Last weekend brought forth what has become a time-honored tradition for die-hard horror fans: Monsterpalooza. Established in 2009, the horror themed convention is held every spring to serve as the ultimate gathering of all creatures, ghosts, and machete-wielding serial killers (all just in cosplay of course).
This year has marked what may have been the most impressive turn out for Monsterpalooza yet. The guest list consisted of so many major icons of the horror genre including Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Kane Hodder, Tom Savini, Linda Blair, Barbara Steele, Elvira, George Wendt, Ve Neill, Adrienne King, Ari Lehman and Harry Manfredini, among many others.
Panels that spanned over the course of the three day convention included a first look at the new film, Cult of Chucky, a Friday the 13th reunion panel, a Lost Boys panel featuring recreation of the original make-up, and a Nightmare on Elm Street panel featuring a conversation with Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund.
I attended two of the Saturday panels for Friday the 13th and The Lost Boys, respectively. Friday the 13th featured an intimate look into the history of the franchise with panelists Kane Hodder (Jason; Parts 7-10) Adrienne King (Alice), Ari Lehman (Original Jason), Make-Up/Special Effects master Tom Savini, and the incomparable composer, Harry Manfredini. The fearsome five each shared their own experiences with the franchise, as well as looking toward the future with the new Friday the 13th video game set to be released later this year.
Savini revealed that he has personally created all the kills within the game and Hodder has provided motion capture for the character of Jason. Manfredini has returned to recreate his iconic themes from the original films as well. After plugging the game, moderator Tony Timpone opened the floor to the audience for some questions, the most obvious one being “When will we see another movie.” The panelists regrettably announced that the most recent plans for a reboot have been cancelled, but that they are hoping the game’s sales will spark studio interest in making another film. Adrienne King also mentioned that she had gotten to read the script for the intended reboot, as she was in talks to return to the franchise in the role of Jason’s mother, Mrs. Voorhees. The panel culminated with a surprise Jason cake (with 13 candles) for Hodder, seeing as it was his birthday.
Immediately following the Friday the 13th Reunion was a panel showcasing three make-up artists who changed the game forever with their horrifying work on the 1987 vampire horror comedy, The Lost Boys. Prior to the panel, the three artists Greg Cannom, Steve LaPorte, and Ve Neill recreated the makeup for everyone’s favorite vampires live from the show floor with the completed Lost Boys presenting themselves at the panel.
Also joining the panelists was surprise guest Jamison Newlander, who played Alan Frog, fearless vampire killer and brother to Corey Feldman’s Edgar Frog in the film. Moderator Paul Davis interviewed the panelists on their experiences with the prostheses and how it effected the actors. It was noted that a few of the vampires had left the shoot with damaged corneas from the contact lenses, one of them being Kiefer Sutherland. Panel moderator Paul Davis also noted that he is in the process of writing a book on the production of The Lost Boys which is due out this August.
Aside from the educational panels and celebrity autographs galore, Monsterpalooza also had a small art exhibit showcasing sculpted recreations of many familiar faces including Pennywise the Clown, Michael Myers, Bender & Dr. Zoidberg from Furturama, and even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The museum exhibit also featured actual screen-used props including a stake from The Lost Boys as well as Kiefer Sutherland’s face mold.
Monsterpalooza 2017 went off without a hitch and is well worth it for any monster movie fan. Be on the lookout for “Son of Monsterpalooza”, coming to Burbank this fall!
Written by: Travis Hayward