Having two highly-deviant older brothers, I grew up watching a lot of horror flicks. While they were likely in it for the requisite shower scenes, I was too young to be enthralled by a soapy co-ed. At least initially. Instead of focusing on the double-d's, I was more fixated on the double v's. That is, the villains and the violence. Yeah, those two were doing something in the bed, but did you see how Jason jammed a spear through both of them? Wowzers.
But if there was anything I was even more obsessed with than late 80s/early 90s horror, it was the simple act of acquiring the indecipherable scribbles of someone other people had heard of. Or, as you might put it, collecting autographs. Never to sell, but always to gawk at, I spent too many nights writing letters to moderately famous...athletes, in hopes of getting a much sought after Herbie Hancock.
If only three decades later, an event would be held near my house where my two long-forgotten obsessions could coalesce into a writhing orgy of unrelenting nerdiness.
As soon as I found out that (whatever the Hell this thing known as) Monster-Mania Con was going to be held just over a half an hour away from my house, I knew I was going to go. Even if I had to do it alone. Luckily, I recruited my horror-fiend sister to come with me (under the guise of visiting the family), and all I had to do was get her here from the f--king Emerald City to make that happen. Turns out, that was the easy part.
My birthday had just passed, so I had a little income that needed to be disposed of, you know? And after checking the guest list (and scouring the web for potential prices), I narrowed my wish list to six movie icons: Robert Englund, Kane Hodder and Robert Partick were at the top of the list, with Elvira, Lou Diamond Phillips and Data from The Goonies forming a serviceable second tier. My sister needed to meet Ray Wise to complete some sort of Twin Peaks blood-pact she'd started years back, and anything else was, for her, pure gravy. As for me, depending on lines, and prices... I was going to get three out of the six. I mean, let's get stupid...but not that stupid. I had ordered a half-dozen 11 x 17 posters from Movie Poster Shop for five bucks a pop and was good to go.
My sister Tatianna and I arrived late (about an hour after doors opened), only to be greeted by a staggering line...for one Frederick Charles Krueger. Apparently, Robert Englund got his own ballroom, and for $100 bucks (!) - he'd sign anything. We saw lots of interesting people with various Nightmare on Elm Street tattoos looking to get posters, Funko Pops, and droves of Freddy gloves signed, but at that price...we were good. Guess that Nightmare poster's heading to Goodwill.
We headed inside to find a couple of displays of horror stuff on the ground floor, next to a small conference room full of the celebs. For whatever reason, we darted passed it, and headed down the escalator. After getting through security (one dude in a grey folding chair), we politely looked at the horror-themed goods people were hawking before ducking into yet another ballroom. My sister needed to see Ray Wise, and I was already getting my La Bamba poster ready.
|Dude, that Killer Klowns mask is so cool...|
As soon as we walked in, Sid Haig was signing to the left, and little Georgie from It [review] was signing to our right. Next to him, posing for a selfie with a fan, was Heather Langenkamp (Nancy from the original Nightmare on Elm Street), who I momentarily considered as a replacement for Englund (suck it, Goodwill). Little Georgie was with his dad, and honestly, at a whopping ten years old, he looked a bit overwhelmed. We saw him signing some Pops and some photos (in his adorable little kid hand-writing), then taking a break to hang onto his dad's shoulder. Aw.
Tatianna was overcome by the site of Mr. Wise, so we had to start with him. The rest of the room was pretty empty, and I didn't recognize the few people I could see. Turning around, I could see that Mick Foley was next to Ray, seemingly having the time of his life. And next to Mick was The Nun, and she was choking the shit out of whoever she was taking a picture with - which was pretty awesome. She looked like she should be shooing away yet another cat in her dilapidated art-studio, a vibe that I could get certainly get behind. If I weren't such a bitch, I would have totally said hello.
As we were wrapping up with Ray, Elvira appeared and sort of glided through the crowd right in front of us. For a woman the same age as my mom, she was super hot (an awful thought. that), and at the whispered $35 price tag, she would be mine. Oh yes, she would be mine.
As we waited in the Elvira line, it was posted that Lou Diamond Phillips would only be appearing on Saturday and Sunday, so the dreams of having a signed La Bamba poster crashed nose-first into a cornfield. At this point we had made some line friends, and these guys were telling us some very cool stories. One tall guy with a lazy eye (or two), said that he met John Cusack at this very Con a few years back, which blew me away. Word is ol' Lloyd Dobler is a nice guy, and I'm bummed I missed my chance at a signed One Crazy Summer poster.
After sweating through Elvira, we headed to the opposite corner where none other than Kane Hodder (um, Jason Voorhees) was seated. He didn't have a single person in line, so I sent my sister to gather intel: fifty bucks a signature, plus ten for a picture. That was more than I wanted to pay, but f--k it. We'd come too far and Rrrrrrrrrrrrrritchieeeeeeeeeeeeeee wasn't anywhere in sight.
Kane Hodder at a horror Con is exactly as you'd imagine the stuntman-turned-horror icon to be: a guy who acts like (or knows) he's got the biggest dick in the room. When I got there he was having a good time with this fan named Tony (Tony was a f--king character, let me tell ya), so I felt like a real asshole being next man up. As soon as Hodder spotted my sister, it all changed, however. He immediately began busting my balls about my 'girl', but I had to inform him that she was, in fact, my 'baby' sister. To which he replied, clearly she ain't no baby. Tatianna thankfully chimed in that she was 28, and he looked at me and said, Baby sister? What are you, 31? I told him I was 39, actually. And after he told me I was full of shit, he said, I may be 63, but I f--k like I'm 59 which made his whole entourage snicker. I got my Jason Takes Manhattan poster signed and we got the f--k out of there. Which I should mention, was after he asked to get a picture with my sister. On his lap. Creepy? Yes. But also kind of awesome. If I had the balls I would have asked for a picture with his girl on my lap, because she was all kinds of sexy, but I'm assuming he would have put me into a sleeping bag and swung me against a tree.
To cap the evening, we headed up to the Maryland Room, which was where the main attractions were. We momentarily checked on the Freddy line again, and that f--ker was still epic in girth, and it had been almost three hours. When we doubled back inside, there was Robert Patrick talking with a fan, and diagonally across from him, stood Data from The Goonies. The Goonies is easily one of my favorite movies of all-time, but I had to go with Patrick. He's the T-100 for f--k's sake. Another $50 and it would be time to roll.
The person in front of us had a gigantic True Blood poster for Patrick to sign. He was in awe as it unrolled, as there were at least twenty other signatures already on it. He was being cool with the guy, asking where he should sign it, and the guy sheepishly told him anywhere. Patrick told him about a time he f--ked up another dude's poster, and they got into such an argument Patrick asked him if they could f--king settle it outside. It seemed like an anecdote that would illicit a smile or a chuckle, but Patrick looked like he might kill someone during the telling of it. I was equal parts ecstatic and petrified. This dude wasn't playing around.
Here's the thing, guys. I didn't bring a Terminator 2 poster, because that's f--king lame. I mean, Arnold's the only one on it anyway, so why bother? Instead, I rolled the dice and brought one of the first movies I ever loved because it was so f--king terrible. Yep, you guessed it: Double Dragon. But what seemed like a good idea when I ordered it, was all of a sudden the worst possible thing I could have done. Robert Patrick was going to point at my forehead and then jam a metallic finger through my f--king skull. So, I did the only thing I could: I put it one the table. Face down.
Patrick: Well...what do we have here? (I turn it over) HO-LY SHIT! I haven't seen one of these in years. [he whips out his phone and takes a picture of the poster] Aw, yeah, this is f--king great. [we fist bump, then hi-five] I have a giant one framed in my living room. Hey, let me tell you, this was the most fun I ever had in my life. Me, Scotty, Mark and Alyssa. Man, it was the best. [I say something stupid]. And I'm not bullshitting you, this was the biggest payday of my career. I was just coming off T2, and they were throwing money at me. We shot this in Cleveland - my hometown.
Me: That's awesome. Making good money, and getting to do it all back home? You must have been living the dream...
Patrick: [as he signs my poster] Still am. I still am.
And honestly, for a couple hours in a slightly dank hotel in Hunt Valley, Maryland? So was I, Mr. Patrick. So was I.
Just thirty years...and $135 dollars...after the fact.