Being my first time at Texas Frightmare, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This was their 12th year, so they must be doing something right. There were a few things that I noticed over the two days we were there that could have been handled a little better, such as organizing the lines for the celebrities and for the Q&A’s a little better, but those were minor complaints. It really was run pretty smoothly, not to mention everyone being extremely friendly. And that, my convention friends, really is the key to a good show, having a well informed staff who is very friendly and are glad you came out to spend the weekend with them. This was also my first convention in a few years that I was attending as a fan, not as a dealer and it was a strange feeling. On one hand it was nice not to have to worry about what time it was, making sure the booth was set up, and being down in the dealer room before the show opened. But on the other…I have to say I was bored about halfway through Saturday. But let’s not jump ahead.
I know the south doesn’t have the number of horror cons as we do in the Midwest, which is why I’m guessing when they do have one, everyone comes out for it. At least, it sure looked like it for this one. There were people EVERYWHERE, with more than a few times where the aisles in the dealer rooms were so crowded that you couldn’t get through. This isn’t a complaint or a bad thing, because it means more money for the con and for the dealers. Just makes it a little harder for the fans to get to where they want to, or even to browse the dealer tables. Well, if they have any money left over.
Now even though we were mainly going for Argento, there were a few other guests that had my interests. There were a few names from Carpenter’s The Thing, some members from the TV series Bates Motel, all of the main living cast and director of Fright Night, and the director and star from Brain Damage, just to name a few. In fact, they had a ton of guests listed. There were two dealer rooms, and I’d make a guess that half of each of the rooms were celebrities. I noticed something right away that was a little disheartening, in that $40 for a signature is now becoming the average, and that’s pretty sad. Even worse that people were lined up to pay. There were a few that were still charging less than that, such as John Shepherd from Friday the 13: Part 5 who was only charging $25.
Argento was $40 for a signature and for another $20, you could get your picture with him at his table. I was surprised to see this so cheap for an icon like him, especially when compared to other ‘celebrities’ there and what they were charging. Danny Lloyd, who played little Danny in the original The Shining, had the similar combo price of $60 for autograph and a selfie. Am I missing something here? Is his signature worth that much? It must be because there were people paying that price. This is not a slam towards any of these guests, but when you compare their body of work, are they worth that much? I know, I know…if people are willing to pay it…But what happens next is the agent for Argento sees how much these others are charging and figures Argento is worth much more than that and the next thing you know, his rates go up. I can only guess that is what happened with Malcolm McDowell after he saw how Neve Campbell was charging double what he was at a show last year. Now his rates are much higher than they were then. It really is a shame that this is not only what fandom has become, a cattle drive to suck money out of the very fans that made these celebrities who they are, but that the fans themselves have idolized these people so much that they don’t see a problem forking over their hard earned money to them for a scribble on a glossy. End of rant.
I really try not to upgrade my DVD movies to Blu-ray unless this newer release is really something to write home about. But one of the companies that is really causing me to go against my policy is Arrow Video. Originally just releasing titles overseas, they have slowly creeped their way into the US market, much to the dismay of my wallet. They had a table set up at the con and was a very popular one at that. I know it was one of the first ones that I hit when we first got into the dealer room. They were selling most of their titles at $20 each, with a price break if you bought 3 or more. They were also selling the newly released Brain Damage, which did sell out by the time Saturday rolled around. Luckily, I picked up a copy right away. But they had some other great deals, like the special edition of Blood Bath, which features all four different versions of the movie, for only $20. Well, Friday it was $25 but was marked down to $20 on Saturday, so that made the quandary of buying an easy choice. I also picked up Bride of Re-Animator, Jack Hill’s Spider Baby, and Luigi Cozzi’s Contamination, each of them just filled with extras to make any film fan drool, not to mention really nice prints of the films.
Another table that drew one hell of a line on Friday, more than a lot of the guests, was the Mondo table, with a whole new set of posters up for sale. For those few out there that might not know what Mondo is, they create limited edition movie posters of classic movies. These are original artwork by some of the top talent today, like Gary Pullin, Jessica Seamans, Jason Edmiston, and many more, that are printed in limited quantities, which makes them pricy and quite collectible. Part of me never understood this concept of making a collectible item because it is made in limited quantities and promoted as a collector’s item, therefore it becomes one, fetching a higher price. Almost like a self-full-filling prophecy. Seems strange, if you ask me. But, that being said, the fact that they have gotten fans to be interested in buying poster art that IS ACTUALLY ARTWORK(!!!!!) is just awesome. And I’m not positive, but I’d make a safe bet that these posters are actually created with a pen, paint, ink, or other such means, and not just some color job on a computer. But then again, I’m not an artist, so what do I know!
One of the posters that was making its debut there was the An American Werewolf in London piece by Matt Ryan Tobin which was pretty damn cool, that was going for $55 for the normal version and a little more for the variant. They also had Gary Pullin’s piece for Halloween II, which also was extremely well done. I believe that was also going for $50.
Sure, I do think that some of their buyers are picking them up because they are “rare and collectible” and not strictly for the artwork. And know they can immediately put them up on ebay for 2 and 3 times what they just paid for them. But nonetheless, I’m glad that these kind posters are making an impact on the movie world. Now we can hope that the studios will take note and maybe start using these artists to create posters for new movies, instead of using that terrible process they do now. I’ve never bothered picking them up because honestly it is too much money for my tastes. Hell, I have a hard time spending $50 for an actual good old fashion original movie poster from a movie I love let alone one that was just printed. But again, anytime we can promote this kind of real artwork, it can’t be a bad thing.
We did pick up a couple of awesome shirts from our friends Jill & Gregg from Lix. They had gotten some new black button up shirts with some amazing designs that I’ve been pondering for the last couple of shows, but this time I just had to get them. I got one from The Thing and the Hellraiser one and just love him. They might be on pricy side, but they are high quality and very well made and well worth the money.
Next up….Meeting the Maestro!