Horror Realm’s Spring Break Massacre & Zombie Gras was a small, one-day only event – not to mention that it was raining and down-right dreary – but there was still a decent fan turnout.
The Massacre Started at 11 AM but I got there a little after 3 PM. I missed the guest announcements for the fall convention, but got there just in time for Scream Queen Tiffany Shepis‘s panel. She was lively, funny, and unapologetically honest about her experiences with Troma, working on independent and low-budget horror flicks, and general love for horror. A few points that really struck me from the discussion and Q&A with Tiffany were:
- If you want to make horror movies (or movies in general) — “Dude, pick up a camera and make a movie.”
- Remakes resurrect original for future generations. Sometimes kidlets don’t know about the “classics” – and remakes and all the buzz provide an opportunity for the originals to be, in a sense, rediscovered.
- Own your label – she’s proud to be a Scream Queen.
After grabbing a beer, I spent some time in the dealer room meeting various local artists, actors, writers, musicians, and filmmakers. Honestly, I wasn’t prepared to spend money with the exception of a few drinks. But I did buy this freakishly cute Freddy plushie from the Monroeville Zombies Store.
So I wandered from table to table and had a blast chatting with everyone including, but certainly not limited to, featured media guests:
Everyone was very down-to-earth and fan-friendly which is something I love about conventions. The opportunity for fans to connect with these different creators (no matter what level of fame, notoriety, or style) and come together to just have a good time is fantastic. The guests were very accessible and open to conversation – each very unique and interesting. Also, the proceeds from Lori Cardille’s autographs went to the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape – so I threw down some cash for a lovely signed photograph that will (one day. . .) reside in the Gores Truly boardroom.
Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the The Zombie Opera: Evenings in Quarantine panel because I was bouncing around the dealer room, VHS room, and bar (Check out Preview Night Review of the world premiere of the production back in October 2010). I really wanted to hear how the production has evolved and what news the creators – Bonnie Bogovich and Elizabeth Rishel – had for Pittsburgh. According to their web site, there will be a 2-day run at Chatham University’s Eddy Theatre May 6-7 – I plan on checking it out again. I was also able to exchange a few brief words with Arvin Clay, the special FX make-up artist for the opera, about horror FX, music, photography, and the bane of the existence of most remakes – specifically the 2010 remake of Nightmare on Elm Street Collection. Arvin also brought my attention to the importance of Charles Bernstein’s score for the original flick — not only is it a quintessential horror soundtrack but also integral to the evolution of industrial music in the 80s. Think about it. It’s true.
One of the last panels of the day was a Zombie Survival Course hosted by Zomburgh Educational Outreach & Preparedness Center. Wow. What a treat. The instructor was very enthusiastic and volunteers played the role of slow-moving zombie as well as executing newly taught basic Z-defense techniques. The demo was a fun, interactive, and legit exhibition of defense skills to be gained through Zomburgh classes. Hell, I even signed up for the e-mail list.
After the day activities ended, the VHS Room manned by Tim Gross (Bastards of Horror) remained open throughout the Zombie Gras party. And, as Rich of Horror Realm informed me, the VHS room “wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for Rick “of the Dead” Fusselman. He brings his personal collection from Youngstown,Ohio and helps make sure things keep running smoothly. Rick and Tim make a great team.” They really did a great job. I spent more time in the VHS room watching 80s gems on VHS such as Flesh Eating Mothers and Blood Rage than in the Zombie Gras party. But the decorations were fabulously green-gold-purple and there were beads! (No, there were no Bloody-Boris-Boobies in exchange for beads… actually… I didn’t see any boobies except for 80s boobies in Blood Rage.) The music for the party wasn’t putting me in the dance-pants mood at all. The exception? ‘Baby Got Back’ by Sir Mix-Alot as requested by Tiffany Shepis. I suppose I could have requested more songs to shake my tail feather to, but I honestly didn’t have the energy and needed to drive back to my apartment in the rain.
Overall, the event could have had more attendees, but it was certainly a good time. By the fans for the fans. I enjoyed the show and look forward to the main event in September as well as watching Horror Realm grow.
Stay tuned for information about the annual Horror Realm Convention which will also be held at the Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh South Hotel September 16-18, 2011.