This year’s Monster Bash, held once again in Mars, PA, was their 20th Anniversary show. I can’t express how sad I am that I had only started coming to this show a few years ago. For years, I put some serious thought into setting up as a vendor there, but I always talked myself out of it because of the distance being too far and if it would really be worth it. Now, with this show becoming one of my favorite stops on our Kryptic World Tour, I realize just how I wrong I was.
This time out, I would be making the 500 mile journey to the show on my own, since my wife Dawn is taking care of her father. It sucks having to do the show alone, but there are certain things in life that are way more important, and family is one of them. It’s only a couple of hours past where we go for Wasteland, so it should be that bad. Though, looking at the weather in the area for that Friday, it was calling for rain…all…day…long! I’ve never had to unload for a show in the rain and was not looking forward to it. I decided to leave after work on Thursday, drive to Cleveland area and then stop for a few hours of sleep, then drive the last couple of hours the next morning to be there by 8am for set up.
I had the van all packed up and ready to go on Wednesday night, so once I got home work, I quickly changed clothes, grab the rest of my stuff, and hit the road. Between construction and rush hour traffic, it seemed to take me forever to get out of Illinois. There were detours, slowing down for construction, which I was afraid it was going to put me way behind schedule. But shortly after hitting the Indiana border, it opened up and we were off and flying down the toll way.
There was a little rain as we got closer to Cleveland, but nothing drastic. The forecast for Mars on Friday was still showing rain the entire day! As I pulled up to the parking lot to the hotel where the show was at, the rain was down to a sprinkle. I could manage in this kind of rain. So I go inside and find out where my table is and start to get unloaded as soon as I can. It had actually stopped raining by that time, so things were going great. After getting unloaded and walking back to my van to move it back into the parking lot, the skies opened up and the rain just poured down. So whatever deity up there that held off the showers until I was done, I thank you!
Once I got our booth set up and looking as professional as it was going to, I was able to scope out the dealer room before the show officially opened. The dealer room here at the Bash is one of the reasons I love it so much. Most of the cons we do, I’m never worried about spending any money since I rarely see things I need to add to the collection. But here, there are more than a few tables with a tons of goodies just tempting the money from my wallet. Plus, this show has its own feel to it. Like Cinema Wasteland, everyone coming through the door are die-hard fans. An older crowd, and ones that have been monster fans for decades, not since some zombie TV show came on the air. Oops…did that sound a little elitist again? Sorry…just the grumpy old man in me popping out again. Nonetheless, there were plenty of fun conversations about films, actors, and everything that monster kids love. That alone makes these shows so much fun.
So as I started to make my way through the room, right off the bat, I saw our good friend Mark Maddox set up. What drew my attention right away was the amazing piece of art that he had recently created for the cover of the latest issue of Little Shoppe of Horrors. As a child, one of my fondest memories was watching Frankenstein: The True Story over two nights on TV. Now LSoH‘s has outdone themselves with an incredible and in-depth issue on this great teleplay. And Mark’s artwork for the tri-fold cover is just stunning. He had it on display behind his table so seeing it up close was even more amazing. Granted, all of Mark’s work is pretty impressive. Last year, I picked up a few of the prints that he was selling and almost did it again this year. But I didn’t give in to temptation, mainly because I just don’t have room to hang them all! If you get the chance to see Mark at a show, please take the time and browse through his work. He recently won the Rondo Award for Artist of the Year, a rightly deserved one, at that.
Speaking of Little Shoppe of Horrors, the master of that magazine, Dick Klemensen was at the show. He stopped by our table to chat for a while. I think I first met Dick at my very first Fanex show way back in July of 1994. I had been a faithful follower of his magazine ever since I picked up issue # 8, which was all about Hammer’s Vampire Lovers. After that issue, I was hooked. But even back then, Dick was a friendly guy that loved to talking fellow Hammer fans. We’ve met a few times over the years, but it is always a pleasure to see him again. He has worked so hard over many decades bringing so much information and joy to Hammer fans, as well as film fans in general. So thank you, Dick, for all the work that you do for all of us. It is much appreciated.
Now, as someone who has been a dealer for over 25 years, the whole object is to have something that you are hoping is going to sell. But there are those times when you just want to have something on your table because YOU think it is cool and who cares if nobody else does. Granted, when somebody then does recognize it and shows some love, it give you some sort of satisfaction knowing you’re not the only crazy one. Rob Floyd is one of those crazy ones.
Rob Fand his lovely wife Phyllis were setup just down the aisle from me. I noticed right away some of the wood plaques that he had on display, including a Naschy one. So right away, he got my attention. But then as I looked a little closer into his display, I noticed that he was selling replicas of the Dracula ring worn in Al Adamson’s monster epic Dracula vs Frankenstein that he had made. Now, Rob had to be just plain crazy to take the time to sculpt and replicate this ring to sell, knowing that most people aren’t even going to know what it is from, let alone buy one. Then again, the one crazier then Rob for making these would be the nutcase that would actually buy one…like myself. Yes, this movie is a train wreck, but damn do I still love it. I also admired the hell out of Rob because he made it simply because of his fondness for the film as well. It is this shared passion for this kind of trash cinema that can make fast friends amongst fellow film deviants, which is exactly what it did. Over the weekend, I sent a couple other people over to his table to check out his rings, as well as some of the other cool stuff that he has. I mean, how can you go wrong with a little Naschy figure!?!? I think Rob’s passion is what I admired the most about him. He’s making stuff that HE’D want to buy. That shows a true passionate monster fan. Plus, him and his wife Phyllis are just good people. Can’t wait to see him next year so I can pick up a few more things from him. Below are some examples of his work.
It is a regular tradition for the Bash to screen a Mexican horror movie late on Friday night. They pass out free tacos and burritos before hand, which even though they are left over Taco Bell, I got to say I think that is a brilliant idea and very cool. But the past shows that I was at, because we usually left real early Friday morning, by the time the film starts late that night, I just can’t stay awake. As much as I try, my body just starts to shut down. But this year, since I got some sleep and was only up at 5am, I was awake enough to be able to fully enjoy the glorious adventure of Samson vs the Vampire Women. This was the dubbed version of Santo vs. las mujeres vampiro (1962), but is still just as fun. Actually, sometimes the dubbing for these makes it even more entertaining. The next feature was The Brain that Wouldn’t Die, and as much as I wanted to stay up for it, I knew it was time to crash.
Next Up….Blaisdell, Blood Freak, and Books!