The fact that I'm sitting here in a funk as I write this could signify only one thing---another Monster Bash Convention has come and gone. Since its inception in 1997 this is the eighth time I've made the five-hour pilgrimage to the greater Pittsburgh area for Ron Adams' salute to Classic Horror and Science Fiction films, the people who made them, and the "Monster Kids" who love them. This year it was extremely difficult getting ready for the Bash because of a work injury I suffered in early June. (I fractured my ankle and partially tore a ligament.) But thanks to a lot of hard work by my wife, we made it to Butler. Having only had a cast on my leg for a couple of days, and walking with crutches, it was funny that the first person I ran into at the hotel was Michael "Ygor" Thomas, who was also on crutches because of some recent surgery. After exchanging injury war stories, I ran into Donnie Waddell (one of the organizers of Wonderfest), who immediately offered his help to unload the car and get our stuff inside. He was soon joined by Joe Busam (and Joe Jr. and wife Kristen) and Richard and Angie Olson. (This group was also instrumental in setting up the Old Dark Clubhouse his year.) With all their help, my wife was able to unload the car in record time! Once everything was set up and the show was in full swing, sales of our new issue (which premiered here) took off, and traffic was heavy at our table through the evening. While I stayed at the table, my wife was fortunate enough to catch the Friday premiere of Monster Kid Home Movies. At the event, a trailer for the DVD was shown, along with several of the films, and many of the contributors to the project were on hand, including the DVD's producer Joe Busam and many of the junior filmmakers (their adult incarnations) who contributed their films to this very special project, including Bob Burns, Frank Dietz, Kerry Gammill, Mike High, Richard Olson, Robert Tinnell, Bruce Tinkel, and Tom Weaver. What started as a few Monster Kids taking their home movies to Monster Bash to share with others in the Old Dark Clubhouse has come full circle with this extraordinary DVD release. I can't thank Joe Busam and his company, the PPS Group, enough for making this DVD happen. The great news is Joe announced that his company has already given the green light for Volume 2. So follow the link on my splash page and order your copy of Volume 1 today! Jim Clatterbaugh
After the dealers' room closed for the evening, it was off to the Old Dark Clubhouse. The Clubhouse is the place where fans who've been in contact throughout the year (via phone, e-mail, message boards, etc.) gather to share in the celebration of the guests, renew old friendships, start new friendships, share Monster memories, and show off some of their Monster memorabilia. In other words---it's heaven on earth! While the Monster Bash itself provides enough activities to keep all attendees busy from sunup to sundown, it's the lucky few who gather in the Clubhouse who get to share that special Monster Kid bond. As in the past, this year was no exception. Marian and I spent three nights hanging out with some of the greatest fans, including Ron Adams, Michael Brunas, Joe Busam (and Joe Jr. and wife, Kristen), Ray Castile (creator of the Gallery of Monster Toys Web site), Mark Clark, John Clymer, David "Taraco" Colton (and his wife, Eileen), Frank "Sketchy Things" Dietz, Dennis Druktenis (and son Dylan), Bill "Drac" Edwards, Joseph Fotinos (aka Horror Host Prof. Anton Griffin), Kerry Gammill, Harry Hatter, Terry Ingram (founder of the Yahoo! Universal Monster Army Group), Lenny Kohl, Todd Livingston, Richard Olson (and his lovely daughter Angie), Terry Pace, Bryan Senn, John Skerchock, Richard Stoner, Rich Scrivani, Steven Thornton (and his wife, Rosanne), Bob Tinnell, Donnie Waddell, Tom Weaver, and many more, plus some of the show's guests, such as Bob and Kathy Burns, Richard Gordon, and Sara Karloff. Of course, I can't leave out our gracious host, Gary Prange, and my lovely wife Marian. While there were many highlights this year---like receiving several wonderful Old Dark Clubhouse "premiums" (a Bash tradition that grows every year) from various Monster Kids, the wonderful conversations that took place nonstop in the ODCH all weekend, the various Horror Host clips shown, and the movies and TV shows watched (including episodes of Milton the Monster, Fearless Fly, and The Groovie Goolies)---two events stand out this year. The first was Sara Karloff visiting the ODCH and posing for tons of photos with Gary Prange's life-size Morgan figure from The Old Dark House (which happened to be the theme of this year's Old Dark Clubhouse). She seemed totally in awe of the figure and was really touched by it. You really can see Boris in her face these days, as she seems to resemble him more and more each time I see her. The second standout event, and probably one of the greatest Monster Convention memories I'll ever have (and I've got a lot!), happened in the ODCH while we were watching clips of Horror Host Professor Anton Griffin's show: We were interrupted by a surprise guest---the Frankenstein Monster (Timothy Herron, aka Horror Host Baron Von Wolfstein, in a fantastic self-makeup job that rivaled Pierce's own creation). After a quick description of how the makeup was done, and a few introductory words, Tim's beautiful, extremely moving performance of the Creature's final speech from the climax of Mary Shelley's novel stunned a captive audience of Monster Kids! On top of everything else the speech was delivered in a voice that was unmistakably Boris Karloff's! Tim delivered the nine-page monologue with perfection and was assisted by Joseph Fotinos as Captain Walton and Richard Olson as the corpse of Victor Frankenstein. Producer Richard Gordon happened to be present in the Clubhouse during the performance and exclaimed that it was worthy of Broadway! For all of you who were at the Bash but missed this special treat, several attendees that evening videotaped the performance, so hopefully copies will be floating around in the future. Also, one can only hope that the performance will be repeated on a much larger scale at a future Monster Bash so that more people can enjoy this truly spectacular performance.
Other highlights during the weekend were the Frankenswine Trilogy (which played to a packed house), Creature Features: 50 Years of the Gillman documentary, Don Reese's always hilarious standup routine, Mexican movie night, Richard Gordon's Q&A, a group photo with members of the Yahoo! Universal Monster Army Group, and the many wonderful makeups on display throughout the weekend, including an ever-so-cute Donnie Dunagan lookalike. WOW, it's hard to believe the weekend is over already; at least I have some time off from work to snap out of my funk and enjoy the many DVDs, CDs, and magazines that I picked up at the show.
Once again, hats off to Gary, Richard, Joe, Joe "Sorko" Schovitz (who couldn't make it to the Bash) and everyone else who hauled all of the truly spectacular stuff to the show---as always, the Clubhouse was the ultimate Monster Kid hangout! Also, a big thanks to our readers who stopped by to pick up the latest issue (or issues) of Monsters from the Vault or to just shoot the breeze. As always it was great to see you all, and many thanks for your continued support! Finally, a special 'thank you' to Angie, Donnie, Gary, Joe, and Richard for helping out with the loading and unloading, and for just being so nice to us all weekend and always worrying about how I was doing with the injury---you guys are the BEST! As I told my wife Sunday evening, I may have a lot of local friends in Baltimore, but I would trade most of them to have you guys as my local friends, and to be able to hang out with you more than a couple times a year. I truly love you guys! Well enough with the sentimental stuff, it's time to look at some pictures from this year's Bash (all photos were taken by my wife, Marian) so you can see what you're missing and have plenty of time to make plans to visit Pittsburgh next year for the ultimate fan gathering. I hope to see you all in 2006 when "The Amazing Colossal Monster Bash" comes to Butler, PA. (I'm already planning on my Old Dark Clubhouse premium for next year.) To Ron and his staff---another job well done!
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Monster Bash 2004
Monster Bash 2002