Monsterpalooza 2018

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Author: Joe Di Gaetano

This past weekend celebrated the 10th anniversary of the monster-themed celebration, Monsterpalooza. This three-day fan fest, dealing with everything in the horror genre, was held at the Pasadena Convention Center from Friday, April 13, to Sunday, April 15, 2018. Yes, even I found the beautiful irony of kicking off a horror convention on Friday the 13th.

Monsterpalooza is the event for anyone who’d watched a movie about the thrills and the kills. Creators from all parts of the genre were ready to engage with fans. This year was no exception.

One form of the genre with a strong celebrity presence was all eras of the undead. Actress Judith O’Dea (Barbara) from the classic Night Of the Living Dead had a booth where she discussed how these monsters have evolved in pop culture with zombie lovers. Ken Foree, who played Peter in the original 1978 version of Dawn of the Dead, was also present. Two actors from The Walking Dead, Tom Payne (Jesus) and Denise Crosby (Mary) enjoyed recounting their favorite scenes and avoided spoilers with deadheads.

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There were also many recurring celebrities. The amazing actor and well-known special effects artist Tom Savini showed off his prosthetics. Linda Blair from The Exorcist was promoting her cause for pet adoption. The hauntingly fabulous Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) appeared in her usual black. Lastly, Kane Hodder, who portrayed the 7th Jason Voorhees (the infamous serial murderer from the Friday the 13th movie series), was present for photos and autographs.

Though this event is heavy with celebrity-fan interaction, badge holders can buy horror-themed merchandise and memorabilia throughout the main floor. The collectibles at this year’s Palooza range from set props to figurines. Warcraft, the movie, had a booth with costumes and weapons used in the film for sale. There was even a small clapboard from Universal Studios’ Jaws. As for figurines, there was a large representation of Pennywise the Dancing Clown from the 2017 remake of IT.

The variety and creativity are certainly visible in this community. Some notable merch included face-carved soaps, such as Maugus, Gizmos’ gun-toting mohawk counterpart in Gremlins. Another memorable item was a purse with a shoulder strap that was attached to a VHS case. If you are a fan of fez hats, yes, there was even a booth selling them.

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Though some come for the special guests, while others come to purchase new treasures, many haunt monster mash to experience panels. Often these round tables include cast and crew eager to preview a new horror movie or show. Front runner this year was Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, which features actor Thomas Lennon. This movie has an NC-17 rating and will be released in select theaters. 

The other panel was for the documentary To Hell and Back, which focuses on the career of the previously mentioned actor, Kane Hodder. It focuses on his struggles, emotionally and physically, as he grew up and throughout his acting career.

For anyone looking for a new convention community to join, Monsterpalooza would be a great choice! It’s filled with many famous faces from the industry, various quirky collectibles and merchandise to buy, and panels to attend. The simultaneous fear and joy of meeting your favorite horror actors mixed in with others who get their kicks from creepy make this convention worth it.

For tickets and details on Monsterpalooza: http://www.monsterpalooza.com/spring/

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