If nothing else, the Necrocomicon can probably have the distinct honor of being the most surreal horror convention ever to hit the West Coast. I have a feeling after this weekend of horrors, many of us are debating whether or not that was a good thing.
For the last few years the Necrocomicon has put together some small, but passionate conventions, usually without a lot of organization but certainly a lot of spunk. Case in point would be the “Friday the 13th” themed event they held last May. Fans gathered in a sweathouse of dirt and dust to mingle with some of the greatest faces Jason ever mangled (and vice versa!), and it turned out to be an unexpected treat. Most of the credit would go to the various stars of the “Friday” series, but a good amount of due can also be handed out to the folks behind Necro. They might be disorganized as hell, but man, are they nice and helpful to boot.
So I had a lot of hope for this event, labeled the Show That Must Not Be Named, because I was sure I would get a lot of the same. Like the rest of us, I scanned their website and drooled over the guest list… Pricilla Barnes, Brinke Stevens, Kari Wuhrer, Kenneth Hall, Marilyn Chambers, Cherie Currie, Linnea Quigley and the list goes on and on… Necro had a special section marked for their “Surprise Guest” and like a lot of us, I just skimmed over it without much thought. I briefly thought that perhaps they had booked someone like John Carpenter or Tobe Hooper, which would have been great. The day before the show, the Necro site posted their celebrity guest, who shall we say was in their own type of horror film… O.J. Simpson! I’m still not even sure how to react to that last sentence. I’m simply jaw dropped at the notion of it, yet I was there! After some whole-hearted debating about the moral implications of his appearance, I decided if nothing else at least it would be interesting.
We arrived with a little trepidation on Saturday but I was amused to see Matthew Helms, aka the Pancake Kid from “Cabin Fever” running through the parking lot. Very little had been set up by the time I had stepped inside but I was soon reminded of the sweltering heat that was the Friday the 13th convention. Most of the vendors hadn’t set up yet but there were some good tables, including the folks from the new indie “Death by Engagement” and the table for “Dead Things” which featured a stunningly beautiful Brinke, who was there to promote her newest movie. She had the unfortunate luck of being seated next to the corner that had been sectioned off for The Juice.
A few blind strolls around the searing hallways (the con took place in an abandoned shopping court, including a dilapidated movie theater) led me to all the sectors of fame like, Vanessa Angel, the star of “RePenetrator”, Rudy Ray Moore aka “Dolemite” (keeping cool in a suave pimp hat) and EG Dailey (“Valley Girl”) sweetly greeting everyone who walked past her. The first panel of the day, “The Return of the Living Dead” Reunion, was supposed to have started around 1 pm, but I found most of the cast hanging out near an interesting monster display wondering where the actual panel was supposed to take place. After about 20 minutes of schmoozing (very much its own panel), the group was finally led to a rundown movie theater. Sitting shoulder to shoulder on cheap fold out chairs, the group went into a spirited discussion on the labors of horror filmmaking that featured the legendary Clu Gulagher turning the table on the fans and asking us if we think “Return” will still hold water a hundred years from now. Uh, yeah!
Following the reunion, moderator Kenneth Hall (“Halfway House”) introduced the cast and crew of the “Return’s” most recent successors, “Return of the Living Dead” 4 & 5, who joined the few stragglers who stayed behind. We were treated to a rip-roaring talk about the new sequels, which I am really looking forward to, just based on the chemistry with the makers.
Apparently, during the discussions, OJ had arrived, set up shop and was harassed by a radio reporter upon which the police were called in to break up the hysterics. There had already been much talk about his Friday night appearance, which (depending on who you speak to) brought out protestors, police and OJ’s quick departure. Today he stuck it out and I was able to briefly spy him signing various football helmets and other memorabilia.
I guess that was enough for me because after one more round through the two dealers rooms whereupon I spotted Marilyn Chambers, Cherie Currie and the always gracious Linnea Quigley, I decided I’d had enough of the good, the bad and the allegedly and I entered back into the world of the normal. And that was just fine by me.
Photos courtesy of David S. Cohen.