Absolute horror hit New Jersey last weekend at Cherry Hill’s MONSTER MANIA CONVENTION. Check out my recap of the weekend below.
Last weekend saw the 10th anniversary of Monster Mania’s show. Monster Mania started in 2003, and has grown from a local horror fan show to a horror convention that increases in size each year. For the promoter and founder of Monster Mania, Dave Hagan, work began not too long after their last show in September. Back in September, Dave posted on Facebook that he promises the 2013 will be the best year Monster Mania has seen yet. The convention has 3 shows per year: March and August in Cherry Hill, NJ, and September in Hunt Valley, Maryland (outside of Baltimore).
I arrived early Friday afternoon as we were accompanied by convention vendors Tom the Misfit for Custom Fangs and Mike Saga of Bully Bullet Belts. This offered a unique opportunity to see the inner workings of the convention that most people don’t see: from a bunch of vendor boxes and grid walls to a fully functional vendor booth in less than 5 hours. During the set up time, I was able to wander, meet vendors and take a sneak peek at what was to come in a few short hours.
As for the vendors, horror fans were treated to some really awesome vendors this year. From vendor staple Fright Rags selling awesome horror t-shirts to preserved two-headed turtles in jars. There was something for everyone: posters, memorabilia, dolls, action figures, toys, clothing, original artwork, movie booths, and independent filmmaker booths showcasing their newest projects. Sunday there were vendors doing sfx makeup runs.
Guests in attendance ranged from Star Wars fan favorites Peter Mayhew (Chewbaccca) and Lando (Billy Dee Williams) to Freddy vs. Jason stars, pretty much every actor who has played Jason, TEN Walking Dead stars, and iconic horror faces (or voices) like John Kassir (voice of the Cryptkeeper from Tales of the Crypt). Also in attendance were two fan favorites from True Blood: Jim Parrack (Hoy Fortenberry) and Janina Garvankar (Luna). The Walking Dead stars included Michael Rooker (Merle), Scott Wilson (Hershel), Danai Gurira (Michonne), IronE Singleton (T-Dog), Vincent Ward (Oscar), Lew Temple (Axel), Laurie Holden (Andrea), Kyle Symanski (Penny, the Governor’s Daughter), Madison Lintz (Sophia), and Chandler Riggs (Carl). Jason vs. Freddy stars included Zack Ward (also known for his role as Scott Fargas in A CHRISTMAS STORY), Kyle Labine, Katherine Isabelle, and Brendan Fletcher. They also brought in 3 “Jasons”—Kane Hodder, CJ Graham, and Steve Dash. Also in attendance was Tyler Mane, Bill Moseley, Danielle Harris, Jennifer Jostyn, Larry Zerner, Erin Grey, Dirk Benedict, Martin Kove, Jordan Ladd, and horror punk band The Misfits.
Sadly, as with any convention, there were a few cancelations. One of the headliners, Star Wars fan favorite Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) had to cancel due to a medial issue. (We wish her a speedy recovery!). In addition, due to scheduling conflicts, Bai Ling known for her role as Myca in THE CROW. Despite the cancelations, which are inevitable in any convention, the show itself was fantastic.
There were also several panels that came with the plethora of A-list celebrities. There were panels for Jason Vs. Freddy reunion, The Walking Dead, True Blood, and “Jason” actor panel, Rob Zombie stars reunion panel, and Q&As with several of the guests. Also throughout the weekend there were screenings of all three original Star Wars films, The Devil’s Rejects, Friday the 13th movies, and more. There was also a costume contest, and an auction where proceeds went to help a local Yorkie rescue shelter.
The weekend was highly successful, with most likely the highest number in attendance on Saturday. Lines for Danai Gurira reached up to a 3 hour wait just to get an autograph and picture.
Its very hard to imagine what kind of show they will put on in August to top the lineup last weekend. Either way, we will be there! If you have never been to a horror convention, this is DEFINITELY one you want to go to.
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