‘Tis the season… to be jolly, thankful and wield sharp objects that glisten red in the snow. A time to be with loved ones, sharing a similar passion for killer cinema. During the first weekend of November, HorrorHound went a slashing in Columbus finishing 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. A weekend celebrating the family non-friendly holiday classics we’ve come to love and adore like an unseen heavy breathing killer ready to stab and impale. Right when the beginning chatter of winter chill arrives.
HorrorHound hit double digits November 3-5 for its 25th three-day celebration of celebrities, vendors, cosplay costumes, panels and flicks. The terrible teens are getting closer.
Whether the antler’s dripped fresh crimson or the new family pet got wet, the hotel halls were draped and filled with cosplay pageantry. The lack of costume contests and after hour bands didn’t deter those dedicated to making sure Halloween lasted a few extra days this year. The more subdued atmosphere gave the weekend an old-school vintage feel not present at larger shows, back when conventions were still new, underground and only those, in the know, knew about them.
For the horror and gore hounds, the weekend featured the pre-holiday mayhem, only the slasher genre could provide. As one weekend panel member quipped, Christmas is built to be ripped apart by horror. Nothing brings families together by the fire like watching people get slaughtered in the name of entertainment, knowing your Christmas couldn’t be worse.
The holidays were celebrated with two killer Santa’s, a possessed psycho snowman, a vintage killer that liked attics too much along with bad dreams before Santa’s sleigh came and the bullies that picked on the kid in the bunny outfit.
Puppet masters, marionettes, snow queens, and Watchmen roamed the halls along with a revolving sea of black t-shirts, advertising every independent, classic, underground, grindhouse and slasher movie imaginable. Two vendor rooms housed everything you didn’t know you wanted and needed but looked too cool and creepy not to buy.
It’s often amazing the artwork, creativity and creations that come from watching too many horror movies as a kid, and never stopping.
Over 40 vendors displayed their wares and terrors in the aisles. As long as you weren’t following the Gein guide of home décor, HorrorHound welcomed your passion, like a dark Disneyland of the damned.
With over 30 celebrities stationed in the rooms and hallways fans eagerly awaited a passing glimpse or coveted moments with chosen stars including Shannon Elizabeth, Mena Suvari, Tara Reid, Ted White, Chris Owen, Tom Atkins and Zack Ward.
Weekend panels hosted by Jason Hignite and Jay Kay included actors from Weird Science, Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, Silent Night, Deadly Night 1 & 2, Jack Frost, Black Christmas, American Pie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and A Christmas Story.
The weekend also paid tribute to iconic movie host Fritz The Nite Owl, with a retirement ceremony Saturday night. Beginning Friday with the Fritz and Chris Sarandon introduced Fright Night, Saturday’s Gremlins screening with Fritz and Zach Galligan with Saturday’s nights Krampus and Sunday’s Trick ‘r Treat.
Fritz hosted Nite Owl Theatre on WBNS-TV from 1974-1991. A five-time Emmy award winner and 2012 HorrorHound, Horror Host Hall of Fame inductee alongside Elvira and Joe Bob Briggs.
For the wrestling (sports entertainment) fans, Saturday held a no holds barred panel with WWE legend Mick Foley and former WWE Diva, Lita.
If you wanted a permanent memory expertly buzzed on your body, the artists of Ink Fusion were there to etch your favorite images wherever there was room.
Friday began the actor panels with Judie Aronson, Suzanne Snyder and Robert Rusler from Weird Science. The ‘swear jar’ began with Rusler talking about meeting Robert Downey Jr. on first day of shooting and Anthony Michael Hall, who walked in late with no shoes on. Hall played a cassette of Stevie Ray Vaughan and they all got up and danced, a great ice breaking moment.
Snyder loved comedy but preferred the live audience atmosphere of sitcoms. They all put over the talent and genius of John Hughes, cranking out hit after hit in the ‘80s, calling him a consummate writer and sponge of pop culture.
Hughes said, you’re the character, you show me. He never tired, with the youthful energy of a kid, always exploring. Rusler knew being in the movie was a big deal though Aronson and Snyder didn’t fully appreciate it at the time. In retrospect, Aronson said how incredibly fortune they were to be in it.
They were all fairly new in the business, each enjoying the experience, forming great relationships.
They paid homage to Bill Paxton, each saying he was the polar-opposite of the jerk seen on screen. Rusler said there had been donkey and pig outfits made for their characters but didn’t make the cut.
Rusler told an unprintable behind the scenes story about Downey’s bizarre behavior and humor. Snyder said it was a very magical time and they got to see Purple Rain and The Wild Life before it came out.
The Friday the 13th Part V panel featured, Tom Morga, John Shepherd, Melanie Kinnaman, Tiffany Helm, Deborah Voorhees, Carol Locatell, Ron Sloan and John Hock.
The working title was called “Repetition,” with some actors catching on quicker than others. Morga was the first to say, my God, we’re in a Friday the 13th!
Locatell shared a story working on Burt Reynolds Sharkey’s Machine, playing a hooker. She donned a wig, went down Sunset, making several cars stop. After a few auditions, she got the part.
Her previous work included theater but was thrilled she did the movie. Fans still crack up about Ethel and Junior.
The well-known story of Violet’s scripted death was discussed. She was written as a Pat Benatar like character. The dance was something Helm did in the clubs already. Her death was a very fast re-write. Helm said that the Pseudo Echo song was obscure enough to use and it was done in serious overtime that night.
Voorhees said there was a lot of kissing in the woods and the bastard didn’t hear her scream. Everyone agreed, going to “wash up,” was a bad line. If he was such a clean freak, why do it in the woods.
The Tommy Jarvis tapes were brought up. Shepherd said Corey Feldman set the bar high.
At the time Kinnaman didn’t understand the fandom, but now considers fan attention a great joy. Morga showed Kinnaman how to work the chainsaw and the scene was filmed on Halloween night.
They praised director Danny Steinmann as generous, respectful, intense and trusting. He was amazingly respectful to Voorhees.
A fan asked if there was any backstory to why the kids were in the house. Everyone claimed innocence.
Saturday’s screenings began with Better Watch Out and Gremlins.
The Holiday Horrors Panel included Lynne Griffin (Black Christmas), Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost), Robert Brian Wilson (Silent Night, Deadly Night), and Eric Freeman (Silent Night, Deadly Night 2).
The re-release of Jack Frost has made it popular again. MacDonald said he has fans from his other work but knows the Jack Frost fans when they come. He said he killed a woman with her own Christmas tree.
MacDonald said there were many jokes made about the Michael Keaton version and as a joke that version was played for a few minutes at Jack Frost screenings. The movie is 20 years old. He had no idea of its iconic status.
On a fight between Silent Night’s Billy and Jack Frost, he said Billy would win.
Griffin said she’s talked to fans that say Black Christmas has become a holiday tradition. Something about sorority girls dying invokes the Christmas spirit. She praised the devotion horror fans have to their favorite films.
The bag over the head was difficult as each take lasted around 60 seconds. She was a good swimmer and could hold her breath. Director Bob Clark rocked the chair, threw the cat at her and sprayed the bag with catnip. “It’s hard to keep a straight face when you’re dying.”
The carolers were freezing. “Black Christmas was shot in subzero temperatures, thank God I was in the attic.”
Wilson said he watched the 30th anniversary of Silent Night at the Egyptian Theatre in L.A. with about 300 people and no protestors. Everyone loved it and he loved all the kills.
Silent Night producers thought a killer Santa was a great idea with no idea of the coming backlash. There were many taboos broken as Holiday Traditions were shattered.
Mick Foley and Lita (Amy Dumas) came out to a loud ovation. Several subjects were discussed including a detailed story of how Dumas broke into the business in Mexico in the Lucha libre style, sight unseen. Foley told a detailed story about padding his resume with Shane Douglas in the early days and his trips to Dominic DeNucci’s school, training, paying his dues.
Foley told the story of the injury angle with Vader and the ‘Lost in Cleveland’ amnesia angle. He shared the story of how and why he was hired and the discussion with Vince (McMahon) about his debut and ring name.
Stories came from the Wrestlemania hardcore match with Edge, his favorite match, and his match with Randy Orton.
Foley said his asked The Undertaker after Hell in a Cell if he’d used thumbtacks.
The panel ended with a quick round of rapid fire questions.
Images by Mike Ritchie