I have been to my fair share of horror conventions, and with each these movie congregations I have attended, I've had plenty of interesting encounters with genre celebrities. With that said, I thought it would be fun to share a few of these moments every so often, and what better time than now?
My first story is a fitting one, as it comes from the very first horror convention I ever went to and features the very first celebrity I had ever met at a horror convention. In any event, I don't want to bog down the post with all the amazing details of this convention and how I got there; I’ll save that for another post at another time. This was a convention that garnered a ton of cool little stories, so I'll stick to the plan and start at the beginning with this one.
And here we go…
As I walked into the MASSIVE dealer room of my very first convention (which was a marriage of Chiller and Fangoria in New Jersey), I almost immediately spotted what would be one of my long time idols. As a youth, I was obsessed with practical special effects and make-up. I wanted to be a special effects artist for a good portion of my young adulthood, and I would *cough* buy cheap supplies from all the stores around Halloween time and practice making wounds and burns, shit like that. By the age of 12, I knew who everyone was, from Steve Johnston to this group of FX artists known as KNB. They were my idols, but one man trumped them all when it came to my worship and attention, and this man would be standing at a table no more than 20 feet away from me, just as I walked into the doors of that dealer room.
I think you can guess who I'm talking about by now (especially considering there will be a picture of him when I post this!), and that would be one Tom Savini! Now, do you have any idea how many times I rented and watched Scream Greats, Vol. 1: Tom Savini, Master of Horror Effects when I was a kid?! (No, you don't, but it was a lot… just take my word for it) You must be kidding me… Savini, right in front of me, with no one around him! I had him all to myself. I approached his table with a wide-eyed look of love and admiration, and as I got to the table, I met a man that might be the biggest dick in the universe.
Lets stop and think about this for a second… my first ever convention, and the first person I see is my longtime idol and he's a dick? Really?! I went to the table and played it cool (as always, naturally) but was very open about how much I looked up to him when I was a kid. He kind of just shrugged it off as if the regard I held him in meant nothing. I'm almost immediately thinking "Oh crap, what's up with that?" I quickly noticed a VHS second generation copy of Scream Greats laying on the table (which I hadn't watched since the mom and pop VHS days and had been dying to for many-many years), and I told Savini how I used to watch that video religiously and was sooooo excited to be able to pick up a copy (as in, give him money for it) and see it again. Once again, no real reaction; he acted as if I wasn't even there.
I did end up buying the Scream Greats on VHS and also picked up a few 8x10's and had him sign all of it, but the entire time, he seemed as if I was just bothering him. I even went back to the table later on during the weekend with a good buddy (and a blogging beast!) so he could pick up a taped from TV VHS copy of the Tales From the Darkside episodes that Savini worked on. And still, he was a dick as my friend would also notice, proving that it wasn't just me. Plus, I am loved by all, so how can anyone, let alone Tom Savini, not love me?!
From left to right: Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger on the set of Twins
I still and always will have a lot of love for the man and what he meant to me as I grew up. Even after that encounter, I still went home, watched the Scream Greats VHS a handful of times, and basked in the sentimental glow. However, it does not change the fact that he is a fucking asshole, and since that fine day at my first convention, I have heard plenty stories, from many mighty fine people, that he was a dick hole to them, too. I don't know who the heck he thought he was snubbing me the way he did. This was before the Dawn remake and Planet Terror, so Savini was as down and out as he could have been, and people didn't seem to care about him at this convention either. The dude had a table in the dealer room for crying out loud! You'd think he would be a little more appreciative of the one guy that came up and showed him love, as well as handing him the fucking money to feed his family?!
Thanks to those films previously mentioned, Savini has become a face in horror again, and I often see him at cons here and there. When I do see him now, he looks like such a jerk off. He walks around with this incredible arrogance, as if he's the cock of the walk… it's disgusting. He acts so kind and appreciative of his fans in interviews, but that's all a bullshit facade put on for the cameras. Seeing as I tower over his little ass, I think I need to kick it one day… that would make me feel better about having him crush the dreams of that adorable 12-year-old boy who idolized him so. He may be the biggest dick, but he comes in the tiniest of packages.
…Whew! I didn't mean for that to go on so long, but as you can see, it was very deserving. I look forward to your thoughts on my rantings, if anyone even cares. I also look forward to at least a handful of people speaking about their negative and possibly positive run-ins with the little guy. Thanks for listening and peace out baby eaters!!