It's that time of year again...horror conventions are in full force spreading across the entire world. The 4th annual Mad Monster Party was in our home town of Charlotte, North Carolina this past weekend and MatchFlick once again attended to check out the con-goers, celebrities, vendors and well...just to party our asses off like the rest. Last year did not go as well as some would have liked but this year Mad Monster went back to their roots and we had a great overall experience.
We arrived on Friday evening to the Sheraton hotel which is the former Blake. This is the original hotel that Mad Monster used for the first two conventions and let me tell you it was a very wise choice to go back! The Sheraton is just perfect for a convention like this, people can say what they want about the hotel and the prices or parking or whatever but as far as the layout is concerned it couldn't be better. The Sheraton just offers plenty of open space so that the fans can move freely through the hotel. Even at the busiest time on Saturday it was not uncomfortable for us at all and I am definitely one of those people that can get severe anxiety in crowded or cramped spaces with too many people.
Friday night was low key we had dinner at the hotel restaurant and I'll be damned if Riki Rachtman from MTV's Headbangers Ball wasn't sitting at the table next to us. What was cool about that is he wasn't even a guest this year...that's how big this con has become that you actually have other celebrities coming as fans. The restaurant started the event off poorly as we had an entire plate of food dropped on us with no apology and terrible service for a restaurant at half capacity. However we didn't let that stop us from having a great time. We continued to walk around so we could master the layout and get our day planned out for Saturday's events. I decided to pop into the Ackerman Panel for a few mins which featured Tom Savini and Joe Moe. That was cool but we still needed to unpack and get settled so we didn't stay very long. We retired for the evening and set our alarms for first thing Saturday morning.
We left the room Saturday morning around 11:00, hey it takes a lot of time to get my hair that pink! My to-do list included meeting Danny Trejo, Doug Bradley, Amanda Bearse, Art Evans, Vernon Wells and Tobin Bell. We found Alex Vincent outside smoking a cigarette which was cool he remembered us by name from years ago at the first Mad Monster so we caught up with him and then headed to Art Evans.
Art Evans was a really nice guy. I was a fan of his from Die Hard 2 and Trespass. He had a very long conversation with us about the film industry and how he directs on Broadway now. Interesting fact for you fellow geeks he told me that the gold he makes off with in Trespass was actually real gold, in fact the producers thought it didn't look heavy enough on screen so they weighted it down with lead! I asked him about Bruce Willis and he said he was trying hard to get Bruce in one of his plays. He was such a cool guy and I had no idea how old he was the man is over 70 and still rocking the film world! As I was leaving he told me two or three times that he wished he had my voice which was flattering to say the least.
Next was Vernon Wells and what a surprise. Mr. Wells was not someone that I was expecting to have a conversation with but I probably had one of the longest conversations with him over any other guest (with the exception of Tony Todd) ever! What a delightfully nice man he turned out to be. I mean this guy told me about everything and don't get me wrong he was a sarcastic asshole in the most humorous way someone could be. We took shots at each other for about 30 minutes and he told me all about his mother being so proud of him at the screening of Mad Max, how he still as the full costume for the film and Hard Rock offered him an unimaginable sum of money for it but she wouldn't let him sell it. We talked about Commando and how he got really close with a young Alyssa Milano. I also asked him when the last time he saw Arnold Schwarzenegger was and he said actually about 6 weeks prior he ran into him at the Chicken Shack getting some food. I guess Los Angeles is just that way...to hear someone say "oh yea I ran into Arnold Schwarzenegger the other day" as if it was him talking about some regular old guy was just insane. Vernon invited Veronica to sit down at his table (I mean really who wouldn't! Love you honey) and then gave her crackers and a protein bar, yea random but hey still pretty freaking cool!
We then caught Amanda Bearse...which again was just a great all round guest. I personally don't care about her horror films but come on its Marcy Darcy from Married with Children. I will say that she was authentic, she did not seem fake at all and really seemed to enjoy meeting us. We paid for a photograph and even after we stepped away she asked us if we were happy with the photos and was more than willing to take more. I would have loved to talk to her longer but we had to get moving to catch Tobin Bell as his schedule was very intense. I did tell her that the "Marcy Darcy" episode was one of my favorites and she laughed at herself saying yea " he was hoping it was Kelly, or Peg...anyone but me." I absolutely adored getting to meet her and hope to run into her again sometime.
Ok so with Tobin Bell we got very frustrated. We had gone by his table a couple times and he was not there, although we weren't even at the right table. For Tobin they had a separate table to take the money and then you were given a post it note with what you purchased to take over to him. The table was just far enough away and angled differently that it was not the easiest thing to understand. Although I think we actually had missed him a few times because of photo ops that he was doing or some sort of other obligations. I bought an autograph for my doll and tried to purchase a photo which I was then told that not only could we not photograph with him but we couldn't even take a picture of him signing the object. This I have a huge problem with, given I'm not blaming Mad Monster I am certain that it was a Tobin Bell thing, but really? I can't snap a picture of you signing my doll? Of course I went ahead and had Veronica go rogue and snap away with my iPhone as I distracted Bell and his helpers but still none of the photos came out as I would have preferred because of the stealth factor involved. In one of the photos Bell himself looks directly at the camera almost as if he saw Veronica snapping away but he never said anything. Tobin was very impressed that I had Danny Glover's signature on the doll already and he spent a good 2-3 mins debating what color of ink to use and placement of the autograph but other than that I had no personal interaction with him. That type of "high security" setup makes me feel really uncomfortable with guest almost like I'm supposed to just pay, get whatever I'm buying and immediately leave. For the record Tobin wasn't a dick and seemed nice but again I just chose to move on and go to someone else.
Finally I caught up with Danny Trejo, his line was so long every time we went by that we didn't stop. Of course his line was long...its Danny fucking Trejo the baddest Mexican ever born. NEVER have I heard someone say that they didn't like Danny Trejo from his movies to his acting to him as a person....everyone just likes the guy. He was cool, seemed very tired and burned out which Veronica even asked him about....but he was getting slammed all day so at his age he had every right to be. He still was in good spirits and I had to quote a couple Heat lines to him which he was amused by or at least pretended to be, I told him Heat was one of my favorite films of all time and he said "me too brother" and gave me a good fist bump. It was a great experience.
Last but not least Doug Bradley was next. Doug was a different kind of guy. I think he was just a very quiet and reserved man. He was very down to business and just watching him work I would almost guess he was in the military at some point, he was just so structured. We had several people behind us so again I feel bad and didn't want to be "that guy" holding up the line so I paid, got a signed pic, posed for a picture and then moved over the charity auction.
For the rest of the time we were there we watched the charity auction and then later caught some of the bikini pageant. Veronica fell ill Saturday night so we opted to leave early Saturday and go home as the hotel offered no first aid supplies and home was only 25 mins away. Of course some of you die hard Mad Monster peeps have seen on Facebook that I lost all of my autographed pictures, we were supposed to stay in the hotel Saturday night but obviously left in a hurry to get Veronica feeling better and I left them somewhere. I figured it out on Sunday that they were lost and desperately called the hotel which could not locate them...it was heartbreaking to a nerdy fan boy like me those pictures aren't "autographed memorabilia" they are memories of some really good times. I did the only other thing I could think of and contacted Joe Moe who is one of the promoters at Mad Monster and Joe just blew me away. He responded so quickly and immediately came up with a plan to try and find the photos. Joe posted on Mad Monsters Facebook page and even offered a reward from Mad Monsters personal collection which he refused to take any money for. The Mad Monster family showed their support and concern for my loss and people, and let me reiterate.....complete strangers....were offering me their collectibles and pictures for FREE because they felt badly and wanted to help. I literally was almost in tears for most of the day seeing the outpour of kindness. Joe Moe in my book is one of the finest human beings that God ever created, he has always been very kind to me even when I didn't have the nicest things to say about the convention last year.
Mad Monster took the negatives from last year and completely fixed 2015 and even went beyond that to make the 4th one in my opinion probably the best one yet. It was a great, well diverse guest list, they literally had someone there that any person could relate to. The hotel was perfect, the layout was great, really the only complaint I have is where the hell was Bojangles this year? Next year food vendors PLEASE...I can only eat so many $15.00 hamburgers from the hotel.
Thank you Mad Monster for another great experience to remember till death, Joe Moe thank you again from the bottom of my heart and to the rest of the con people thank you as well for all of your support with the lost relics. Till next year!!
Before posting this column Christina Banks, a very nice lady from "Give Kids The World Village"charity, contacted me and made a donation on my behalf, I already received a new pinhead 8x10 signed by Doug Bradley from the charity. If you have a few extra bucks please look them up and donate it is for a great cause. Also Alex Vincent personally contacted me, he had heard I lost my photo and graciously offered to send me a replacement free of charge. Now I just have to catch Danny Trejo and it will be like this never happened. I am so thrilled and thankful.
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Tim Malcolm got his first job at a movie theater in 1996 working as a projectionist. He quickly learned that there was no better job then getting paid to watch movies. Since then he has been an advid film watcher, collector, critic and writer.|
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