Despite their dire subject matter,
horror films are rarely taken seriously. To many, horror is a lowbrow
genre — the mischievous cousin of the suspense thriller. One of
the few places you can find genuine respect and admiration for the
horror genre is the HorrorHound Weekend Convention.
This year, HorrorHound Magazine is
being honest by labeling the convention an “80s slasher fest”
— what it has largely become. That is what, for the most part,
the horror genre has become as well. Even new horror films hearken
back to the days of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees. However,
originality in horror is far from dead.
Horror films may not fill theater seats
every weekend anymore, but they are certainly packing convention
halls. And hundreds of films are released on the convention circuit
every year, such as Terence Muncy’s Bikini Monsters (from his
local company, Warbranch Productions).
You may remember Muncy from last year’s
NUVO feature story on the Famous Monsters convention, where he was
promoting his film, X. Keeping to his word of releasing a new film
every year, Muncy will be selling Bikini Monsters on DVD at
To Muncy, a convention is the
equivalent of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
“You won’t see most of
these horror films on the big screen. With competition from
independent filmmakers and DVD, Hollywood can’t make enough
money off of horror films anymore. So, it has virtually abandoned the
genre. But there’s always a mantle for new horror films. Fans
just have to go to the video stores to get them,” Muncy said.
As Muncy pointed out, there were ten
indie horror films released in stores on the day of our interview.
So, in a twist of irony, the same independent spirits that brought
horror to Hollywood are taking it back.
Like John Carpenter and Wes Craven
before him, Muncy is one of those independent spirits. As its website
states, his company, Warbranch Productions, makes “old school
movies for a new age.” Its new film, Bikini Monsters is no
exception. Mixing an old-fashioned feel with a modern aesthetic, it
tells of a mad scientist and his mutant mermaids — thus evoking
the wonder of a 1950s creature feature. But while the film has a
certain B-movie charm, it is not just a cheesy campfest. There are
some genuine scares to be had in the story of a man abducting women
from beaches and turning them into science experiments.
Bikini Monsters will not make its local
screen debut until July, but a version of it will be available on DVD
at HorrorHound — the “Sammy Terry Edition.”
Sammy Terry (a play on the word
“cemetery”) was Indianapolis’ premiere horror host
in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Broadcast on WTTV, his show
Nightmare Theatre included the same campy banter as The Vampira Show and Elvira’s Movie Macabre. Donning a cape and ghoulish makeup, actor Robert Carter entertained audiences as Terry every Friday night
at 11:30 p.m. Now, his son Mark is making appearances as the
character and hosting films such as Bikini Monsters.
Muncy is also keeping this Indiana icon
alive and well with his Nightmare Theatre comic book (which is open
to aspiring artists for contributions. Visit sammyterrynightmares.com
for more details). You can find Terry and the comic book at
HorrorHound on Saturday, March 26 between 3 and 6 p.m.
Other horror that awaits ye
That is just the tip of the proverbial
iceberg. These are just a few of the many things to anticipate at
‘80s child star, Corey Feldman
tops the list of celebrities attending the convention. You know him
from such classics as Stand by Me, The Goonies, Gremlins, The Lost Boys, and Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (in which he “kills”
Jason Voorhees). Feldman will be appearing Friday and Saturday only.
Other guests include: Norman Reedus,
David Della Rocco, and Sean Patrick Flanery (the stars of the cult
classic, The Boondock Saints); Kristanna Loken (the first female
Terminator); Barbara Steele (the queen of Italian gothic horror);
Jeffrey Combs, the Re-Animator himself; Barbara Magnolfi and Stefania
Casini (from Dario Argento’s legendary, Suspiria); Ken Foree
(1978’s Dawn of the Dead); and more.
Making good on the “‘80s
slasher fest” title, HorrorHound has invited Dick Warlock, Bob
Elmore, Ted White, and Kane Hodder among others — the actors
behind the masks of bogeymen Michael Myers, Leatherface, and Jason
Speaking of masks, this year’s
convention will include Mask-Fest, which features some of today’s
top Hollywood make-up effects artists as well as hundreds of creepy
collectible masks and props. You can even bring your own masks and
have them touched up by latex mask hair specialist Laura Lady.
At Mask-Fest, you can also attend the
Halloween III cast and crew reunion panel and take a free sculpture
class with master monster artist, Daniel R. Horne.
There will also be a concert and
costume party tying in with Mask-Fest on Saturday night at 9. The
terrifyingly costumed metal band, Mushroomhead will be performing as
well as the sideshow troupe, The Invisible Man Corporation. Admission
is free to costumed participants as well as gold and weekend pass
holders. There will be prizes for the best dressed fans — so
it’s time to let your freak flag fly.
Don’t forget to check out the
Vincent Price 3-D film festival. Condensed versions of vintage Price
films (such as The Raven) will be shown from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on
HorrorHound Weekend is bound to be
nostalgic and transporting experience. As HorrorHound Magazine’s
Editor-In-Chief, Nathan Hanneman said in a recent newsletter, “The
best part about horror resurgences is the fact that they always seem
to bring the past back with them.”