The Horror Honeys: Son of Monsterpalooza: Where Monsters Meet Their Makers - Part I

Son of Monsterpalooza: Where Monsters Meet Their Makers - Part I

A Monster Honey Wicked Weekend Recap by Jennica

"September isn't too far away, right?"

As it turns out, I ended up eating my final words upon departing from Monsterpalooza earlier this year, seeing as September crept up on me and nearly gave me a fright. Monsterpalooza's deadly spawn Son of Monsterpalooza arrived in no time. 

I'll admit that I'm that unapologetic convention junkie of a horror fanatic. There is seldom a horror convention in the Southern California area that will not include my grinning, drooling face. Vendors remember me, the talent adore me as I adore them, and I plant my ass as close to the stage as monstrously possible during panel discussions to soak it all up. While none of these things change when I attend Monsterpalooza, my experience always differs in comparison to my memories at other conventions.

At the end of every other convention celebrating the genre I love most, I go home with slight buyer's remorse from my fiending horror "needs," and autographs and photos as proof that I was there. But at Monsterpalooza, I always leave with a heavy bag of something extra: inspiration. Thankfully, Monsterpalooza founder Eliott Brodsky and the rest of the Los Angeles horror community firmly believe that inspiration should not just come once a year. Alas, in 2012, Son of Monsterpalooza was born. In it's fourth consecutive year in Burbank, CA, yours ghouly spent last weekend lurking the convention floor at Son of Monsterpalooza and had a RAWRing great time! 

Upon arriving bright and early on the morning of Saturday, September 19th, I was met with a scare before even passing through the convention entrance. As usual during Mosterpalooza and Son of Monsterpalooza, it was an exceptionally warm day in the San Fernando Valley, meaning that eight-legged freaks of great proportions (at least by my California girl standards) would be out in full force. As a lone arachnid came marching toward my feet, I attempted to discreetly back away without drawing attention to myself. It must have been my lucky day because as I inched closer to the doors, I bumped into my hero. A strong, handsome chainsaw-wielding fellow named Ash. That's when I knew that I was right at home.

I waltzed through the convention doors and strolled down the hall in bewilderment of the endless tables of horror goodies and the monsters in the making on every corner. Just as I was preparing to turn one corner, I came to an abrupt hault in front of a table seating a pleasantly familiar face. This particular blonde bombshell totally ruled my adolescent years and no woman has ever made high school rebellion look so cool. As PJ Soles looked up at me with a grin, I knew her hand was the first that I needed to shake. The first time that I met PJ, I had my old, scratched DVD copy of Rock 'N' Roll High School (1979) ready in my hands. This time, I came prepared with Carrie (1976) and Halloween (1978). Mission accomplished. 

See anything you like?
After my warm welcome from my beloved Riff, Norma, and Lynda, I rushed to the theater to claim a front row seat to the highly anticipated Tales of Halloween panel discussion with directors Mike Mendez, Neil Marshal, Adam Gierasch, and Axelle Carolyn. Moderated by Blumhouse Productions' Rob Galluzzo, behind the scene footage from the film was displayed and directors revealed their own tales of maintaining a strict diet of mostly practical effects, prohibiting found footage shorts, and one account which could have escalated to time in the big house.

"And I don't think Trick r' Treating is allowed in prison."
However, the most important takeaway from this first panel of the weekend was that effects, when done well, will instill multiple layers of emotion. As an anthology with ten different directors, audience members are assured to experience fear, grief, laughter, and everything in between. 

Seeing as I had some time to kill before the next anticipated panel, I scanned the halls for talent to cross off my lengthy bucket list. And color me thrilled! My eyes happened to land on an 80s horror icon and timeless ladies' man, Tom Atkins. 

Stop it!
While patiently waiting in line, Atkins turned to me and said, "Just one minute and then I'll jump on you.” He must have seen the puzzled look on my face because he quickly explained, “Well… figuratively.” 

After meeting the man in the flesh, there is no question in my mind that he was only half-acting as Dr. Daniel Challis in Halloween III (1982). Atkins turned out to be a real charmer.

Letting out a small sigh and pulling myself together, I scurried back to the theater to rush to my usual seat near the stage in time for a first look at the new trailer for Juliet Landau's vampire documentary A Place Among the Undead followed by a Q&A, which included True Blood star Kristen Bauer van Straten, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Juliet Landau herself. 

As a few of Hollywood's favorite vampires and vampire movie makers told of their experiences with the genre on and off set, all seemed to be in agreement that vampirism reflects the human condition of loneliness, lust, and loss, which is why we as an audience often sympathize with them.

Vampires are people too! ...sort of. 
With my ass firmly planted as a full house was expected for the next panel, I feasted my eyes on some masters of the horror industry as we know it. Another Rob Galluzo moderated discussion, Tom Holland, Mick Garris, Larry Cohen, and William Malone joined to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Showtime's widely praised television show Masters of Horror

It all started with a dinner among friends... 
While the horror icons reminisced about the state of horror television during the initial run of the show, Tom Holland revealed that it was his last time shooting anything on 35mm film. And although the view regarding filmmaking technology have been strongly polarized, Mick Garris stood by his belief that quality effects are not about the tools chosen but how they are used.

Roaming around the convention floor in search of my next memory in the making, I closed in on Tom Holland's table, but not before being greeted by the now all-grown-up and rather suave Alex Vincent who has survived Chucky's stabby antics from Child's Play (1988) to Curse of Chucky (2013) in his role as "Andy." 

Wanna play?
I have often credited Child's Play as the film that lit the flame to my passion for the horror genre as it is my earliest memory of experiencing a film of its nature. Despite being somewhat fearful upon first glance, my mother explained to me that it was "just pretend" and I became eager to learn how something so imaginative could be brought to life. Having the opportunity to speak with and thank two individuals who have had such an influence on my career as a horror journalist, but first and foremost as a horror fan, was absolutely priceless and there was no better way to end my first day in the trenches of monster mania.

... But the horror didn't end there. Keep your eyes peeled for a full account of my second and final day at Son of Monsterpalooza 2015.

Were you at Son of Monsterpalooza last Saturday? Perhaps you spotted yours ghouly lurking about! Share your experience with me on Twitter: @PrmQueenFrmMars