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The Son of Monsterpalooza Returns!

Written by: Elliott Thomas

Once again Burbank, CA is terrorized by the Son of Monsterpalooza! This yearly convention is the terrifying offspring of one of the most popular monster movie conventions on the West Coast. The original Monsterpalooza convention was created by Eliot Brodsky. As that show grew in popularity and size it became clear that it was time to host the event two times a year. Thus, the Son of Monsterpalooza was born!

For the Love of Movie Monsters:

The Son of Monsterpalooza is a gathering for movie monsters and the people who love them. The show is a three day celebration of everything related to the horror and sci-fi movie genres. The event brings together a great assortment of talented artists, special effects wizards, and performers. Over the years it has also played host to some big name celebrities, true legends from movies and TV. Everyone comes together for one special purpose, to share our love of this amazing and creative genre.

Monster Movie Memorabilia:

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Whenever I visit any convention I'm always on the hunt for cool and unique merchandise. This show was a literal paradise for horror movie fans. Almost anything you can imagine was for sale on the show floor. There was a wide variety of movie related products which included T-shirts, toys, posters, props and of course, movies in all formats from VHS to Bluray. The show is also a great place to find one of kind artwork from some of the most gifted artists working in the horror genre. Their work covered a diverse range of mediums from paintings, drawings, sculpture, jewelry and even collectible coins. Whatever you were looking for you could certainly find it at this show. You could even get a tattoo right on the show floor!

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As always, several companies were offering live makeup and special effects demos right on the show floor. These demos always draw a huge crowd. They are easily one of the best things about this show. This illustrious roster of guests included companies like Premiere Products Inc., European Body Art, and the Cinemakeup School of Special Effects. You could sign up for a class in makeup efffects, sample new products, or even volunteer to be transformed into a monster.

Special Events:

The Monsterpalooza conventions are always filled with tons of great content. There's always so much to do and see. This show certainly kept me busy all weekend. Long time fans will be happy to hear that the Monsterpalooza museum made it's return to the show. This year a new exhibit called The Scary Closet was added to the roster of events. It was filled with spooky puppets and some of the most terrifying props from your favorite horror films.

There was also a live stage that offered a number of different programs through the course of the three day expo. Fans were treated to an early screening of the new Exorcist TV show which will air on FOX. Early word on the new show was very positive. There was also the yearly costume contest hosted by M.C. Zombie Elvis!

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My personal favorite on stage event was the incredible Re-Animator Reunion. The stars and creative talent of the classic film took to the stage to share their personal stories. The illustrious guest list included cast members Bruce Abbot, Barbara Crampton, and Jeffrey Combs, the infamous Dr. Herbert West himself! They were joined on staged by special effects genius John Naulin, who also brought along actor Craig Reed, who played one of the original zombies in the film! Rounding out the group was brilliant composer Richard Band who created the haunting and extremely memorable score for the film.

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During the course of the reunion fans were treated to a ton of interesting trivia and facts. Barbara Crampton talked about the motivation for her character and how it was driven by a genuine fondness for actor Bruce Abbot. You could definitely tell that the two actors had a special rapport. They remain close friends to this day. Jeffrey Combs spoke of his work in theater, and how he brought that experience to the character of Herbert West. Mr. Combs is a charismatic man who brought a lot of humor to the role. He also dominated the conversation on stage. Special effects artist John Naulin and actor Craig Reed shared a story about Naulin's incredibly brutal and terrifying makeup effects work. Apparently when Craig Reed was in full costume he was so terrifying the other members of the cast were scared to be around him! Honestly, that's an incredible compliment for any special effects artist. You could also tell that Craig Reed had a great time playing his part. Finally, we learned from Richard Band that his score actually helped drive and shape the tone of the film. His score for this movie remains one of the absolute best in the horror movie genre.

Celebrities and Surprise Guests:

Every time I go to a Monsterpalooza convention I am amazed at the impressive guest list. I don't know how the organizers do it. They must have some incredible connections, or maybe it's the reputation of the show itself that draws so many big name stars. One thing is for certain, Son of Monsterpalooza brought out some of the biggest names in the horror movie genre. This year the impressive guest list included over 40 people! Just some of the names on this iilustrious roster included Michael Berryman, Bruce Davison, David Della Rocca, Zack Galligan, Noah Hathaway, Jennifer Rubin, Dee Wallace, Vernon Wells, Caroline Williams, and so many more.

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Of course for me the biggest draw of this show was getting the chance to meet the stars of Night of the Living Dead. I was so excited about this prospect that I actually had trouble sleeping the night before the show. This film is one of my all time favorites. It is the movie that gave birth to the modern zombie genre. It remains an enduring classic that actually gets better with age. The first person I approached at the show was the lovely and talented Judith O'Dea. She of course played Barbara in the film. I can honestly say that she is one of the most warm, genuine, kind and decent celebrities I have ever met. She graciously posed for my camera and signed a copy of my pulp creation, Zine of the Living Dead. What an incredible honor!

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Next up I went to meet Mr. Russ Streiner. He played the dapper looking and somewhat sinister, Johnny, brother of Judith O'Dea's character Barbara. His infamous line "they're coming to get you Barbara" remains one of the most memorable quotes in the history of film. Mr. Streiner was a joy to meet in person. He's full of energy and life. He's an upbeat and friendly person who truly appreciates his many fans. He also signed and posed with a copy of my zombie zine. Incredible! Another horror movie icon has signed my personal love letter to the zombie movie genre.

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Last and certainly not least, I got the chance to meet Kyra Schon, who played the young injured girl named Karen Cooper. Her character provides one of the most shocking moments in the film. Over the years the iconic image of her character as a zombie has become the public face for this movie. Her character has appeared on posters, t-shirts, dvd covers and other related memorabilia. This image has become one of the most recognizable icons in the horror movie genre. She certainly has not let all this fame go to her head. She is a friendly and polite person who definitely appreciates her role in this monumental film. She also signed and posed with my zombie zine! After meeting this trio of zombie movie legends I had to take a breather from all the excitement. It truly was a wonderful moment.

Until Next Time...

The Son of Monsterpalooza never disappoints. I had an incredible time. This year was definitely the best show yet. It almost goes without saying that it gets better with each passing year. I'd like to thank Eliot Brodsky and everyone who works so hard to put on this amazing show. I'd also like to thank all the people who graciously posed for my camera. I loved meeting you all and I had a wonderful time. It's truly an honor to cover this event. It's the most fun I have all year. I'm already looking forward to the next show. See you next year!

Click Here to See Over 120 Photos from Son of Monsterpalooza 2016!

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.