Friday, November 15, 2013

Chiller Theatre Halloween Weekend Convention

Chiller Theatre Halloween Weekend Convention,  Parsippany, NJ 
October 25, 26 & 27  2013

Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I'm a girl who's into horror movies and extreme metal music (death metal, black metal, grindcore, etc.). I work at the Division of Developmental Disabilities, and I'm also working on my Master's degree at Montclair State University.

Why did you decide to go to this year’s Chiller Convention?
The Chiller Theatre convention is held twice a year (Spring and Fall), I never miss a convention! It is a three day horror convention- Friday night, Saturday (a concert and costume party Saturday night), and in the day on Sunday (I'm there from open to close all three days).  The Chiller Theatre convention started in 1990, and has been going strong ever since.  The focus is Horror, but it also features sci-fi, fantasy, rock n roll, TV, movies, wrestlers, and pop culture.

Were there any panels you were looking forward to in particular?
Although there are some panel discussions at Chiller, they are not such a big attraction for me.  I am much more interested in shopping in the dealers rooms and meeting celebrities.  Panel discussions at this show were on British Horror, the movie Jaws, Japanese Monsters, and the movie Monster Squad: cast Q&A. I saw the Monster Squad Q&A, it was very good.

Did you take part in any particular activity?
The dealers rooms are large and crammed with cool merchandise; I bought lots of great things.  The auction on Saturday was also great, and I got some more cool stuff.

The Saturday night "Rock 'n' Roll Monster Party"  is always fun... bands that played this time were The Test, The Smithereens, The 5,6,7,8's (from the movie Kill Bill), Michale Graves (from the Misfits), The Dead Elvi (the Chiller house band), Ritchie Scarlett, and Pat Horgan's Thunder Road.  Special musical guests who  joined the bands for guest spots included the legendary John Zacherly, Keith Emerson (from Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Dennis Dunaway (from the Alice Cooper group), Rudy Sarzo (from Quiet Riot/Dio/ Ozzy) ...and more.  There were also some great costumes in the crowd.

Most of the rest of the time was spent meeting the celebrities, getting autographs, and chatting with them.  It was a great weekend!

Were there any exclusives you were looking forward to? Were you able to get them?
Although there are occasionally "exclusives" at Chiller, it is really not that type of show.  Chiller is a fan run show, not a corporate show.  No corporate sponsors.  The large dealers rooms have lots of vintage, and some one of a kind collectibles.  There are also lots of movies, posters, toys, memorabilia, model kits, jewelry, shirts, art, figures, books, stills, oddities, props and so much more.  Shopping at Chiller in the three big dealers rooms is one of the highlights of the weekend for me.

How crowded was it?
The show was VERY crowded on Friday, and EXTREMELY crowded on Saturday. Sunday was calmer.

Did you meet any celebrities?
Meeting celebrities is one of the main points of Chiller!  There were 150 (literally) guest celebrities at this show.  All celebrities are there all day, on all three days of the convention.  Chiller does not book any celebrity who is not willing to meet fans, sign autographs, etc.   They always strive to have a very wide variety of guests, so that there is always someone you will be happy to meet. My very favorites at this show were Scott Wilson (Walking Dead), Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad), Jill Schoelen (Popcorn, Stepfather, Phantom of the Opera) and Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story: Asylum).  Everyone was very nice and friendly... but especially Scott Wilson.  He plays Hershel in The Walking Dead, and was just like his character: a warm, wise gentleman... very grandfatherly.  A true pleasure to meet.

My boyfriend loves meeting the celebrity guests, and doesn't want to stop until he has spoken to everyone.  Other great guests we met this Chiller weekend were musician Weird Al Yankovic,  Nastassja Kinski (Cat People), Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy, Dazed & Confused), Peter Fonda (Easy Rider), Larry Storch
(F-Troop), Steve Guttenberg (Cocoon, Police Academy), comedian Gilbert Gottfied, Robert Hays (Airplane), Terry Farrell (Hellraiser 3, Star Trek DS9), Mirina Sirtis (Star Trek TNG, Grudge 3), C. Thomas Howell (Red Dawn, Criminal Minds), director Peter Bogdonovich, Vincent Pastore (Sopranos), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead, Devil's Rejects, Lords of Salem), horror host John Zacherley, Teri & Lesley Scobie (Village of the Damned), muscian Dennis Dunaway (Alice Cooper group), Zach Galligan (Gremlins, Waxworks), Mackenzie Phillips (One Day at a Time, American Graffiti), Stephen Blickenstaff (artist & musician), Corey Feldman (Lost Boys, Goonies), Sara Karloff (daughter of Boris Karloff), Traci Lords (Serial Mom, Cry Baby), John Savage (Deer Hunter), singer Samantha Fox, Ken Page (Nightmare Before Christmas), Catherine Bach (Dukes of Hazzard), artist Ken Kelly, Ralph Macchio (Karate Kid) and cast reunions for Jesus Christ Superstar, Monster Squad, Jaws (and a large JAWS movie prop display), Willy Wonka ... and many, many more.

Anything else that you enjoyed about Chiller?
It is always a fun weekend with plenty of surprises, and cool stuff.  The show has changed venues as it has gotten larger over the years, and is currently in the Parsippany Sheraton hotel ("Tara"), which is a perfect setting since the hotel looks like a large gothic castle. It is a fun weekend with blood, guts & gore, great celebrities, cool merchandise, rock and roll, costumes, exhibits, film screenings, autographs, photos, Q&A's, model and art contest, and more.  You never know what might happen at a Chiller weekend.

Anything else you would like to share?
If you go to Chiller, allow plenty of time.  It is a crowded convention with a lot to do!  It is a convention created and run by fans...for fans.

You can get more info about Chiller at the web site . The guest list for the next show will start to develop about two months before the show, and continue to grow until show time.

Have you been to any other “Cons” and planning to go to more this year?
I have been to many others in the past, but enjoy Chiller the most (I'm strictly a Chiller girl now :) ).  I am looking forward to the next Chiller Theatre convention in the Spring  (April 25, 26 & 27  2014).

Thank you so much to Dana for an awesome interview and Les for the awesome pics!!!

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