Thursday, March 8, 2012

Days of the Dead Atlanta - Pre-Con Report

Georgia’s first-ever horror convention kicks off tonight at Jekyll & Hyde’s Sports Bar.
The actual convention takes place at the Windham Hotel in Peachtree City, but the Event Page for tonight’s party assures me that the most strangely named sports bar I have ever heard of is nearby.
I have never been to a horror convention. I love horror movies, TV shows, comics; anything with blood, gore, demons, monsters, or ghosts is right up my alley. My favorite movies are horror movies – Creature From the Black Lagoon, Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter, The Devil’s Rejects, Evil Dead 2, Hellraiser, A Nightmare On Elm Street, The Mist; the list goes on and on.
Obviously I was very excited when I first heard about – hang in there – From Dusk Till Con presents Days of the Dead 2 Atlanta. The name’s a bit unwieldy, but what’s in a name, right? All that matters is a bunch of kickass guests and events and a party atmosphere. The con was going to be responsible for the first two; I was pretty sure I could make the latter happen with a little help from the Hooligans. We know how to handle cons.

As it turns out, partying is apparently not going to be an issue. Not only are the Hooligans going to be well represented, there are multiple parties scheduled each night and from what I understand horror cons might actually be even crazier than Dragon*Con. That sounds totally absurd to me, but be certain you’ll find out come this weekend, as I’ll be doing my best to provide live coverage via Twitter and Facebook whenever I can. Of course, knowing me there’s always the possibility you won’t hear anything until next Thursday. Nobody pays me to hit deadlines!
Speaking of pay, the wife and I thought it best to dive headlong into this thing. We went ahead and got weekend passes and booked a hotel room for the whole con. We figured it would be better to be down there and find out it was lame than to try and just hang out one day and wish we had a room or could stay longer. This way, we get a three-day vacation no matter what. Even if this thing sucks we can still hang out and drink. We’ve found we can have fun pretty much anywhere.
It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that I am, technically, a member of the press. With over 450 personally written posts and a readership that actually does expand across the globe, Needless Things has far outdone any expectations I ever had for it. The fact that Joey Belladonna has read it really makes anything else that happens small potatoes. So I figured I might as well send an e-mail requesting a press pass. Why not? Some people are more impressed by my little blog than I think is warranted, and if I could get any kind of special coverage or treatment out of the thing I dedicate hours upon hours of my life to doing I figured I might as well. I was expecting a “No”, but I got nothing. No response at all. I would have rather gotten a negative. But whatever – I’m still going to be there and I’m still going to tell you guys all about it, good or bad.
Now, let’s take a look at the con itself. If you want to play along at home, check out their website.
Just like Dragon*Con, there are guests, panels, artists, vendors, special screenings, and parties. Obviously Days of the Dead is nowhere near the massive scale of the legendary dorkfest, but that’s part of what has me interested. Sometimes Dragon*Con is too much. This is restricted to a single hotel and has a much more focused schedule.
There is a good enough variety of guests here to be worthwhile. Definitely quite a few people I’d like to get my picture with or have sign something or other. My only concern is that prices might be outrageous. We’ll see.
Rowdy Roddy Piper – He is coming to kick ass and chew bubblegum and I certainly hope he doesn’t run out of bubblegum. Piper is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time – the first heel I ever liked. They Live is one of my favorite movies. I can’t wait to meet this guy. I wish I had one of the Con Exclusive GI Joe figures that got made a few years ago, but I do at least have a WWE figure to get signed.
Sid Haig – I’ve told the Haig/Moseley story a few times now, but the pair were at Dragon*Con years ago right after House of 1000 Corpses came out. I only had enough money for one autograph, so I went with Haig. I wasn’t as familiar with his work as I was with Moseley’s, but I liked Captain Spaulding more than Otis. He asked me if I wanted anything specific written on the 8x10 I bought and I had only seen the movie once at that point, so I had nothing. He suggested, “Well, shit the bed!” and I went with it. I’ll do better this year – I promise. I’ve even got a “Top Secret Clown Business” button to get signed, as well as an awesome Devil’s Rejects box set from NECA.
Gary Busey – This… is an interesting thing. Gary Busey. Renowned madman. I have always been a big fan of Busey’s work, but it never would have occurred to me I might have the opportunity to meet the guy. But I’m definitely meeting Busey. I think I’ll bring an extra mask and see if he’ll put it on.
Bill Moseley – This one has been a long time coming. After seeing The Devil’s Rejects, Otis Driftwood is not only my favorite character from Zombie’s franchise, he’s one of my favorite lunatics of all time. We even named our boxer after him. I’ve been wanting a Moseley signature since that Dragon*Con. Mrs. Troublemaker had offered to pay for one, but I just don’t like taking money from people (this is before she was Mrs. Troublemaker). Now I can snag that 8x10 and get my poster and figure set signed. The question is just which poster to get signed. I’ve got American and Italian Devil’s Rejects posters and an American House of 1000 Corpses one.
Linnea Quigley – Ah, Miss Quigley. Talk about your early life boners. Sure, we remember her from the Night of the Demons movies, but her punk rock striptease in Return of the Living Dead is the stuff of legend. I even made a little video of it for a Halloween post a couple of years ago. One of my favorite dirty horror movie scenes ever. Also, I used to know this cool little chick named Linnea. No idea what she’s doing now, but whatever it is I hope it’s awesome.
Tyler Mane – The guy used to be a wrestler, but I wasn’t aware of him until he was featured as Sabretooth in Brian Singer’s X-Men. I thought he was pretty awesome in the role and was pissed when he didn’t return for the sequel. Of course, I was more pissed when they recast Liev Schreiber as Wolverine’s nemesis in the piece of shit Origins movie, but it turned out for the best that Mane wasn’t in it. For his career, anyway. Of course, his best role was as Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies. He was phenomenally creepy and amazingly good at the sort of pantomime you have to utilize to be a creepy, silent giant. I’ll be stoked to add his signature to my Halloween II poster alongside Rob Zombie, Malcolm McDowall, and Danielle Harris. If you haven’t read my post about being an extra in the movie, go do it. Lots of people like that one.
Micah Sloat – This guy is a pass. I don’t have anything against him, necessarily, but I loathe the Paranormal Activity movies. Sorry, Mr. Sloat. I’m sure someday you’ll be in something that isn’t terrible.
Circus Envy – Serving as MC for the weekend is local personality Circus Envy. I first met the guy at the aforementioned Halloween II shoot. We’re not pals or anything, but he is all over the place. This is a guy who knows how to get his image out there. Obviously. I’ll be very interested to see him perform live and in person.
Elissa Dowling – I have no idea who this chick is, but her profile picture on the Days of the Dead guest page makes it pretty clear that isn’t important. What is important is she has a sweet, fishnet-covered ass. And can hold a gun. Sometimes that’s all you need.
Lily White – Also not familiar with this one, but the picture again says it all. Whatever this MC has to present, I bet it’s going to be entertaining.
Side Note: Lily White recently lost everything in a house fire. If you’re so inclined, you can make a donation here to help out here.
Derek Mears – Mears played Jason in the Friday the 13th remake (which I quite enjoyed) and was easily the best part of the movie. I was pretty pissed when they passed on Kane Hodder for the role, but this guy ended up doing a bang-up job. He didn’t ape the performances of any other Jasons, but still kept the movements familiar. Just like with Tyler Mane, this guy is a very good physical actor. I wish I had thought to track down one of the figures for him to sign.
Brian Steele – You may not know the name, but this guy has a heck of a resume. He’s been Harry (on the Harry and the Hendersons TV show), two different creatures in the Hellboy movies, a Predator, a Lycan, and plenty of aliens and demons. I’d love to catch a panel with this guy. I bet he’s got some stories.
Laurence Harvey – The star of Human Centipede II. I hated the first Human Centipede and find it to be one of the most loathsome movie experiences I have ever endured, not just for the content but for the utter lack of skill with which it was produced. I have heard the sequel is worse. I suppose I’m curious to meet this guy, even if he is no Dieter Laser.
Jeff Burr – This man directed some of the very best sequels in the history of horror – movies that should have been absolute dreck are fresh, entertaining takes on old franchises. Pumpkinhead II, Puppet Master 4 and 5, and my personal favorite Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. That movie is fucking nuts. But all of that pales in comparison to his crowning achievement. The movie that first made me look up his name and realize what a great auteur he truly was – Mil Mascaras vs. The Aztec Mummy. I had the privilege of seeing this movie at the Plaza Theater a few years ago when I was still grotesquely fat and it is amazing. And that’s not hyperbole – the man made a classic, old-school luchador movie that absolutely worked in every way. It’s one of the finest homage films I have ever seen and I think it’s a crime that nobody has distributed it. Maybe I can find a copy this weekend.
Nick Principe – While the name sounds familiar, I don’t know any of this guy’s work. I’ll have to check out Laid to Rest – apparently his best-known franchise.
A Bunch of Walking Dead Zombies – I think that speaks for itself. It’s neat that these folks are here, but I’m just not all that interested in them individually. I would definitely go see a panel, though.
Alex Vincent – Andy from the first two Child’s Play movies. Awesome.
Mark Patton – This one is awesome. You know Mr. Patton as the star of my second favorite totally gay movie of all time, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 (my favorite is Batman and Robin).
J. LaRose – This is one of those guys who you see and go, “Oh – it’s that guy from those other movies!” He was probably most memorable as the guy with the big hoops through him in the beginning of Saw III. Yuck.
PJ Soles – She’s been in more movies than years I’ve been alive, but I think we all know her best as Lynda from John Carpenter’s Halloween. It is, however, worth noting that she made a brief appearance in the outstanding Mil Mascaras vs. The Aztec Mummy.
Dey Young – I wasn’t familiar with the name, but she was in Rock n’ Roll High School with Ms. Soles, as well as guesting on various iterations if the Star Trek TV franchise.
James O’Barr – The guy that created The Crow. And you know – the original comic still holds up. It’s easy to forget how impressive it is after the excellent first movie spawned such wretched turds as sequels. But go back and check it out. It’s still a good read and a massive accomplishment in the medium of comic books.
Chip Coffey – One of those paranormal investigators. Whatever.
Sean Whalen – Another one of those awesome, memorable character actors that you’ve seen everywhere. Most importantly to me, he was the guy in the car in Halloween II – the one that tried to help Laurie out and gets murdered as a result. I’ll be adding one more to that poster.
Amelia Kinkade – She played the villain in the Night of the Demons movies, but it isn’t that that makes her possibly the most interesting guest at Days of the Dead. She is also a pet psychic and had roles as a dancer in Breakin’ 2, Body Rock, and Fast Forward; as well as appearing in rock videos for the Stray Cats, the Scorpions, and Sheena Easton. Wacky.
Barbara Crampton – I certainly remember Ms. Crampton best for introducing me to the concept of S&M in From Beyond, but she’s been in a ton of movies; including several Full Moon productions. Very cool.
Jake Busey - I just realized I lost a Frighteners poster in the flood. That would have been nice. How weird that Jake and Gary are both going to be in attendance. I guess not weird, but… yeah. Weird.
George Kosana – He was the sheriff in Night of the Living Dead, but I wouldn’t have known that if it weren’t for the picture on the Days of the Dead guest page.
John Russo – He co-wrote Night of the Living Dead with George Romero. From what I understand, Russo mostly wrote the funny parts. I’m sure you remember those. Ahem. He was also responsible for the 30th Anniversary Edition, which is best left unwatched and unmentioned.
Ari Lehman – Lehman portrayed Jason Voorhees for about thirteen seconds and has gleefully funneled that brief bit of cinematic fame into a career in metal. His band Firstjason will be playing Thursday night, but we’ll get to that.
Patterson Lundquist – The most famous of the drag Elviras. I suppose. I have to admit I’m not exactly on top of these things. Wait – I mean… Well, no that is what I mean.
Taafe O’Connell – I’m not gonna lie. I am entirely unfamiliar with this lady, but we are getting to the bottom of the page, so that’s to be expected.
Nivek Ogre – For a guy that is a mainstay of the industrial music scene I find it bizarre that he doesn’t seem to be performing in any way. I mean, it’s neat that he’s going to be at the con and all, but I sure would like to see some live music.
And MORE! – I’m going to go ahead and lump everybody else in under this heading. My reasons are that I don’t know who the rest are, there are a lot of them, and it’s getting late and I still have more to cover.
The only familiar name in the vendor room is Belligerent Monkey. Everybody be sure and stop by his table and buy some art, because the guy is a heck of an artist. Robots, zombies, monsters – you can find whatever kind of weird shit you’re looking for.
Oops – I take that back. The Silver Scream Spookshow crew will also be in attendance. While I’ll always be a fan of Shane Morton’s, I can’t claim any particular allegiance to the Spookshow, as their performances are consistently scheduled on the days that I work. I have yet to see one.
Other vendors I’m curious to check out are Murder Pinups, Paranormal Babies (these appear to be the ones from the Spirit Halloween store), Galaxy of Junk (because it looks like they have a bunch of toys), and Dark Garden because you guys – it looks like these maniacs are selling zombie garden gnomes. If there’s anything creepier than garden gnomes, it’s zombie garden gnomes.
It would definitely be a mistake to approach the events of Days of the Dead with Dragon*Con in mind, but there’s no way I won’t. There simply isn’t as much going on at the horror convention because it is nowhere near the same scale. So despite the fact that I could cover the currently; scheduled events in under a page, I’m only going to discuss the ones we’re planning on attending.
What’s a little frustrating is that with so few events scheduled, they do have things happening at the same time. I don’t really get that one.
9:00 PM - Days of the Dead Atlanta Pre-Show Party with First Jason – As far as I can tell this is not technically part of the convention, but it features:
Bikini Dancers
Bikini Zombie Contest @ Midnight
Fall Off the Bone BBQ Ribs
So we will most certainly be there.
Since nothing is actually going on until 6 (and we may or may not do that), we’re counting on the vendor room and helping Monkey set up his table to pass the time. Either that or I’m going to hook up a Blu-Ray player in the room and we’re watching Game of Thrones in its entirety.
9:00 PM – Monsters Among Us Phantom Ball – It’s a party where costumes are mandatory. This is obviously no problem for me, but Mrs. Troublemaker is having a heck of a time figuring out what to do. Please note: This is called the Phantom Ball. Do I have any choice but to go?
9:00 PM – Return of the Living Dead Workprint Screening hosted by Linnea Quigley - Yes, the first conflict occurs now after a whole day of nothing scheduled. Seriously. I don’t get it. I really want to see this, but I have the movie at home and can watch it anytime, you know? I can only attend costume balls so often.
11:30 PM – An Evening With Roddy Piper – This is actually a tough call. It’s going to depend on how drunk I am by 11:30 and who we’ve run into that might be able to hang out with the missus, because no way in hell is she going to go sit in a theater while there’s a party going on. Also, this costs ten extra dollars despite the fact it is a con event. Not sure what I think of that.
12:00 AM – Chamber of Horrors Presents The Rock N’ Roll Torture Lounge – Oh, well never mind. I guess I won’t be seeing Piper because I definitely don’t want to miss this:
"Watch the lovely ladies spin the Wheel of Torture and win prizes as DJ Rev Andy spins the best in horror rock and punk with bloody ghouls and girls galore! This ADULTS ONLY event is here for you to let loose and rock out with the crew."
I hope this is all correct because the Days of the Dead Events Page was a little wonky when I checked it for the info. Everything is scheduled awfully tight. Maybe things are closer together than I’m expecting, but it’s kind of looking like you’re not going to have a good shot at doing certain things back-to-back.
1:00 PM – Men Behind the Masks Panel – Featuring Derek Mears, Nick Principe, Tyler Man and Brian Steele. I expect this to be pretty cool. It’s a bunch of big guys who wear masks, and that’s something I can relate to.
2:00 PM – Scream Queens Panel – PJ Soles, Linnea Quigley, Barbara Crampton, and Mark Patton(!). This one should be another winner. I’m very curious to see how they do the panels. I don’t know if it will be better to clear everybody out in between or not. If enough people are there then that pretty much guarantees people are going to miss out on panels either way since they’re so close together and in the same room. We’ll see.
3:00 PM – Dear God, No! – I haven’t actually seen this movie yet and I am very excited to be seeing it with a bunch of people who might not be previously familiar with the people who made it. I think this might be a better viewing environment than the Plaza. If you don’t know, this movie is a production local to Atlanta and was made by a bunch of dudes who have been around the scene for a while. It’ll be cool to see it for the first time with folks who might not know them.
7:00 PM – Spookshow/Monstrosity Championship Wrestling – From what I understand the wrestling is not going to happen due to insurance issues with the hotel. That sucks. I don’t know if maybe Professor Morte and his Spookshow regulars will find something else to do here. I also wonder if maybe the wrestling could be relocated to somewhere nearby. Jekyll & Hyde’s, maybe? I really hate to miss out on con wrestling.
12:00 AM – Human Centipede 2 screening hosted by Laurence Harvey – I swore I would never see this movie, but it seems that there are no parties scheduled for Saturday night (which seems insane) and I suppose I might as well go see this thing with a big group of drunk people. Of course, there’s always the possibility the auditorium will fill up and they won’t let us in. That would break my fucking heart. Seriously, though – how are there no parties Saturday night? I’m not too worried. I would imagine there will be plenty of drunken revelry in random spots around the hotel.
We were originally going to stay Sunday night as well, but things seemed to get pretty sparse on Sunday so we cancelled that last night. On a side note, I have made two calls to the Windham to alter our accommodations and they have been incredibly helpful, pleasant, and swift each time.
12:00 PM – Bill Moseley/Sid Haig Panel – Well obviously I’m not going to miss this.
2:00 PM – Zombie Best In Show Contest – It sounds like this is something of a zombie pageant. The judges will be assessing makeup, poise, movement – that sort of thing. I want to check it out.
And that pretty much wraps up the scheduled events. I’m betting we’ll know by the time we get up Sunday how long after 2:00 we’ll be staying. Heck – I bet we’ll know by Saturday afternoon.
If you can make it, I’ll see you there. Look for the purple mask.



  1. I can't wait! Very curious to see how the turnout is. Hopefully it's pack. And I could definitely use the help Friday. Doesn't look like I will be able to try the setup tonight so I'm going to be winging it tomorrow. Thanks!