By Jason Delgado
Halloween came early this year, on September 13 through 15, with Son of Monsterpalooza, back for its eighth year. Like Chucky or Sam from Trick ‘r Treat, this is the bite-sized version of sister show Monsterpalooza. If you ever wanted to have a chat or get a pic with one of celebs attending, then this is the place or you. Ditch the sometimes long, zombie-like lines of the Pasadena Convention Center during Monsterpalooza, and enjoy the non-suffocating space of the Marriott Burbank hotel for Son of Monsterpalooza.
So what made Son of Mosterpalooza such a howling good time? If you wanted magic, you got magic in the form of the Paradox 5 show from ringmaster Bob Self. What other con features a cool, interactive magic show? This show was billed as five illusionists, five rooms, and five secrets – and it delivered. It was an intimate show in groups of five, where everyone was able to interact with a magician by picking a card or making other choices that resulted in fun illusions. Just like a good movie, there was a twist to the show, but alas I have been sworn to secrecy. Hopefully, the Baby Tattoo Paradox 5 show will be back next year, or catch them on the road if you can.
Another unique feature to this con was the Scary Closet’s Presence walkthrough maze. It didn’t have the budget of a big theme park haunted production, but as we learned with It: Chapter 2, bigger isn’t always better. The walkthrough wasn’t very long, but the originality of it brought the scares, as evidenced by hearing a man screaming inside as I waited in line. I don’t want to spoil too much of the maze, but I will say that the first room had a Brad Pitt, “what’s in the box?” moment where someone in the group had to stick their hand inside to find out! Talk about jeepers creepers!
The thing that made this show a graveyard smash for me wasn’t Marky Ramone’s cover of the Monster Mash with the Misfits, but my interview with him here! Talking to a legend from your favorite band of all-time is the scariest thing you can do, especially when I told him that I saw him play with the Misfits, and he replied, “No, the Misfits played with me!” I felt like the character in the Tim Burton film Ed Wood, who asks Bela Lugosi how it felt to be Boris Karloff’s sidekick. Marky Ramone was great, answering all of my questions with honesty, like the true punk rocker he is.
I sadly missed Jon Bernthal (Punisher, The Walking Dead) because we attended the con on different days from when we were there, or else I would’ve liked to talk to him about the Punisher, and his amazing real life story that was detailed in a fairly recent Howard Stern SiriusXM interview. He’s seen and been a part of some wild stuff akin to his famous Punisher character, such as when he was in a brawl by himself against a group of people, during which he almost killed a man and narrowly escaped a harsh prison sentence. Bernthal took on acting as an easy joke class, but it ended up changing his life. I love inspirational stories about people turning their lives around, and these kinds of conventions are awesome because of the intimate nature and easy access to be able to find out more, or to just have a friendly chat with the celebrities. Other notable guests included Robert Patrick (T2), Billy Zane (Titanic), Devon Sawa (Final Destination), and Linda Blair (the Exorcist) among many more.
I loved the mix of panels that celebrated classic horror icons like Vampira, Julie Adams from Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Stan Winston make-up, to the current horror stars of Anabelle Comes Home and the new Creepshow. Follow @monsterpalooza1 on Twitter to catch what you missed; they recently tweeted out the entire Terminator 2 reunion panel from Son of Monsterpalooza. The con also held a screening at night of the Universal monster flick from 1954, Creature from the Black Lagoon, in 3D!
The question that Ghostface in Scream poses, “What’s your favorite scary movie?” may be a difficult one to answer because there are so many frightfully good ones, but it’s not tough when it comes to Halloween themed cons. Monsterpalooza and Son of Monsterpalooza bring the thrills and chills that your horror-craving heart desires with panels, stars, merch, and killer costumes! Monsterpalooza will be back again, like Michael Myers, on May 8-10, 2020 at the Pasadena Convention Center!