I was very unsure if I was going to go to Monster Mania a few months ago when John Squires approached me with the idea. Would I like it? Would I have fun? Would I fit in? All these silly and emotional responses to the invite were keeping me from making any sort of commitment. Then one day I got a call from Kristy Jett, she tells me that Nathan Baesel of Behind the Mask will be at Monster Mania this year. I was in, that’s all I needed to hear to be convinced. The day after, I bought my ticket and waited nervously for the weekend of Monster Mania to come.
In this post I’ll mention 4 key figures:
- John, of Freddy In Space
- Jen, John’s girlfriend
- Chris, John’s brother
- Jes, Chris’ girlfriend
I slept in the same room as these people and spent most of my days in their presence. I will reference them quite a lot in these posts so use that as a guide.
When we first arrived at the hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ, I stepped out of the car to be greeted by the sight of Lance Henriksen smoking a cigarette no more than 2 yards away from me. I was shocked, I didn’t expect to see a person like this out in the open so quickly upon my arrival at Monster Mania. Here was a man who played an Android in Aliens and has been in more movies than most actors. I’ve seen this guy in films for my entire life and here he is, just hanging out smoking a butt. Turns out, Monster Mania is full of these moments.
We headed straight up to the room and began drinking some beers to relax the somewhat nervous feelings we were all having (Chris and Jes have yet to show up because they took at different car). While sitting in our room, the lights flickered on and off until they decided not to come back on at all. Great, this was not how I wanted to start my experience at Monster Mania. I wanted everything to go smoothly, I didn’t want to upset my already anxious composure.
We left the room to go see the vendors, and while there were no lights on (or air for that matter), the sun was still up to pave our way as it snuck through the windows. After looking at all the merchandise (I’m not going to report on every table), we met Chris and Jes at the front door of the hotel. We let them know the bad news of the power being out and not knowing when we would get it back. The elevators were down too, so we had to walk up 8 flights of stairs to get to our room and drop Chris and Jes’ luggage off. The lights came on about an hour later, which we met with a feeling of sadness. We liked the bonding that was going on while the power was out, so much so that we felt robbed when the lights clicked back on.
At this point, we went to go see what stars were available for signings on the first day. The signing room was filled with most of the people on the bill except Danielle Harris, Cary Elwes, and Sam Trammell (I think). I saw Tony Todd from a distance and I needed to not only shake his “Candyman hand” but to also get a copy of Scarecrow Slayer signed. If you don’t know what Scarecrow Slayer is, let me post the trailer:
Right next to him at the opposite table was a Mr. Joe Turkel who stars in the greatest sci-fi film ever made, Blade Runner. I picked out an 8 x10 to get signed and took my picture with him. I thought my encounter with him was over at that point, but he started asking me questions about who I was. He asked me what I did, I told him I was a student. He asked me what did I want to be, I told him I wanted to write and teach. Joe started talking to me about Kubrick and how he looked up to him (he worked with Kubrick on The Shining) and then he told me to give him a piece of paper. On the back of a business card I gave him (from some vendor), he wrote down a book that I should pick up about film and writing. It was a surreal experience to have a serious chat with Joe Turkel and it’s one that’s going to stick with me.
“More Human than Human, that’s our motto.”
There were many more people in the room that I didn’t get to meet (it does cost money to get an autograph), like Ed Furlong, Chris Sarandon, and some of the Ghostbuster guys. I was holding out so that I could meet Nathan Baesel and Danielle Harris, who both mean more to me than anyone else there (Nathan more so).
We spent the rest of the night in the bar, where we drank our Blue Moons and ate fried food. Alex Vincent, who played Andy in Child’s Play 1 & 2, trolled the bar most of the night talking to people here and there. It’s rather odd to see these people just patrolling the bar and striking up conversations with fans. Ed Furlong (T2, American History X) made an appearance too by asking Chris for two cigarettes, Chris used this as an opportunity to get a photo with Ed.
Having a celebrity, even if it’s Ed Furlong, bum a smoke off of you is truly a bizarre experience. Was he broke? Lazy? High? Who knows, but whatever the case might have been, it was something else.
We all went to bed around 1 in order to be fresh for tomorrow’s activities. The first day was eventful enough and even with the power outage, it was a great start to the Monster Mania Weekend.