AC Boardwalk Con Adventure Part 1

You couldn’t move in AC last weekend. Everywhere you turned there was a bachelorette party going on. It was like an old B-movie, but, instead of the Jersey Shore getting infested with 50-foot mutated soon-to-be brides, it was overrun with literal hordes of drunken twenty-something girls wearing dresses that could barely fit my arm. They were stumbling all over the boardwalk, making a scene at the casinos, and even loud talking (slurring) on line at Starbucks. Believe me, I’m all for partying, but the combination of drunkenness only amplified the fact that they all seemed to think they were hot shit. Something about getting dressed up and downing weak shots of fruity liqueur makes even the biggest disasters feel like they could nail David Beckham. They couldn’t even pronounce Macchioto at that point, but, then again, they could barely walk – even with those giant heels in hand. Don’t think for a second that their male counterparts weren’t up to the same shenanigans in other casinos, they just disguised it better. Clusters of dudes on their bachelor parties were equally as obnoxious, but they weren’t wearing tiaras and sashes, so they didn’t stand out as much. Why am I telling you this? To set the scene of course!

While much of this turned out to be entertaining in itself, like witnessing multiple girls trip over their giant heels in their micro mini skirts right before my eyes, it got in the way of my real mission: getting to the FIRST EVER Atlantic City Boardwalk Con. Last weekend, Dinosaur Dracula and I escaped immediately into a parking garage and sought refuge in the most perfect place imaginable – The Atlantic City Convention Center. This place was bustling with an entirely different breed of revelers: Geeks. The Atlantic City Boardwalk Con was like being in the Merry Land of Oz, if Oz was a comic convention and Kevin Smith was the Wizard.

AC took on a double meaning for me. The Atlantic City Convention Center was supplied with Air Conditioning, which made it a haven in more ways than one; it was an awesome way to get out of the humidity (I’m currently AC-less at home), but it was also an immense emporium for all of my favorite geek things. From comics books to Zatanna cosplay, it was all there spread throughout the cavernous facility. The craziest part about it was that they didn’t even utilize half the floor space and ACBC was still a huge con.

Cosplay was in full force. Personally, I never get sick of seeing cosplayers and the insane amount of time and effort they put into their bringing their characters to life. Some cosplayers have such elaborate homemade costumes and they never break from their roles. They’re usually happy to chat and take pictures and those I spoke to at ACBC were friendly and seemed pretty psyched to be there. Cosplay was a key part of the AC Boardwalk Con (i.e Dark Helmet) and it’s welcome to see it get the spotlight that it deserves here in New Jersey. I saw Callie Cosplay as Sue Storm and she looked fantastic. Much like some of the other cosplayers at ACBC, she changed costumes over the course of the weekend, but in the video you can catch a quick glimpse of her as Sue.
Since ACBC is new, it was a fresh experience. There was an aspect of discovery that I don’t get from other cons. With New York Comic Con, it always feels like an organized mess, overshadowed by the mega conglomerates who sink the most ad money into the event. On the other hand, ACBC provided me with a happy feeling every time I turned a corner and noticed something that I hadn’t before. It was a mix of independent vendors and the random official Marvel Universe kiosk. An excellent balance of both. Plus. the easy to follow floor layout and the imaginative vendor set-ups infused the stagnant con prototype with a new style. Mostly, it was just different than the norm, and less stressful and aggravating to navigate than the other big cons.

Enticing my eyeballs for a few hours were random toys, odd collectibles, and beautiful artwork. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I actually didn’t come home with any. I resisted. I so desperately wanted the Batman/Harley Quinn painting you’ll see in the video above, but it was about $900 bucks! I got bills, yo! I’ll stick with the shots in the video footage I took. Further guilt was brought on by the fact that I’ve bought so many figures recently that I wanted to stick with a few original items to take home with me, so let me show you what came home with.

The NJ Ghostbusters were on site investigating a free floating full torso apparition of an old famed casino owner who is known to haunt the Atlantic City area. When I ran into the boys in gray, they didn’t have much time to B.S with me about the latest issue of Space Catalog because they just got an urgent call from Janine Melnitz, so I quickly threw them some cash so I could own one of their beautiful NJGB t-shirts! Could this shirt be any more apropos for me? NJ and Ghostbusters, perfect. I also picked up some stickers.

All the way from the far off land of Los Angeles, CA, I stopped at the table of JSalvador’s Super Emo Friends. These cute paintings of sad super heroes, rock stars, and pop culture icons grabbed me as if I saw a sad puppy in a pet shop window. How could I resist Emo Jason Voorhees moping on his mother’s severed head? I also picked up the Emo Arrow for Mike

ACBC didn’t give me much to bitch about at all. I only had one minor gripe. I didn’t wind up meeting any of the guests, but the celebrity signing lines could’ve used more ingenuity. Once you reached the autograph and picture area in the back of the con, it was clogged up with people milling around trying to figure out whose line they wanted to go wait on first. Even getting remotely close to that wing would’ve gotten you caught up in a bit of a traffic jam. It’s possible they weren’t expecting such a huge turnout, but they’ll definitely have to expand this area next year.

ACBC was a success and I will venture to say that it was one of the most enjoyable conventions I’d ever been to. There was a positive vibe throughout and people weren’t acting like jerks. Seeing kids and families there also brought me back to when I was young and geeky things like comics weren’t ruled by 40-something dudes. It’s a family affair and that’s cool. ACBC did a bang up job right out of the gate. Looking forward to next year already!

You didn’t think our adventure ended at The Atlantic City Boardwalk Con, did you? Of course, there’s more to come from our exploits AFTER the con! Things got pretty interesting so come back soon to check it out. Thanks for reading!

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 118: Jolly Voorhees!

It’s not often that I’ll actually model the t-shirt for this column, so savor this moment while it lasts. Earlier today I posted this pic on my Instagram, which you should follow if you haven’t already and I will most likely follow you back as long as you aren’t some fake robo-account, so you can see dumb pics like this that I tend to post. Today’s shirt, The Jolly Voorhees, arrived today in my mailbox and it features a design by a favorite artist of mine from South Jersey, Blair J. Campbell.

Mr. Campbell has created hundreds of awesome designs that you’ve seen on t-shirts and basically all over the Internet. He’s responsible for some of my favorite pop culture mash-ups that run the gamut of cartoons and comics to movies and TV shows.

The Jolly Voorhees is another one of his brilliant fusions. The skull and crossbones is a logo notorious for letting everyone know that whoever has a Jolly Roger flag are usually evil pirates. Mix that with my favorite horror film franchise, Friday the 13th, and it doesn’t get much better than this! This black tee’s graphic depicts Jason Voorhees’ mask with 2 machetes crossed underneath with a dripping red number 13. PLUS, the entire graphic is subtly splattered with blood.

Aside from taking this silly selfie today, I was also excited to see that Jerry Bruckheimer tweeted the first pic of Captain Jack Sparrow from the set of Pirate of the Caribbean 5! On top of all this, it’s T-Shirt Tuesday, so it felt like fate that this all happened all in one day and I just had to tell you all about it.

Check out all of Blair’s other t-shirt designs including his Star Wars Red Five tee in the Top Gun style – it’s a classic! You can see more at his Teepublic shopAND OMG HIS ZIGGY STAR TREK IS INSANELY GOOD!

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 116: KISS of DEATH!

This post is appropriate of everything since we are approaching both Friday the 13th AND Valentine’s Day.

At this point in February, ordering a last minute gift online for that special someone probably isn’t the best idea. We’re merely days away from Valentine’s Day, so you’ll have to go to Walgreen’s and get the old standby chocolate assortment in a heart lavishly wrapped in cellophane. Having this tee posted several weeks ago would’ve been infintiely more helpful, but there’s always Arbor Day…you’ll definitely have it in time for that. Oh c’mon, I can’t be the only one who exchanges gifts for that.

Being that we’re beyond the online gift ordering cutoff for V-day, you can still get your special person a little something from Rock n Horror Apparel…for Arbor Day!

This online shop makes some kickass stuff. I came across them on Instagram last year. What grabbed me was their Kiss of Death shirt design. It’s a pun get it? And this next pun is also intended: this shirt is a KILLER! I bought it right away and I’m still in awe that a tee this cool exists.

For a guy like me who is obsessed with both the Friday the 13th franchise AND KISS, this shirt is one maximum mash-up. Emblazoned on the front is the iconic Jason mask adorned with Paul Stanley’s famous Starchild makeup design. The mere idea of combining these two things excites me and makes me wish that KISS would make a sequel to KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park where they have a run-in with the masked, machete wielding killer of Crystal Lake.

My only reservation is that if Jason Voorhees was to embody a member of KISS, he certainly wouldn’t be the charismatic frontman, Paul Stanley. Since Jason is more the quiet and reserved type, I’d peg him for the Catman.

Rock n Horror Apparel was founded by a rocker and a scream queen, hence the namesake. The shop also offers alternate Friday the 13th, Halloween, and Edgar Allan Poe inspired shirts along with various other clothing like thermals, sweats, leggings, tank tops, and even baby Jason Voorhees onesies! Check them out: http://www.rocknhorrorapparel.bigcartel.com

A Very Jason Xmas

Christmas gifts don’t only arrive on December 25th, they can appear all month long. I’m alluding to the bevy of Friday the 13th related stuff that’s coming down the pike. It’s an exciting time for us Friday the 13th Fans! Let’s take a look at what’s popping up from the depths of Crystal Lake…

First, the 9-part fan film series, Jason Xmas, has  been released in installments on YouTube for the past several months over at Scared Stiff TV. As we rapidly approach Christmas, the final parts will start to appear. Although many fans won’t be able to stomach Jason as a pseudo-Santa, it’s still a lot of fun to watch, and it gives those of us in the Christmas spirit more material to enjoy during the holiday season. Parts of the series were actually filmed in Blairstown, NJ the town where much of the original film was shot.

Also over on Scared Stiff TV you can check out Jason Voorhees vs Santa Claus in a ridiculously awesome “wrestling” attraction match from the HWF (The Horror Wrestling Federation). I would have never expected to see Jason face off against that jolly old elf! I have to hand it to the people over at Scared Stiff for putting out some creative stuff. This video mixes Jason Voorhees, Christmas, and Pro-Wrestling all into one spectacle. Jason’s miraculously knows his way around the ring and Santa seems to have slimmed down quite a bit to get into shape for this big match.


NECA’s 8-bit style Glowing Jason mask has been released! This baby is actually wearable and I bet it will get snatched up quickly by collectors. You can read more about it at NECAs site.

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2015 has three Friday the 13ths and one of them is in March which also means MONSTER MANIA TIME! The gang from the original F13 will be there to celebrate the 35th birthday of the beloved film. It happens the weekend of March 13th – 15th at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Ultimately, we F13 fans await the brand new Friday the 13th film in 2016 which is insanely exciting for me as it’s my favorite horror franchise of all time. Many fans weren’t overly fond of the 2009 version, but I thought it was serviceable. Hopefully the rumor is true that the new one takes place in the ’80s!

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 115: Camp Crystal Lake in Wessex, NJ

Horror t-shirt fanatics like myself never have to worry about not having enough tees to fill their wardrobe. With online shops like Fright Rags and Rotten Cotton and horror conventions across the country, you can easily buy multiple shirts based on all of your favorite horror films. Today’s entry continues with the long line of awesome Friday the 13th shirts floating around waiting to be purchased on the Internet.

The Camp Crystal Lake t-shirt from Beware the Moon Clothing Co. is truly right out of a Friday the 13th fans wish list. The shirt references the fictional town of Wessex, NJ. There’s nothing geekier than discussing a fictional town barely mentioned in a horror movie and eventually emblazoned on a t-shirt, so let’s discuss the shit out of it right now.

Although the first several films in the franchise were set in New Jersey (you can see evidence HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE and HERE) Wessex is not exploited much except for the morgue/medical center that Jason is brought to in The Final Chapter. Later, Jason Goes to Hell changed the location of Crystal Lake to Cunningham County and the Friday the 13th Wiki considers the geography change in that film it’s own entity. Screw Jason Goes To Hell, it’s easily my least favorite of the entire series and it’s disappointing because F13 is hands down my favorite horror franchise.

Beware the Moon Clothing Co. has a bunch of excellent horror, wrestling, TV, and movie t-shirts for sale. The only downside is that shipping is a bit steep since the online store is based in the UK, so you’ll have to kick in some extra coin for shipping, unless you’re actually in the UK, then you get FREE shipping.

Abbott and Costello Meet Jason Voorhees?!!

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Abbott and Costello Meet Jason! by Primo Cardinalli
painted in the style of the classic Abbott and Costello theater one-sheets
Check him out at a future Monster Mania Con!
1948’s Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is my earliest and most memorable experience watching a horror comedy. In many ways, this film was an economical choice for me to watch as a young horror-loving kid because it combined the classic band of Universal Monsters (save for Gill-Man) and a comedy team who I watched in other exploits with my Dad who introduced me to them.
 
In Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, the legendary comedy duo from New Jersey found themselves face to face with Dracula, the Wolfman, and Frankenstein, in what is considered the last hurrah for Universal’s Monsters. It was silly and spine tingling at the same time. It’s been a wish of mine for many years that Abbott and Costello could come alive in some way and run into some of my favorite modern horror icons. As you can see in the painting above, it’s not just a pipe dream of mine, but also of artist Primo Cardinalli who envisioned Abbott and Costello Meeting Jason at Camp Crystal Lake. With the original Camp Crystal Lake located in NJ, this would be the ultimate Garden State horror mash-up and it desperately NEEDS to be made! But how is it possible? It IS…read on!
 
In reading more about the film on its Wikipedia page, I never realized that this film was considered the culmination of a long run of monster movies for Universal. Fortunately though, popularity of the film revived the public’s interest in monster movies and prompted Universal to produce a new wave of monster films throughout the ’50s. Abbott and Costello’s meeting with Frankenstein collected $3.2 million dollars at the box office in 1948. You better believe that this kind of box office magic would still work today.
The idea of seeing Abbott and Costello trapped in today’s horror landscape excites me to no end.
It’s obvious that Hollywood just can’t seem to get horror comedies right and it’s a shame because there’s a place for them as long as they’re respectful to the genre. There’s been a slew of films that have incorporated classic movie monsters in a comedic way that have worked like Monster Squad and Hotel Transylvania amongst others.
Instead of poking fun at the Universal Monsters, Abbott and Costello’s adventures always paid them the ultimate tribute by presenting them properly and without compromising the monster’s scare factor. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein wasn’t exactly chilling, but the monsters maintain their imposing nature. Interestingly, Boris Karloff supposedly refused to be a part of the production because he felt it would be insulting to mix slapstick and horror.
As the Scary Movie franchise and this year’s A Haunted House have proven, poking fun at horror isn’t making any friends in the horror community, nor does the formula produce hit movies which is why it’s time for to get a little retro. A Haunted House 2 is coming next year, but what for? Nobody wants that and it’s time to go back to the basics. At first, old fashioned spooky fun may seem far fetched, but I believe that there’s still hope left to one day experience this type of throwback.
 
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art by Nickelodeon storyboard artist Scott Cooper

I always thought it would be such an awesome idea to pit Abbott and Costello vs. Jason Voorhees. You may be thinking that I’m totally off my rocker for trying to cast two dead comedians to appear in a new movie, but bear with me. If I had it my way, this movie wouldn’t be some weird CGI movie where real footage from other Abbott and Costello films was culled together to create a whole new one because that’s silly Hollywood crap reserved for Super Bowl commercials. My thinking is that the best presentation of a film like this would be in a lush, 1940’s style 2-D animation. The voices can be provided by Abbott and Costello impersonators or any number of the best voice over guys in the business could do it. Bud and Lou would have to be skewed a little but younger, but I can totally see the duo being revived in cartoon form for a modern kids audience. Just take a look at Scott Cooper’s art above and you’ll see what I mean.

Who would Abbott and Costello run into in this movie? Jason Voorhees is easily my top choice for his own feature, but if there were an ensemble cast of monsters like in Meets Frankenstein, I’d love to see them have run-ins with Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Leatherface, Chucky, and maybe even an appearance by Jigsaw and Billy the Puppet? You can use your imagination, because with 2-D animation the sky is the limit. We already know who’s going to paint the poster and the bluray box, thanks Mr. Cardinalli!

Jason Voorhees Is In My Window…

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http://thehbt.com
While your Friday the 13th celebration might be winding down, mine is just beginning. Tonight at 8pm, the original Friday the 13th is playing in Blairstown, where part of the movie was originally filmed. Before heading to the theater, let me bring you back in time for a minute.

The best memories of my youth don’t include football games with kids in the neighborhood, hanging out with friends trying to get girls phone numbers at the mall, or rattling off sports statistics in a heated debate on fantasy football. My youth consisted of horror movies, comic books, and cartoons.

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I don’t care if it makes me sound like a couch potato, but I grew up basically studying movies and TV shows. Heck, I still remember the dialogue to half the commercials that played on WPIX from 1985 through 1993. The moments that stick in my head the most are from WPIX’s Shocktober. When that Halloween tradition rolled around I couldn’t wait to watch whichever Friday the 13th films that were scheduled to air.

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Since Jason and his legend took up such a major part of my imagination as a kid, it’s no wonder why I’m still obsessed with the franchise today. Since the real Camp Blood is in Northern New Jersey, the story of Friday the 13th always held a prominent place with kids at school. Every kid seemed to have their Jason stories. Personally, I never made up an anecdote of a run-in I had with him in the woods, but most of my friends considered me the go-to Jason Voorhees nut. On Halloween and otherwise, I used to dress up as the man behind the mask, sometimes just to scare people. Being that my name is Jay, it enhanced the gimmick a bit, since a ton of people have always taken the liberty of calling me Jason, even though that’s not my actual name.

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Jeez, I almost forgot, there was a point to this post! On our recent trip to the Halloween Mart in Las Vegas, I picked up the Jason Voorhees “light up” poster by WOWindow. It’s a poster that hangs in the window giving the impression to people who drive by that Jason Voorhees is staring at them from my living room. They actually come in a ton of different options such as Freddy Krueger, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wicked Witch of the West, Casper the Friendly Ghost, skulls, zombies, a mummy, and a badass looking vampire, but I opted for my pal J.V. WOWindows makes these posters for other holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah as well. Check out their site to see their entire selection. The WOWindow company is based out of Cranford, New Jersey and depending on your age, you may know this town as one of the filming locations from Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete.

You can also follow their blog: http://wowindowposters.blogspot.com