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Continuing my diary/recollections of the recent Seattle
Crypticon, begun here…
5 p.m.: Author/editor Thom Carnell and I were joined by our
“third musketeer,” the irascible writer/Fango contributor Philip Nutman, and
proceeded to ponder what “The Best Era of Horror” was. We didn’t design this
panel, and were a little remiss, because we really think there isn’t one.
There’s always a good horror film to find somewhere, at any given time; it’s a
matter of knowing where to look, and what era to look in. So we kind of
subverted the title of the panel and bent it to fit our own will. It was great
fun starting with the early Universal stuff and bringing it right up through
the current wave of foreign output. In the end, a nice “spackle” panel, as I
call it. Fun stuff.
6 p.m.: The Horror and Kids panel kicked off. My lovely
daughter Rayne was unable to make the con this year, so I sat the panel out and
took a short break, while Thom and his daughter Connor and son Jhustin spoke on
the subject. I ran away to my room for a bit of “instantaneous relaxation” and
to gear up for the rest of the night. Making my way down the elevator, out the
doors, into the hotel itself and through the labyrinthine halls to my room was
indeed a task as I navigated through old friends and well-wishers. Oh, the wonderful
distractions! “Let’s grab a beer!”, “Have you eaten yet?”, etc. But I begged
off quickly—still work to do—and grabbed a quiet moment in my room. Yes, it
included taking a leak worthy of a racehorse. Jeez, had I been that focused? I
didn’t even realize I had to pee. Wow.
7 p.m.: Thom and I gathered in a special area set up for an
intimate “fireside” chat with well-known character actor Bill Moseley. There
was no fireside, really, but there were popcorn and cookies and Sun Drop soda,
a faux Dew drink that had me right back where I needed to be. Zing!
Now, Moseley is probably one of the most well-known faces to
modern horror fans. Chop-Top in TEXAS CHAINSAW 2. Otis in HOUSE OF 1,000
CORPSES/THE DEVIL’S REJECTS. His filmography is a massive list of appearances
in everything from PINK CADILLAC with Clint Eastwood to 2001 MANIACS: FIELD OF
SCREAMS (which Eastwood is not in), and tons of television like CARNIVÀLE and ER.
For those who don’t know, Moseley was also a writer, having worked for the very
well-regarded Omni and National Lampoon magazines, so there was an instant
camaraderie there. We got into his journalism days, then into his friendship
with Timothy Leary, whom he met during his stint portraying Leary in a play in
LA. We got around to discussing his film work, his process and the landscape of
modern filmmaking in the low-budget arena. Before we knew it, we were getting
the “time’s up” sign. It was succinctly ignored, and we continued on for
another 40 minutes until the staff were ready to drag us offstage by our
Lastly, we gave Bill the second Crypt Icon Award, created
and presented by sculptor William J. Bivens—which was cool, since William has
been a con attendee since day one. It’s pretty awesome seeing true fans become
involved, get to know the people they grew up watching and become contributing
members of the community they love so much. Way to go, William! Great piece,
9 p.m.: Time for my yearly films primer, this round focusing
on postapocalyptic flicks. But alas, my From Dystopia to Destruction
presentation was not to happen—the third and final casualty of the death of my
hard drive. Apologies to visiting filmmaker Ryan Nicholson, maker of
GUTTERBALLS among other tawdry titles, who was going to sit on the panel with
me. Next year, bro!
This really, to be selfish, was a bit of a blessing in
disguise. I was whipped from the Moseley thing, and needed to re-up on my
“instant relaxation” and grab a quick beer. I retreated to the lobby bar for
the first (and only) time of the weekend, with my partners Nick and Jasmine,
and ended up watching the Seattle Mariners win over The Yankees in the 12th
inning, seated again next to my new best pal, Mr. Moseley himself. After more
laughs and conversation, we bid our adieu, retired to the very nice hotel room
provided by the con and proceeded to let nature take its course. It was my
birthday. I was surrounded by friends. We had a lot of liquor. It doesn’t take
a rocket scientist or psychic to figure out what happened next… *hic*
Morning came wayyyyyy too soon, and there was a small fiasco
concerning the Linnea Quigley Horror Workout thing we wanted to do. I ran into
Miss Quigley at breakfast and we both just kind of looked at each other, a
little tired and hangdog, and put the kibosh on it. We had covered everything
the day before pretty in-depth. Best to just take it easy, and sit signing for
fans at the table.
I went and walked around, pretty zombified at this point,
and smoked friends’ cigarettes, and just took everything in for once.
1 p.m. rolled around, and I went to do the Horror in Music
panel, with my drummer Patrick Fiorentino (yes, we play ze brutal thrash in our
band Kandar…coming soon to a torrent site near you) as well as my Olympia, WA
cohorts Paul Malleck (whose lo-fi horror ’zine Dormarth is an absolute must,
geared to the VHS heads out there) and Ian Bracken (who doesn’t do shit except
drink and watch movies, but look out, world—seriously, he does it like no other
and has a lot to say), as well as new pal Derek Koch and the ever-present Thom.
Soundtracks. Industrial music. Metal. We went over what we could in an hour,
slowly filling the small room we were in with our boozy exhalations.
2 p.m.: I headed off to another room to discuss one of my
great passions, television horror of the 1970s. Basically a
name-dropping/plot-breakdown primer that became a trip down memory lane for me
as well. “The Nut” sat in on this with me, holding my hungover form upright and
urging my hopefully coherent ramblings onward, as we casually spoke with the
audience in what naturally became more of a roundtable event. It’s always a
pleasure to have an excuse to throw out titles like THE NORLISS TAPES,
SANDCASTLES, CROWHAVEN FARM etc. along with the more well-known DON’T BE AFRAID
OF THE DARK, DARK SHADOWS and THE NIGHT STALKER. The old James Coburn-hosted
anthology series DARKROOM even got some love, though it actually began airing
in 1981…just sayin’…
Then 3 p.m. struck, and that was that, wrapping up my
weekend. I was stunned, tired, empty, spent—and most of all, happy.
The thing I’ll say about Crypticon, and what makes it the
special type of event it is, is that it has a folksy atmosphere that really
isn’t prevalent in a lot of the cons I’ve attended, or had the honor of
speaking at. It has had its ups and downs, sure, but wears its battle scars
well, and there is a true family atmosphere among the attendees. Right down to
the dealers’ tables, which featured a lot of local artists plying their wares,
much of the work being exceptional. In particular, GAK Photography; that shit
is so überdope I gotta pimp it out—but GAK serves as a marvelous example of
what I’m talking about. Crypticon keeps it real. You can’t buy that for a
See ya next year; until then, spread the fear!
Special thanks to Tawny Mayer and Thom Carnell for the
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