A Lot of Heaven and a Little Bit of Hell
Monster-Mania Con 21, Cherry Hill, NJ
March 9-11, Cherry Hill Crowne Plaza
Monster-Mania 21 started out for me the way every Cherry Hill Monster-Mania starts out. Me flying down the New Jersey Turnpike with THE LOST BOYS soundtrack playing as loud as I can get it without blowing out my speakers. But this time, things were going to be a little different. William Sadler was going to be there. This is a man who has occupied every daydream and fantasy I have had for the past twenty years. I am brave enough to admit I have an abnormal obsession (my son is named William, no it’s not a coincidence). I had the privilege of meeting him at a Chiller convention a year and a half ago, and he couldn’t have been sweeter. But this time, it would be the entire weekend in the same hotel with him. Chance meetings in the elevator, the restaurant, and being able to stand in the same room with him over a 48 hour period. I was excited and nauseated at the same time.
Thursday night was a blast. With two of my best friends we unpacked, went out for dinner and came back to the hotel to see which guests were coming in early. Kane Hodder was one of them. As many times as I’ve met him, he never ceases to amaze me. Always a smile and a big hug and LOTS of joking around. I adore Kane, he is one of the best guests I’ve ever had the privilege to meet.
Thursday night came and went with no sign of Sadler. Friday afternoon came quickly, and standing in the lobby hanging with my friends, I turned around and there he was. Standing at the front desk checking in. I’m not ashamed to say I started to cry. I felt the lump in my throat and my eyes started to fill up with tears. Needless to say the teasing from my friends was relentless. He picked up his bag, turned around, and headed to the elevators. Of course I was in his path and when he passed me a very meek “Hi Bill” came out of my mouth. He smiled and nodded and went up to his room. I almost fainted.
Bill’s table was the first one I went to, and with the support of my incredible friends, I was able to meet him again without falling over. He was gracious and friendly and agreed to hug me in the picture, which I now ask for thanks to Cary Elwes . Throughout the weekend I went back two more times and was fortunate enough to spend some time with him in the lobby before he left on Sunday. He told behind the scenes stories about DEMON KNIGHT and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, and was very personable. I have to say that meeting him was one of the best experiences of my life.
Saturday came with the usual hustle and bustle of Monster-Mania. For the first half of the day I was working a table for Diana Barrows from FRIDAY THE 13TH PART VII, and it was a unique experience. She was very sweet and gracious, and she did something I’d never seen before. She loved getting feedback from the fans and brought her own camera and camcorder to record the memories of everyone who came to her table. She took pictures and even asked some to give their point of view on video. By 2:00 that afternoon my shift was done and I was ready for a nap.
My next stop was Anthony Michael Hall. He had one of the longest lines all weekend, it took about an hour to get to him and it was well worth it. I had a mini poster from an old tv movie he did called Hijacked Flight 285 and the quote I wanted him to write was about a paragraph long. I handed the poster and the quote to his agent and asked if it was too long (Michael Rooker proved that to be a problem with my DARK HALF poster), and he smiled and said “No problem at all”. When Anthony saw the poster, his reaction was priceless. He looked shocked, then smiled and said “I played a hijacker in two different movies”. He wrote my entire quote on the poster and was extremely gracious. He was sweet and friendly and dressed in a suit all weekend, truly a class act.
Alex Winter would be my final guest on Saturday. I had my LOST BOYS Mexican lobby poster (what I call “my baby”) and was very excited to have him sign it. Alex proved to be very nice, but not much of a talker. He seemed quiet and reserved, but unlike Rooker (yes, I’m still bothered by that) he signed the quote I asked for.
This Saturday night we were having a memorial. My very dear friend Andy Creppon passed away last October, and this was the first Monster-Mania without him. With the help again of my amazing friends, we put together a DVD with a slideshow and music and gathered everyone, including his sister, her husband and their new baby boy. There were old memories shared, a few laughs, and a lot of tears. We all took shots of his favorite liquor and toasted his memory. I would like to publicly thank everyone who attended, not only for his memory, but to support myself and his family. It is something I will keep in my heart forever.
The rest of Saturday was a blur. Jonathan in his Michael Myers costume provided lots of pictures, that I’m sure someone will use to blackmail me later. The alcohol was plenty and laughs were constant. I didn’t get a wink of sleep that night but it didn’t matter, I have memories that will last for a lifetime.
As the sun came up on Sunday we began to pack and I awaited the arrival of my sister, her son and my son. Being the Walking Dead fantatics that we are, we had to bring the kids to meet some of their favorites.
Chandler Riggs was first on the list. He is the one my son was most excited to meet, and I found out throughout the weekend that his time at his table was limited because of child labor laws so we had to grab him when we could. He was very nice and friendly and extremely mature. He handled everything very professionally and my son couldn’t have been happier for the experience.
Michael Rooker was next on the list. I had met him on Friday and he seemed happy enough, but I think by Sunday he was a bit worn out because he wasn’t as fan friendly.
Next up was Iron E Singleton. He came out from behind his table dancing and smiling and was one of the nicest guests I’ve ever met. We all got hugs and appreciation from him, and of course I couldn’t go a weekend at Monster-Mania without humiliating myself.
After we had gotten our autographs and pictures and my son had stepped away from the table, I leaned in to him and said “I’m sorry but I have to tell you this, you are incredibly sexy.” With that he let out a burst of laughter, thanked me and gave me another hug. Again, another amazing experience.
Kane Hodder was next. I wanted to get his new book and my son always enjoys meeting him. I can’t say enough good things about Kane, he is always friendly and willing to choke anyone for a picture, even a twelve year old when his mother requests it. I believe it went something like, “Kane, choke the shit out of him”. And he just smiled and proceeded to put my son in a headlock. It’s one of those pictures I’ll be showing my grandchildren.
The weekend closed out with a late lunch in the hotel restaurant, my sister took the kids home, and we said many tearful goodbyes to our friends. As many times as I have been to Monster-Mania, it never gets old. When I walk into that hotel lobby it feels like a second home. I know I will be reunited with many friends who I consider to be family, and I miss them dearly during the non-convention months. This particular convention will be remembered even more so, because it was the first one without Andy. And while we had an amazing time, it was the most difficult to get through emotionally. I got choked up every time I saw his favorite spot to sit in the lobby and I missed seeing his smile all weekend. He was loved by everyone and will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Andy, you will forever be in our hearts.