Ed. note– Long before I got involved in horror blogging, I went to my very first Chiller back in April 2004. Meeting Hell of Famer Kevin McCarthy led me on a 10-year streak over which I attended every Chiller. April 2014 was one disappointing way to celebrate a decade. I’ll be taking a long sabbatical from shows in the future, and I can’t guarantee that it’ll end before Chiller’s October show.– P.F.
CONVENTION REPORT: Fasso’s 10th Anniversary Chiller
Chiller Theatre, Parsippany, NJ
April 27 at the Parsippany Sheraton
Ten Years for This?
Plainly put, Chiller’s April 2014 show bored me.
Oh, but it wasn’t supposed to. This show was my 10th anniversary of attending conventions. It was supposed to be huge. It was supposed to jazz me. It was supposed to be a celebration of a decade of conventions, of the hundreds of celebrities I’ve met and the number I’ve interviewed, of all the experiences great and awful that going to cons has given me.
But it didn’t happen that way at all. Which is why I’m writing this two months out from Chiller weekend.
I had a feeling I was in for a less than spectacular time from the moment I saw the initial guest list. The only excitement it offered was Fred Olen Ray. “Maybe it’ll get better as it goes,” I said to myself. “It usually does.” But not this time. As the guests piled on and the list swelled, I found not a single guest I wanted to meet. The retreads such as David Faustino and Dean Cain, the traveling Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy contingents, the vastly overpriced A-listers, none of them meant a thing to me. When Fred Olen Ray cancelled, it was the death knell on any avidity I would have for what should have been the biggest show of my ten years.
I would normally give you a rundown of my day at this point, from the time X picked me up with John in the passenger seat to the moment he dropped me off. But really, there’s not much to say. I’ll keep this short, and share a few highlights.
The only real excitement came from the two interviews I snatched. A few days before the con, I visited DE’s Twitter page (which I suggest you join, so you can get all the news for your social media conscious self) and found that Tawny Kitaen somehow had found my post on the original guest list. She suggested I stop by her table and see for myself if she was still hot. I chatted back and forth with her, and managed to get her to agree to talk. The interview was a lot of fun, especially because she groped my leg (which she freely mentions on the record). She also threw in a free autograph, which sweetened the pot even more (though I still get a thrill that she felt up my leg).
Though she didn’t feel me up, Heather Langenkamp was even better. I’d contacted her rep through her website, and he suggested I approach her when it wasn’t busy, and said she’d likely agree to talk, as she’s great with her fans. X had spent some time with her during the previous month’s Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, NC so I sent him to grease the wheels and Heather happily agreed if I could wait an hour. I treated the boys to lunch, and an hour later, she sat and gave me a great interview. She’s an extremely intelligent woman, and made me appreciate her as Nancy in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET even more. She even inspired me to download I AM NANCY that night, and watching and reviewing it almost redeemed my experience at Chiller.
I spent some time helping Dom Mancini with his clients, the highlight of which was a total embarrassment. I was sitting with Megan Ward, who had a gaggle of fans who apparently follow her to every show. They asked me to take pictures on six different cameras, the last of which they reserved for the group shot. I couldn’t get them all in frame, so I stepped back… back… back… back into Megan Ward’s plastic cup of iced tea with my Doc Marten. The cup shattered, ice tea flying all over the boxes that would hold her 8×10’s. Oops. Fortunately, Dom didn’t hold this against me. I’d hate to see a decade long friendship ruined over an iced tea.
On the autograph front, X got some from the WKRP in Cincinatti people, and John grabbed some from Sarah Butler of the I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE remake and Dom’s client Kari Wuhrer. As for myself, I got one from Langenkamp, and would have added Ronee Blakley to my very small ELM STREET collection, but she was gone by the time I came back to interview Heather. Oh well.
Was Chiller a success? I heard Friday night was so packed, people were waiting for four hours just to get their wristbands for entrance, and then another two to get into the pit. I’m sure the show and most of the guests made plenty of money. So on that level, it was a success.
But for me personally? I went on Sunday, when the buzz had already died down and things were quiet and kind of boring. Which makes a perfect analogy for my experience at the show. A decade of buildup left me with a mundane time, a far cry from my bedazzled feeling ten years prior when I met Kevin McCarthy for the first time. All I can do is hope the October show is better than this one. If the lineup’s not, maybe a decade of attending every Chiller show was a long enough streak.