I took a few days off between the events detailed in this blog and the time I decided to sit down and write about it. It took me 5 days to try and turn a string of insults, vulgarities, and disgust into something somewhat appropriate and cohesive. Have you ever loved someone so much they become a major part of your life? Everyday that love comes into your mind in one way or another.
Well mine is Horror. I love her. I have loved her from the first time I laid eyes on her. I was scared to commit at first; I was hurt before by Comedy, and her sobby bitch of a sister, Drama.
But after that first date back in 77, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. The rush that she gave me. I was excited, scared, and happy all at the same time. I never felt more alive than I did with her. I had to see her again. And so I did every chance I got. I would meet her in the library, in a darkened theater, around a campfire, anywhere.
She stood by me through thick and thin. She never faltered, she never strayed. She was mine.
My friends used to give me a hard time about her. Saying that she was gross, or disgusting, or how was I even able to look at her sometimes. They used to say that she was a passing fad. But I knew better. I knew we would be together for a long time.
Sure, we had our low points. The PG-13 days, remakes, Fear.com. But for every “Gothika”, there is a “Dead Alive”. For every MPAA hack job, there is a Director’s Cut just waiting to hit the home market.
She always came through for me in the end.
Well all of that changed last Saturday.
Last Saturday, I saw my love for what she truly has become. A money hungry whore.
I should have known this day would come. I saw flashes of this in the past. The double/triple/quadruple DVD dips (Looking at you “Evil Dead”/Anchor Bay), the same damn movie with just a “2” slapped onto it (”Paranormal Activity”-that is all YOU!).
But I held out hope, only to have the taste of it slapped out of my mouth.
Here is how it went down.
The last few years I have attended the East Coast’s most up and coming Horror Convention “Rock and Shock.” Three days of horror and music held in Worcester, MA. It seemed to be growing each year, adding more and more tables to the vendors’ room, as well as bigger and better Stars of the Genre to the Celebrity Room. And then after the convention ends, the music hall next door hosted such genre bands as Type O Negative, ICP, Gwar, and Wednesday 13 (who my band opened up for that year). It was slowly becoming THE East Coast con to be at.
This year looked to be no different, as the headliner of the Music Hall was Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper. SWEET!
I get to the DCU Center about 10am with my backpack full of items to be signed by my favorite celebrities. Knowing full well that nobody signs everything, I brought a lot of RARE DVD covers and posters, just to have good selections to show off. My first stop in the Celebrity Room is one of my favorite authors, Jack Ketchum. I have met him before and actually had the good fortune to sit and have some great talks with the man. Always a sincerely nice guy, he was gracious enough to sign my first edition copy of “Off Season” as well as my apparently very rare paperback copy of “Hide and Seek.” We chatted for about 10 minutes as he had a line and I looked around to see whom I wanted to visit next.
Most of the lines were growing at this point, so I saw one that was not and saw that it was for none other than the “Warlock” himself, Julian Sands.
I get into line and slide my “Boxing Helena” DVD cover out of my binder for him to sign. It is at this point that I begin to hear the grumbling of the other people in line about how this all sucks so much this year. I listen a little more closely and hear that they cannot believe that Julian Sands is charging $20.00 for his autograph. I mean, it is JULIAN SANDS, not someone like George Romero. This can’t be accurate. They must mean that he is charging $20.00 for one of his 8×10s with an autograph on it. Then I look around and start seeing these signs on each of the celebrities’ walls and tables.
Some even got very specific for those looking for something for nothing.
Your item signed-$20.00
Photo with your camera-$20.00
Free with an autograph.
I just sat there dumbfounded.
OK- I am not totally naïve. I know that some celebrities have been charging for their autographs for years. But it was only if you bought something from them. Those 8×10s don’t just show up- they have to send their assistants to a Kinko’s to get those 100 photos copied and boxed up, and that costs money. (Sense my sarcasm there?) But THAT I can at least understand and would willingly pay to get autographed.
But to pay them to sign MY object or take a photo with MY camera?
GO. FUCK. YOURSELF.
Here is the snapshot of the “typical” horror fan.
- -Mostly in the 17-25 year old range.
- -Most are either students or in jobs that just don’t pay them an over abundance of dough.
- -They go to every single horror movie that comes out so that they can “Support the cause.”
- -They are in the stores on Tuesday purchasing the newest “Director’s Cut” of a film they have purchased twice already.
- -They subscribe to some sort of Horror Mag (Rue Morgue, Fangoria, SCARS).
- -They follow/contribute to the blogs/websites/facebooks/tweets for their favorite genre actors/movies.
- -They buy all of the toys, DVDs, T-shirts, posters, books, that relate to their favorite star/movie.
- -They travel large distances to attend these conventions. (This includes airfare, gas for driving, hotel rooms, food, drinks, etc).
To use one example (of the MANY unhappy people I spoke to) regarding this subject at the con: “Susan” came to Rock and Shock for the weekend. She was from upstate New York. She drove to Worcester on Friday night and was staying for the weekend at a hotel that was 15 minutes away. She was going to the Rob Zombie show as well as the regular band nights included in her Rock and Shock con ticket package.
So a quick and dirty total for HER R&S Experience is the following rounded amount.
- Convention 3 Day VIP Ticket Price=$127.00
- Gas to drive round trip from upstate NY to Worcester, Ma. = Approx. $80.00
- Hotel for the 2 Nights-$280.00
- Eating out for Lunch, Dinner, and Drinks for 2 nights =Approx $150.00
So before she even sets foot into the Convention “Susan” has spent approx. $637.00 for this experience.
Nevermind the fact that like every true horror fan, she will want A LOT of what is offered in the vendors room (I left there with over $200.00 worth of stuff and that was after walking away from most tables). Now add to the fact that if she decides that she wants to get her “Last House on the Left” DVD cover (that she already paid approx. 15.00 for) signed by him. She has to drop another $20.00 for it.
Does nobody else see how this is just messed up?
I heard a lot of people use the excuse, “Well, it is a once in a lifetime chance to meet them.” Yeah, and you said that at the last 2 Rock and Shocks as well.
Some people like myself tried to skirt the issue and take pictures of the celebs from a distance.
When the celebrities saw this, they told their “handlers” to step in the way of the shot.
My experience was with Danny Trejo.
He wanted $30.00 to sign a poster and $20.00 to sign your item and then you could get a pic with him. Otherwise it was $20.00 a pic with MY camera. So I stepped about 20 feet to the side of the signing table and zoomed in and when the “handler” saw this, he stepped in the way and told me I had to get in line and have my money ready.
Wow! Not only a shitty thing to do, but rude as well.
A friend that I was with went over to Bill Mosley’s table to get his Japanese “Texas Chainsaw 2″ poster signed and was asked for his $20.00 before he signed. And when my friend pulled out his “Babysitter Wanted” DVD cover and put it down on the table, Bill looked up and asked if he had another 20. My friend went to pull the DVD cover back and Bill held it and just signed it for him with a sigh.
I was blown away.
I have met Bill Mosley many, many times and he was always very kind, polite, and accommodating to his fans. I would dare say one of the nicest celebrities I had ever met.
And to see this just saddened me. Honestly. It was past the rage and went straight to sadness that a person, who has always been so down to earth with his fans, suddenly goes for the cash over fans adoration.
I walked around all day rotating between fuming about it and shaking my head with the realization of this is what it is now.
A cash cow for celebs to cash in on their quick fame from the fans that they suddenly have.
Perfect example of this would be the three “stars” of “The Human Centipede.” They were all placed outside the celebrity room, but next to each other on the same 2 tables.
I watched as a person went up to one of them and got his DVD cover signed and asked for a pic with her.
She agreed and when he asked if he could get a picture with all three of them, they refused to get up for it and looked at their own price signs.
YOU HAVE BEEN IN ONE MOVIE AND YOU ALL WERE ATTACHED! WHO WANTS JUST A PIC WITH THE “MIDDLE” PART OF THE CENTIPEDE?!?!?!?!
So to get a picture with the whole “Centipede” you need to pay $60.00.
Look, I understand that their time is worth more than they are probebly getting paid to be there. But all they have to do is scale back those prices. $20.00 is a lot of money and adds up fast when you are surrounded by your idols. Five dollars is totally acceptable for a signature. Ten if it is on one of their 8×10s. But to take a pic with you on my own camera really should be free.
These are your fans. You know, the ones that write on your Facebook walls about how awesome it was to meet you, the ones who take said pics and post them on their own walls for everyone to see. (OH NO! More free publicity for your greedy ass.) It is hard not to sound dramatic in situations like this but, your fans are the ones that made you the “famous” person that you are. Why do you want to bleed them dry? Why do you want to turn them against you? Don’t you remember when you were one of them? Because you were at one time, and you should NEVER FORGET THAT!
And you know who doesn’t? ADAM GREEN.
I have had the extreme pleasure to meet and interview Adam a few times now. And I have never met a more down to earth “Celebrity.” He has always had a smile or a handshake or a signature for a fan. And who ever it is that he is meeting, it is always the same introduction; he sticks out his hand and says, “Hi, I’m Adam.” Like we wouldn’t know this. He admits he is sometimes too accessible to his fans, as he has his Facebook, Twitter, and Mindspring sites always packed with fans asking questions, and Adam does his best to try and answer everyone.
So on this day, after being disgusted by the rest of the room, I walk over to his line (constantly one of the longest one all day), I see HIS sign reads-
“I don’t charge you for my autograph or pictures. Because I love you. A.G.”
And for this simple gesture of appreciation of his fans, EVERYONE was talking about how “awesome” Adam Green was.
The man has always said he is just a fan who happened to catch a break and do the thing he grew up loving (just like all of us). And he showed his appreciation to us and that generosity easily cost him thousands of dollars that Saturday alone. But I will say this straight out. I was NOT a fan of “Hatchet 2”, but I will always support any piece of work that Adam Green does.
Because that is what fans do.
So to Jack Ketchum, and Adam Green , I say thank you for showing us all that it is not all about the money. It is about making your fans happy. Because once you have our love and support, we will help you make your money in your trade. Even if we know it is going to be shit, we will (and DO) pay for your movies every weekend in the theaters. And on Tuesdays in the stores when your films DVDs are released. And online when your action figures are released.
I am not sure really how to wrap this up, because I just feel this is the way things are going to be from now on.
To get back on my dramatic horse again.
I feel used, I feel betrayed, I feel sad.
I stuck by my beloved Horror through it all and put her through school so she can get that good job and she just ran off with her Boss with the Ferrari.
To quote Miss Debbie and Uncle Fester from “Addams Family Values:”
Fester – “Give me a kiss.”
Miss Debbie – “Give me a twenty.”