Monday, September 28, 2009

Horrorfind Weekend in Death Valley

Horrorfind Weekend: The Spookiest Show On Earth

Horrorfind Weekend
September 25-27
Hunt Valley Marriott

I had nothing better to do this past Sunday so I headed out to Hunt Valley (formerly known as "Death Valley" in the days before the mall got injected with steroids in the form of Wegmen's, the Regal Cinemas multiplex, and all those new retail "shoppes") for the Horrorfind Weekend horror fan convention. I'm not a horror or gore hound by any means, but I do like to check out the obscure cult, foreign and sci-fi movie bootlegs that are offer in the dealer rooms there - plus my ever-shrinking libido doesn't mind looking at the all the pale-faced tatted-and-pierced Goth babes (who are instinctively drawn to horror and gore like moths to the flame) in their Betty Page 'dos, platform heels, and form-fitting leather clothing so tight their naughty bits are almost hermetically sealed.

"Which way to the Dealer's Room?
We heard there are some pale gore hunks there!"

Of course, some lost "Simpsons Comic Book Guy" souls actually go to these events to meet and get their photos taken with washed-up celebrities like Margot Kidder (who looks like a homeless person you'd see pandhandling outside at the downtown library), Corbin Bernsen of L.A. Law (who I didn't even notice because, in my friend's spot-on description, he was "that bald guy sitting in the corner with his face buried in his Blackberry") or even scraping-the-bottom-of-the-name-recognition-barrel celebs like the Z-list actors who will forever be known as "the black guy in Ghostbusters" (for the record: his name is Ernie Hudson) or "the black guy from Night of the Living Dead (Ken Foree).

"Wait - the black guy from Ghostbusters is here?!?"

OK, I will admit this year I was kinda interested in seeing Danny Trejo - the pock-faced, tough-skinned Latino bit player who's made a career out of playing bikers, druggies and assorted badasses (not to mention "Carlos Santana" in Delta Farce!), most recent high-profiled as the star of the bogus movie "Machete" in Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror. I later saw "Machete" lobby cards and posters for sale in the dealer room, which makes sense because the Machete trailer spoof was so popular in Planet Terror that Rodriquez decided to make a real movie of that name starring Danny Trejo (tagline: "They fucked with the wrong Mexican!"); it's due out sometime next year.

Looking Sharp: Danny Trajo is...Machete!

Walking across the parking lot on my way in, I spied a spiffy looking black hearse. My first thought was that it was Chris X of Reptilian Records back in town from his Satanic honeymoon (he was recently married on 9-9-09 after missing out on making his vows on 6-6-06), but it was actually "Queen of Ghouls" Kim Yates of Kim's Krypt ("We'll scare the living yell out of you!") rolling uptown in style from her Dundalk domain. (By the way, her '68 Cadillac Crown Superior hearse is available for rental.)

Dundalk Representing: The Kim's Krypt Hearse

Kim's Hearse: Gettin' its full-frontal hood-on

I later saw Kim outside the dealer's room and asked her if she escaped any flooding from the September 18th broken water main deluge in Dundalk. She did, then proceeded to try and get me to buy her band's CD. Kim started out doing a Halloween-themed Haunted House but now offers family-oriented thrills for Kryptmas, Valentine's (Massacre) Day, and Friday the 13th, though no word on Yom Kippur as of yet (not a big demand for that in Dundalk I 'spose). Charismatic Kim is always "on" like a carnival pitchman, while her female "partner" Lil' Angie silently mans the merchandise table, the two as different as night and day. I gotta make a note to get down to Kim's Haunted House at the Merritt Park Shopping Center this Halloween and visit her crew, which includes her pets Boo "The Dog that Eats His Own Poo" and Spooky "The Exorcist Cat That Eats Rats." Even Alice Cooper is a fan of Kim's Krypt!

In Like Skint

I think they charge $20 to get in, but no one stopped me when I walked in - and I walked very slowly with my hand clasped around a $20 waiting for someone to greet/accost me - and, well, this Fanboy About Town has places to go and people to see! (Besides, I think the cashier chick was too busy texting away on her cell phone - today's Youth are very easily distracted).

Almost as soon as I entered the dealer's room, I ran into my Frederick, MD-based artist friend Steve Blickenstaff and his lovely wife Pingzhen, who had a table there.

The Blissful Blickenstaffs, beaming

Steve is most famous for his Good Music For Bad People album cover for The Cramps...

...but he's also done created artwork for They Might Be Giants, Thin White Rope, and even local blood-sucking surf-rockers The Atomic Mosquitos (with whom he plays theremin). Steve's wild Basil Wolverton-meets-Big Daddy Roth-&-Robert Williams-style art celebrates everything I love about monster, alien, zombie, and Pin-Up Gal kitsch.

Blickenstaff's usual suspects

Blickenstaff's art is an eyeful!

Steve's "Guitar World" illustration

Steve really knows how to market himself (it's surprising how few artists do), offering his work in every size, shape, and price range - from $1 pins and stickers to paintings in the low $$ hundreds. And accessories! Pendants (I bought a Ghoul Girl cameo for my GF), wall clocks (I bought one for the kitchen), keychains, you name it, he's got it. Check out his amazing artwork at

At the next table I heard what sounded like a bug zapper, but instead it was a tattoo artist inking some design on the back of a dude's leg.

Inkers were on hand to Tattoo You

There were actually two tattoo vendors in the dealer's room. That's a new trend. A bunch of inked babes in fetish gear were working the other table down the aisle. I fought the temptation.

At the table I was watching a screener of the locally-produced Cannibal Holocaust spoof Isle of the Damned (available from

... when a voice behind me said, "You really should buy this, Tom!" Looking around it was my Facebook friend Armando the flesh! Armando's not only a film geek, he also likes the same music as me. he filled me in on what a great show the Pet Shop Boys put on at D.C.'s Constitution Hall on a rare tour this past summer.

Professor Warner (note granny glasses) finally met his
Facebook virtual friend Armando Valle in the flesh
at the booth

But the highlight of the dealer's room awaited me right across from this table, where I saw a guy selling a cornucopia of film and TV-related ID badges. As a Lost fan, I had to pony up for a couple of Dharma Initative Parking Permits...

Perfect for a VW Bus!

...and as a media maven about metropolitanland I had to grab the Jimmy Olsen Daily Planet press badge (no doubt it'll help me get into this week's Comic-Con for free, too!).

Cub reporter Jimmy Olsen press badge

The guy also had some nice Blade Runner IDs, including a "Spinner Operator's Permit" badge but I don't look enough like Harrison Ford to pull it off.

Deckard says "Come Fly With Me"

Right around the corner a guy had a great bootleg DVD table where I found Penelope Spheeris' The Decline of Western Civilization and The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years packaged together for $10.

Declines I & II: One for each ear

Though I have multiple copies of both films on video and DVD, the quality was so good I had to pick it up; it looked like it was taken directly from a laserdisc. (I just wish I hadn't been so tight-fisted and am now regretting not picking up two rare and out-of-print items, namely former Saturday Night Live writer Michael Donohue's Mr. Mike's Mondo Video 1979 TV special and Alejandro Jodorowsky's Santa Sangre. Doh! Oh well, there's always Comic-Con this weekend...)

The ones that got away...

As I was walking away from this table I almost bumped into...Danny Trejo, who had just strolled in with some young babe with Pepto Bismol-pink hair.

"Danny Trejo!" I blurted, showcasing my flair for the obvious. "I loved you in that movie you made with Patricia Arquette," I blathered away. His face squinched up as he drew a blank, no doubt because, retard that I am, I was confusing Patricia Arquette with Maggie Gyllenhaal in the 2006 rehab movie Sherrybaby, in which Danny plays 12-step veteran Dean Walker (a good guy for a change!) who meets Gyllenhaal at an NA Meeting. But Danny sympathized with the mentally challenged and graciously agreed to let his pink-haired friend snap my photo standing next to him. Wow, I never realized what a little guy this badass is!

"Delicate" Danny Trejo with "Testosterone-Teeming" Tom Warner

It's funny, I had just screened The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years at the Enoch Pratt Central Library the day before and commented that I didn't know anyone who had seen Penelope Spheeris' even rarer 1998 followup The Decline of Western Civilization Part III. Well, I found a copy at another vendor's table on the other end of dealer's the room.

Decline Part III

I passed, since it featured bands I had never heard of (Litmus Green, Naked Agression, Final Conflict, The Resistance), but it was there along with the other two voumes of Spheeris' music doc trilogy. I felt like calling up my friend Paul Wegweiser and telling him about the bounty of Decline of Western Civilization DVDs (Paul has searched for the original for years!). It was right next to The Complete Howard Stern Show on Channel 9-WOR bootleg (too expensive at $70) and the Japanese live-action manga adaptation of Rapeman (too disgusting). Spying a boot of The Complete Parker Lewis Can't Lose, I had to tell the young vendor that it had finally been given an official release so he might want to pull it now.

I mosied over to the adjacent table, a vendor from Michigan for a company called Monsters Among Us (, who had an amazing collection of pristine laserdiscs - still the best visual medium for watching movies (even though, like LPs, you have to flip sides) - in addition to an impressive array of cult LPs (natch), monster magazines, old Playboys, and even some vintage copies of Movie Club, the local movie mag produced between 1993 and 1997 by Baltimore's late great B-movie king Don Dohler. (Blood, Boobs & Beast, a documentary about Dohler that premiered at the 2007 Maryland Film Festival, is now available for purchase on

Don Dohler's legacy was in da house!

Right next door to this guy's table I saw a painted-by-numbers Hipster Doofus (well-trimmed goutee, Colonel Sanders glasses, Sinatra fedora, racetrack shirt hanging over his beer belly) holding an expensive mini-digital camcorder and interviewing some artist's crotch. "So, Mr. [name]'s crotch, tell us about your art, blah blah blah." How utterly fascinating!

Hipster paparazzi, representin'

God, there but for the grace of Atomic TV go I, I thought. This schmuck took glib to levels even I hadn't descended. The guy he was interviewing actually had some cool t-shirts for sale. I liked the one of Baltimore's Bromo Seltzer Tower with a bunch of guns jutting out of it. Since I recently read about a Hopkins student who killed a burglar with a samurai sword, I expect an update in next year's tee.

Harm City, representing, horror/gore-style!

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