Day 1 at Days Of The Dead in Los Angeles
To say I was excited about spending the weekend in Los Angeles for Days of the Dead is an understatement. The chance to be able to attend what looked to be the largest horror convention on the west coast almost had me foaming at the mouth in anticipation. I had planned for it, in detail, and literally counted down the days until I could meet some of my biggest horror idols. And, I had never been in Los Angeles before–all the more enticing. I was not only looking forward to the con, but also looking forward to soaking it up in the California sun and getting a chance to check out Hollywood for the first time. Let me tell you, this trip did not disappoint!
Friday started way too early for me. I was up and on the road at 7:30 a.m. from Everett, Washington to Seatac Airport. For a guy that normally wakes up noon, this was a hell of an accomplishment! It was a rainy and slow drive down. The traffic was backed up to a crawl at points. What was normally a 45 minute drive ended up taking over two hours! By the time my friend and I made it to the airport, we were running for the gates! Luckily, we made just in time to get on the plane. It was time to kick back and relax. Next stop, sunny L.A.!
We arrived shortly after 1:00 p.m. and quickly grabbed a shuttle to the LAX Marriott. It was a very nice place and had a lot to do around it apart from the convention. I met the lovely Geretta Geretta in the lobby while checking in and talked a bit, as we have several mutual friends. It’s always nice to see a familiar face miles from home. After check in, we grabbed our press passes and began the waiting game as the con didn’t open for several hours. That of course meant hitting up the lobby bar for a few drinks and hitting the pool!
The convention opened its doors at about 5:00 p.m. and we were right there for the opening, feeling refreshed and ready to rock! We shared an elevator down with former WWE star Ron Simmons, which gave me a chance to talk shop with him for a bit about the wrestling business. Upon entering the huge vendor and guest room, I noticed the doll from the new horror film Annabelle creepily staring back from the corner. It was part of a promotional tour for the movie’s release. Of course, I had to take a moment to get some pics with the creepy doll before carrying on.
The crowd was very sparse on opening day, as it usually is with most conventions. It gave me a perfect opportunity to talk more freely with the guests. The first stop was Geretta Geretta. I had a nice long talk with her about the movie Demons, friends, and flying. She actually flew up from Costa Rica for the event!
My next stop was across the hallway for the Night Of The Demons reunion room. This was another one of the main draws for me, as it’s one of my all time favorite horror films! Plus, I have always had a crush on Jill Terashita, so it was going to be interesting to finally meet her. Like a magnet, she sucked me right in to her first. I must say, she is still incredibly beautiful to this day. I got to talk with her amazingly for about a half an hour. My friend later commented that I was babbling like a school girl to her! She had several nude shots laid out on her table and I tried not to look, funnily enough. It made it a bit awkward. Okay, I looked. How could I not? I took the high road and got her to sign her old headshot instead of the nudie pic, though. See? I can be a classy guy sometimes!
I next talked to her costar, Billy Gallo. He impressed me a lot! He seemed like a historian when it came to Night of the Demons. He pulled out his clothes from the movie, still wet with fake blood, showed me his death appliance and how it works, then brought out call sheets, house blueprints, polaroids from the set, an original poster, and just about anything you could think of from the film! I was amazed that he kept all of that and it was awesome to see. I talked to director Kevin Tenney for a bit about his other film Pinocchio’s Revenge (when asked about the ending, he said it was deliberately left open to interpretation) and got a photo with the entire cast. The day was off to a good start!
There was a ton of cool things to see at the Con. Tons of people doing horror cosplay, and lots of cool booths with horror related shirts, posters, toys and more. There were also several amzing displays up such as these of famous horror characters.
At 7:00 p.m., we made our way to the panel room to catch the Night of the Demons reunion. Director Kevin Tenney was there along with actors Hal Havins, Jill Terashita, Billy Gallo, Cathy Podewell (“Run, Judy Run!”), and main demon Angela herself, Amelia Kinkade! They all joked around and shared many interesting stories from the set. My favorites were the stories of the house they filmed in being actually haunted and how nobody wanted to be in the basement dressing rooms after dark. They all seemed to agree it was haunted. Havins shared a funny story of going to get a burrito in full demon makeup and the reactions he got. They all seemed to share the same sentiment that the makeup process sucked, even with Billy saying he refused to do it. Terashita and Tenney talked about her fully nude sex scene and how her costar said he was trying not to look at her and kept repeating “grandma, grandma, grandma” so as to not get too excited. It was some hilarious stuff! Amelia also talked about her dance history, such as working with The Stray Cats and what went into her memorable dance in the film. For a fan of the movie like myself, there was a wealth of information shared here and I couldn’t have been happier!
Immediately after the Night of the Demons panel came The Devil’s Rejects panel. Stars Sid Haig, Ken Foree and Bill Moseley all made their way to the stage for what proved to be the most entertaining panel of the entire weekend. All of the guys were very funny and entertaining, sharing stories and thoughts on the film. Ken seemed like his character, a very cool, over the top personailty. Sid Haig seemed every bit a smartass as his Captain Spaulding character, while Moseley seemed like the most average, everyday guy ever. He was very nondescript, miles from his crazy movie characters! They touched on a variety of subjects in the panel. They mentioned Rob Zombie’s fondness for “f- bombs” and how the film has 175, even more than Scarface! They talked about talks of a sequel and laughed how it can’t happen because they’re all dead. Sid said a great line that “you point a gun at me and I’ll point a chicken leg at you!” Moseley talked about Rob’s fondness for horror and how it was always a surprise who would make a cameo next. They also talked about William Forsythe’s odd acting habits, and his going far for the characters. One of the funniest parts was Moseley repeating his “hope it doesn’t rust the barrel” line and how it it was ad-libbed. They all swapped good natured jabs back and forth and seemed to be having a fun time up there, as was the crowd.
After the panels had ended, it was time to check out the convention floor again. I got to meet the amazing Joe Turkell from The Shining and ended up chatting with him for a long, long time. He was a very funny guy. I tried to watch my language with him, but I was surpised when he said “fuck” several times. I had to snicker at that, thinking “haha, the old man just said fuck.” Good times. He shared many details on the filming such as how Kubrick hired a real band to act like they were playing in the ballroom background, despite not being able to hear them. He descibed how meticulous Kubrick was on set and his genius as well as Nicholson’s. We also joked how Stephen King hated the film, despite his TV version being horrible, and also laughed at the weird insanity of the documentary Room 237.
Next, I talked to Erich Anderson from Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter. I think I spent the longest time talking to him. We chatted about my knee injury, his working with Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover, and more. (I love hearing stories about that odd duck, Glover, since he seemed to be a loner on set and almost like a little kid at times with his fascination with old toys.) Anderson was one of the best people I talked with all weekend.
I next met Robert Mukes of House of 1,000 Corpses. He was huge! He pretty much towered over me! I love how he had a full bottle of Fireball in his back pocket and it looked tiny on him. We chatted about wrestling for a while and how he tried it out briefly, but couldn’t handle it. he was another very cool guy. I also met porn legend Ron Jeremy at the end of the day. He was the only one I really didn’t enjoy being around. he seemed incredibly wasted and seemed like he could care less about being there. Plus, after shaking his hand and getting a picture with him, I felt the urge to go wash my hands immediately. The girl he was with also seemed incredibly coked up. She looked like a paler, vampire version of Courtney Love! Everyone I talked to over the weekend seemed to be in awe of these trainwrecks. In fact, Ron was barely at his table all weekend. I still had to get a pic with him still. Hey, it is Ron Jeremy after all.
By this time, my friend Michael had shown up at the con. We ended our day as the convention floor shut down by heading out to the Santa Monica pier. Of course, first we had to stop at In N’ Out Burger. I swear, I’m glad I’m not near one all the time. I could see myself eating there every day and ballooning up easily! The pier was amazing to see in person and still hopping even at midnight. We finally got back to the hotel after 1;00 a.m. and crashed out hard. We still had two more days to go!
The perfect way to end the article. End of the trail! Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 with even more coverage of the weekend!