Monday, May 3, 2010

Gross Encounters of the Third Kind

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!!


  1. I hope he reads this one day and feels like a total douchebag. Sure he is talented and I love his work, but your story makes him seem like the poster boy for the phrase: "Never Meet Your Heroes" and rightfully so. In my past work experience, nothing is worse than dealing with a celebrity with an ego. Sorry Matt. I have never met you outside of a cpu monitor and hope I have the chance to do so one day, but you seem like a genuine person who did not deserve the snubbage. Punt that fucker next time!! ;)

  2. I should never be discouraged when I hear things like this. Honestly, it takes me back to a class I took where the instructor asked us to journal about meeting someone we really admire and one of my peers shared the fact that she would never want to meet that person because people always have a way of disappointing you.

    That thought never left me and is a constant reminder to 'humanize' these "fucking assholes" because there's always the chance that they will be.

    Like 100% fucking assholes or 100% the coolest person you'd ever meet. The pendulum has the mighty potential of swaying in either direction.

    It simply sucks when people you admire reach fame and recognition and all so easily forget that they were once you. And the very real fact that it's the fans that keep them employed in the fields that they love and they often live for!

    Don't fret, my man. I know a few celebs for all these reasons and more that would never snub their noses to fans, no matter their mood.

    Tom Savini... what a dick!

  3. He was a dick to me too! And my mom hates him!! You are totally right though. He should have been super appreciative of your enthusiasm. Oh, and your hard earned money. What a tool. A tiny, tiny tool.

    Some people are nice though! Like Marilyn Burns. And Ted White. OH! And John Saxon. I like them. They would never be mean to us. Or our money.

  4. Geof: Something tells me that he wouldn't even care, unfortunately. He is just so clearly wrapped up in himself that he has no concern for others thoughts.

    And yeah, I am a pretty straight laced cat who is able to have a normal and respectful conversation with celebs...definitely not the tyoe that deserves such a diss!

    Of course, I would hope to one day drink some beers with you and I am always so jealous of the convention pics where fellow bloggers get to hang out. I'd rather hang out with fellow bloogers and talk movies and shop than try and meet celebs!

    Ashlee: I have really been lucky and he has been my only real negative encounter. But for that encounter to be the first one at my first convention, as well as it being an idol, is what definitely made it the lamest. However, there were so many great things about that particular con, that he was a distant memory by the end. Distant enough till now!

    It is sad that it's the fans that make someone who they are and for someone to not appreciate that is lame. I can see being turned off when a fan is obnoxious or overbearing, but that is not really my style, and I try and keep it as cool as possible. Most of the time!

    Christine: And your mom is wicked nice too! So funny that she hates him!

    And yeah, John Saxon is ten times the cult celeb Savini is and when I met him, he was as nice and sweet as can be. Plus, he actually had people that wanted to meet him.

  5. I have to laugh and cry to myself at the same time on reading your article.

    I had a similar article on my "to blog" list but you pretty much covered it exactly.

    I, too, rented (and eventually purchased the very same copy) a copy of Scream Greats Volume 1 which I watched and watched and watched.

    I, too, was into make-up effects after this video.

    I, too, went to a convention in the tri-state area and found my idol, Tom Savini there.

    At that age, I was too shy to say anything to him directly but I DID drop some dough on an getting an autograph and one of his stock photos. He barely looked at me when he was signing the pic, and was busy arguing (and, frankly, being a dick) to his now-ex wife.

    It's a shame. I still regard him highly and get excited when he pops up in movies. I've learned to block out that memory and also learned to avoid meeting your idols... you may not like what you see.

  6. Yep. And when he comes back to Boston this October, (if he indeed does,) he'll still be a douche.

  7. That's crazy that we had such a similar experience, but at the same time, I'm not surprised he has burned others that idolized him. How uncomfortable must it have been to have the dude arguing with his wife right in front of you?!

    I still do have a lot of love for him when it is movie related, but when I see him at cons, it brings all those bad memories right back to the surface!

    Thanks for sharing your Savini tale of terror!

  8. Chris, the story that yous guys told on the live show was so crazy and just made me more and more mad! You must give him a good nudge if he is at Rock and Shock! Dude would probably fall over he's so little!

  9. Awh no, what a horrible story, you poor thing :(
    I honestly cannot imagine anything worse.

    We all have our own idols... like you, I wanted to get into special effects makeup too. I sketched human faces all through my childhood and played with makeup constantly. It wasn't to make them look beautiful or attractive, I was more concerned with creating a character just by changing their appearance. It's strange, I know but I was fascinated by that. Kevyn Aucoin was one of my idols... I wished I got to meet him one day but he sadly passed away years ago.
    Still, I imagined myself meeting him and if he was like that to me, I'd be crushed!

    It's such a shame! He wouldn't have cared about you because you're just another unfamiliar face that he will probably never see again. But I guess maybe he isn't the type of person who measures his success and influence by reaching out to people, but rather, relies upon his fame and fortune.

    April Skye xx

  10. I am not sure what is worse, knowing that there is a chance that an idol could be a jerk or never getting the chance to meet that idol to find out.

    It's just crazy how some of these celeb types can be so kind and gracious, and others so forthcoming with their lack of caring about the people that admire them. It definitely speaks of that persons character and the type of person they are in their own life.

  11. No!!! Oh man, that makes me sad. I love this man's work, and have always enjoyed seeing interviews with him - but now that I know what an ass he is, feh! He is dead to me.

  12. Aw Matt, you are indeed more awesome than Schwartzenegger and Savini's name shouldn't even be uttered in the same line as Danny Devito!

    Yup, my dad had a disappointing meeting with him at a convention a few years back and I too witnessed his demon seed son terrorizing Rock 'nShock. I don't understand why he even attends conventions if he seems to despise them so.

    I've certainly had some great experiences--Jack Ketchum, Corbin Bernson, Kane Hodder, Ken Foree, and a few others that were genuinely awesome--but Savini just kind of disgusts me now. And how dare he be rude to the Dolewhite! For that alone, I shall kick his ass soon.

  13. Pax: He is always so great in interviews and you would think that would translate to his personality, but he could care less in person. It's really unfortunate, but whatever, he can eat it!

    Emily: Being called better than Schwarzenegger may be the greatest compliment ever! I forgot that you were at that Rock 'n Shock with his bastard son stealing candy and shit. I should do a Tom Savini is an asshole blogathon!

    I met Hodder and that is a great story that will make it on here soon enough. He carries that tough dude persona, but is completely chill and very easy to talk to. Ken Foree, on the other hand, kept checking out my lady, so I'm not sure how I feel about him!

    Thanks for getting my back, sista!

  14. Ken Foree is at least 4 feet taller than me, so I could barely see where his eyes went but his hand is bigger than J.Lo's ass. You should definitely have been both honored and jealous.

  15. Yeah, I didn't mind that least he wasn't staring at her because she's deformed or some shit!

  16. Believe it or not, I'm one of the ones with a positive experience! Met him at Chiller about ten years ago, seated about ten feet away from the guy who played Uncle Owen, who was being spoon fed baby food, unfortunately. But anyway, he was fine with me, even signed my copy of Dawn of the Dead for nothing. This was back when you could get away with that at Chiller. But yeah, from everything I've heard, it does seem that my experience was most decidedly the exception to the rule.

  17. This makes me really sad. I've been very fortunate never to run into a rude celebrity. Everyone I've met has been so nice , but I've actually never gone to a full-fledged convention and so the scenarios which I met them may have changed the mood a bit.

  18. Brian: Even at the Chiller show that this story stems from, you could get photos for free. Since then, it's charge for this, charge for that! Crazy and not worth the money unless it's someone major league.

    I have heard a few stories of people having good interactions with Savini, but the bad ones certainly outweigh them! I wonder if even since you met him, he became bitter, or maybe he's just a moody dude?

    I met Bruce Campbell and he was a joy to talk with, but I have heard many fans say he was a dick to them, so maybe it's just one of those things.

    Becky: I've been lucky enough to meet some pretty famous people outside of the convention setting, and all of those interactions have been really good for me too.

    I can only guess that some of these genre folk must get irritated by some of the obnoxious fans, and if you've seen some of the morons that go to cons, it's kind of understandable. Still, when they get someone cool, like me (!), they should be happy for a normal meeting!

    Also, you have got to try and go to a convention at some point! It's quite the awesome experience!

  19. I know, I've been meaning to, but it always seems like I find out about them after the fact and the big ones are so pricey! Eventually, I'll go so I can waste money and nerd out hardcore. :P

  20. You will have such a blast, but I would suggest having enough spare cash as the first time is "I want that and that" overload! So much fun!

  21. Ive heard the exact same thing from every single person I know that has met him. Hes going to be at the Weekend of Horrors in LA this month, and I have two free tickets to have him sign thats to me and wifes gold tickets, so I am planning on building him up while he signs then telling him he sucked in The Ripper. I already hate him.

  22. Ugh! That's such a horrible story. Like you (and others, apparently), I rented Scream Greats Vol. 1 many times and dreamed of being the next Tom Savini. Well, I'm not a SFX guru/actor/director/stuntmant, which is sad. But I'm also not a douche, which is good.


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