I spent my Saturday up in Flint at the 3rd annual Flint Horror Convention. This is always a great time. The convention is put together by a group of real good folks who craft a place for Michigan's horror geeks to gather for a day of fun. It's a small convention, but that serves to make it feel intimate and comfortable.
|The main floor.|
One of my first stops this year was my pal Jason's freshly minted vendor table. This is his first time on the other side of a table at one of these things. It sounds like it went pretty well. Me, I grabbed myself some of his colorful Universal Monster coasters, but I was really geeked about the (glittery!) Lament Configuration Kleenex box cover. A great idea, and one I've never seen before. It's now proudly covering a box of tissues in my movie room as I type this.
|POP Tiles selling their wares.|
Mondo Matt's Trailers
I was honored that the Flint Horror Con Drive-In kicked off its film schedule with my own contribution, a compilation of movie trailers, vintage intermission bits, and some other weird things. Unlike last year, the theater was packed right from the start, so there was a big audience that I could watch react to my selections. I love seeing people laugh at the obscure stuff I stick in these things. I try to arrange the energy of these compilations so that they build and build, putting the most insane and fast-paced stuff last. It was a bit of slow start, but I think this worked to get the audience into it. By the end, I was tickled to see good responses to some of my favorites, like the Shasta ad with Frankenstein, the 1976 Woolworth Halloween sale ad, and the best edited of the various Phantom of the Paradise trailers.
After my trailers, we jetted to a local restaurant for some lunch. Hidden down a side street, buried in the middle of a row of buildings, The Torch is something of a Flint institution. I'd eaten there a couple of years ago during the first FHC and had been drooling over the thought of eating another one of their excellent hamburgers. It didn't disappoint.
After lunch, we arrived back just in time to catch a showing of this short. At conventions, you never know what you're in for when you sit down to watch a flick in the movie room. Cons usually show a good mix of no-, low-, and high-budget stuff, any of which can be either horribly tedious and derivative... or surprisingly cool. This short cleverly plays with these expectations, starting with what looks like a pointless slasher flick featuring a maniac torturing a trio of ladies in his basement. You see these types of shorts at cons often. They're made by people who are attracted to the violence of the genre, but don't know how to tell a story that uses that violence appropriately. While there's not really a story in this one, it takes a twist in the middle that completely subverts your expectations on how the thing will end. It's also hilarious. Nice work.
|The showing of Meat.Puppets.|
The guest I was most looking forward to meeting a the con was John Amplas, who played one of cinema's greatest vampires in Romero's criminally overlooked Martin. At his table, I got him to sign a great picture (see it at the bottom of this post). He wrote, without me prompting, one of my favorite quotes from Martin: "There is no magic!" Awesome.
|Me and John.|
|John Amplas Q&A.|
Kid's Costume Contest
I managed to catch the tail end of the kid's costume contest this year, having missed it every other year. One thing I think is special about the Flint Horror Con is that they insist on it being -- with the obvious exception of the movie room -- a family-friendly event. Someday, maybe, if I can convince them the con really and truly isn't that scary of a thing, I might be able to get my own daughters to come with me to one of these.
|The Shining twins in the kids' costume contest.|
Dayplanner of the Dead
Our culture is absolutely glutted in zombies right now. It's even worse in the low-budget short film arena, where getting your friends to stumble around with gray-painted faces is a cheap and easy way to get a horror movie going. Color me absolutely surprised to find this short actually had a fresh take on the genre. And it was well-made. And it was funny. Check this one out if you can.
Somehow, these folks got scream queen Linnea Quigley to star in their short. She plays a medium who summons a family's dead husband/dad... and he returns as a hungry zombie. There were some pretty good gore effects, but that's probably the only nice thing I would say about it.
Everyone is Robert
AKA Tous les hommes s'appellent Robert / All Men Are Called Robert. Like Meat.Puppets, not a story but a gag. But, it's a funny one. Check it out in its entirety (NSFW!) here.
Adult Costume Contest
I snuck away from helping man the movie projector with my amigo Jack to catch the tail end of the adult costume contest. There, the mummy below won first place, which seemed right. That's a damned hard costume to pull off correctly and he did a great job with it.
|The adult costume contest winners.|
Petrifying Pin-Up Pageant
A bit after the costume contest was a first for the con: a pin-up pageant. The rules of the contest were that you needed to successfully mix the look of a 1950s/60s pin-up with some sort of horror flavoring. There was a great variety of entries -- mummies and a red riding hood and a spider girl -- with scream queen Debbie Rochon helping to judge. My favorite was the female version of Ash (far left in the photo below), who I thought pulled the costume off great (and she used the boomstick line with her fake shotgun, which, how can you not love that?). She came in third, with the winner being Vampira (far right), who, admittedly, did an incredible job with her make-up, outfit and appropriately Vampira-like posing on the stage. A nice addition to the con's events.
|Who will be the Bride of Flint Horror Con?|
Another well-made short and another horror-comedy. This one's a take on the torture porn subgenre. Check out its trailer here.
Slow in parts and could probably use a good trimming in the old editing machine. Dug the goofy ghost they were fighting, though, which reminded me of the imp from Sorority Babes In The Slime Bowl-O-Rama.
With no more films to watch, no more events, and vendors beginning to pack up, the con began to wind down. I had a great time this year. Out of all of the fun to be had during the Six Weeks of Halloween, this is one of my favorites. Thank you to the ghoul crew! Looking forward to year 4!
|Some of the stuff I picked up at the con.|