A brief recap of what I did over the weekend:
DAY 0 (THURSDAY)
Arrived at LAX at 9-something PM
Finally checked into the hotel around 10:30 after getting something to eat
Sat at the hotel bar for about 30 minutes, hoping to spot some famous people
Went to the room and messed around on the internet until 5am
DAY 1 (FRIDAY)
Hit up the hotel's fitness room for a quick workout
Waited around for my friend Kelly to show up
Went back and forth between my room and the pool area for smoke breaks
Listened to Downer's 2001 self-titled album a whole bunch
Kelly showed up around 4pm
We hit up the convention and walked around for a while
Met up with our friends Miles and Tanner in the early evening
Took a cab to somewhere near the airport; ate pizza and drank beer at Melody's
Went back to the hotel and drank some more in the outdoor area near the convention rooms
Tanner went home
DAY 2 (SATURDAY)
Woke up and got breakfast at Denny's
Miles left early in the morning
Went back to the hotel and walked around the convention for a few hours
Went to Hollywood and met up with our friend Stephen
Had dinner at the Pig and Whistle pub
Tried to attend a screening of Texas Chain Saw Massacre at Beyond Fest but it was sold out
Went back to the hotel and drank in the same outdoor area as the night before
Checked out the Days of the Dead "after party"
Stopped at the screening room and caught some of TIME TO KILL
Went back up to the room
DAY 3 (SUNDAY)
Woke up and met Tanner and his wife Ley at Denny's for breakfast
Went back to the hotel and killed a couple of hours at the convention
Tanner and his wife left
I hung out in the room and caught up on social media
Dinner at Carl's Jr.
DAY 4 (MONDAY)
Woke up and went to the airport
Ate an overpriced breakfast at the airport
Now I'll post some thoughts on all the celebrities who were at the convention, a lot of whom I didn't get to see:
(To be continued in Part 2)
Barker was the main attraction of the con, which would explain why he was kept in a separate room from everyone else and had his own box office. I never saw him a single time over the course of the weekend but I did see his line on Saturday and it was LONG. Trust me, if I could afford it, I would've been standing in line with the rest of those people, but alas it wasn't meant to be this time. Hopefully one day I can meet this legend.
He only worked the con on Saturday and a few hours on Sunday right before they shut it down. He arrived fashionably late on Saturday (either that or he was advertised later than everyone else), but he made up for lost time when his table was swarmed with fans. Me and my friends got to meet him on Sunday and take a picture with him, which was a huge honor. We actually waited around specifically just to see if he'd show up (his merch table was there but he was nowhere to be found). When he finally arrived, I don't think anyone noticed; most of the people were gone by that point. But we saw him and his handler walk into one of the smaller rooms and we basically followed him and paid to take a picture with him. Roddy Piper was kind, gracious, and had a smile from ear to ear. He shook each of our hands (there were four of us), asked us our names, and posed for not one but two pictures. When the photo op was over, he shook everyone's hand once again and got to me last. I asked if I could hug him. Without saying a word, he embraced me and gave me a big ol' hug! Thankfully he didn't put me in the sleeper afterwards. Piper was one of my childhood heroes and he'll always have a place in my top five wrestlers of all time, so meeting him was incredible.
John Schneider (THE DUKES OF HAZZARD)
I don't recall seeing him at the con. I'm pretty sure he was there; I just didn't notice him amongst the sea of people. He wrote and directed a movie called SMOTHERED, which screened at the convention on Saturday night I believe.
I didn't meet him but I saw him on Saturday and Sunday at his table, which was set up in one of the smaller rooms. He was right by the ballroom doors, so anyone walking by could see him. Being a huge fan of THE LOST BOYS, it was pretty cool to see him in person, either signing stuff for fans or just walking around the hotel. He seemed really nice to the people who came to see him.
She was in the main ballroom next to Ian Ziering's table. Tara was only advertised for Saturday, but I'm pretty sure I saw her at the con on either Friday or Sunday as well. I could be wrong though. Again, I didn't meet her, nor did I have any intent to, but she seemed to be enjoying the fan interactions.
Ian Ziering (SHARKNADO)
He and Tara Reid were in an area of the ballroom that made it easy for people to see them. I walked by him a bunch of times. I never stopped to talk to him, but he seemed really cool. On more than one occasion, he was standing up and pacing around near his table, as if he was soaking in the freakshow that was Days of the Dead. I saw him conversing with fans and celebrities alike, and he just seemed like a genuinely nice, approachable guy.
A big disappointment. I said hello and tried to engage him in conversation at one point on Saturday, but I got a bad vibe from him, like his appearance at Days of the Dead was strictly business and he had no interest in meeting any of the fans unless they had their wallets open. The few things I said to him were met with one-word responses, and I noticed him do the same thing to other fans who walked up to his table. He just seemed completely uninterested. Despite that, I contemplated buying a Cornbugs DVD but figured my money would be better spent on someone else. I hope I just caught him on a bad day and he's not like that all the time, because I really admire the guy.
He was nice but he also seemed kinda bored. Either that or he was tired on the few occasions I saw him over the course of the weekend. My first encounter with Ken was in an elevator on Saturday morning before the con. It was just me, him, and my friend Kelly. He asked if we were there (at the Marriott) "for the celebration." I thought it was pretty awesome that he referred to the convention as a celebration. I saw him two years ago at HorrorHound Weekend and he seemed to be in better spirits then.
Haig was there all weekend, but I barely saw him. I saw him at his table on Saturday when both of his fellow Rejects (Moseley and Foree) were there and I also saw him walking around outside of the convention here and there throughout the weekend.
I never saw Lance a single time and even wondered if he canceled. He was only advertised for Saturday. Despite being at the convention for a few hours on Saturday, I didn't see him. It's very possible that he was in one of the smaller rooms that we never went into. I did see him two years ago at HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis and he seemed super cool and approachable.
PJ Soles (HALLOWEEN)
I saw her signing autographs on Saturday but never talked to her. She was positioned in an area of the ballroom that was located near a lot of cool vendors, so me and Kelly were typically distracted whenever we walked by her. She seemed cool though. I've heard nothing but nice things about her from friends who've met her in the past.
Miko Hughes (PET SEMATARY)
Seeing Miko in person was a trip. I mean, this is the guy who gave what I believe is the quintessential creepy kid performance in PET SEMATARY (also one of the better Stephen King adaptations) and here he is at Days of the Dead just walking around almost unrecognized by most people. I never saw him actually signing at the convention, but he co-DJ'd a dance party in one of the ballrooms on Saturday night. The party itself was bizarre. Less than ten people were dancing at any given time, and the rest of the people were sitting in chairs and watching the stage or just standing around. Speaking of standing around, there was a guy at the party who was dressed up as Rorschach from WATCHMEN and he was just standing by himself looking bored as fuck. When I first saw Miko, he was checking one of the circuit breakers in the ballroom's wall by where me, Kelly, and our friend Stephen were standing. I nudged Kelly and said "Hey, it's the guy from PET SEMATARY", but then I looked back at Miko and wasn't completely sure if it was him or not. Anyway, Miko took the stage after that and DJ'd for a while. The music was actually pretty good! The lack of people at the party made the experience a bit awkward though. I saw Miko walking around on Sunday as well but never bothered to get a picture with him. He seems cool as fuck though.
Robert Mukes (HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES)
Aside from some adorable pups who were at an animal rescue table in the convention, Mukes was easily the star of the convention. We saw him EVERYWHERE. But, at 6'10", he's kinda hard to miss. The dude looks like a giant Mickey Rourke and I'm pretty sure Kelly had a man-crush on him. I don't blame him... Mukes is a fucking stud. He had a table at the con, but I only saw him at it once or twice; most of the time he was just walking around and talking to fans, hot chicks, and the other celebs. He was even at the aforementioned dance party just chillin',
Jordan Ladd (CABIN FEVER)
Like Lance Henriksen, I wondered if she'd canceled and even asked one of the box office guys if she even showed up, to which he replied "I'm not sure". Jordan was advertised for all three days but I never saw her once - in the convention or elsewhere. Who knows. I would've loved to meet her. CABIN FEVER was one of the movies I re-watched before flying out to L.A. to get myself pumped up for the convention.
Diane Franklin (BETTER OFF DEAD)
Never noticed her.
Annabelle (THE CONJURING, ANNABELLE)
Yes, the creepy doll from THE CONJURING and now the star of its very own movie was an actual guest at the convention. Me and Kelly both took a picture with Annabelle, but I have to say, she was kinda rude. She just sat there on her chair and ignored us the whole time. Her handlers were cool, though. A male and female couple and a lone female alternated over the weekend as Annabelle's handlers. They were all nice people and essentially begged us to take as many Annabelle masks from their table as we wanted (me and Kelly both grabbed a handful of them). The lone female in particular was very attractive and quite friendly. I wanted to take a picture with her as well, but I sensed some jealousy from Annabelle so I took a pass. The last thing I wanted was that creepy-ass doll showing up in my hotel room in the middle of the night!
RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD Reunion: Don Calfe ("Ernie"), Clu Gulager ("Burt"), Jewel Shepard ("Casey"), Beverly Randolph ("Tina"), Allan Trautman ("Tarman"), Brian Peck ("Scuz"), John Philbin ("Chuck")
Sadly, I missed their panel, which I can only imagine was extremely entertaining just based on the amount of people from the film who were there. I mean, shit, Clu Gulager alone would probably be great to listen to. There were a lot of people who got ROTLD memorabilia signed from all the cast members; in hindsight, I kinda wished I was one of them. Oh well. Couldn't have afforded it anyway. I got a good look at the ROTLD crew at their tables on Sunday and they all seemed incredibly nice and excited to be there as they interacted with the fans and posed for photos. Don Calfe had an amazing dreamcatcher bolo tie and looked sharp. Seeing Clu in person just a few feet away from me was surreal, like, "Am I really in the same room as Clu Gulager right now?" Jewel Shepard's outfit had a punk vibe to it - I wasn't sure if she was dressed that way because of her character in ROTLD or if she actually dresses like that in real life, but she looked sexy either way. Beverly Randolph seemed nice and adorable. John Philbin looked very approachable. I saw an empty spot at the table where Allan Trautman was supposed to be, so I'm not sure if he left early or was on an extended break, and I don't recall seeing Brian Peck there.
Lisa Wilcox (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4 and 5), Rodney Eastman (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3), Ira Heiden (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3), Bradley Gregg (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3)
Aside from Bradley Gregg, I don't remember seeing any of the NIGHTMARE crew at any point during the weekend. I thought about going to the DREAM WARRIORS panel on Sunday but we ended up getting breakfast down the street while it was happening. If Jennifer Rubin was there, I probably would've passed on breakfast!
Ashley Laurence (HELLRAISER)
She was the person I was looking forward to seeing the most. HELLRAISER is my second favorite horror movie of all time and Ashley has been one of my top movie crushes since, like, forever ago. That said, she's one of the few celebs I took a photo with at the convention. I was kinda nervous to go talk to her because 1) she's Ashley fucking Laurence! and 2) what if she ended up not being nice? A bad experience with her would've devastated me, but luckily she ended up being really gracious and nice. After circling her section like a shark for most of Saturday, I finally went up to her table, where she was talking to someone. So as to not be rude and interrupt, I looked at the merchandise she was selling and chatted to her handler - a big biker-looking dude who was just as nice as he is scary. After learning that autographed memorabilia and photo ops were not a package deal, I gave the handler some cash for a photo op and he took two pictures with my camera, both of which were awful (because of me). After the first photo, the handler asked "Do you want me to take another one?" Ashley replied "Yeah, take one more. I'll fix my hair." The handler then asked me if I wanted to fix my hair as well. I said no, but I looked over to Ashley and asked if I could fix HER hair. She laughed but I'm sure that comment weirded her out a little. And then we took this second picture...