Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Reviews: "Plague Town" and "Plague Nation" by Dana Fredsti

As if I weren't already in love with the zombie genre, along comes author Dana Fredsti with her Z-apocalypse book Plague Town and its sequel Plague Nation. Everything I have loved about zombies and the horror genre in general is in these two books - the pace goes at lightning speed; the action is exciting and balls-out gory; the story has depth and room to grow; and the main character Ashley Parker is an ass-kicking smart aleck. She's definitely the kind of woman I would want to be in a zombie apocalypse. Fans who read these books really are in for a treat, as I think they were written by a true fan of genre, and for true fans of the genre.

So the main story is something like this: Ashley Parker attends college in the small town of Redwood Grove, which has recently seen its citizens be plagued by a particularly nasty virus called Walker's flu. One night while out with her boyfriend, Ashley is attacked and bitten by zombies. After being hastily whisked away by scary military types, Ashley awakens in a secret lab under the college and finds out that she is one of few people that are immune to the zombie plague and is a "wild card." Wild cards enjoy such perks as rapid healing power, and increased senses and strength. Ashley and several other wild cards are given zombie-killing training and work with a paramilitary group to control the hordes of the walking dead, while professors and doctors work on finding a cure.

Author Dana Fredsti
But that's really just the beginning of the story. Just from the escalation of the titles from "Town" to "Nation," the search for the truth in this zombie apocalypse is not over and I think Fredsti has more surprises - and more zombie fun - in store for readers. And speaking of just who should be reading all this zombie awesomeness, I must say do not be fooled by the book cover like I was! Something about it to me screamed "annoying YA zombie book" when I first took the books out of the envelope but I was so wrong. These books are definitely more adult and actually seemed to be geared exactly for, well... me! What a stroke of luck.

The main character is, as aforementioned, 29-year-old Ashley Parker. She is an independent and strong-willed young woman, with a razor sharp wit and a take-no-shit attitude. I love that Fredsti chose to make Ashley a bit older than the usual college kids that show up in these stories. Ashley is already a divorcee who at almost 30 is going back to school because she doesn't really know what to do with her life. I don't think there is any shortage of people like that nowadays, so Ashley is somebody that many can relate to. It also doesn't really seem like she is going to have much of an arc as a character though because she has obviously discovered and accepted who she is already, and is not somebody that is all that changed by the zombie apocalypse. She just kind of adapted to it. Still, aside from her sometimes annoying cockiness and wanting to always be right, Ashley has a caring side to her which she shows in her relationships with several of the other characters. And of course, her kick-assedness in killing zombies with a katana sword is really cool.

Fredsti's zombies are your typical shambling, rotting flesh-eaters that are killed by damage to the brain, so there's really nothing new there. The interesting part of Fredsti's zombie story comes not from the zombies themselves but from the survivors. Along with the wild cards - who to me are just like Alices from Resident Evil - there is another way to be affected by the zombie bite in this world. Two characters in the novels are sort of halfway between zombie and human, and the scene where this is revealed with the character of Jake is a most disturbing and disgusting one. Very, very creepy, and I'm now really interested to read the next book in the series to see just what Fredsti does with these mutants and what it does to the story.

I say that these books were written by a horror fan, for horror fans, and the evidence of this rampant in both books is the constant pop culture references. And honestly, there were times when I completely loved that aspect of the writing, and there were times when it was a little annoying. I love it when books or movies mention other real media because it brings the story to our world, and not just the self-imposed shell created by the author or filmmaker. This is how real people think, and how they talk to each other - they mention movies and throw out notable quotes to each other.

Did I mention that the author was in Army of Darkness?!
In Plague Town and Plague Nation, though, something like this happens a few times in almost every chapter. Again, I liked it to a point because I (sadly) got most of the references and because they were references that my mind would probably make in the situation as well - but I can see how it might just be too much for some readers. References to Buffy, Evil Dead, Twilight, the SyFy Channel, of course The Walking Dead, and other random movies and TV shows are the kind of things that fans can relate to and enjoy but not to the point where you feel like the author is beating you over the head with it, or possibly just trying to show off her own knowledge. I don't like it when something like that is thrown into a particular scene in a book sometimes because it makes the reader's mind (or at least mine) go to the referenced movie instead of staying in the story of the book, where it should be.

All that being said though, I really can't say that I didn't smile ear to ear when Fredsti threw in a little story about two lovers who met at a horror convention while dressed like characters from Firefly, or mentions the movie Outbreak near the beginning of Plague Town. Making movie-inspired connections like that is just how I think and Fredsti was somehow able to tap into that. Again, I'm pretty sure she wrote this book just for me. Thank you, Dana!

I don't know if Plague Town/Nation will be hardcore enough for some zombie or horror fans, but to me it was almost perfect. There's plenty of gruesomely gore-geous descriptions of zombie attacks; there's tons of humor (when exactly did zombies get to be so funny, anyway); there's a good story and mystery that still has to be resolved; and there's plenty of different kinds of characters that anyone could relate to or at least like (my vote for best character so far is the guy with the ultimate "nerd house" that the team runs into). Zombie fans, rejoice! There is obviously still plenty of talent out there to bring new and spunky life to our favorite brain-eaters, and Dana Fredsti is one of them!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Movie Review: Chernobyl Diaries (2012)

So I don't know how these movies that everyone tells me I'm supposed to hate keep creeping onto my good side. No, there's nothing particularly special about Chernobyl Diaries and it did in fact show up on more than one "Worst of 2012" lists, but it's not really all that bad. It's watchable, though not without its problems. Once the story goes deep into the shit, as it were, the filmmakers start to rely on too many cliches and foreseeable plot turns (especially the ending). However, I couldn't help but like that it does manage to give viewers a basic plot premise and location not often seen in movies like this.

Chris, his girlfriend Natalie, and friend Amanda arrive in the Ukraine to visit Chris's brother Paul on the way to Moscow. Paul convinces the group to instead go on an "extreme tourism" excursion to Pripyat, an city abandoned 25 years ago after the Chernobyl disaster. Led by Uri and joined by newlyweds Michael and Zoe, they head to Pripyat thinking they will be the only ones there. Soon their vehicle is tampered and they are trapped in the town, soon finding out that they are definitely not alone.

When I first saw TV spots for Chernobyl Diaries, I think I and everybody else was expecting it to be a found footage movie. But it's not. But it is, sort of. During the opening credits, there is personal video footage of the group at several famous locations while they tour Europe. Then the camera switches to the standard third person narrative, but somehow they do it in a way that totally makes it feel and sometimes look like found footage. It was something to do with the camera angles and positioning. Another thing I thought this movie was going to be about was ghosts. Yup, I thought the thing roaming around Pripyat was like, ghosts of the victims of the exploding reactor or something. Well, it's not about that and I still don't know for sure whether that would have better or worse for the movie based on how it actually turned out at the end. 

Despite being the all-too-familiar cast of young hotties, I liked all the actors and their performances. I thought at first that the guy playing Paul was going to be the good-looking douchebag but he turned out to be alright. I was happy to see that there were no other cliches - no whiny girl, thank goodness. Michael's voice sounded familiar to me but his look was so different that it took me a while to place him as Nathan Phillips, who starred in Wolf Creek. He's cute and likable, as is everybody else - nothing really all that standout, but passable, even if there is no character development for any of them.

One scene I totally have to give the movie points for is the bear scare. Seriously, call it undeniably stupid that they suddenly had a full grown bear come running down the hallway of an apartment building, but I don't think you can deny that it was wholly unexpected! That turns out to be the only scare in the movie, though. They had a chance at another good one but they sort of ruined it. After finding randomly finding Natalie again, the group comes upon a little girl just standing there. They try to get her attention and the audience is expecting a scare to come from her but they make the mistake of showing a creature in shadow down the stairs where Natalie is crouched. So now we know that the scare is going to happen there and the suspense is totally ruined. Bad move.

When I saw the deformed, half-dead fish by the lake, I was a little disappointed that that was as far as they were going to go. And, okay, well that really is as far as they went because the radiation-mutant things aren't seen all that much. They move too quick are never seen fully on camera to get a good enough appreciation of what happened to these people and what is possibly in store for our main characters. From what little I did see though the effects were not anything special and could have actually been a bit more extreme, if only just for cheap shock value. This movie could have could have done with more of that to give it that extra bump in excitement.

I would still like to give Chernobyl Diaries points for ingenuity in the plot idea, but the rest of the movie is... meh. That's really the best way to describe it - meh. I don't think it's completely horrible like others say because I found it to be at least watchable and interesting, with some decent characters... even though neither the plot or the characters has any real depth. The ending is beyond predictable, and it really disappointed me that they went the old science-experiment-gone-wrong type of way instead of finding a new or different explanation. Anyway, you're not really missing all that much with this movie. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Catching Up On The Classics: Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

A few years after Frankenstein's monstrous abomination graced American movie screens, director James Whale brought him back to find a mate. Though more comedic than its predecessor, Bride of Frankenstein (which to me, should really be something like "Bride of Frankenstein's Monster, but whatever) is still a beautiful film and was able to become just as iconic and popular as the original Frankenstein. My personal taste leads me more toward the original, though, just in case you were curious.

The opening credits start things off interesting for our movie. Boris Karloff of course headlines the piece, with only his last name on the first screenshot in all capitals - "KARLOFF." There is a short introduction scene at the beginning of the movie with Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and Percy, with Elsa Lanchester playing Shelley. Happily, Lanchester's character is actually credited with her full name - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley - whereas in the previous film it was said that the author of the original work was "Mrs. Percy B. Shelley." Bleh. The Monster's Mate is unbilled, and appears only as a question mark. 

Okay so, I like the movie, but it does bother me a little bit. The first few scenes are promising, despite the fact that they feature way too much of the most annoying woman in the world - whoever the hell that is that plays Minnie. She's really pretty wretched. Anyway, Bride starts right where Frankenstein left off at the burning mill where it was believed that both Dr. Frankenstein and the Monster perished. Turns out they didn't. Most amazing to me about this scene is something that nobody ever seems to talk about with this movie. The parents of the murdered girl Maria from the first movie are at the mill, with the father Hans being killed by the Monster by drowning (same as his daughter), and the mother being thrown into the wreckage, hitting one of those water wheel things. 

Why does no one else see how horrible this is?! The Monster didn't know what he was doing when he killed Maria, but had learned all about killing by the time he got to her parents, and now this whole little family has been systematically wiped out and nobody cares. This act reflects the seriousness and horror of the original Frankenstein, but this tone is quickly dropped for something more campy, especially as the Monster explores his world a little bit more. After escaping capture and being injured in the woods, the Monster is drawn to the hut of a blind man after hearing him play the violin. The Monster is welcomed inside and treated like a real guest, which seems to both confuse and excite him. The blind man does not fear the Monster right away, obviously because he cannot see him, and this seems to teach the Monster something about trust and friendship. 

The Monster is actually able to speak and communicate in this movie, although it's a little unclear about just how he learned so fast! No matter though. Supposedly he learned it from both Pretorious and the blind man, though his scenes with the latter are far more entertaining. Never has a murderous monster looked so adorable while saying the word "Bread!" or enjoying a delightful smoke. I almost wrote right here that the comedy was a bad idea because it made the Monster more lovable and made us forget how dangerous he is. But in the middle of the sentence, I suddenly realized that it is not the Monster we are supposed to think is evil in this story - duh. Pretorious, and what he represents as the arrogant scientist, is who and what we should fear. Mary Shelley's moral lesson about those that try to act as God stands true in Bride of Frankenstein - you may be able to accomplish the task of bringing life to a bunch of dead parts, but you will not be able to make those parts truly human, and therefore it will not be accepted by other humans.

Reprising his role as Dr. Henry Frankenstein, Colin Clive takes more of a back seat here, sadly. The Monster's lonely journey and Dr. Pretorious's quest to make a female monster are in the forefront. Clive is still beautiful in his role, reverting once again to his messy haired, crazed rambling that I loved so much when he starts to work on bringing the Bride to life. Pretorious, who has some pretty awesome hair that rivals the Bride's, is just as if not more crazy than Frankenstein in his determination to complete his wicked experiment. One thing I completely don't understand is the little people Pretorious has in the jars. Apparently they are called "homunculi," so at least now I know that. I only have to mention this because creating several human beings that are only two inches tall seems to be a much bigger feat to me than bringing the dead back to life. Frankenstein says that this is more like black magic, though, and not really science, so it obviously doesn't interest or impress him as much. I shall move on.

Elsa Lanchester's brief but highly memorable performance as the Bride is actually probably only about 10% because of her performance and 90% because of her looks. That hair... OMG, that hair. Whoever came up with the design for the Bride's hair is a damn genius because once you get that hair on Lanchester's head, have her turn her head just the right way, and get Whale to perfectly frame the shot like he does, you have pure cinematic gold. The way she twitches her head, the unnatural way she holds her arm out straight - Lanchester is equally as brilliant as Karloff in her portrayal of a monster made out of spare parts by doing the simplest things.

Sequels don't always suck, my friends. The Godfather II, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade... The Bride of Frankenstein. All the best stars were brought back (including Dwight Frye - still love him), the director was brought back, and they were able to create a sequel that gives the original a run for its money, as some people seem to prefer the sequel more. My fondness for the original Frankenstein will never change, but now the Bride has crept her way into my heart, I believe.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Movie Roundup: Bounty Hunter Slaves, Famous Directors, and Dimensional Travellers

The high from Texas Frightmare Weekend has worn off and I figured it was time to getting back to movies. The ones I've watched in the past week have been only semi-horror related, so it looks like they'll have to go into the Roundup, and surprisingly, I liked all of them!

Django Unchained (2012)
Quentin Tarantino has certainly not lost his signature style or his flair for entertainment. Django Unchained is both a different type of movie for Tarantino, as he takes on the spaghetti western genre, and at the same time, it's exactly the type of movie you would expect him to make. The dialogue is heavy and colorful, expertly executed by most of the actors. I was most impressed with Christoph Waltz as Dr. King Schultz, who made me smile every time he opened his mouth as he practically danced with those words. The film is entertaining as hell, if not without its problems. By now it's just stupid to me to bring up Tarantino and controversy because it's happened in some form with almost every movie he's done. Is the excessive use of the n-word just for historical purposes or is it just Quentin's favorite word? Does he really have to show the body exploding in a shower of blood every time somebody gets shot? Seriously, who cares? I look at Django as another fun Tarantino romp that makes good use of skilled actors and air hoses that shoot blood from people's bodies.

Hitchcock (2012)
Ah, how could I have forgotten about this movie?! My love for Hitch knows no bounds so I was all kinds of excited when I pulled the DVD out of the Redbox the other day. The movie is only about a specific part of Hitch's life and career - the making and release of Psycho - but it was very interesting for me to see because I, sadly, didn't really know that much about his life. I loved learning more about his relationship with his wife Alma Reville, and how influential she was in his professional career. Although Sir Anthony Hopkins doesn't sound a damn thing like Hitch, the look they gave him is competent enough for me to believe it for the movie's run time, and Hopkins' Hitch mannerisms are pretty spot on. I loved his performance at the beginning when he's doing the "Alfred Hitchcock Presents"-type opening and it totally put me in the right frame of mind to enjoy the movie on different levels. On the whole, I liked the mixture of drama and Hitch's well known macabre sense of humor that served as the tone of the movie.
Also, the dude playing Anthony Perkins has a pretty scary resemblance to the actual actor at that time. He was a great find.

John Dies At The End (2012)
So if you thought that Don Coscarelli couldn't get any weirder than Bubba Ho-Tep, you thought wrong! I seriously have no idea what I just watched, but I do know that I enjoyed it thoroughly. It's weird when love something and find it difficult how to defend that stance, but I'm going to try. The plot is confusing and is not explained all that well; however, you kind of get enough of the gist to follow along as main characters Dave and John take a drug called Soy Sauce that turns them into psychics and lets them travel through dimensions and alternate universes to fight... something. A bad alien thing, maybe? I dunno. What I do know is that John Dies At The End is freaking hilarious and entertained me the whole way through, despite how crazy and weird it was. Chase Williamson as Dave was delightful in his performance, and his comedic timing was brilliant. He and Rob Mayes as the eponymous John (who actually doesn't die at the end, but somewhere in the middle... kinda...) are both believable and cute as these two young guys who deal with their strange situation both seriously and with the kind of cavalier attitude you would expect from people their age. I'm very curious to read the book the movie is based on now, although I'm fairly sure that it will only confuse me even more.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Experience at TEXAS FRIGHTMARE WEEKEND 2013: Day Three

Boo, last day! I don't want it to end! 

First on the agenda was the Dee Wallace panel. I have so much more love for this woman now! Even before the panel, she was cool. The guy gets on stage to introduce her and first says, "As you can probably tell, I am not Dee Wallace...", and Dee comes out from behind the curtain and yells at him, "Then get the fuck off the stage!" Dee was a good talker, hilarious, and seemed to be having a fantastic time. Love, love, love her. I really need to see Lords of Salem now!

I was terrified that I might have missed my opportunity with Mary Lambert, but thank goodness she was still there on Sunday! I waited until it seemed like I could have some time with her and we ended up chatting for a good five minutes or so, while I geekily complimented her on the awesomeness that is Pet Sematary and asked questions. I believe this was Mary's first convention appearance ever, and she made the comment to me that she was enjoying hearing all the fan's insights (like mine!) to the movie. No doubt this was probably the best encounter I had all weekend, as I have always admired this woman and what she did with Pet Sematary. So happy she took the time to talk with me and gave me a wonderful memory!

More random pictures of the goings on...

Marilyn Burns!

Though extremely cool, these Lament Configuration puzzle boxes,
with glass dome and turntable, were just too rich for my blood!
Still freaking awesome.

My last big event of the weekend was a panel with a true legend - Tom Savini. I got there early to guarantee an awesome seat (second row aisle!) and couldn't wait to hear this man speak. When he was introduced, he just strolled up to the table and said, "What do you wanna know?" People asked great questions that got Savini talking about his influences and inspirations, his experiences on different movies, and just his overall work as a teacher, director, effects master, and actor (Hey, Sex Machine!). One thing that I thought was funny, considering my slightly uncomfortable meeting with him on Friday night, was a story he told he told about another encounter with a fan. He said if you Google his name that one of the first things to pop up is "Tom Savini is a dick" and that that came from a misunderstanding during a fan meeting. He also talked about Lost Boys: The Tribe a little bit, and when he asked the audience if any of us had seen it and several of us said yes (including me), he got this surprised look on his face and said "You have?!" Haha, too funny. This whole panel was just another great memory from the weekend! So glad I was there!

His daughter called him during the panel and we all yelled "Hi" at her.

I had been wandering around these rooms for two days and it wasn't until Sunday that I noticed the Cryptkeeper at the FearNet table. I saw him and said something dorky like, "Oh my god, the Cryptkeeper!" A lady there asked me if I wanted a picture with him. "Hell yes, I do!"

Okay, so one of the coolest things to happen this weekend was these two awesome chicks that I met. A few weeks before the convention, I was looking online for tips and stuff from people who have been to conventions before and I found a video on YouTube from two girls who had just been to 2012's Texas Frightmare Weekend. Say hello to my new friends, Heather and Acacia!

I ran into them a few times throughout the weekend, probably freaking them out at first when I was all "I watched your YouTube video!" Nah, they thought it was cool. Their video gave me some great little tips that I used when I went to TFW and it was awesome that I actually saw them there! Things were winding down kinda early on Sunday, which is when I ran into them again and we hung out for a while, and I went with them while they visited Sean Patrick Flanery's and Jon Bernthal's tables again. 

This was also when I scored a great gift for my friend back home who is also a Walking Dead and Shane fan. I gave Jon my little notebook (that I was using to take notes of every cool thing that happened this weekend) and asked him if he would write "Hi Ashley" for her, which he did and also signed! My friend was beyond happy with her gift and I was happy to do it for her! 

And that's pretty much it! Needless to say, this was THE BEST weekend of my entire life. I have to give a shout out to Loyd Cryer, the creator of Texas Frightmare Weekend, for giving me an absolutely amazing first horror convention experience! Big thanks also go to all the TFW staff, the guests, the vendors, and the attendees! Everybody was nice, courteous, helpful, and fun, and gave me so many great memories. I've already told my bosses at work that I'm taking off the same weekend next year for 2014's Frightmare! Again... BEST. WEEKEND. EVER!!!

Read my DAY ONE experience here!
And here's DAY TWO!

Will I see YOU at Frightmare next year??

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Experience at TEXAS FRIGHTMARE WEEKEND 2013: Day Two

Back on Saturday for the biggest, most crowded day of the event! I still had one big meet and greet to do today because the guy wasn't there Friday night, but mostly it was a day of panels, a movie, looking at awesome artwork at the vendor tables, and taking more sneaky pictures of celebs.

I knew that the line for Jon Bernthal (Shane on "The Walking Dead") was going to be huge pretty much all day and there was so much more I wanted to do, so I had to brave the line right at the beginning of the day. They started lining us up and moving us around a little before 11:00 (when they opened for general admission). So we're waiting there... 11:00 rolls around, then 11:15, 11:30, 11:45 and the line hadn't even MOVED. What's going on? It was around the 11:45 mark that I look up toward the front of the line and Jon walks into the room! He wasn't even there the whole time we were waiting! Thank goodness, now the line can get moving.

Almost there!

Getting closer...
... and closer...

Finally it was my turn and I was surprised that I wasn't nervous at all, even though I flubbed my words a little bit when I was introducing myself. While he was signing my picture, I was finally able to say "I miss Shane so much!", told Jon what a fantastic job he did with the role, and wished him luck with his new show. Jon was such a nice dude (and yes, he looked damn good, too), especially when he stood up to take a picture with me. I had to ask for a hug - Jon just said "Come here, girl" and embraced me with his sexiness. Bliss! So freaking stoked that he was there and that I had such a great meeting with him. We need to do this again sometime, Jon.

Turns out that I got my meeting with Bernthal just in time to catch the "Full Moon Rising" werewolf-themed panel with David Naughton. Dee Wallace was also supposed to be there to represent The Howling, but she opted out of doing it for some reason. I had a prime seat for this panel, and I loved hearing David talk all about his experience making An American Werewolf in London.

Naughton had great stories about working with Rick Baker and getting the prosthetics made; being around real wolves for the scene at the zoo; and shooting in Piccadilly Circus. I had a question I was itching to ask and finally went for it and raised my hand. I said that this movie had the best transformation scene of any werewolf movie (which got a smile and nod from the moderator) and asked David to talk about what it was like filming that particular scene. Can you believe it took six days to shoot it? Great panel!

Once the fun with David was over, I only had an hour until the next panel I wanted to go to, but I was able to fill that time quite nicely, as subsequent pictures will show.

I took a sneaky picture of Nick Gomez (Tomas from "The Walking Dead").

 I saw some killer artwork.

I also saw many a mutilated Barbie doll, like these...

... and these...

 ... and these.

If I hadn't been wondering how I would get it home safely,
I would have totally snagged this amazing poster for The Thing.

 Jason, Freddy, and Leatherface were all kind enough to 
take a picture with me (great costumes, guys!).

 Wish I could've talked to the artists in this corner (if they were
there) because this shit was fracking COOL.

Oh man, I love that Misery one. 

 Norman continued to haunt me.

 Leave the Barbies alone, people! This is just wrong!
But also totally funny.

 Goshdarnit, Norman, why do continue to break my heart?!
(He also tweeted a picture of this doll, so I was all "Holla!
I totally have a picture of that doll, too!")

 I didn't have time to get into Danny Trejo's ever-growing line,
so I settled for a few sneaky shots.

 Until he noticed me one time and flashed the peace sign at me.
Fuck yeah!

 Dude in a killer Umbrella Corp costume.

Now it was time for one of the most anticipated panels, the Alien reunion with Tom Skerritt (Captain Dallas in Dallas!) and Veronica Cartwright. Tom was a little hard to hear most of the time even though I was pretty close, but Veronica was so animated and funny. Again, lots of great stories from the set of this iconic movie. Tom didn't say as much, but when he did talk he had some really profound and interesting things to say. Veronica also talked about her experience working with Alfred Hitchcock on The Birds as a child. I told myself that I was going to try to make it to at least one panel and one movie while at TFW, and I ended up going to one movie and FIVE panels. This was only number two - three more amazing panels to go!

Tom and Veronica, for your viewing pleasure!

This is when they were signing this little plastic facehugger
that the moderator brought out.

And here I think I got the best picture ever!

The day was still not over! Not as much time for lollygagging now as Danny Trejo's panel (which was officially called "Danny Trejo is Loco") was next, and from the people waiting outside the door for almost an hour, I could tell this panel was going to be packed. Still, I did yet more wandering to get some more sneaky shots of celebs that I didn't personally meet. Celebs like...

 Gary Busey (which is as close to him as I wanted to get)...

 Tom Skerritt again (cute picture!)...

 Lou David...

 Nick Castle...

 ... and Ted White.

Time for Machete! It was indeed a packed house for Danny Trejo's panel, but it sure was a riot! Danny just talked about his life, his time in prison and how he got into movies. He promises that Machete Kills, the sequel, will be ten times more awesome than the first movie. Yes! Danny is in real life exactly how I expected him to be - easy going, funny, and just a guy out to have a good time. He made the audience laugh a lot ("Machete don't text!") and it was a joy just to sit there and listen to him. Love you, Danny!

Whew, what a day. After finally getting some food in me and relaxing for a bit, the day was winding down. I had to debate with myself for a long time whether or not I wanted to hang around until 8:00 to catch the screening of Maniac because I was so wiped out. I finally just said Eff it, and headed into the room, where the movie had already started (just a minute or two though). Packed house, no seats. So I and several other people just popped a squat on the floor along the wall, and they actually turned out to be pretty good seats. I gotta say that I dug the movie a lot (still haven't seen the original, though - doh!), but mostly I enjoyed finally watching a horror movie with real horror fans. Everybody laughed at the same places I laughed, and clapped and cheered every time there was a kill or a cool effect. Fun time, indeed!

More cool stories from DAY THREE coming soon, with more from Dee Wallace, Tom Savini, and me finally meeting Mary Lambert!

Read about DAY ONE here!
Finally, DAY THREE is here!