RUE MORGUE FESTIVAL OF FEAR 2009 – The Dungeon Review!

Hey! Hey! I’m back! It is so good to be home! Before I get into my Festival of Fear experience I had to share this hilarious freaky wicker man I caught a glimpse of on the way to the cottage. From my family’s home to the cottage it is a three hour drive. It was the perfect way to start my vacation. My frighteningly white body got nicely BBQ’d, and my skin is still peeling as I type this. Revenge of the lizard woman! Ontario has its share of tourist attractions and one such attraction is
the ‘DWIGHT TRADING POST’. In front of this is a monstrous man made of twigs. Much like the ‘Wicker Man’ anyone who is caught shoplifting is put inside of the structure which is then set on fire as the population of Dwight dance around it feverishly. Below is a picture of the beast. Unfortunately, I could not catch a picture of the actual ritual itself.
wicker man dwight

This was the first time I have ever attended an event like this. My friend has been to this Rue Morgue Festival of Fear every year since it started and got us “Deluxe passes”. The best thing about this pass was that it got us in two hours early on the Friday. Lot’s of roaming room, and having experienced the nightmare hordes on the Saturday, it was definitely worth the price. I was expecting to see a million and one things I would need to buy, but in fact there was very little. The Festival of Fear was combined with comics, anime, gaming and sci-fi and the horror was only a small part of it all. Anchor Bay, one of the better horror labels had a booth but didn’t have any DVD’s for sale. Instead they had a lovely glossy booklet that showed there upcoming features and the DVD’s you could purchase to have autographed by this years guests, but rerouted you to the Cinema One booth. I understand as a distributor that they wouldn’t want to step on the toes of the rue morgue boothcompanies buying their product. I guess I was just not expecting chain stores to be at this thing. I wanted to see coffin bath mats and skull ice cube trays and the like, but there was next to nothing like that. There were a shitload of booths selling movie maniacs, which you can get at just about any comic book store. Snore! There were, however, some freebies from the few horror labels that were present. I did score some groovy stickers, a couple posters and a set of magnets. Long and short, I was disappointed in the marketplace aspect of the festival. The price the guests were asking for autographs were steep. $35.00 for Udo Kier’s autograph!? Honestly! I think Udo is great but I am not paying that kind of coin for his signature! One of the better deals was Barbara Steele who at least sold you a copy of The ‘Nightmare Castle’ DVD autographed for the same $35.00. Like I said, this is my first time going to something like this, so I was a little shocked. It was cool catching a glimpse of some of the great icons of horror like the aforementioned and Roger Corman and Tobin Bell but I just couldn’t justify spending the cash.

laid to rest picI was hoping to have all sorts of pictures to post here, but the pictures I took sucked ass. The zoom on my camera made everyone blurry. Unfortunately I have very few pics of the fest. This is starting to sound like a big old whine fest, but it did have its highlights. One of my favorite moments came in the form of a sneak peak for the film ‘Stan Helsing’. They showed a trailer, a making of featurette and scenes from the film. The panel, made up of director/writer Bo Zenga, three of the cast members, Diora Baird, Desi Lydic and Leslie Nielsen. The guy who did the music was also present (sorry buddy! I can’t find your name!). It was extremely entertaining! Most of the audience had questions for Nielsen that were unrelated to the film, but his answers were amusing none the less. Highlight two, was a Q and A with Bruce Campbell. We were way back and I couldn’t see him that well, but I could hear him just fine. Campbell was hysterical. He definitely seems to have a love/hate relationship with his role in horror cult cinema. Highlight number three was a free showing of ‘Laid To Rest’. The film had been on my “to see” list for a while. The film has actually been available to rent for some time. Anchor Bay had the director Robert Hall and two cast members, Thomas Dekker who plays Tommy and Nick Principe who plays Chrome Skull at the booth before the showing. Even though I had not seen the film I got in the line up so I could take some close up pictures for the blog. These guys were so freaking nice! They were just psyched to be there and have a chance to promote there great little film. They also did a Q & A after the film. Hall is a horror fan himself and in his own words, made a film for people who love the genre. Tomorrow I will have a full review of the film. I definitely had fun at the ‘Festival of Fear’, and I really dug hanging out with someone who loves horror as much as I do. I would, however, be unlikely to attend this function again. I think I’ll be sticking strictly to film festivals. It is all about the films for me, and I love hearing about the process from the people who make the art. The Vancouver International Film Festival is coming up soon, and I hope to catch all the horror films on the schedule this year.
chrome skull laid to rest

4 Responses to “RUE MORGUE FESTIVAL OF FEAR 2009 – The Dungeon Review!”

  1. This sounds like it was fun. I know what you mean about the charging for signatures. When Horrorfind hit Baltimore in 2006 Tony Todd, Romero, and others were charging ungodly amounts of money for a single autograph. It felt…well….excessive.

    Funny story is in 2005, my wife and I were randomly having dinner at the cajun restaurant inside the Marriot, where the convention was taking place(of which I was then unaware). Halfway through my dinner I see an old guy standing up talking to people who Im sure I recognize. I say to Jen….hey it’s the Tall Man from Phantasm, mostly jokingly but he did look like him-sans the pancake makeup and fright wig. Then, Bruce Campbell walks by….unmistakaby Bruce Campbell. The flippin Candyman is checking his luggage a little further over. When I turned around, and two seats behnd us at the cafe there was Tom Savini, eating an oyster po’boy that’s when I realized what was happening. As it turns out, that was Angus Scrimm I saw initially. Weird.

    Campbell is alot of fun to listen to, and I met him last winter here in Baltimore when he brought My Name is Bruce to the local Landmark Cinema. Good time.

    So what did you think of Laid to Rest? Lena Heady aside, I kinda thought it sucked.

    • Romero would be one of the few I would pay the insane price for an autograph, him and Argento.

      I can’t deny, ‘Laid to Rest’ had its issues but I thoroughly enjoyed it just the same. I’m posting a review for it tomorrow. When it comes to straight up slashers I prefer my killers left masked with little background. It also had an 80’s vibe to it that I was really digging. I don’t think your alone in your disdain though, a number of people walked out during the film.

  2. It’s too bad about the festival this year. Both my friends and I were disappointed at the lack of anything interesting and the insane prices everyone was charging. It just wasn’t the same as it used to be when we’d go there and get great deals on everything. Hopefully there’s a return to form next year.

    There are some benefits to going, like the films that play and the chance to bump into some very cool horror icons, but the fun of shopping was way down this year and I couldn’t find much that was worth it. The kids didn’t have that same problem though!

    • Being a Festival of Fear “virgin” I didn’t really know what to expect. Although I enjoyed my experience, I would not pay the money to go again. If I make any horror-related plans for my next Ontario visit I’ll be doing After Dark for sure! I think it would be a much more satisfying experience for my horror dollar.

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