dwindling down, and so was the con. The next thing on my agenda was a screening of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was smart enough to get into the front of the line early because the turnout for it was much bigger than expected (so big, that we had to wait an extra 45 minutes while the room was expanded to house everyone). It’s always cool to see one of your favorites on the big screen, especially when it’s something that I’ve only seen on the big screen once before, during a special Halloween event. Sat near me was a nice lady and her daughter, who I chatted with a little bit. The daughter had never seen the film before, and it was fun to see her reaction, even if she was confused by the ending. It was the 1980’s, hon. Just go with it.

I topped it off by popping in to catch a couple of songs during a performance by Elzig, who can best be described as an Elvis Presley / Misfits / Danzig tribute act, who predominantly plays songs by everyone mentioned above. All of that blends about as well as you can imagine it would.

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Making my way to my car, which was parked on the roof of a nearby parking garage, I looked back at the hotel and this particular bit of Charlotte, taking in the moment. Another convention down, a ridiculous amount of money spent, and a few more memories in the bank. Can’t wait for the next one.

Here’s your requisite CONVENTION MONSTER PHOTO DUMP

Days of the Dead Part 1!

Tonight’s a special night. Not just because I’m going to write about a seriously cool thing I did last weekend, but because I’m actually going to write about a seriously cool thing I did last weekend, and not 3 months ago. Retro Ghouls is actually up to date…for once!

Last weekend was the Days of the Dead horror convention in Charlotte and ol’ Deej made the scene. Days of the Dead is well established, but this is their first time setting up camp in Charlotte. The first pleasant thing I found was that it was at the Sheraton, which is the former home of the Mad Monster Party, so it’s an old familiar stomping ground of mine. I’ve spent many a weekend walking that long hallway, surrounded by monsters and fans. The name of the con may not be the same, but it was nice to see some familiar faces (both famous and not), and even some of the same staff. From what I hear, The Sheraton will no longer house the Mad Monster Party, but will be the home of Days of the Dead for the next few years, so it’s a win for the fans either way. Personally, I don’t care what you call it. Fill the place with cast members from my favorite slasher flicks, make the vibe fun, and just take my damn money already. This just means I get TWO horror cons in Charlotte every year. Double win!

Let’s get down to business. I arrived around noon and was starving, so instead of making my usual straight shot to my favorite celebs’s table, I went to the bar to inhale a fantastic burger. Just look at this thing.

Burger

Unfortunately, while the food was totally worth the money, the drinks weren’t. Later in the day, I was treated to a $12 “whisky and ginger ale”, which basically amounted to a $11.00 cup of ginger ale with maybe $1.00 worth of a tiny splash of whisky. I paid almost as much for that as I did for the burger. So, lesson learned: Find alternative ways to booze it up unless you want all your autograph money to go down the drain at the bar.

Back to positives. Time for Heather Langenkamp! This isn’t the first time I’ve met her, but she still remains my all-time favorite scream queen, so she’s worth a second autograph. And I’m not a multiple autograph kind of guy. At this point, she and almost the entire cast of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 were at a panel that was letting out in a few minutes, so I just hung out in the newly formed line at her table, waiting for her to show up. She must have gotten held up though, because that wait lasted for nearly an hour.

It did provide a little entertainment though. I chatted it up with some other horror nerds that were around me, as well as Linnea Quigley, who I love to death, and who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting before. I told her about how I play stuff from the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack on my show all the time, and we talked about Trash and some other projects she’s been part of. She’s another one who is incredibly gracious to her fans. Can’t say enough good things about her.

Also, Thom Matthews (Tommy Jarvis from Friday the 13th Part VI) was signing nearby, and that’s when I spotted this bit of trouble brewing. Ummm…

Tommy and Jason (1)

Finally, Heather showed up, we chatted for a bit, and I congratulated her on the Days of the Dead Hall of Fame award that she’d received on Friday night. Here she is with Tommy Faircloth, the other recipient of the award.

Heather and Tommy

Tommy and I run in the same circles and he’s a solid guy. He’s a Columbia, SC based filmmaker and also organizes the Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest, which is happening this weekend in Charleston. This festival is absolutely cursed though, I’m convinced of it. I’ve missed it every single year it’s been on and it looks like I’ll have to miss it again this weekend. But, I’ve got SO MANY THINGS happening this summer that it nearly makes up for it. I’ll barely have a free weekend from now till September. I’ve mentioned him before on RG as being the director of Family Possessions, which features Felissa Rose. He recently cast her again in his new film, A Nun’s Curse, for which he’s launched an Indiegogo. So go check that out and maybe throw him a few bucks if you can.

Heather Langenkamp

Heather and I did the whole autograph/picture thing and also talked about Hellraiser: Judgment (she has a cameo!), which I’ll be reviewing soon. I’ve seen it and believe me, I’ve got things to say. Best off, I finally scored this copy of her documentary, I Am Nancy, which I’ve been dying to see forever:

I Am Nancy

All the rest of the Dream Warriors were set up nearby (except for Patricia Arquette), so I went down the line and met EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.

First up was Penelope “Welcome to primetime, bitch!” Sudrow, aka “Jennifer”. She’s actually the only one I didn’t get a picture with, only because after talking to her for a while, I honestly just forgot. Got the autograph though, as you’ll see in a bit…

Ira Heiden

Next up is one of my favorites, Ira “The Wizard Master” Heiden, aka “Will”. He was just as cool to talk to as you would imagine, and luckily no one else was at his table at the time, so we talked for quite a bit. Pretend that I Photoshopped Emperor Palpatine lightning coming out of our hands. It’s getting late.

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Next up was Bradley “The Human Puppet” Gregg, aka “Phillip”. We didn’t have long to talk, but he was kind enough to record a promo for my show. Cool guy! Luckily, they didn’t seat him near any windows.

Joey

Rodney “The Quiet One” Eastman, aka “Joey” was next. He was wearing the raddest scarf in the building. Is it just me, or did Joey have the easiest gig in this movie? Dude said like two lines of dialogue and then got into some bondage play with a hot, topless poster girl. I mean, as far as ways to go out, it beats getting turned into a roach.

Kincaid

Next up was Ken “It’s time to stop guessin’ and start messin’” Sagoes, aka “Kincaid”. Speaking of dialogue, if you don’t think Kincaid got the best lines in this movie (maybe even better than Freddy himself), you haven’t paid attention.

Taryn

And finally, that brings us to Jennifer “Beautiful and BAD” Rubin, aka “Taryn”. She’s still lovely after all these years, and was incredibly sweet. And TALL. Granted, being taller than me isn’t exactly that hard to pull off… This is one of my favorite pics of the day. Needle glove! And best of all, Rodney Eastman was the photographer.

What about the autographs, Deej? This is now the most expensive piece of glossy photo paper I own. Trust me, it was not an easy decision, choosing between getting all of these or getting the professional group photo with the cast (yes, that was a thing), but I’m happy with which way I went. It was costing a pretty penny either way. WORTH IT.

Dream Warriors Autographs

That’s it for now. Check out Part 2 coming soon, where I meet two of the nicest guys in horror (one for the second time), and add more to the radio show promo collection. There’s no bigger thrill as a fan than awkwardly shoving your phone in a famous monster’s face and convincing them to read for you. See you soon!

Saying goodbye to Pic-A-Flick Video

Today we’re here to pay our respects to my last local Pic-A-Flick Video. At the risk of showing my age (as if all the Jem and the Holograms nostalgia didn’t do that already), I worked at a few video stores in high school. Those experiences alone could fill up a post here, but we’ll focus on the Pic-A-Flick Video. Pick-A-Flick is (was?) a chain in the southeast that kind of ruled the game where I grew up. In the hey-day of video stores, there were plenty little mom and pop places to choose from the P-A-F was the most common sight. They even gave Blockbuster a run for their money. I can think of no less than 5 locations in a pretty small radius from my house, one of which employed me for a bit. But that’s a post for another day.

Back when I was researching the possibilities of video stores that were still kicking around me, I found out about this one. So a couple of months ago, I gave them a call and found out that they were not long for this world. You know what that means: VIDEO STORE CLOSING SALE!

Let’s go on a trip!

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Am I the only one who apprecaites that those two businesses are next to each other?

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Right away, I was greeted with the first of several sad signs advertising the store’s demise. I went somewhere around the second week of March, and the place was closing on March 31st. Of course, the prices got cheaper as the month went on.

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This sign breaks down the price drops as the month went on. Of course, there is that temptation to hold out and just snatch up a bunch of Blu-rays for pennies at the end of the month, but I didn’t feel like making another trip out to that side of town, and there was the possibility that all the good stuff would be picked through by that point anyway. Already, the general public had the same thought I did: “Raid the video games!“. All of the PS4 and X-Box One games were gone, but there were still some choice PS3 ones left. I don’t have a PS4 (yet), but I do dust off the PS3 from time to time and try to catch up on all the games I’ve missed out on in the past few years. So, I snagged a few. More on that later.

While there, I spoke for quite a while with Jim and Jan, the couple who ran the place. I found out that they were actually the owners of all of the Pic-A-Flicks in this area going back for decades. We swapped stories about the one I worked at briefly in high school. They had an incredible memory and remembered almost all of the former employees from that store (I guess I wasn’t there long enough to hit their radar). They also remembered my 5th grade teacher who worked there for a while when I was a kid. It was always a trip to go by there and see Mr. Brazille out in captivity at his second job. I won’t bring down this post by commenting on the fact that one of my favorite teachers even had to get a second job to make ends meet. I also won’t discuss the exclusive field trip to Charlotte that he and another teacher took me on one Saturday afternoon. True story…but, that, like so many things, is yet another post for another day.

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Back to business. As fun as the nostalgia trip was, it was kind of sad to see a few other eager shoppers picking the bones of a dying piece of American pop culture, especially when it’s one that’s so near and dear to my black little heart (and so many of yours). Also, watching the owners sit by and watch as strangers picked apart the last remaining pieces of what is likely the last Pic-A-Flick I’ll ever see, hit me a little bit. There were still two more weeks left in the month, and while I didn’t go back after this one trip, I wonder what it was like for Jim and Jan to sit there day after day, reminiscing as they went down with the ship.

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Oh of course I hit up the horror section. The selection was actually pretty impressive, and while I rarely buy DVD’s anymore, I didn’t show up that night just to see the sights. Let’s go shopping!

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Here’s my haul. Some of you may notice that there is a bit of a Clive Barker theme going on. Three of the four of the movies shown here are either based on a Clive Barker story or are Barker-adjacent (ahem, Hellraiser: Judgement). Contracted is the one exception, but I’m equally as excited about seeing that one. One of the stars is Caroline Williams, who I’ve met a couple of times at The Mad Monster Party, and she is one of the nicest genre stars around. She’s incredibly cool to her fans and will talk your ear off if you let her. Trust me, that’s not a complaint.

I’ve still not watched any of them, but that’s coming. I did pop in Resident Evil 5 for a bit though. A “bit” was all I needed. The 4th game is one of my favorite games of all time, but this mess was just a giant pile of digital wank. I don’t know who’s idea it was to make the entire damn game an escort mission, but they should be punished by…being forced to play Resident Evil 5. Ugh.

But Deej, what about that new Hellraiser? Oh, THAT SHIT WILL BE REVIEWED, SON. Stay tuned…

Thanks for the memories, Pic-A-Flick. I’m genuinely sorry for all the times I didn’t rewind.

Pic A Flick closing