Another Days of the Dead Atlanta has come and gone. The blood has been washed off, the autographs have been framed, the videos are being edited, the pictures have been posted, and the hangovers have been survived. There were an insane amount of celebrities to meet, lots of cool stuff to shop for, and the fun and camaraderie of hanging out in a community of like-minded weirdos. The DOTD crew put on another great show this year, and the Atlanta scene turned out in force, making this their highest attended event yet. Despite the best efforts of the Sheraton staff, we (well, the hardcore ones that didn’t let the party police ruin our good time) threw down like animals. Just like last year, it was an epic weekend of horror (and alcohol) fueled madness. Just like last year, I had the time of my life. And just like last year, my recollections are kinda fuzzy. I don’t want to bore you with my complete itinerary, so I’ll just hit some of the highlights:
-Personally, the coolest thing about DOTD this year is that it happened to fall on my birthday weekend. If you’re a horror freak (of course you are, you’re reading Son of Celluloid) and you ever get the chance to spend your birthday at a horror con, DO IT! Spending the big 33 among my Atlanta horror friends, my new friends from all over, and the icons of the genre I love made for the best birthday of my life. Leah, my sidekick, camerawoman, and other brain even threw me a surprise party. I got to do a lot of things on my birthday I wouldn’t have anywhere else. I mean, how does it get any better than doing an interview with Frankenhooker on your lap on your birthday? You know what, don’t answer that. You guys have dirty minds.
- If DOTD last year was my deflowering in terms of celebrity interviews, then this year I became a full-fledged interview whore. My goal was to beat my record from last year, which was 6. I blew that away with 15 interviews. Yes, 15. With a guest list like that it was an interview smorgasbord. The vast majority of the celebrities were friendly, very accommodating, and more than willing to talk. I had a blast talking to everyone. I know they’re just regular people, but if I ever get over being just a little star struck talking to people from my favorite movies, then it’s probably time to hang up my microphone. Here’s one of my favorites; my interview with Patty Mullen, aka Frankenhooker. Fun fact – I’d been drinking all day, so I’m well on my way to wasted in this video.
-One thing that struck me as I was prowling around doing my interviews was the lack of a line at Dick Miller’s table. Actually, truth be told, it kinda pissed me off a little bit. That’s DICK F’N MILLER. Come on people. The man is a legend. Even if you’re not paying for an autograph or a picture, you get your ass over there and pay your damn respects. Getting to chat with him for a minute about working with Boris Karloff was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend for me.
- Holy shit, Robert Mukes is HUGE!
- Probably the biggest laugh I had all weekend was when I got into an elevator with legendary actress and porn star Ginger Lynn Allen. I got in, pressed the button, and (without even thinking about the possible double entendre) said “going down.” She very dramatically rolled her eyes and said "Aren't I always?" Everyone on the elevator laughed 'til we cried. Then again, the look on Kane Hodder’s face when we told him that our roommate for the weekend’s goal in life is to suck him off was pretty damn funny too. Am I sensing a blowjob humor trend here?
- There was some killer cosplay going on. I love it when people are not just wearing the costume, but doing the character, and there were some awesome ones. There were a couple of Leatherfaces that had the mannerisms spot on, a killer Frankenstein’s Monster, a lot of zombies, a Silent Hill nurse that did that creepy walk down perfectly, a couple of Michael Myers’s that were genuinely creeping people out, Chambers of Horror’s resident psycho wreaking havoc in his tighty not-so-whiteys, a Julie from Return of the Living Dead 3 that disappeared before I could get a picture, and WAY too many others to name. Do yourself a favor and go find some of the pics on Facebook. The costume watchers were in heaven.
-I could sit and listen to Clu Gulager talk for hours. Someone book this guy on a spoken word tour NOW!
- I guess it’s a law of nature that I, the damn near unfreakoutable, have to get freaked out once per con. Last year it was at the hands of a knife wielding Busey, this year it was at the hands of Mother Firefly and a serpent. As many of you know, I am terrified of snakes. Yeah, yeah, I know. Go ahead and get all that laughing out of your system. You done? Good. Anyway, I was interviewing Leslie Easterbrook when a lady walked by with a big carpet python. Leslie told me that she doesn’t like snakes. I told her that I don’t either. The next thing I know, she said something about confronting our fears together and called the snake lady over to join in the interview. For the next 10 minutes, Leslie talked to the snake lady as I tried my best not to freak out with a snake hissing in my ear. I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m sure the video of “the snake incident” is hilarious.
-There were a lot of really talented artists in the dealer’s room working in a lot of cool mediums. Expect an article highlighting the artists of DOTD in the near future.
- Speaking of the dealer’s room, I didn’t have a lot of spare cash (as usual), but I scored some pretty cool stuff…
This sweet skull print knife from Mutt Family Customs...
...these bad ass 80’s VHS distributor buttons from Customs From The Crypt...
...and this killer stack of DVDs. Some screeners, some birthday presents, some bootlegs, all awesome.
- There were so many other moments like the stripper in the window (she will forever live on in our hearts), Eerie Von covering Bill Withers, taking Neal and Annabelle to The Vortex, Hollis giving me the best compliment ever (“It takes two people to debate a movie with you!”), meeting Butch Patrick (I LOVED the Munsters as a kid), getting to meet a bunch of people I had only talked to online previously, and all of the other little things that make the DOTD ATL experience so special.
Now, in the interest of fairness and honesty, I do have to at least give a cursory mention to a couple of dark clouds hanging over the weekend. First of all, the nighttime security/management staff of The Sheraton straight up sucked. I don’t know what they were expecting, but apparently it wasn’t a party. We were getting shushed in the halls (yes, they were shushing grown ass men and women like kindergarten teachers at naptime) at 11pm. There were cops checking IDs and making people throw away bottles of NON-alcoholic beverages at the main Saturday night party. They ran people out of the party rooms when they thought it was past our bedtimes. They tried to herd us to the less populated areas of the hotel. They tried to enforce a “no alcohol except in cups with lids” rule. In other words, they did everything they could to squash our horror hootenanny. The Fun Nazis failed, however, ‘cause my flask and I raged all night. That was all the hotel’s fault though, not DOTD’s.
There was only one area where I think DOTD didn’t top themselves from last year (in fact, they took a big step backwards); and that was events. Don’t get me wrong, there were 4 cool panels, the Chambers of Horror party, and the tattoo and costume contests, but where were the indy horror screenings? Last year a plethora of flicks were either premiered or showcased, including screenings of some classics introduced by cast members. This year we got the Best of the Buried Alive Film Festival, and that’s it. Good stuff to be sure, but the horror faithful in Atlanta have already seen those. One of the reasons I fell in love with this con last year was their dedication to promoting independent horror. There were less screenings, less filmmakers in the dealer’s room, and less emphasis on indie horror all around this time. Those things are major draws for me. Aside from the screenings, I heard talk of other events (bands, MCW, etc) that didn’t pan out due to the goddamn hotel again. Not DOTD’s fault, but the fact is that ATL is a city spoiled by “that other con,” meaning that we are accustomed to there being 15 things to do at any given moment. We’re hard to impress. Sadly, I heard more than a couple of people saying that it felt more like an autograph show than a con. Here’s hoping the entertainment side of things gets stepped up next year. I’m sure a change of venue would help immensely.Over all, I had a f**kin’ blast. It was the best birthday ever, more people already knew about Son of Celluloid than I ever expected, I made some killer contacts, I got a chainsaw signed by Gunnar Hanson, I outwitted the party poopers at the Sheraton, left a couple of surprises in the room (devilish laugh), and a killer time was had by all. Expect to see interviews, reviews, and giveaways stemming from that mad weekend in the weeks and months ahead. I gotta thank Leah again for all of her hard work, Adolfo and the gang for throwing a bloody good party, and everyone from the guests to the vendors to the attendees for being cool as hell. Now if I can just find a way to get to LA in April…