The Chiller Theatre Expo vs. The Monster Mania Con has become an often debated clash amongst fans and bloggers. While it’s not quite the magnitude of Frankenstein vs. The Wolfman, it has sparked some contention.
Both events are pretty damn cool in their own right, it just becomes a matter of preference. Many con fans have become vehemently opposed to Chiller for some reason. But what I find is that both conventions offer similar dealer tables, the same lines for overpriced autographs, and the same lack of parking. Although I will say that you have a better shot at parking at Chiller in Parsippany than you do at Monster Mania in Cherry Hill, where I feel like I park 16 miles away sometimes. I plan it out so I don’t hit the brunt of the insane crowds. I also don’t linger around. I make sure I hit everything and then I’m out of there!
Monster Mania gears their con more toward horror rather than the pop culture Chiller has evolved into. If you want Tom Savini you go to Monster Mania, if you want Cindy from The Brady Bunch you go to Chiller, or you can be like The Sexy Armpit and just go to both! These conventions are always fun and I consider myself lucky to live in an area that offers this type of event. If I lived in a less populated area I might be salivating at someone else’s blog post recapping events like these.
Out of the slew of guests that appear at Chiller, I usually zero in on one or two who I am interested in meeting. I was anticipating the spring installment of Chiller for months because I was excited to see that Suzanne Snyder (Return of the Living Dead Part II, Killer Klowns From Outer Space) and Judie Aronson (Friday the 13th IV, American Ninja) who played Deb and Hilly from Weird Science, would be appearing. Weird Science is one of my favorite movies of all time to the point where I know every line of dialogue. In the film, the fantasy girl who Gary and Wyatt created was Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) but I was never attracted to her at all, I had the biggest crushes on the ’80s mall chicks Deb and Hilly. I never thought in a million years I’d be introducing myself to these hotties in the same geeky way that Gary and Wyatt did in their bathroom.
Both ladies eagerly interacted with their fans. The best part is that Judie Aronson, owner of Rockit Body Pilates in California, remembered The Sexy Armpit from Twitter! What a sweetheart. Now I don’t have to go into a social coma!
There were a few very surreal moments for me this time around at Chiller. For instance, talking at length with Rob Romanus, who played Damone in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, was so frigging cool. It’s another one of those things that I never thought I’d be doing. Chatting it up with Damone about how his character is so embedded in our pop culture. I also told Lamar from Revenge of the Nerds that I was listening to the Nerds rap on my iPod on my commute to work that morning (…”Now clap your hands everybody…”). Just the fact that I was driving to work listening to that song was weird enough, it never crossed my mind that later that day I would actually be telling the guy who rapped the song that I was listening to it. That’s the place Chiller has in my life. Years ago at a Chiller Adam West handed me the Batphone because he said it was for me. That one really blew my mind.
Way too much money was extracted from pockets all weekend. let me give you a quick summary of some of cool stuff I picked up.
Within a few minutes of entering the dealer room, my eyes immediately locked onto a thrilling piece of art. I went over to the table where I saw the black and white print hanging where I met artist Mike Turso. The ingeniusly conceived, beautifully painted piece was a horror parody of the KISS album Dressed To Kill. Being both a hardcore member of The KISS Army and a horror fanatic, this was a jackpot for me. Naturally I couldn’t afford the $700 dollar price tag of the original print, but I snatched up a smaller $20 print without even blinking an eye. I balled for several minutes to Mike about what an awesome idea it was and how much I loved it. Mike’s work is brilliant and if you’re a fan of comics, horror, or movies, he will have a print you will want, I can guarantee it. Check out his website HERE for a gallery of his work.
I also added a couple of Hot Wheels to my collection: The DeLorean and The Batman version of the Batmobile which I recently read about on Moongem Comics.
Retro Lovely is a premium magazine filled with pinup models and retro style photography by Ric Frane artist known for Monsters, Pinup Girls, and Danger! Also, from the Troma table, I bought a Toxic Avenger collected edition comic that I’ve had my eye on at the last couple of cons. And finally, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein of The Misfits commented on how much he liked my tattoos, and in turn I endorse his MADE IN HELL hot sauce. It’s not so hot where your mouth becomes numb and it had so many different subtle flavors that it’s probably more suitable for use as a spicy marinade for chicken than it is just a regular hot sauce.