Ed. note- I’m privileged to be friends with Mike Baronas. When I first met Catriona MacColl at Chiller a few years ago, I asked her if I could interview her. She kindly informed me I had to speak with her rep Baronas , who was sitting next to her. When I found Mike’s site a while later, Pauraprod.com, I emailed him a request to interview Catriona, and asked for a copy of PAURA VOL. 1. He kindly sent me a copy, and once I reviewed it, a friendship was formed. Mike is a great guy, and the most fanatical Lucio Fulci fan I’ve ever met. When I asked him for an interview with Catriona at Rock and Shock ’09, he kindly arranged it. It’s the best interview I’ve ever done, more thanks to Catriona then myself. All I can say is that when I saw her at Chiller last October, she remembered me and the interview, which she complimented. I have Mike Baronas to thank for that. Rock and Shock is a quality show, even if you’re not interviewing one of Fulci’s lead actresses. Check out this year’s show if you can. –P.F.
Lots of Snow and Juggalos
Monster Bash, Worcester, MA
October 18, 2009 at the Palladium
Sometimes I go to a faraway convention and say to myself, “This was well worth the trip.” Whether it be a long flight or car trip (not interrupted by hitting a deer, preferably), with weather variables, travel obstacles and bleary-eyed exhaustion added to the mix, the convention at the center of it all pays off. Such was the case with the Rock and Shock Weekend in Worcester, MA that I attended on October 18th. Even with one aborted interview, a wet snowstorm and a bevy of Juggalos, I can’t help but smile at the thought of this con.
Along for the ride were my cantankerous buddy John (he used to go by Brando) who I’ve known since high school, and a more recent friend Jonathan, who’s as much a staple on the circuit as some of the guests. Each of us had our own agendas: John was Hell-bent on meeting America Olivo; Jonathan was out to catch up with some old celebrity friends, and had arranged an interview with Adrienne of the first two FRIDAY THE 13TH films two weeks earlier. Me, I was happy to know Mike Baronas. Mike is the most fervent Fulci fan I know, and has parlayed that into managing many of the Italians who he’s loved on film. He invited me to come to Worcester on the offer that I could have all the time I wanted to interview Catriona MacColl.
Walking from the car to the DCU Center in a steady downpour, a huge convention center that looks like the younger brother of NYC’s Javits Center, I was accosted by four 18-wheelers with the faces of the Insane Clown Posse. As I proceeded inside, I was surrounded by Juggalos, ICP fans who sported their heroes’ face paint. Later, I would come to realize they made for roughly half the convention’s attendance that day. Rock and Shock is, as far as I know, unique in that it’s a full weekend of horror signings and concerts. Certainly the “Rock” had spilled into the “Shock.”
When the gates opened, I walked into a huge hall that was ¾ dealer’s room, and ¼ convention guests. The vendors had plenty to offer, though I passed on buying a 12” Barbra from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to join my Bill Hinzman cemetery ghoul, because she was twisted in the box. Plenty of shirt vendors were at hand, including my friends at Lixonline, who always have unique shirts, which makes them a definite stop for me at every con (this time I invested in a ZOMBIE 30th anniversary shirt).
Soon after looking around the vast hall, I went in to the autograph signing section to greet Mike. He introduced me to Catriona, whom I had met a year earlier. As it was still early, I offered to come back in 45 minutes. I was anxious to get the interview I’d travelled so far to get, but it’s always good policy to return kindness with kindness.
In the meantime, John and I went to meet America. Gorgeous and funny, she was a joy. Jonathan, at the time, was off chatting with his friend P.J. Soles, another really great horror star to meet. We then went to speak to Adrienne, in order to set up her interview for after Catriona’s.
I realize I’m writing this convention report more about my experience than I am judging whether it was a worthwhile con or not. Let me take a second here to say that yes, it was a high-quality convention, with a solid group of guests such as Malcolm McDowell, John Landis, Kane Hodder and Derek Mears. While none of them are rare to the circuit, having them all together in Worcester was a regional treat; and I could tell from the number of fans who suffered hideous weather on a Sunday, when the New England Patriots were playing, that this show was a success.
But let me return to Catriona, as I did with eager anticipation. Mike set us up in the green room, and this should tell you all you know about what a classy lady Catriona MacColl is: she offered to get me a cup of coffee. We sat for over a half-hour, and discussed her roles in the three Fulci movies; her work with Christopher George, David Warbeck and Sir Laurence Olivier, among others; the kindness of Mike Baronas; and her great appreciation for what she refers to as the “cult of Fulci.” I’ve met close to 200 horror celebrities over the last six years, and I can honestly say that Catriona is one of the most gracious I have encountered. Not only was she kind enough to give a great interview, but she left me feeling high about autograph signings in general.
Having ended the interview, I then came over to Adrienne’s table, hoping Jonathan and I could do a joint interview soon after. I wish I could tell you that I got a second great interview that day, but complications arose as Adrienne left for another interview. In the interim, John had gone off at one point to get Mears to add his signature to the many others on John’s hockey mask; he came back with the tidbit that Derek is actually not signed to play Jason in the sequel yet. I spent some time with Jack Ketchum, a great author whose stuff I’d never read before. I sat and talked with Kane Hodder, who had the day before accidentally asphyxiated a fan while taking a picture with Kane’s favorite chokehold applied. During our conversation, a certain has-been makeup artist decided to shoot rubber bands at Kane and other guests. Clearly this was going to be a long afternoon, as I realized when I went to the restroom and noticed that snowflakes the size of silver dollars were coming down. Fortunately, it was a wet snow, otherwise I’d have been digging my dad’s car out from six inches of it before we embarked for Long Island.
When Adrienne returned, she was bogged down with fans. After she signed for a while, Jonathan got a partial interview with her, before she had accumulated more Juggalos who wanted her to sign stuff. We’ll attempt to complete the interview at another time, as I know FRIDAY fans want to see what the first film’s survivor has to say.
As I almost plowed down 50 Juggalos who refused to move from behind the car, I girded up for a long, dreary trip home. But I didn’t feel dreary inside. Rock and Shock had been a whole different convention experience for me from what I was used to, and I thank Mike Baronas for inviting me; because once I got home and settled in, my first thought was, “This was well worth the trip.”