Friday, April 18, 2014

12 Apr 14 - Sci-Fi Spectacular 2014

Let’s go to the movies, blogspot readers!

That’s how SouthSide recently spent her Saturday. Munching on buttery popcorn, snacking on yummy Raisinettes, and drinking cool refreshing soda while watching her cinematic favorites on the big screen inside the Patio Theatre during Sci-Fi Spectacular 2014. This one-day movie-a-thon had a little something everyone, blogspot readers. There were monsters in space (George Melies’ A Trip To the Moon) and on land (Godzilla vs King Kong), fantasy (Legend and Pan’s Labyrinth), sci-fi adventure/action (Buckaroo Banzai and Escape From New York) and horror (Night Of The Living Dead and Dead Zone). Over fourteen hours of movies as well as a Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode, “Hush” and indie movie shorts in between attracted avid moviegoers of all ages. PLUS there were special appearances by Doug Jones (of Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy I & II) and Kyra Schon (aka Karen Cooper from Night Of The Living Dead). Besides viewing movies, fans could hang out ...browse and shop the many vendors such as Horribles, Kutcha Galleries participating at this event.
SouthSide with Doug Jones
Upon arriving, SouthSide spent a few minutes chatting with Doug Jones about his roles in Pan Labyrinth and Hellboy I & II wondering how he felt being the only English-speaking actor in a Spanish-speaking movie. He mention it was hard learning a language he doesn’t speak but he did learn his lines in Spanish “...though it was hard concentrating...” after hours of makeup and costuming. Did you know, blogspot readers, that Doug was also the White-faced monster (the one with eyes in its hands) in Pan’s Labyrinth? Yep, that was him. After the movie’s showing on the big screen, Doug noted something that this reviewer hadn’t noticed before. His “Faun” character in the movie ages backwards (from old to young with more agility in the end) as Ofelia continues to believe in herself and the moon princess tale. For SouthSide, to finally see this Guillermo Del Toro masterpiece on the big screen was one of the many highlights of her Sci-Fi Spectacular experience. It was more enjoyable than watching it on DVD because on a large screen she could totally immerse herself into the majestic fairy tale world as well as the realistic horror of the Spanish countryside during World War II created by this director. There was a funny moment during the screening of Pan’s Labyrinth in which a guy shouted “...there’s pizza in the lobby...” after the tense scene when Capt. Vidal’s men were shot by the rebels. Speaking of Guillermo Del Toro, Doug Jones just finished another movie with him in Toronto (currently in post production) however the actor was only allowed to reveal it’s about a haunted house. Here’s another movie fact about Doug Jones ...he was “Billy” in the Disney movie Hocus Pocus. Oh yeah - don't be afraid to get a special hug from this actor. He's a GREAT hugger who loves to give everyone cool doggie pets on the head!

Kyra Schon
At the opposite end of the concession hallway, Kyra Schon aka Karen Cooper from Night Of The Living Dead was setting up her photos and trowel jewelry for fans to purchase. Recently, this reviewer was lucky enough to interview the woman behind the iconic horror character but meeting her in person was a chance of a lifetime, blogspot readers. SouthSide could simply spend hours with Kyra chatting about trivia bits and pieces about NOTLD as if the George A. Romero movie had just finished wrapping up yesterday because every memory is still fresh in Kyra’s mind. She remembers observing her friend Mimi jumping in her seat during the scene when the zombie hands came through the window of the farmhouse as well as the day Romero was delivering the movie to the distributor in New York when the news broke that Martin Luther King was assassinated. Kyra mentioned he (Romero) was worried it wouldn’t be shown because of the movie’s ending. She also mentioned that Duane Jones wasn’t the first choice to portray the character “Ben”. According to her, the role was designed for a burly trucker type until Duane Jones was given the opportunity to audition for the part which immediately blew everyone including the original guy picked to play the trucker character. Sadly, she never got the chance to see him again yet on the day of the premiere, Kyra received a dozen of roses that her first instant thought was they were from Duane. Her mother
did confirm her instinct was correct even though she would learn the truth years later. During the NOTLD screening, SouthSide mostly sat in the darkness of the theatre wondering if Kyra was watching us and our reactions while watching the movie especially her scenes. Still, to finally view this Romero horror classic was a big thrill for this reviewer. From  Johnny’s iconic line “...they’re coming to get you, Barbara...” to Karen Cooper’s only line “...I hurt...” in which had many within this packed theatre cheering. More cheers were aplenty while Kyra did her iconic zombie scenes but then suddenly you could hear boos and jeers when Ben died. No matter how many times Kyra has seen this movie, she still cannot watch this one particular scene. After the screening, she talked about her time on the NOTLD set (in which she mentioned it was boring but fun) and the basement scenes were filmed in the basement of Romero’s studio while the farmhouse scenes were done 30 miles north of Pittsburgh in Evansville. You may (or not) have noticed there weren’t any scenes of Kyra’s character actually stabbing her mother with the trowel. She was stabbing into a pillow. And believe it or not, Kyra never had any bad dreams after filming this movie though The Omen and Carrie did disturbed and scared her, blogspot readers. However, it took conventions and events like Sci-Fi Spectacular that she learned to finally accept it was okay to be a part of the horror culture even though before (as a young teen) she didn’t like being the center of negative attention (Kyra was teased by a boy after the NOTLD premiere).An audience member asked if she (and/or Romero) ever thought about the movie’s societal significance back then to which she said that she hadn’t since they were simply making a horror movie not a statement about society.

“...all the dreams of youth are regrets of maturity...” ~ Dark Lord (Tim Curry), “Legend”

Tom Kelly
Besides oohing and ahhing the fantasy world of unicorns, fairies and sprites as well as gigantic horns of Dark Lord (Tim Curry) of "Legend" (also starring a young Tom Cruise and Mia Sara) or laughing at the comical antics of John Big Booty and Jeff Goldblum’s surgeon character in a cowboy costume in the 80s cult classic Buckaroo Banzai (also starring Peter Weller, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow), SouthSide also spent some time browsing amongst the many vendors at Sci-Fi Spectacular 2014. One vendor in particular caught her eye, blogspot readers, because the sign read “Orphan Kitties”. And for $7, you could take home a unique Hello Kitty creation by illustrator Tom Kelly (a comic book artist by day) who dresses them up as your favorite comic superhero or villain. He told this reviewer that it started about 8 years ago at a comic convention in which he had drawn a Hello Kitty as Batgirl for a vendor’s young daughter. Before it was over, he had approximately 50 orders. “...all I was really doing was something nice fore this little girl...” Tom stated before adding that his creations are quite popular with people all ages from kids to women and men (evil super villains are his biggest sellers with them). What he does is called “upcycling” because he turns the cardboard (he gets from electronics stores) into art which is mostly geared for comic conventions but around Halloween, he does create Hello Kitty witches, Freddie (Krugers) and more. For more information about Tom Kelley and his art, check out his site at SouthSide had to say “hi” to the guys at the shop where local horror personality, Svengoolie, get his rubber chickens flown for his Saturday television program – Horribles. She highly recommends checking out this horror collectable shop for its many rare to “hard to find” movie memorabilia to add to your collection. Next, she had to check another vendor who beautifully captured your favorite horror villains and heroes through this artist’s custom illustrations and designs. This reviewer also highly recommends checking out Chris Kuchta of Kutcha Galleries
  ( from Lafayette, IN, blogspot readers. She liked how this artist paid close to every intimate detail of each main character from movies like Big Trouble In Little China, Candyman (that was her favorite design), Hellraiser and many more including Nosferatu to which you could have framed for display. Chris’ art grabbed plenty attention throughout the Sci-Fi Spectacular with few of the attendees taking home some of his lovely artwork. Other vendors included two from comic shops that would make any fanboy (or fangirl) squeal with excitement over the various array of comic selections for sale (some were discounted too) and jewelry vendors like Asunder ( who will be also at Convergence 20 happening soon.
Sci-Fi Spectacular fans
In between movies, there were movie trailers (like one for Chrysalis – this reviewer liked the premise for this movie ...can’t wait to see it), shorts (Jack was very creepy and twisted) and a 50s inspired movie trailer contest in which local aspiring directors created movies from themes within that nostalgic era shot in black-n-white. Movies like Leave It Creature (the creature being the Beaver character), Corn Stalk, Let’s Invite Satan To the Slumber Party and more were voted by audience applause and cheers, blogspot readers. And the winner was – Corn Stalk! “...everyone loves a killer corn movie...” It was a fun day for all but you don’t have to take SouthSide’s word ...simply read the following quotes from those who were there. “...I’m happy to be here...” says her friend Germ the Ripper who also stated that Sci-Fi Spectacular was good so far and movie marathons are his bread and butter. Meanwhile, Donita had this to say “...[it’s] a lot of fun...” though she’s not a big horror fan but she’s a big 80s fantasy fan and was excited to see her favorite Legend on the big screen. Kirsten, who was one of many arriving at noon for the official start, told this reviewer she was excited to see Buckaroo Banzai on the big screen. “...pretty good lineup this year...” though her favorite Return Of The Living Dead wasn’t on it. Then, SouthSide met a woman named Andrea who also arrived at noon who told her that she has attended most of Terror In The Aisles events. “...Pan’s Labyrinth is my favorite [but] seeing Buckaroo Banzai on the big screen was kinda thrill...”Yet she was most excited to see Kurt Russell in Escape From New York because she had never seen it at all, blogspot readers.

What a day watching her favorite movies. SouthSide can’t wait for next year...

Until next time, support your local scene,


  1. SouthSide,

    Good lord, this is like a Con or something and it happened in one afternoon? Also, "Hush" is one of my favorite "Buffy" episodes.


  2. Not a con, Joe, but almost like it. Yep, it all happened in one single day...


Thank you for your feedback - SouthSide