web analytics
Home > Weird > Horrors

Horrors

March 29th, 2011

During the year that I lived in West Hollywood, I found myself in horrific company. My roommate Guy and his circle of friends were all monster mask mavens, their homes decorated with row upon row of bodiless heads. Our downstairs neighbors were David and Laura Lady, a couple that seemed not only made for each other but constructed in the same laboratory. David was (and is) a talented mask sculptor, and Laura was (and is) a whiz at hairwork and costuming.

I moved back to Indiana in ’87, and the Ladys returned to their ancestral Ohio a few years later. They set up haunted housekeeping in a converted hotel that served double-duty as a walk-through Halloween attraction. I visited Horror Hotel once in the ’90s, but didn’t see the Ladys again…until this past Saturday. I dropped in on the Horrorhound Weekend convention, where Dave and Laura were among the honored guests of “Mask-Fest.”

I’ve always enjoyed monster movies, but–Godzilla excepted–I’m not an out-and-out fanatic. While I’m fairly well-versed in the history of horror, I’ve missed quite a few of the classics. And the genre’s recent trend of “torture porn” repulses me.

So, while I can generally get by at an event like Horrorhound Weekend, it’s not quite my cup of arsenic. I was uncomfortable with the amount of misogynistic imagery and bare boobage on display, moreso as there were small children in attendance. And then there was the DVD dealer with copies of Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will sitting amidst the slasher films.

Awwwww, cute.

Which is not to say that I didn’t enjoy myself. There were plenty of old-school monsters loping amidst the Jasons and Jigsaws, as well as some very impressive costumes. The eight-foot-tall Frankenstein was himself dwarfed by a 10-foot Grim Reaper with light-up eyes and articulated skeletal fingers.

This ambulatory pumpkin patch took a well-deserved second place at Saturday night's costume contest.

There was an entire room devoted to TV horror hosts. Most of them seemed to be hobbyists taking advantage of the Internet and a large supply of “Clown White” makeup to reinvent themselves as wanna-be Svengoolies or Zacherleys, but at least a couple were making a serious run at it.

I had a surprisingly lengthy conversation with this robot.

A couple of Ghostbusters discuss what to do about Indianapolis' famed horror host Sammy Terry.

There were dozens of quasi-celebrities lining the walls, signing autographs for 20-to-30 bucks a pop. They ran the gamut from the relatively famous–Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator), Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead) and Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects)–to the guy who wore the mutant mask in The Funhouse. I had a nice chat with Jeffrey Combs, with whom I had worked on a crappy, crappy* film called The Phantom Empire. (And, by “with whom I had worked,” I mean that he starred in it and I drove a shit-filled motor home as a production assistant.) I think he was amused when I showed up with a Phantom Empire DVD for him to sign.

Amongst the third Killer Klown from the left and a gaggle of cast members from Halloween III: Season of the Witch sat an honest-to-Cthulhu film legend: actress Barbara Steele. Her spike-scarred face from Black Sunday was one of the indelible images of ’60s horror.

It troubled me to see only a trickle of people paying their respects to Ms. Steele while at the next booth over Sid Haig (best known as “Captain Spaulding”** in House of 1,000 Corpses) always had about a dozen queued up. I have nothing against Haig, who has certainly paid his dues. He’s been in the industry long enough (including a star turn as the villain in the ’70s kids’ show Jason of Star Command) to have multiple generations of fans. But, come on…it’s Barbara frickin’ Steele. Attention must be paid.

Dave Lady, attired in seizure-inducing strobing goggles and gloves, gamely emceed the costume contest despite the distraction of a travelling geek show–complete with portable stripper pole–that simply refused to relinquish the stage. I was fond of the guy dressed as Robot Monster‘s Ro-Man of the Planet Ro-Man, but the contest was won by a duo who came as the bedroom scene from The Exorcist.

Unfortunately, you're not getting the full effect of Dave's light show here, as my camera flash washed out the coruscating colors.

It was great to hang out with my friends again, and I hope to do it again next year!

Please enjoy a final few random images from Horrorhound Weekend.

*Crappy.

**All weekend I had the Groucho Marx song “Hooray for Captain Spaulding” in my head.

Comments are closed.