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Festival of Fear 2008 in Review

on August 23, 2008 - 10:47pm

Zombie Visitors
A special hello to creepy Canadian critters reading this blog. I've returned from a full day at Fan Expo Canada, and more specifically, the Festival of Fear brought to us by Rue Morgue. I'll be publishing a series of blogs on my experience and some great finds, but today's post will be a general overview. Let me get my harshest criticism out of the way.

My friend and I arrived at the convention centre at 11:15 AM. We had not purchased advanced tickets (having missed the deadline to do so) but knew we could get them at the door. Unfortunately, Hobbystar claims they haven't figured out how to make credit card payments available to visitors (though some retailers inside did, so I don't see what the problem is). If you don't have cash on hand (or in your bank account) you will be out of luck on Sunday (and that's a lot of cash for families to fork over at once).

floorplanThe level where you buy tickets is shaped like a huge U, with escalators in the middle leading down to the exhibits. We filled out the necessary registration forms (available on tables marked as a rectangle on the left side of the drawing) and noticed the nearby booths where you actually purchase tickets were concealed from view by dark curtains. Odd.

We searched for the start of the line (you can follow our path with the red dots). Hordes of people, a number of whom were 15 year olds dressed up as the Sailor Moon squad or Mortal Combat crew, filled the space in a zigzag pattern. After a few minutes (without any help from volunteers or security) we finally found it.

lineups
There was an initial sprawling line that took you to a wider section - the bottom of the U - that had an additional 7 rows of people (you can see the start of each row numbered in the photo to the right). When we finally got to the curtained area (hooray!) we were surprised to see more snaking line ups in winding partitions similar to those used outside of roller coaster rides (boo!). Another half hour wait before we finally arrived at one of the five small booths.

In total, it took almost two hours to get our tickets. This is absolutely ridiculous and the organizers need to get their act together.

t-shirt
This year, while I found the workshops less appealing (and skipped them entirely though I was tempted to revisit the cast of Evil Dead: The Musical), the selection of retailers and artists were far superior than past Expos.

I had the delight of meeting Ghoulish Gary Pullin whom I have blogged about in the past. I was torn between purchasing a print to have him sign and getting a t-shirt. I opted for the shirt (not a bad price at $20).

There are many more purchases and creations to share, but I will save those for later.

It's always fun to walk along the aisles and rub shoulders with the likes of Sid Haig and Tobe Hooper who were also eyeing wares for sale. Wes Craven made an appearance, but it was strictly for those lined up, tickets or money in hand. I love Wes Craven's work but I wasn't starstruck enough to pay the extra money for the privilege of an autograph or photo.

Zombie Visitors
I came across these two impressive zombified fans on my way to the autograph area. I can't imagine how long it took them to get to the end of an aisle since they were being stopped every 30 seconds so people could pose with them.

Straying from the horror theme, I did sneak up to get a closer look at Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) since I am a huge Battlestar Galactica fan, and to peek at Data - aka Brent Spiner. But out of all the stars around me, I only chose one to approach (which may shock all of you), and that was because he held a special nostalgia for me.

The path cleared to reveal the kind face of Henry Winkler (who I knew was a shorter man, but I didn't realize he would be my height). I walked up, explained that I didn't want to bother him for an autograph or photo, but wanted to just talk for a moment. I introduced myself and told him what I'd always thought I'd tell him if I ever met him - that Fonzie was my first imaginary friend. "Him along with Casper, so you were in good company". Mr. Winkler gave me a lovely genuine smile and kissed my cheek.

Not many people can say they were kissed by the Fonz.

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