Well, it’s that time of year again! It’s the first of two times that the MONSTERPALOOZA weekend descends upon California and rocks the socks off of all us monster lovers out there. The convention, whose primary focus centers around celebrating the art of special FX, kicked off back in 2008 at the Burbank Marriot Convention Center, and has since grown into a juggernaut. From one show a year to two, and from the Marriot hotel to its now second year at the much larger Pasadena Convention Center, Monsterpalooza conquered the West Coast much like Kong conquered New York in the conclusions of his various incarnations!
By the kick off on Friday night, the cavernous halls were filled with vendors, FX shop booths, the legendary Monsterpalooza museum, tons of genre celebrities signing autographs, costumed fiends, and much much more. I managed to survive all 3 days at the convention, and here’s a glimpse at what we saw! First up, a stop at the museum, which featured a creepy corner devoted to THE CONJURING universe, incredibly life-like sculptures of everyone from Robert Shaw as Quint in JAWS, to Norman Reedus from THE WALKING DEAD, to original paintings from Clive Barker! Scroll through the following gallery!
Highlights from the museum included some of the following displays, including this incredible ALIENS VS PREDATOR mock up, the laboratory of Dr. Frankenstein with the Korloff monster, various Medusa busts, THE HOWLING werewolves, the late, great Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein monster, the crate monster from CREEPSHOW, Jack Skellington, and much, much more.
Because of how much there was going on at any given time over the course of the weekend, it was rather difficult to make it over to the panel room, but I carved out some time to see Don Mancini and company discuss the upcoming CULT OF CHUCKY, the 7th in the CHILD’S PLAY series. Also a treat, former FANGORIA editor-in-chief Tony Timpone made a welcome return to the stage to moderate the majority of the panels all weekend long.
I’ve always said that MONSTERPALOOZA is the only convention that comes close to recapturing how I felt attending Fangoria Weekend of Horror conventions as a kid. Having Tony there this year made it feel like home! And although there was no footage from the movie shown, surprise guest Jennifer Tilly, along with star Fiona Douriff and FX legend Tony Gardner gave a thoroughly entertaining preview of what we can expect from the next entry in the CHUCKY franchise, which primarily takes place in a mental institution. This CHILD’S PLAY flick is going for the surreal, as Douriff’s character Nica is questioning her sanity after the events of CURSE OF CHUCKY. It promises plenty of gore, and some fun surprises. And yes, Alex Vincent returns as Andy Barclay!
In other parts of the showroom, you could spot life-size pieces based on John Carpenter’s THE THING, foreign posters, incredibly detailed masks from Immortal Masks, Sideshow collectible statues, and dozens of simultaneous make-up demonstrations.
Don’t worry, GREMLINS, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, The Bride and all the other usual familiar faces were well represented. And speaking of familiar faces, we bumped into a lot of friends and family you can spot in some of the pics in this next gallery.
There was so much to do and see at this year’s Monsterpalooza, that it was frankly overwhelming! But in the greatest way possible. While Friday evening was packed, both Saturday and Sunday drew record breaking lines. So much so, that there were 2000 people unable to get in at all for Saturday. It just shows that horror is bigger than ever, and Monsterpalooza’s genuine celebration of monsters and monster lovers is vastly appreciated.
It’s become the Comic-Con of horror. Does this mean a bigger venue next year? Only time will tell. Personally, I love the Pasadena Convention Center as the location for this event. In September, they return to the Burbank Marriot for the smaller “Son of MONSTERPALOOZA.” My advice? Be sure to buy your passes online well in advance! Otherwise you’ll miss out on all the fun. See you at the next one!