Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monsterpalooza 2

Over the weekend I went to Monsterpalooza 2 at the Burbank Marriot. Last year the event was great, and here's my report: Monsterpalooza #1 - and this year the event was *packed*. I arrived at 1pm... and there was still a line to get in! A big around-the-building line! Obviously word of mouth about how cool the event was last year created a huge crowd this year - and the place was SRO. You were crammed into the hallway and had to go in the direction everyone else went!

It was too crowded for me to take pictures with my danged phone of some of the cool exhibits - they all end up blurry because people were bumping into me constantly. At the very end of the day when most people had left I took a photo of one exhibit:

After going to Fango Weekend Of Horrors every year and seeing it slowly decline into crap (My Fango Report From Last Year) - Monsterpalooza was a pleasant surprise - it was what Fango *used to be* - about monsters and make up and cool horror and sci-fi stuff.

Monsterpalooza has this great museum of real monster make up stuff (suits) plus lots of exhibits created by make up and effects people - last year there was this amazing *lifesize* diorama of Boris Karloff sipping tea while they put on his Frankenstein make up - it was room sized! Completely amazing - it looked like real people. My pictures are blurry and bad and do not capture the realism of these pieces of art. This year there was Hannibal Lecter in his cage, Blackula, Linda Blair with her head turned back, and all kinds of amazingly realistic pieces of art. Here are some blurry pictures...

This was a whole hotel ballroom filled with exhibits that were part of the event. No extra charge to take the tour and you could do it as many times as you wanted (though - there was always a line, and it was packed).

The other ballroom was the dealer's room, and unlike Fango's room filled with people selling horror junk and faded stars signing autographs, the focus at Monsterpalooza is on monster making supplies and special effects people showing their work. That non-blurry photo was from the *dealer's room* - that was a display of the work from some special effects house. My friend Todd works for one of the special effects houses (you've seen his work in all kinds of movies) and he had a mummy on display. Made just for the show as a sample of his work. He wasn't selling a bunch of ratty bootleg DVDs of movies he ripped that he doesn't own copyright to (Fango is full of those), he's selling his skills as a special effects artist. Want him for your next movie?

Sure, there were guys selling posters and some old stars signing autographs - but the old stars were not the usual folks trying to make a buck... there was Burt I Gordon, director of THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN and Steve Niles was there to autograph copies of 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. Not the usual people you see signing at things like this.

And the dealers were also interesting - not only were there people selling DVDs of how to do monster make up and folks with original masks and busts (the totally cool Lucifer bust was selling for $666), there were artists selling amazing books of storyboards and production art for movies they had worked on and other cool one-of-a-kind things. A couple of poster sales places, but not the grage sale atmosphere of Fango.

Another cool thing about the dealer's room was all of the sculptures used as decorations. This King Kong was about 20 feet high!

Plus all kinds of dioramas that couldn't fit in the museum, like this Leatherface...

And the displays showing some effects company's work was amazing...

Here's Lon Chaney jr's Larry Talbot before and after - if the picture wasn't so danged blurry, you'd be amazed...

Don't hire me as your DP.

On stage they had some great guests and shows. I sat through an amazing *color* slide show of behind the scenes shots of late 50s and 60s low budget monster maker Paul Blaisdell's work on films for Burt I Gordon and Roger Corman. What do you do when you have a movie called BEAST WITH 1,000 EYES and there's no money in the budget for a full-sized beast? Some amazing photos and some funny pictures as well - the giant hypodermic from AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN being use to give a crew member a shot in the butt, Paul and friends eating a monster with ketchup and forks and knives... great stuff!

I also saw a mega-panel for RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD - over a dozen cast and key crew members including Clu Gulager. The panel was funny, told great stories about how they managed to get 2 weeks of rehearsal because the producer Ken Fox (who almost bought a script from me a couple decades ago) didn't know that low budget films never have rehearsal time, some stories about writer-director Dan O'Bannon and his bullet proof home, and some great no-names-used stories about the special effects team that was fired a couple of days into production - leaving the new hires to create complicated effects work on the spot! Great stuff.

I was disappointed that I didn't catch Oscar winner Barney Burman's show the next day - the guy is my FaceBook friend - but did spot him at the event on Saturday.

One of the interesting things about an event like this is that it's the only place I see some of my friends! Some people fly in for the event, others are just so busy during the year I seldom see them... but they show up at horror movie events like this. A group of us spent a while swapping stories about an ex-friend who was not there... and how he had screwed us all over to the point that none of us talks with him anymore. Each of us tried to top the other with tales of being screwed over by this guy... then we all wondered how he could stay in the biz. We figured there are always new people for him to screw over.

There were all kinds of folks I know and kind of know there - great to chat with them. Some people I mostly know online, and may "see" online every day but only actually see once or twice a year. Oh, and I finally met (in person) fellow screenwriter Mark Sevi - who I've known online since the internet was black and green. He was standing behind me in that monster line to get in.

I had a great time and I will be going back next year.

Maybe I'll see you there next year?


- Bill

TODAY'S SCRIPT TIP: Always Be Prepared - and why you should have some scripts in your trunk along with that spare tire.
Dinner: Chinese Chicken Salad.
Bike: No. Pretty much a day when everything went wrong, so I shoukld have just hopped on the bike and went somewhere. But instead I just wrote this and goofed off.


Richard J. McKenzie said...

Whilst perusing the TCM sked for WATL, I found these upcoming OPI's (of possible interest).

4/15 short - making of LOGAN'S RUN (5:48 pm)
4/16 short - making of MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (5:15 am)
4/16 AIRPLANE (11:15 pm)

HONDO AND THE APACHES and THE BROTHERHOOD OF SATAN will show this month and I mention them only because of the titles which, along with HER CARDBOARD LOVER, caught my eye but not in a good way, well, except for the last one, but I'm rambling now...

Richard J. McKenzie said...

btw, HER CARDBOARD LOVER is not a film about a UPS driver's fetishes.

Titles can be so misleading.

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