Written by: Elliott Thomas
The Son of Monsterpalooza convention is the terrifying offspring
of the best monster convention on the West Coast. When Eliot Brodsky created the original Monsterpalooza it was so popular
it became clear that it needed to be held more than once a year. That's when Son of Monsterpalooza was born. This gathering
is slightly smaller and more intimate, but easily just as fun and as exciting as its famous ancestor.
A Place for Monsters:
Son of Monsterpalooza is a place for monsters and the people
who love them. It's a grand celebration of the art of movie monsters. The show is a unique gathering of people from
the entertainment industry, artists, movie fans, cosplayers and special effects wizards. Everyone comes together for one purpose,
to celebrate their love for movie monsters. This mutual appreciation creates a wonderful environment filled with lots of energy
and fun. Let's take a look at everything the show had to offer.
Merchandise, Memorabilia and More:
One of the best reasons to visit any convention is to hunt for
cool and unique merchandise. Son of Monsterpalooza was a dream come true for monster fans looking for cool swag. The exhibit
hall was filled with vendors offering every type of product, from original artistic creations, movie memorabilia, DVDs and
Blurays, posters, costumes and much, much more.
Of course the heart of the Monsterpalooza convention family
has always been a celebration movie makeup and special effects. Some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry
were on hand doing special demonstrations and offering their own products lines for demo and sale. This illustrious
roster of guests included companies like Premiere Products Inc., European Body Art, and the Cinemakeup School of Special Effects.
Son of Monsterpalooza boasted a full roster of events that would
keep me busy for the entire weekend. Aside from the special effects makeup demos happening all over the show floor, there
was also a live stage which hosted a number of great programs. We learned the true story of an 80's Monster from actor Shannon
Shea. Makeup Artist Mike Spatola gave a presentation for the Cinemakeup School of Special Effects. And finally there was my
personal favorite, a sneak preview of the new documentary KONG: Long Live the King. This great new film examines the
history of Hollywood's most popular ape. (And no, Kong is NOT a gorilla!) At the end of the Kong presentation I had a once
in a lifetime special treat. I actually got to hold the real skeleton model used in the 1933 King Kong movie! The chance
to see this legendary piece of Hollywood history, from one of my all time favorite movies, was truly a wonderful honor.
Son of Monsterpalooza also had its own museum. On display
were a number of unique creations made by some incredibly talented artists. All of these creations were inspired by famous
monsters from movies and TV. My personal favorite was the Frankenstein display that greeted attendees as they entered
the museum. You could say that it was so cool it was electrifying!
Right next door to the museum was another exhibit filled with
items from the upcoming Profiles in History Hollywood Auction. The entire room was filled with amazing props, costumes and
other screen used items from some of the most famous movies and TV shows in Hollywood history. The selection of items was
not just limited to horror films, there were also a few items from classic sci-fi such as Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica
and Star Trek.
Of course the biggest event of the show was the Son of Monsterpalooza
/ Premiere Products Costume Contest. There was a wild assortment of amazing costumes on display, created by some incredibly
talented and dedicated artists and movie fans. To me, every single one was a winner, but the big prize went to Joo Skellington
for this incredible self applied witch costume. The artistry and attention to detail was astounding. It was truly
a sight to behold. (Photo courtesy of Paul R. Johns.)
(Photo courtesy of Paul R. Johns)
Celebrities and Surprise Guests:
This show brought out a fantastic roster of guests from
movie and TV history, not to mention some incredibly talented artists, performers and other special guests. As you might
expect a number of great celebrity guests were on hand offering photos, autographs and in some cases exclusive merchandise.
Fans lined up to meet their favorite stars from movie and TV history. Over 35 celebrity guests were on hand signing autographs,
telling great stories and posing for pics with their many fans. The robust guest list included huge names like Tom Atkins,
Sid Haig, Tony Todd, Udo Kier, William Katt, James Hong, Cherrie Currie, Meg Foster, and P.J. Soles, whom I have had a crush
on for many years.
First on my celebrity agenda was getting an autograph from actor
Ken Foree. Mr. Foree is a legend in the horror community. He is best known for his role in the film Dawn of the Dead. It's
a movie that some people consider the "godfather of zombie films." Ken is a gracious and friendly guy. It was a
real pleasure to finally meet him in person. He also gave me the incredible honor of signing a copy of my pulp creation called
"Zine of the Living Dead." He even posed for pictures with it in his hand! Wow! What a truly great moment.
Next on my list was getting to meet Mr. Clu Gulager. He is
best known to horror movie fans for starring in the zombie classic "Return of the Living Dead." This is the film
that created the brain eating zombie trope. Mr. Gulager is also a legend in the Western genre, having appeared on TV shows
like The Virginian and The Tall Man. Talking with Mr. Gulager was a real treat. He was full of great stories about his time
in the entertainment industry. I also discovered that we both have a shared love for Pink's hot dogs, a famous eatery here
in Los Angeles. And just to make the experience of meeting Mr. Gulager perfect, he also signed and posed for pics with Zine
of the Living Dead. I was in zombie fanboy heaven!
At this point I felt that my day couldn't get any better. After
meeting the stars of my two favorite zombie movies I was on cloud nine. That's when I turned a corner in the exhibit hall
and had a chance encounter with one of the biggest names in horror movie history. Special effects genius Tom Savini was just
walking the show floor! I couldn't believe it. I have been a huge fan of his work since I was a teenager. I purchased
his book Grand Illusions when it first hit store shelves. I carried it with me everywhere, to the point where the binding
broke and the pages were spilling out.
Many years ago when I was just a boy I had a chance encounter with Mr. Savini
at a convention called Fantacon, which was held in Upstate NY. I couldn't believe my luck. I politely asked him for his
autograph and he graciously complied. I was a fumbling, nervous, teenage fanboy, but he was very kind and patient with me.
What an incredible moment to meet him again all these years later, another chance encounter on the floor of another convention
on the opposite end of the country.
Mr. Savini was mobbed with fans, which I imagine happens to
him quite a bit. I patiently waited for my chance to speak with him, and then I politely asked if he might sign a copy of
Zine of the Living Dead. My zine actually has a page called "the men who raised the dead." It is a tribute to all
the great special effects artists in zombie movie history, which of course includes Tom Savini. On the back page there is
a word search puzzle called "word search of the living dead." The word "Savini" is hidden in the puzzle.
I knew Mr. Savini wasn't on the official guest list, and he wasn't there to sign autographs, but this incredible guy not only
signed my zine, but he also posed for pictures with it as well! I was speechless!
I know I have said this many times before but I love cosplay!
I think that cosplayers make a convention more fun and exciting for everyone. They really add to the environment of any convention.
It really brings me great joy to see people dressed up as my favorite fictional characters. I also greatly appreciate the
passion and dedication that some cosplayers show in their craft. Son of Monsterpalooza brought out some of the best cosplayers
I have seen in recent memory. My sincere thanks go out to everyone who showed up in costume. You put in your time and effort
to make the show more fun for everyone!
Until Next Time...
Next year the original Monsterpalooza convention is moving to
Pasadena, CA. It promises to be bigger and better than ever before. I am eagerly awaiting the next show, and I will certainly
be there when the doors open on the first day. I also hope that Son of Monsterpalooza will remain in Burbank. I guess we'll
just have to wait and see what the future brings. Until next time. See you in 2016!
Click Here to See Over 150 Exclusive Photos
from Son of Monsterpalooza!
About The Author: Elliott S. Thomas is our resident horror
movie maniac, zine publisher and our intrepid man in the field. He's also the prince of pulp, and the creative mind behind
all the DigThatBox Zines.
Be sure to check out our Hollywood YouTube Channel for more
videos from the show.