As I mentioned in my earlier report, I had already met Argento years before and gotten a couple of items signed for free. So kept pondering why did I need to do it again, especially since I’d be paying $60g $60 this time? I had brought along my copy of Alan Jones’ book Dario Argento: The Man, The Myths, & the Magic to get signed if I decided to, but was really struggling with it. Lucky for me, that debate was easily decided when a dealer friend of ours graciously offered some extra dealer badges since we hadn’t purchased our tickets yet, which saved us exactly the same amount needed for the Argento signature. So…it was really hard to pass up then since we had just saved that much, right? Funny how fate works out that way.
Granted, the real reason we were here was for our buddy Bryan Martinez to meet the Maestro, since he is not only a fan of Argento’s work, but because this director was a huge influence on him, which would later come out creatively with Bryan’s show The Giallo Room. To say that he was a little excited is a slight understatement. We decided that getting in line right away Friday would be the best bet, since it was early, the line wasn’t that big with maybe a dozen people already in line. Plus, you want to get to Argento early before he gets worn out by all the people coming to see him. I mean, the guy is in his mid-70s after all. Once Argento came down and started, it went pretty quick. I went first and held out my book to him. He paged through it a bit, signed it, then looked up and said “Very good book!” I then sat down next to him for the photo. The guy handling the camera shots was very nice about the whole thing, taking several shots to make sure he got a good one in there. Very different than some of the cattle drives that I’ve seen/heard of before. Argento seemed to be full of spirits and really happy to be there.
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.
Back in the mid to late ’90s, I did something almost on a yearly basis that was one of those stupid things you do when you’re younger…driving from Chicago to New York for a convention, usually in the wintery month of January. I mean, when you have the opportunity to meet genre icons like Lucio Fulci or Paul Naschy, sensibilities tend not to come to the forefront of your thought process. Why pay $200 to $400 for a single plane ticket when I could get a bunch of like-minded horror fans in the car and make the 800+ mile drive there, stay a couple of days, and then make that same trip back. Granted, I was never dumb enough to do it alone, but the first few times we did this, it was in one straight shot. On the way there, we were so pumped full of excitement that the trip didn’t seem that bad. But for some reason the trip back seems sooo much longer. Sure, those long hours in the van were long, tedious, and sometime downright nerve racking. But it was an adventure, to say the least. Now I look back on those days with such fondness. Sure, maybe because I’m not behind the wheel at that moment, but those are still great memories.