Horror Films and Friends…Old and New


Yesterday, I headed into the Chicago for the rescheduled Massacre, the 24-hour horror movie marathon at the Patio Theater. It was originally in October, but due to the rain coming into the theater, it was postponed until yesterday. As soon as I walked in the lobby, you could notice how cold it was in there. Apparently they turned on the hear around 10am but it took several hours for it to warm up a bit in the theater. I wish I would have brought my gloves! It really is a shame the issues this place has because the Patio is a beautiful theater.

John HancockDirector John Hancock was still scheduled to be there, with a screening of his highly underrated 1971 film Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. While I had seen it on the big screen before as well as meeting him at a previous marathon, I wanted him to sign my copy of Jaws 2: The Making of a Hollywood Sequel, where he was the original director before getting fired. Reading about how his version of the film would have been is kind of depressing because I think it could have been pretty damn good, but it wasn’t the re-tread of the first film, which is what the studios wanted. He did do a Q&A after the Jessica screening and then came out to the lobby to sign stuff for the fans. Very nice guy.

My good and talented friend Bryan Martinez had his new short film, My Friend Lisa, playing during the shorts program, so I also wanted to come out and show support for it. It was nice to hear the crowd’s reaction to one of the jump scares, which was pretty cool. Another short playing, Grey Matter, which starred another friend, Aaron Christensen. Based on a Stephen King short story, it was pretty well done, although seemed to have quite a few “style shots” used throughout it that seemed to take you out of the story. The cast was very strong, including genre favorite Larry Fessenden, as well as Steve Herson, another Chicago based actor. Overall it was well done. Though, it was strange hearing musical cues from Richard Band’s score for From Beyond in there.

Someone did have a prop replica from Creepshow out in the lobby, which was pretty damn cool. Not sure who made it, but they did an excellent job.


Out of the dozen or so features playing, I only caught two of them, William Castle’s House on Haunted Hill and Romero’s Creepshow. Since I could watch the other films at home from the same format being used here, I figured I would spend the time out in the lobby checking out the vendors and chatting with other friends that were there. From Jill & Gregg from LixOnline, Brian Kirst, Dan Kiggins, Barry from House of Monsters, it’s just like the conventions, standing around chatting about horror movies is always a blast. It is always fun to hear what new films someone has recently watched, adding it to your own “need to watch” list, or passing ones that you’ve seen to them for their list. It’s a never ending conversation that is always one of the highpoints of any kind of get-together like this.

But I have to say that one of the highlights of the event, was meeting one of the vendors there, an artist named Aaron Stockwell. He got my attention right away because of the four different pieces of art from Demons and Demons 2 that he had on display. At first glance, they looked like a printed frame grab, or thought that it was one of those pieces tweaked on the computer from the original image that we see at the cons. But as I got closer and closer and really looked at it, you could see the brush strokes. As I talked to Aaron about these, he said they were all done from acrylic, which just amazed me even more, especially the detail he did on the piece with the mask from Demons. Granted, I’m not an artist, but the shiny reflection in the mask was staggering on how he captured it. Bryan Martinez and I ended up talking with Aaron for quite a while on different movies, favorites, giving each other some new titles to look into. I’m really looking forward to see what Aaron comes up with next with his artwork. I ended up buying two of his prints, one from Demons (the one with the mask) and the one from Demons 2. Not sure where these are going to get hung, but I knew I had to add them to my collection. For more of his work or to pick up some of these prints from him, check out his Etsy page HERE.

After Creepshow had ended, Bryan and I left to grab some food before heading home. Overall, it was a lot of fun and I had a really good time. Funny though that I came to a 24-hour movie marathon and the movies were really the last thing on my mind.

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