SHOCK’s Jessie Robbins reports on her stint at Canada’s Falls Horror Fest convention.
Last weekend I had the privilege to go to Niagara Falls Comic Cons Falls Horror Fest, a SHOCK co-sponsored event on the Canadian side of the famous falls, to be with my people. Going to conventions is what I can only assume running away to the circus must be like. There are lots of like-minded folk wielding business cards, or foam swords, amazing friends you havent seen since the LAST convention, you want to buy EVERYTHING, and for a little while, you can pretend that this is just your life, this is what you do all the time.
This year was a little different than previous years, a certain editor in chief who shall remain nameless *cough* CHRIS ALEXANDER *cough* couldnt make it to the convention so I went in his place, watching the Shock/Horror-Rama table with Suspect Videos Luis Ceriz and my good friend Hailey. Excitingly yet nerve-rackingly I was also tasked with moderating the four Falls Horror Fest Q&As that were going on. Needless to say, there were butterflies, and many frantic text messages to He Who Must Not Be Named.
A fan of the HELLRAISER series myself, and not used to speaking in public, I had to throw myself into my first Q&A with none other than Pinhead himself, Doug Bradley. Luckily, he was a complete gentleman and after the first few questions, I was able to just enjoy the experience. It is gratifying and rewarding to know the effect and the impression that these movies and my performance made on you all, and Im always grateful, Bradley allowed to us, after growling to the audience that he was pain. Doug also dished on some of the gifts he has received from fans throughout the years. Theres an awful lot of them, they come in all shapes and sizes, I have My Little Ponies, and some of them are absolutely minimal, I have one which is just a styrofoam ball with like three pins and two black eyes in it, and hey, its Pinhead, its great <laughs>. After previous interviews citing the requirement to sign a non-disclosure agreement as his reason for backing out on a possible return to the HELLRAISER franchise, Dough made very clear his stance on the upcoming HELLRAISER: JUDGEMENT.
Its not the fact of the non-disclosure agreement, its the nature of this. Not to be egotistical but Ive been a central part of this damn franchise for thirty years. Now, suddenly, Im a security risk. Made me liable for a million dollars if I was deemed to have significantly damaged the producers investment in the project. I just said Im not signing this, and that was it. I expected somebody might pick up the phone, I would have said This is ridiculous, give me Dougs phone number, and I would have been on the phone saying, Whats the problem here, can we reach a compromise? And I would have said sure, but nothing. Gary gave an interview to Fangoria, in which as well as quoting the content of a private email between myself and him, which led to a very angry exchange of texts between he and I, because I was extremely pissed off at him doing that, he said that they started re-casting Pinhead the following day so it doesnt seem to me like they were all that eager. Garys talking big things for Judgement, he said in the same interview that this movie will contain some of the most intense and thought provoking scenes ever seen in a horror film. So, the shower scene in PSYCHO can fuck off, cuz here comes JUDGEMENT, right?
John Kassirs Q&A was peppered here and there with calling out one or two audience members that came in late in full Cryptkeeper fashion, and to the one man who left, Nobody walks out on me, he laughed maniacally. I love coming to Comic Con, its cool for me, first of all to be a fanboy too, and show up and hang with some of the people that Ive admired their work for many years. But also Im a horror fan too, I grew up reading the Tales from the Crypt comic books. I appreciate that people buy photographs and to be able to come here and spend time with fans. The highlight was definitely when he re-enacted his bit from Star Search, where he runs through THE WIZARD OF OZ in two minutes, Munchkin voices and all.
Kelly Michael Stewart and crew from Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival were there promoting the festival and I FINALLY got to check out 2015s LATE NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE, an anthology film starring/produced/and directed by some really great Canadian talent. It was bloody, hilarious and exciting till the end. LATE NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE will be available on DVD, blu-ray and VOD through Parade Deck Films (US and Canada) this October and I urge you to check it out.
Steve Dash and CJ Graham, the Jasons from Friday the 13th Parts 2 and 6, respectively, reminded me more of a buddy cop duo than brothers in blood. Their back and forth banter on the stage, at times amicable, and others playfully competitive was a very strange way to see two machete wielding maniacs. Conversation included a list of favourite kills, Wheel-chair down the stairs backwards says Dash, The heart that I pulled out of Horshack, CJ refers to Ron Palillo, it was actually beating in in my hand, they actually got a close-up with blood popping out of the veins. Calling out late-comers and hecklers in the audience to fight it out in the hallway, Dash and Graham were a lot of fun to chat with. The answer to the question on all of our minds, How the hell does Jason make it look like hes walking but still catch up with his victims, was answered two very different ways. Jasons supposed to be deformed in the water for 35 years and here he comes out, he cant walk, Says Dash, I said the guy cant just run so we created what we call a lope. CJ referred to the logistics of speed-walking, or at least, keeping the form of walking, while still moving quite fast, Blink your eyes and Im already there, I just had a nice, solid, thirty inch, military stride, A to B.
The table is a great place to people watch, and one of the most horrific things I saw this weekend was a man walk up to me with his lips completely blown off. Talking to me like nothing happened, chattering teeth moving up and down, gums-a-flapping. I relaxed a little when I realized that I had met this man before at another convention, where he and his wife were dressed as zombies, lumbering around not speaking to anyone. These ghouls are from Locked in the Cellar Creations from Hamilton, Ontario, and their business is making you do a double take at their horrifying makeup prosthetics. All our prosthetics are hand-made. They have super thin edges and are much easier to blend in than most prosthetics you buy at regular stores. Our special latex formula goes pretty much translucent, so just one or two thin layers of liquid latex is sufficient to get a seamless make-up. Luckily these guys will also be making their way to Horror-Rama this fall in Toronto and Im excited to see what they have in store.
Dee Wallace is probably the most delightful person you will ever meet. And she loves being able to meet with her fans, Ive heard everything from I was conceived in the back seat during your movie to I was actually born in the back seat during your movie <laughs> Dee spoke with me a little bit about her experiences as a clairaudient channel which means that she hears messages from spirit guides. Ive had the gift ever since I was a little girl. I have a very big healing practice, I have five books, I do daily sessions from all over the world, and a free call in show where people can talk to the channel. I think the catalyst that really ignited it again in my adult life was when my husband (Christopher Stone) died, and the first message I got was, Use the light within you to heal yourself. Earlier this year SHOCK spoke with Jennifer Lynn Warren about the upcoming film AYLA also starring Tristan Risk and Dee herself, AYLA is a very interesting supernatural love story, and I play, shocked, the mom, she laughs, she taught him [her son] that your beliefs create your life but hes taken it so far that he believes that he can create his [dead] sister again, and that he does, but then he falls in love with her. And so theres a lot of angles, a lot of conflict, its one of the weirdest, most beautiful scripts Ive read in a long time. Dee also discussed DEATH HOUSE, or what people are calling THE EXPENDABLES of horror, Me, Barbara Crampton, Sid Haig, Kane Hodder, Danny Trejo, Michael Berryman, its gonna be gorier than hell I can tell you that, but it also has some great social commentary that I really appreciated.
Needless to say, Niagara Falls Comic Con was the highlight of my year thus far, being able to speak with some of my favorite names in horror, hang out with some really fun people and come home with armfuls of nerdy horror memorabilia really makes for a great weekend. Hopefully He Who Must Not Be Named allows me to represent Shock again next year!