"You seem out of place here wearing that pink polo shirt."
This was the first thing I heard as I walked through the Marriott East lobby this Saturday afternoon. If it were any other day, I would have seemed appropriately dressed for the hotel. But today, I was in the midst of HorrorHound Weekend convention.
The lobby was a spirited sea of fur, rubber, and blood-stained outfits. It was difficult to tell the difference between some of the attendees and their grisly creations. (Take the picture below, for example. This is not a flesh-and-blood Frankenstein monster sitting next to that guest but a startlingly lifelike, lovingly-crafted statue from Creature Revenge Monster Studio.)
In addition to the people who make monsters, the actors who played them were around as well, including: The Exorcist's Linda Blair; Michael Berryman, the mutant cannibal from The Hills Have Eyes; the original Jason Voorhees, Ari Lehman; and more.
Many look at these characters through covered faces and wincing eyes, but at HorrorHound, fans gaze widely with wonder, flocking to the men and women behind their favorite cinematic monsters.
"I love you so much. You're so sweet," one young woman said to Linda Blair, the demon-possessed girl from The Exorcist.
The most magnetic monster at the convention today was NBC's Hannibal Lecter, Mads Mikkelsen.
As the sociopathic psychiatrist-cum-cannibal Dr. Lecter, Mikkelsen smolders with both seductive charm and menace. It seemed as though his sinister screen presence intimidated fans at first during his panel discussion this afternoon. When the panel started and opened up for questions, the crowd was so quiet you could hear crickets.
"Well, thank you," Mikkelsen said as he jokingly stood up to leave. The tension then broke and the room erupted in laughter.
As Mikkelsen talked about his killer character with giddy fans, the discussion gave off the warmth of sitting around a campfire telling ghost stories with friends.
Toward the end of the talk, Mikkelsen said something about Hannibal that seemed to describe any avid horror-watcher as well. Mikkelsen said that, although Hannibal plumbs dark depths, he is not in a dark mindset.
"He is doing what he likes to do. Where most see horror, Hannibal sees beauty" — like the fans at HorrorHound.
Tomorrow is the last day of the convention. Don't miss the panel with horror director Larry Cohen (It's Alive, Full Moon High) at 1 or the chance to meet more horror creators. The convention closes at 5 p.m. Stay tuned for another report from NUVO.