Monster Mania CON 2
August 27-29, 2004
Cherry Hill, NJ
Review by Christopher Gullo
I was very excited about Monster Mania 2 as the launch for my Peter Cushing book, "In All Sincerity...Peter Cushing" was finally going to happen after a long wait. My wife and I left Long Island and arrived at the Cherry Hill Hilton where the convention was being held around 5pm (there was plenty of traffic on the New Jersey Turnpike!). After checking in at the hotel we managed to just get the table set up before the crowds started coming in and we started selling the books. This convention was being held at a different hotel (a bit further south than last year) and the layout of the show was much better. Unlike the previous year when there was a dealers room and a number of smaller rooms for autographs, this year there was two main rooms - one for dealers and one for autographs. These two main rooms were connected by a large hallway with other tables (where we were located). Off the hallway were three smaller ballrooms were the films were shown, panel discussions were held, and Robert Englund (Freddy Kruger) was signing autographs (and boy was he signing - the line for his autograph seemed like it was half a mile long and it was like that for the whole weekend!).
When I finally got the chance to leave the table I visited the autograph room where the lines were not that long and moved rather quickly. A couple of the guests at the show had contributed toward my Peter Cushing book and so free copies were given to Robert Quarry, Hazel Court, Ingrid Pitt, and Caroline Munro. They were all gracious and wonderful to chat with. Each one of them would give you their undivided attention and they all had a good sense of humor as well. After getting Quarry, Pitt, Court, and Munro to sign my private copy of my book and also purchasing a signed photo of Quarry as Count Yorga and getting Ingrid's newly expanded and revised autobiography "Darkness Before Dawn", I went off to dinner with my wife.
Also at the show promoting the upcoming "Wicked West" graphic novel was artist Neil Vokes - who provided all the wonderful artwork for my book. If you have not checked out Neil's work before you should really do so - his artwork has a real moody feel to it and he is unbelievably talented.
On Saturday afternoon I got to host the Hammer chat session with guests Hazel Court, Caroline Munro, and Ingrid Pitt. After doing some introductions for each star, I took questions from the crowd for them which mainly dealt with their work at Hammer but also covered other parts of their careers. Hazel spoke of how everyone at Hammer was amazed when "The Curse of Frankenstein" became such a huge success. Caroline shared a story of when she was buried up to her neck (for her death scene in "Dracula A.D. 1972") and the crew left her to go get lunch when it started raining! Ingrid shared stories (some playfully naughty!) of how she came to work for Hammer. Ingrid also told the audience about her new production company called Hammer Glammer Films, which she formed with fellow Hammer alumni Caroline Munro and Veronica Carlson. Their first planned production is a horror anthology called "Three For Hell". It sounded very exciting and I for one cannot wait to eventually see this. The last question asked was quite interesting - "In your opinion what was the scariest film ever made?". To this question, Hazel answered "Silence of the Lambs" (she is also good friends with Anthony Hopkins), Caroline answered "Psycho", and Ingrid answered "The Exorcist".
Like the last Monster Mania convention, this one seemed to fly by too quickly and before I knew it my wife and I were heading back home. The book launch was extremely successful and all the books brought to the show were sold out. My congratulations to Dave Hagan for putting together such a wonderful and memorable show and I look forward to next year for Monster Mania 3! (*Dates have already been set for both Monster Mania 3 & 4 - Dave is now going to have the show twice a year. Monster Mania 3 is set for May 20-22, 2005, while Monster Mania 4 is set for September 2005. To find out more about Monster Mania please visit their website at: www.monstermania.net )
COPYRIGHT 2004 - CHRISTOPHER GULLO
PHOTOS FROM THE SHOW
Neil Vokes (artist) and Chris Gullo (author) of "In All Sincerity...Peter Cushing"
Chris Gullo and Hazel Court (contributor to the book)
Chris Gullo and Robert Quarry (contributor to the book)
Chris Gullo and Caroline Munro (contributor to the book)
Chris Gullo and Dick Klemensen (of Little Shoppe of Horrors fame)
Chris Gullo hosting the Hammer chat session with Hazel Court, Caroline Munro, and Ingrid Pitt
Receiving a standing ovation from the crowd: Hazel Court, Caroline Munro, and Ingrid Pitt
All together after the Hammer chat: Ingrid Pitt, Chris Gullo & wife Beth, Caroline Munro, and Hazel Court