Zombies, porn star killer, sexy SAW country band highlight Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors
Not only does Fangoria’s convention in Los Angeles this weekend (April 25-27) look to be bigger and better than ever, the whole Weekend of Horrors theme seems to be spreading across the whole metropolitan area.
Pandemonium and mayhem is sure to ensue as fans find themselves struggling with what sights and sounds to see and hear. But don’t worry, www.PollyStaffle.com is offering the following helpful list of not-to-be-missed horror attractions.
1. OLD SCHOOL ZOMBIES
Topping the list is the “Night of the Living Dead” 40th anniversary reunion, which takes place Sunday. Director George Romero, whose most recent film was “Diary of the Dead” will be joined on a panel with co-writer John Russo, producer Russ Streiner, and various cast members, including, Judith O’Dea (Barbra) and Marilyn Eastman (Helen Cooper).
“I really want to meet and see the ‘Night of the Living Dead’ cast,” said model Vanessa Alexandra, who is one of 13 finalists in the weekend’s Spooksmodel contest. “My mom and I have watched that movie so many times since I was a little girl. She wanted to come this year but can’t because she’s sick, so I want to take all the pictures I can with them and meet them all so she can live vicariously through me.”
For those like Vanessa that can’t get enough of the living dead film that jump started Romero’s career and resurrected the zombie subgenre, the film will screen in a new 35 mm print at the Egyptian (6712 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles) on Friday. Select members of the cast will be in attendance at the midnight picture show. Win free passes for the event at PollyStaffle.com.
2. SEXY GUITAR SLINGING SINGERS
The southern-fried country rock band Smith and Pyle gets the thumbs up as the second coolest draw of the weekend.. The musical act, which performs songs like “I Wish You Were Dead” and “Spankin,” is made up of the sizzling actress duo Shawnee Smith (Jigsaw’s protégé Amanda of the “Saw” franchise) and Missi Pyle (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”). Smith & Pyle will highlight the Saturday Night Celebrity Cocktail Party.
Film producer and music supervisor Sean Fernald says checking out the tunes of Smith and Pyle is definitely high on his list of things to do this weekend. “I’ve been a big fan of both of their work as actresses, so you know they’ll put on a great show,” said Fernald.
3. SUNFFTASTIC MOVIE
The shocking world premiere of the sequel to Shane Ryan’s cult classic “Amateur Porn Star Killer” checks in at number three. “Amateur Porn Star Killer 2,” gets its theatrical debut at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 (8000 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood) at midnight Friday and plays again Saturday. Both nights will feature appearances by the makers of the film. PollyStaffle.com is currently giving away tickets to the screenings. The indie gem, made with a budget of $20, follows the “boy next door” snuff auteur Brandon as he turns young women into amateur porn stars before killing them.
“It flirts with porn, horror, reality and art-house,” said Ryan of his film that has been called “Snufftastic.” “I think Fango people should enjoy it because it’s probably the artiest horror film they will see. Love it or hate it, it’s something new.”
4. TWO MINDS OF FRIGHT
The appearance of the creative minds behind “30 Days of Night” at the convention claws it way to number four. Film director David Slade and horror comic book writer Steve Niles will be signing at the Gentle Giant booth at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Niles was recently named by Fangoria as one the “13 rising talents who promise to keep us terrified for the next 25 years.” “30 Days of Night” was Slade’s second feature film. He was best known as a music video director and worked with the likes of Muse and System of a Down, prior to his excellent debut feature “Hard Candy,” which starred Ellen Page.
5. QUEEN OF THE NIGHT
The crowning of the first ever Fangoria Spooksmodel smiles and waves it way into the number five spot. The semifinals will take place at the Shock-N-Roll Spooktacular on Saturday, which will also feature the psychobilly band Nekromantix and a fashion show from the Coffin Girls. The unveiling of the convention’s mistress of darkness will take place Sunday.
“I know the popular conception is ‘sex sells’ and most would expect a spokesperson for anyone to have huge tits and ass because it’s attention getting,” said Vanessa, who gets PollyStaffle.com’s vote. “Hell, I like it too, but I have neither. What I do have is knowledge, passion and love of the horror genre, starting from the time I first saw ‘Thriller’ at two to now being almost 25 and immersed in the horror scene.”
6. BLACK WATERS RISING
The panel discussion of Gabriel Bologna’s “Black Waters of Echo’s Pond” spills into the number six slot. Danielle Harris, James Duval (“May,” “The Doom Generation”) and the Babysitter Twins of “Grindhouse” - Electra and Elise Avellan – are among the cast and crew that will talk about the film Saturday at the convention. Ryan admits Danielle Harris makes this a convention biggie for him.
“I’ve had a crush on Danielle since, I believe it was, ‘The Last Boy Scout’” Ryan said. “Yeah, I know she was a little kid, see, she is several years older than me. I came close to meeting her multiple times. One of my classmates was her friend in eighth grade and in high school I had a history class with the kid who played her brother in ‘Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead.’ So, when I saw her naked in Rob Zombie’s ‘Halloween’ it was like seeing the hot girl next door you grew up with naked.”
The Frightful Film Rooms of Horror scare their way to number seven. One of the films playing is Bruce Dickson directorial debut “Red Velvet,” which stars Kelli Garner (“Bully”) and was produced by Fernald and Jim McConville. Co-producer/co-writer Joe Moe says the film “is meant to be a sort of deconstructed slasher film, which aspires to play with conventions of the genre while hitting all the necessary horror marks.” “Red Velvet” recently played the California Independent Film Festival in the wine country of Livermore, Calif. “It was very well received,” Fernald said. “Which is extra cool since the audience was not made up of genre fans.” It screens for Fango horror fans on Saturday at 2 p.m.
8. CLERKS WITH CHAINSAWS
A panel on Stevan Mena’s horror mockumentary “Brutal Massacre: A Comedy” checks in at number eight. Mena will appear Saturday with stars Brian O’Halloran, best known as Dante in “Clerks,” Gunnar Hansen, Leatherface in 1974’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” Ken Foree, of the original “Dawn of the Dead,” and Ellen Sandweiss, Theresa Tilly and Betsy Baker, the ladies of “The Evil Dead.”
9. FEAR ITSELF!
Saturday’s “Fear Itself” panel blazes a trail to number nine. The 13-episode suspense and horror anthology series from Lionsgate will air on NBC and is set to feature a number of high caliber directors like John Landis (“An American Werewolf in London”), Darren Lynn Bousman (“Saw II”), Ronny Yu (“Freddy vs. Jason”), Brad Anderson (“Session 9”), Mary Harron (“American Psycho”), Stuart Gordon (“Re-Animator”) and Ernest Dickerson (“Surviving the Game.”) The series will be previewed by Victor Salva (filmmaker behind “Jeepers Creepers,”) Dan Knauf (writer of “Carnivàle”) Drew McWeeny & Scott Swan (“Masters of Horror” writers) and actor/writer Johnathon Schaech (star of “The Foresaken” and “Doom Generation.”)
10. MIDNIGHT SWIM
Snagging the last spot on the top ten list is Zach Passero’s “Wicked Lake,” which will have its world premiere this weekend. Passero, producer Chris Sivertson and actors Marc Senter, Robin Sydney, Eve Mauro, Carlee Baker and Eryn Joslyn will be part of a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Some of the cast and crew will also be on hand for a Q&A after the midnight showing at the Egyptian that same night. Check PollyStaffle.com for a chance at free tickets to the screening.
AND THEN SOME
Honorable mentions that just barely missed the top ten list include the Fango Con appearances by Eric Red, Charles Band, Tony Todd, Sid Haig, Clive Barker, Angus Scrimm, Joe Dante and Scream Queens Scout Taylor-Compton, Tiffany Shepis and Brinke Stevens. If you’re still at a loss of what to do and see; there are more than one hundred celebrity guests. And as Vanessa points out, if you are a fan of horror, you can’t really go wrong this weekend in L.A.
“A ton of people who have the same insane and crazy love for gore and violence in one place?” Vanessa asks. “How much fun is that? You don’t get that ‘Oh, there’s that weird chick’ look here. You get ‘Hey, you liked that movie where that chick got her baby cut out of her stomach too? Awesome, let’s be friends!’ It’s just a place for like minded people to come together and just celebrate this thing that is horror. You don’t get that all the time.”
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