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Horror Fans Meet for That Fang They Do

May 26, 1999|KASTLE WASERMAN

Where else can you buy a pair of special effects eyeballs, get an autograph from a member of shock-rock band Gwar or ask Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Nicholas Brendon if Amy's character will ever return from being a rat?

It all happened over the weekend during the Fangoria convention at the Pasadena Convention Center. Hundreds of horror fans converged to check out the latest in special effects mastery, hear firsthand stories from directors and actors, get a sneak peek at upcoming films, buy memorabilia and meet some of the talent of this elite genre. This 11th Fangoria Convention, presented by horror magazine Fangoria, marked the publication's 20th anniversary. The conventions take place annually in both L.A. and New York.

Promoter Adam Malin, chief executive of Creation Entertainment, said the events provide "a special opportunity to present exceptional talent from the genre. It crosses over into all aspects of horror, but it is clearly a celebration of the special effects side and the gore element of that."

Horror vendors mixed with a simultaneous toy expo, creating a massive crossover marketplace. Items available included everything from a "Nightmare Before Christmas" piggy bank to a Kiss shot glass to a Brooke Shields doll. That's not to mention the hundreds of video movies for sale from independent horror film companies.

Linda Blair, star of the 1973 film "The Exorcist" and who has performed in more than 35 films, including "Roller Boogie" and "Scream," was available to sign autographs and greet fans. Although she says she now prefers doing comedy, it is her character of Regan MacNeil in "The Exorcist" that created an icon in the horror genre.

"To this day people remember how that movie affected them, who they were with," Blair said. "They have immediate recall."

These days the 40-year-old actress uses her position to promote causes she believes in.

"The film has given me a wonderful platform to do a lot of good work for animal rights," she said. "People wouldn't pay attention to me if I had been in a different type of film."

The conference also featured nonstop movie trailers, with sneak peeks at films such as "House on Haunted Hill" and Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow." Guest speakers provided insider information on how special effects are achieved. A costume contest brought out elaborately dressed fans in the guise of vampires and hunchbacks, some of whom designed their own special effects, like the Predator, whose mouth movements were controlled with a hand pump.

Patrick Mata, singer for local goth band Kommunity FK, who performed at the convention, said that playing at Fangoria "was an honor." But his favorite parts of the convention were meeting Blair, "because she was in one of the first major shocking films ever made," and seeing the special effects makeup artists.

"They're the unsung heroes of the genre."

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