In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Festival Of Fear '09

Okay, so here’s my recap of my eventful weekend at this year’s Fan Expo.


As has been my practice for the last few years, I usually go early on the first day, so I can get my shopping done before it gets REALLY crazy. I quickly found two of the trades I was looking for – The Walking Dead Vol. 10 & Whiteout Vol. 2 and was actually really good this year, only making two impulse buys - a shirt and a DVD.

There was some really cool stuff on display this year, including a slick looking booth for the upcoming Tron sequel.

Walking around the aisles, this huge print in art alley understandably caught my attention.

I was like, Jeeesus Christ! I spent the entire weekend trying to find it again to take a picture. I figured someone had either bought it or they were asked to take it down. Thankfully, Schwartz found it on the last day and snapped the pic above with this phone.

The lamest thing at the con was finding out about Scream’s re-launch. Scream is - or perhaps I should say WAS - Canada’s cable horror station. It is changing its name to Dusk this September and going in a new direction. Apparently, when they started playing Supernatural reruns, the female demograpic shot up, so now they are gearing the whole channel around that. It will now move away from its stock-in-trade gore and horror to more female-friendly paranormal programming. The sad thing is that I know I’m partly to blame for this. I haven’t really watched Scream since Masters Of Horror was airing on it. I'm afraid I’ve gotten too used to watching HD content without commercials to give it the attention I should. But, DUSK? Really? I guess Twilight would have been too obvious. FAIL!

I also took a trip to the TIFF booth to pick up some advance tickets.

This little piece of paper is going to be a very hot commodity in about ten days. Like with the Madness screening of Borat in 2006, Jennifer's Body is going to bring a crowd that is not indiginous to the midnight programme. Having a super hot starlet show up for said screening might have something to do with that.


Saturday was absolutely frickin' redonkulous. I have never seen it so packed. By eleven o'clock, the building was over capacity and they weren't letting people in. I'd heard they were expecting numbers in excess of fourty-thousand, but to resort to turning people away? Not good. Luckily for us, Schwartz and I were able to find an alternate way in and just managed to make Max Brooks' Q&A.

Max Brooks is an awesome dude, with a great sense of humour. Right from the start he had the crowd in his pocket.

-“You guys all here for me?” he said, to which some goof in the third row heckled,

-“I thought this was for Mel Brooks.”
-“Who said that? You? Come up here.”

The guy hesistantly came up to the table and sat down.

-“What's your name?”
-“Uh... Andrew.”
-”Ok, tell us about yourself Andrew.”

He got about a few sentences in before he froze, to which Brooks mercifully bailed him out.

“All right, so this is how it's going to go. I'm going talk for a bit about my accomplishments, and then you can talk about yours. How 'bout that?” Then after a pause. “That's what you get for being a smartass, now go sit down.”

This was all in jest, of course. He then fielded questions about his seminal zombie fiction. When asked about how to read the signs of an impending apocalypse, he brought up the subject of gay marriage. Not the hot-button issue itself you understand, but how much coverage it gets.

“If the right wing politicians aren't protesting gay marriage, it means something else has their attention. And when they completely stop talking about it, THAT'S when you start stocking up on canned goods.”

Brooks also had stuff to say about the movie adaptation of World War Z. Brad Pitt's production company outbid Leo Dicaprio's for the rights, but it seemed for a while that neither one actually knew what they were bidding on. Brooks said he read the first screenplay adaptation (written by J. Michael Straczynski) and absolutely loved it.

“If they actually shot this movie like it was in that script, it would be an Oscar winner.”

However, he then went on to say that there have been many drafts since, including one commissioned by the currently attached director Marc Forster. Brooks hasn't read any of these subsequent versions and has sort of washed his hands of it.

“Now I just look at it like, in a few years I'll see a poster and say, hey look, there's a movie coming out with the same name as my book.”

It was a fantastic Q&A that ballooned the already ample respect I have for the man by ten fold.

I walked around for a bit and hooked up with my buddy Mikey. Here's some more pics from the show floor. Again, I didn't take nearly as many as I should have.


The third title announced for After Dark's Horrorfest 2010.

The last time you will see this referenced on THS.

Later that afternoon was the big event. Bruce Campbell's Q&A! I wasn't that close to the front of the line, but somehow managed to snag a front row seat. For anyone who has seen Bruce live, you know what to expect. He's kind of like a rock star. He's a born entertainer and very quick witted. From the moment he came on stage, he just fielded questions rapid fire and had fun with the crowd. It was more like seeing a comedian do stand-up than watching a Q&A. Just seeing Bruce do his thing for an hour was worth the price of admission alone.

Invariably, the first question that is ALWAYS asked is about Evil Dead 4. Here's what he had to say.

“I don't see it happening. Come on, you guys don't really want to see an Evil Dead 4, do ya? What's the point? We'll do it and spend all that time and money, and you'll see it and go, it was all right, wasn't as good as Army Of Darkness.”

One person finally asked a question that every Bruce fan has been wondering about for quite sometime. Why is he not involved with the Bubba Ho-tep sequel?

“I didn't like the script. And rather than get into it with (director Don) Coscarelli, I just walked away. I mean, it's his baby, he can do whatever he wants. I think some things are better left as a one-off.”

I was glad he talked a bit about Burn Notice. He mentioned there is a Sam Ax (his character on the show) movie in the works, which would be about the events leading up to his time in Miami. I'd be more than a little interested to see that.

My favourite part was – and he did this at his book reading in 2001 as well – is his turnaround game. He turns his back and the audience yells out movies he's appeared in that they think are shit and he either defends them or explains what went wrong. I really should have taken video of this, but here's the jist.

Alien Apocalypse - “Yeah, that's top five worst movies. Let me tell you something about shooting in Bulgaria. They are a fine and hard working people, but everyone in the movie except me and Renee O' Connor had Bulgarian accents, so it all had to be redubbed later.”

Serving Sara - “Yeah, that stunk. You see? Even big movies can be terrible.”

Intruder - “Aw come on, that was a long time ago. There's nothing wrong with that one, you're just being a jerk.”

It was just an amazing time! I'm sure you can imagine how quickly the hour flew by. After Bruce there was supposed to be a Tom Savini Q&A, but he had to cancel last minute because he was doing reshoots for the upcoming feature length version of Machete.

After the con was done for the day, I hooked up with a few friends (including DirtyRobot) at a bar downtown and we went to the Rue Morgue after party. We spent most of it downstairs in the lounge though, as we'd all had enough crowds for one day. I guess we all still had Inglourious Basterds on the brain because before we knew it, we were playing Headbanz in the middle of this club. I ended up getting home around three a.m. Not a bad birthday I'd say. Oh, and might I add – best present EVAR.

Thanks Schwartzy!


The last day of the Con I really had only one thing to do and that was the Roger Corman Q&A. This one was absolutely fascinating. This man's influence on American film cannot be understated. I mean how many careers, especially directors, has this man launched? Scorsese, Coppola, Howard, Cameron, Dante... the list goes on and on. The stories of how swiftly him and his associates churned out successful pictures are awe inspiring. The original 1960 Little Shop Of Horrors, which featured Jack Nicholson in one of his first film roles, was shot in three days. THREE DAYS!

He left off by saying that it seems fairly obvious, especially with the market being as volatile as it is, that the future of independent filmmaking lies with the Internet. The Q&A's with the icons that have been around a while – I remember the late Ben Chapman was another great who appeared here – are always engaging because they talk of times that just don't exist anymore.

There were also events with horror icons Barbara Steele and Udo Kier, as well. My friend Rob Mitchell was on hand at the Con, and snagged interviews with both, which I will link to once they are posted.

All in all, it was another successful year. It didn't seem like I went to as many Q&A's as I usually do, but the ones I did rank among the best I've seen in the six years the Festival Of Fear has been around. Now, I have a few days off before TIFF rolls around and things get crazy again. At least I have that week off.


Jeff Sinasac said...

MAN. Sounds awesome. Wish I'd gone now. (Oh, and I picked up Walking Dead 10 the other day, too).

The Inevitable Zombie Apocaylpse said...

Man, I gotta remember to visit more often. Thanks for the Max Brooks stuff, worth the trip alone!

And I am crazy envious you get to go to TIFF/Midnight Madness.

Jay Clarke said...

No problem man, thanks for reading.
Yeah, this whole zombie walk in the city center next Sat is going to be crazy. Zombies have truly gone mainstream. Check Toronto news sites like and as I'm sure they'll have coverage of it. And go here too for more info

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