Eliot Brodsky's Monsterpalooza convention is a glorious celebration
of the art of movie monsters. The three day event has become a required yearly pilgrimage for any true monster movie fan.
The show is a gathering that brings together artists, celebrities, cosplayers and vendors galore.
Terror Finds a New Home in Pasadena:
It's not hyperbole when I say that this show has gotten bigger
and better with each passing year. This year was definitely no exception. The venerable movie convention found a new home,
for the first time, in the Pasadena convention center. The result was a show floor that was at least three times
larger than any previous Monsterpalooza. The exhibit hall was packed with attractions, artists, vendors, and celebrities.
When I first hit the show floor I was overwhelemed by the sheer amount of things to do and see. After throroughly reviewing
the show program, which was given free to everyone in attendance, I headed for the main hall.
A Monster Sized Celebration:
Monsterpalooza is a celebration of movie monsters and the people
who love them. At the core of this celebration is a common love for the special effects industry. Some of the biggest names
in makeup special effects were on the show floor providing live demonstrations of their latest products. Attendees could also
sample these products for themselves and speak directly with company reps. There were even opportunities to meet and
greet various luminaries from the makeup special effects community. You could even sign up for special classes or
enroll in a full time art school. It was a great way for a budding artist to make connections and find their way
into the industry.
Meanwhile, if you're just a fan of this unique artform, or a fanboy
in my case, you could also get the chance to be transformed into a monster by some of the most talented artists in the industry.
What an honor! Simply observing their work over the course of the three day weekend was truly a sight to behold.
Monster Movie Merchandise:
One of the main reasons I like to attend any convention is
to hunt for cool merchandise. Monsterpalooza was filled with vendors selling every type of product you could imagine. First
up, there was the standard stuff like movie posters, DVDs, music and collectibles. If you were looking for a rare film
or TV show collection, chances are someone had it in stock. One seller had the best selection of movie soundtracks I have
ever seen in person. Another had an assortment of movie posters so large and diverse it could fill an entire gallery. This
was definitely a movie buff's dream come true!
Whenever I attend a show like this I really enjoy finding
unique, one of a kind, hand made items. I'm a frequent shopper on websites like Etsy, so it's always nice to visit a
convention and see all the custom made wares in person. Walking the show floor I found everything from jewelry to designer
soaps. I was quite impressed by all the original artwork. The sheer amount of artistic talent on display was staggering. I even found one vendor who was selling full size, street legal,
custom designed motorcycles. I was completely blown away by the incredible variety of amazing products. My first thought after
seeing all this great stuff was that I really needed to hit the ATM to get some more cash. Luckily most of the vendors
also accepted major credit cards. I came to the show planning to keep my shopping under control, and instead I left with
a ton of great merchandise.
Special On Stage Events:
The schedule of events for Monsterpalooza 2016 was jam packed
with fun things to do and see. This included a number of different special presentations, most which were held in
two spacious theaters, while others were scattered throughout the convention center. The big attractions ranged from movie
screenings to celebrity guest panels. Representatives from companies like Premiere Products Inc took to the stage to
talk about and demonstrate their latest products. We also were treated to a free instructional class in makeup techniques from
the folks over at European Body Art.
Our friends from 3D Space Los Angeles were tucked away in a small theater just next door to the main stage. All weekend long they were showing 3D movies and clips.
At the close of the show they held a special raffle where fans could win a number of different prizes, including books, movies
and incredible 3D artwork. All of the proceeds from the raffle went towards preserving the history of 3D movies. It's truly
an honorable cause. I'm always happy to see these folks at the show.
The most glorious moment of the entire show was a panel called
"Breathing Life into Godzilla." Four of the biggest names in the history of the Godzilla franchise gathered together
to share their stories with their adoring fans. The illustrious guest list included actors and artists who are the pillars
of the kaiju genre. First on the list was Haruo Nakajima, the man known as "Mr. Godzilla." He portrayed Godzilla
from the 1950's through the early 1970's in 12 consecutive movies. Legendary creature creator Keizo Murase was also on hand,
and was joined by his fellow visonary Shinichi Wakasa, the man who brought us the incredible "millenium" Godzilla
design. Rounding out the bunch was Shinji Nishikawa, an exceptionally talented artist known for his work in the franchise.
I have to say that witnessing this panel was truly a special
moment. Having the opportunity to meet the people behind my favorite monster movie franchise was an incredible honor,
and it's a memory that I will always cherish. At the end of the panel the four celebrities stood up and posed for a photo
session. They were joined by a devoted fan wearing his own custom made Godzilla costume. After the conclusion of the
panel I saw Mr. Haruo Nakajima demonstrating some of his signature moves to the man dressed as Godzilla. He was
actually instructing him on how to do Godzilla's famous hand gestures. For me this was one of the best moments of
The Costume Contest and Free After Party:
Of course no Monsterpalooza would be complete without the annual
costume contest. It was held during the spectacular after-life, after party, hosted by Premiere Products Inc. The event was
FREE for anyone wearing a Monsterpalooza wrist band. Master of ceremonies Monte Revolta and his Band of the Living Dead led
the celebration as guys and ghouls danced the night away. At the conclusion of the party a winner was chosen in the costume
contest. The lucky fan received a generous cash prize along with some other great merchandise.
This show has always been known for having an impressive lineup
of celebrity guests. However, this year the event organizers truly outdid themselves. The robust guest list rivaled that of
any previous show. Just some of the stars in attendence included Adrienne Barbeau, Doug Bradley, Ashley Lawrence, Al Leong,
David Naughton, James Remar, Tom Savini, Fred Williamson and Casper Van Dien. The full lineup included over 50 stars from
stage, screen and TV. It truly was a dream come true for autograph hunters.
Take a Tour of the Monsterpalooza 2016 Museum:
Take a video tour of the Monsterpalooza 2016 Museum! Step inside
and take a look at all the terrifying exhibits on display. See life size creations from all your favorite horror movies and
TV shows. The museum was also the host to several unique creations on display for the very first time. Sights include characters
from Michael Jackson's Thriller video, Game of Thrones, The Smurfs, Batman VS Superman, The Terminator, Bruce Lee, the X-Men,
Star Wars, and even a rare sighting of Kurt Cobain. This museum also had touching tributes to Forrest J Ackerman and HR Giger.
Until Next Time...
Without a doubt this was the best year in the history of Monsterpalooza.
The show organizers truly outdid themselves in creating a fantastic celerbation of movie monsters. They brought together the
best and brightest from the special effects and entertainment industry. The event was extremely well organized and truly a
joy to attend. My sincere thanks go out to everyone who put this amazing show together. Whenever this show ends I immediately
start looking forward to the next one. I will be sure to see you at Son of Monsterpalooza coming up in the fall. Until then...