[photo post] Mad Monster Party 2017 — Rock Hill, SC

I just read over last year’s post and saw that despite taking two Power Hours, lifting weights and running earlier in the day, I still drove the four hours to Charlotte so we could attend Mad Monster Party. This year I totally wimped out and decided that evening trips over the mountain are for warriors much more badass than I, so we opted to get up before sunrise and make the trip on Saturday morning. Coincidentally, we ate at a Burger King on our trip like we did last year, otherwise it was smooth sailing and around noon we landed at the Comfort Suites in Rock Hill, South Carolina — one of the partner hotels for Mad Monster Party 2017.

The show was being held at the Hood Center, a conference center on the grounds of York Technical College. Our stay at the Comfort Suites included a free shuttle to the venue so after waiting a few minutes we were on our way.

Guests at this year’s event included Pantera’s white supremacist asshole Phil Anselmo, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Tsutomu Kitagawa, Butch Patrick and Mark Torgle in addition to con regulars Sig Haig, Kane Hodder, Bill Johnson, Bill Moseley and Mark Patton. Special features of the event included a costume contest, “Scaraoke,” a Miss Mad Monster pageant and a separate building that housed the Roadkill Gore-age featuring the iconic big screen vehicles from Christine, Back to the Future and the Munsters.

The main reason I was hyped about hitting Mad Monster this year was their newest feature: the Mad Monster Creepy Carnival. Rides included the Creepy Carousel, the Barrels of Puke, Satan’s Slide, the Fly and the Fear-ris wheel. There were food trucks serving up carnival fare such as turkey legs and funnel cakes nestled between old-school carnival games complete with evil carnival barkers.

We hit the show about as hard as we normally do, coming away with a few new t-shirts, pins, stickers, original art and jewelry. We hung out for the panel with the always-entertaining scream queen Mark Patton, put in a few bids (but ultimately losing every one of them) in an auction for Scares That Care and snapped a few shitty photos at a rushed and seemingly unfair costume contest.

I think the highlight for me was eating chicken tenders on a picnic table outside and seeing “The Punisher” ask his mother to hold his beer.

All in all, I’d call it another successful Mad Monster Party and I’m very excited to go back next year.

Below I’ve included a few photos but, as always, there are more in high-res on my Flickr account.

[photo post] Masquerade & Days of the Dead

Summer convention season is approaching its end, leaving us with nothing to look forward to until the Fanboy Expo Halloween show coming up in October. I apparently didn’t post any photos because I didn’t take very many at either show, but this year took us to Mad Monster Party in Charlotte back in March, Marble City Comic Con back in April, Fanboy Expo in Knoxville in June, and now, Days of the Dead in Louisville, KY. When it was announced this show’s guests would include Nightmare On Elm Street’s Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss, there was no question as to whether or not we’d be attending this show (our first at this event) so we got tickets and a hotel room almost immediately.

But then we found out that the Thursday before the show, all the way down in Atlanta, GA, an event would be held at the Center for Puppetry Arts to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the release of the Jim Henson classic Labyrinth, starring the great space man-turned-Goblin King, himself, David Bowie. Not just any event, however. No, this event would be a masquerade ball in tune with the famous scene from the film. I say “famous” but to be honest, I had never seen the movie until I started dating Erin. Hell, I’d never even heard of it.

If you’ve given me a 5-star face palm just now, hear me out. While I watched Sesame Street and the Muppets growing up, I wouldn’t appreciate puppetry until I was much older. And Labyrinth is mostly a musical, which was a no-go for me for a very long time. I turned my nose up at most Disney movies because they involved so much singing. When I was little, I was convinced that if a movie had singing in it, it was for sissies. All music was to be heavy metal or at least very hard rock and roll, or else it was too wimpy for my taste, and Disney movies were neither heavy nor hard.

Even though I know better now regarding both musicals and puppetry, and I know what a righteous rock star Mr. Bowie was, the fact remains that I still somehow never knew anything about this movie. And then when I was 18 I started dating a woman that proudly claimed Labyrinth as her favorite movie.

Favorite.

All I’m going to say here before I post a few photos is that we went. If you want the specifics and more photos, you can read Erin’s much more passionate review of the evening on HER blog (that’s right – she has a blog now and you’d do well to subscribe to it!). I’ll also say that even though it’s still far from my all time favorite, the evening was brilliant, beautiful, and in some respects, even magical. They really did a great job pulling together something special for the lucky few that were able to score tickets.

As usual, if you want to see all of the photos in high res + a few extra, head over to My Flickr account.

The only other thing I have for you in this post are a few snaps we took at Days of the Dead. Mostly Erin with her Scream Queens and us with the Mistress of the Dark, herself, Elvira. Days was a great show at a pretty nice venue. It seems there are lots of freaks that are bitching about something or another, but we had a great time. It was a very big show with lots of talented artists, tattoo artists, and vendors set up alongside an impressive guest list in a clean, very accommodating hotel located in a city I grow fonder of with each visit (this was our third visit to Louisville for various horror cons). I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year!

I have some great photos to share some time next week of a photo shoot I was fortunate enough to do for a group of lovely ladies a few weeks ago. Look for them here or follow me on Instagram.

On a final, more vain note…

me

In Pictures: Mad Monster Party 2016

After two Title Boxing Club Power Hours, some weight-lifting, a very short run, and eight hours of desk-sitting at the office, I was already convinced our plan to make the four hour drive to Charlotte after work was a bad idea. I was already tired and the thought of being on the interstate for four hours, half of which would be completely dark, made my eyes feel heavier than they already were. We stopped about halfway for a quick bite and bathroom break at a shady Burger King out in the country in North Carolina. They didn’t put cheese on our Whoppers and the bathroom smelled like piss. A man collecting crushed aluminum cans out of his back seat and trunk bumped into me while I was getting in my car. My GPS took us into South Carolina where we passed the Peachoid in Gaffney, but another hour later put us in downtown Charlotte at Le Méridien Hotel. It was 10:30, we were super tired, but we’d made it. We were officially at the host hotel for Mad Monster Party 2016!

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Well, sort-of. We were staying at Le Méridien but we parked at the Sheraton. We didn’t realize it was two separate hotels connected by a maze of hallways and ramps. Just a bit of confusion but we made it work. After lugging our gear to our hotel through the Sheraton labyrinth (read: the long way) and attempting to check in at the wrong desk, we were finally comfortably in our room for the night. The hotel is gorgeous and everyone from housekeeping, the servers at the restaurant Evoke*, to the room service, to the front desk folks, and even the maintenance man was extremely friendly. For real, everything was spiffy and our stay was pleasant despite the horrific stories written in their Google and Yelp! reviews.

*The employees of Evoke were very nice but their menu, its prices, and what was actually delivered left a lot to be desired. I spent $17 on an order of Eggs Benedict that actually tasted great, but were served atop English muffins because they were out of cornbread (the main reason I ordered it in the first place), and the poached eggs were overcooked and were basically soft-boiled eggs. I also paid nearly $5 for a small cup of plain black coffee**. I guess I’m the sucker***, but still…

**I’d later find out coffee was being served for free 20 yards down the winding hallway in the lobby of the Sheraton.

***Definitely a sucker.

Breakfast aside, we slept very well. The show opened at 11:00am and boasted of vendors from all over the country selling artwork, t-shirts, jewelry, toys, stickers, pins, movies, memorabilia, and even taxidermy. Notable guests in attendance included Wednesday 13, Dee Wallace, P.J. Soles, George Romero, Nivek Ogre, Bill Mosley, Derek Mears, Malcolm McDowell, James Duval, and Jeremy Bulloch. I’ll say that the reason we wanted to attend this event was to see the great Paul Sorvino with hopes of getting a new autograph on my Repo! the Genetic Opera poster, but he had to cancel the week before the event. We’d already gotten our tickets and booked our room, so we sucked it up and made the trip anyway, despite not really wanting to see any of the celebrity guests.

There was very little lost, though. We surfed around the vendor room and picked up a few things – a few stickers, a t-shirt, a pin, a hockey puck, and an ornamental human skull replica – and chatted with some of the vendors about their art. We also attended panels by the cast of What we Do in the Shadows and the great George Romero, attended an auction to benefit Scares That Care, and finally, the costume contest.

Speaking of costumes, I’ll say what I was most impressed with was the amount of cosplayers. The horror conventions we’ve attended in the past do often involve a small amount of cosplay, but this event had not only a larger number of participants but some quality participants! Several homemade costumes made their rounds, often completely original characters or original takes on famous ones, others put together with the help of great references and lots of expendable income. Below are some random photos of cosplayers that didn’t really turn out great but I wanted to share anyway****

****One gripe was the costume contest was extremely difficult to photograph. When we tried to get good seats for the show we found out we were sitting in “RIP” Reserved seats so we had to move back. I grabbed an aisle seat as close as we could but we were too far back to capture any detail without my telephoto attachment. Also, for some reason, they turned the ballroom lights out and lit the costumes with various colored LED spot lights that were on stage. It looked fun, yeah, but hardly desirable light for a costume contest.

In the end, Mad Monster Party should be considered a success. We didn’t get to see the one celebrity we wanted to see, yeah, and we only saw 1 of the 4 friends we were hoping to run into, yeah, but it was still a good time and, though I didn’t realize it, was Erin’s first time in the city of Charlotte. I think the organizers have put together a fine show and the venue gets the job done pretty well. We’ll definitely make it back to Mad Monster, but only if their guest list outdoes my personal favorite (and unfortunately scheduled the same weekend) Full Moon Tattoo and Horror Convention.

Next up: Marble City ComicCon in April!

Or, I guess next up: half marathon, but I mean, who really cares about that?