Sunday, August 18, 2013

Monsters, Melmacians and the Ghost of Batshit Crazy Gary Busey

There's something about seeing Freddy Krueger strutting through a hotel lobby in mid-August that sets my heart aflutter.

Ol' Fingerknives was just one of many freaks (myself included) who turned the Crowne Plaza into a haunted house. Each year, hundreds of horror buffs pack the Monster-Mania Convention in New Jersey for three days of boos and booze.

I'd always wanted to attend this con -- which has a solid reputation for booking bad-ass celebrities -- but I could never justify driving five hours and spending $30 in turnpike tolls when I already lived in The Zombie Capital of the World.

And then I saw this:
Yeah, that's worth a trip to the Garden State.

Since the age of 7, I've been obsessed with director George A. Romero. My dad -- who delighted in scaring the bejesus out of me -- popped Night of the Living Dead into the VCR that fateful All Hallow's Eve and invited me to join him on the couch.

We sat there eating fun-size Snickers out of a pumpkin pail while the onscreen ghouls devoured the residents of Evans City, which just so happened to be the neighboring town. (Cue ominous music)

I was repulsed and captivated, frightened and thrilled. I wanted to bury my face in a pillow, but was unable to look away. Dad did manage to scare me that night, but he also created a monster. Today, I'm a 34-year-old housewife with a drinking problem and a basement filled with corpses ... plastic corpses, but corpses nonetheless.

Last Friday, my friend Amy and I made the trek east. As VIPs (read: geeks who paid a ridicuous amount of money for a metallic-green wristband), we were given early entry into the con, a guaranteed photo-and-autograph opportunity with George and access to a bizarre, late-night ice cream social with the stars, including Jeremy London, Malcolm McDowell, the Guy Who Played the Stiff in Weekend at Bernie's and Batshit Crazy Gary Busey.

Spending $200 to eat George Romero's face is a bargain in my book!
Mmm, brains.

Even with our lofty, VIP convention-goer status, we still had to stand in line for two hours to meet George. It was an agonizing wait, mostly because I was semi-drunk and surrounded by obnoxious dudes with killer B.O. (Note to Monster Mania organizers: pass out deodorant at the door next year!)
When we finally entered the autograph room, I began to hyperventiliate. Lori Petty inadvertantly saved my life by pushing me out of the way in a quest to find her Point Break co-star, the aforementioned Batshit Crazy Gary Busey, who will henceforth be referred to as BCGB.

These days, Patrick Swayze probably looks better than Lori Petty. "Tank Girl" was never what you would call a "classic beauty," but she had cool hair and chutzpah. Now she looks like the zombie love-child of Truman Capote and Susan Powter.
Stop the insanity! (... a line she undoubtedly uttered to BCGB on the Point Break set.)

Anyway, Romero. I don't really remember what I said to him as he signed an 8X10 picture of himself, but I'm sure it was a high-pitched, incoherent verbal avalanche. No beefy security guards were called in to diffuse the situation, so I guess I didn't get too Annie Wilkes on him. Or maybe George's panic button was malfunctioning. I dunno.

What does a girl do after fulfilling a lifelong dream? She goes shopping!!!!!!!!!

No, I didn't hit the mall (this is my DREAM, people, not my nightmare.) Monster-Mania was a veritable cornucopia of over-priced randomness.

Before the con, I pawned a gold ring to get some "mad money" in my pocket. I should not, under any circumstances, be allowed to handle legal tender. The plight of starving, AIDS-afflicted orphans in Africa did not stop me from buying three Cryptkeeper dolls, a Simpsons Burger King toy (Zombie Otto!), a toddler-size "Camp Crystal Lake" T-shirt, and a skeleton lounge singer statue. I nearly purchased a talking ALF doll for $125, but restrained myself.*
I also dropped $20 on Timothy Balme's autograph.

(Crickets chirping)

You're probably wondering, "Who the fuck is Timothy Balme?"

Well, asshole, he's the star of Dead Alive, the greatest movie of all time. IMDB-it, bitch! Or, better yet, watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebNbXsFdz9w
Tim was a really humble guy and seemed genuinely flattered that I worshiped the bloody ground he walked on.

BCGB, on the other hand, was nowhere to be seen. All day, I'd heard people asking, "Where's Busey?" or, more accurately, "Where the fuck is BCGB? I want that big-toothed crackhead to sign my VHS copy of Predator 2!"

The folks who did manage to find him said he was a certifiable whack-job who charged $50 for a photo op and then wouldn't look at the damn camera.

Other than catching a glimpse of him as he sprinted onto an elevator, THIS is the closest I got: an empty chair behind a table full of promotional glossies.
I'm kind of glad, BCGB was MIA. Coming face-to-face with that NUT would've been an OMG-experience! LOL!

*I totally bought an ALF doll on eBay while typing this blog entry.

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