On Saturday, March 10th, I hit the 39th Monster Mania Convention in Cherry Hill, NJ, which is not too far from where I live. To say it was an experience- both for better and for worse- is an understatement. I have to firstly always give credit where credit is due: the staff of Monster Mania Con gave us one hell of a lineup this time; they pulled out all the stops when it came to the celebrity guest list. From Tim Curry, John Carpenter, Cassandra Peterson (Queen ELVIRA), Richard Dreyfuss, the kids from 2017’s It, Kathleen Turner, to a whole bunch of others, MMC gave thousands of fans opportunities to meet some of our horror heroes.
With that being said, however, with those big names comes the big crowds, and overselling of tickets leads to overcrowding, which leads to a disorganization of events, which leads to unhappy people leaving with bad tastes in their mouths. I’m not here to bitch about it, because (quite frankly) I am just grateful that I even have a horror convention so close to my home…and I’m fully aware of how hard these people work to organize these conventions like Monster Mania and many others. But I will say that MMC 39 was not exactly prepared to have so many big celebrities, and unfortunately many of us spent so much time standing in crazy, disorderly lines, that we only had a chance to meet just a couple of stars we wanted to meet and, in turn, missed out on quite a few other events happening at the Con, that we felt a little gipped.
But that is okay! You know why? BECAUSE I MET MY BELOVED HERO JOHN CARPENTER. AND CASSANDRA PETERSON aka ELVIRA. And I also caught many glimpses of several others. If you are a dedicated horror fan in and around Philadelphia (and not just a fair-weather teenybopper who has a crush on one of the 15-year-old kids from the Losers Club in the It movie) you should definitely check out Monster Mania, which takes place semi-annually every March and August, and features different horror movie and television actors, directors, and even interesting B-listers. Here are a handful of pictures that best capture our experience at Monster Mania Con 39…
The #1 highlight of the day was when my friend and I spent about 3.5 hours waiting to meet John Carpenter, which took up the most amount of time from our day. But, as you would imagine- those 3.5 hours were worth every second. Mr. Carpenter is responsible for a style of directing, producing (and composing) that so many others attempt to emulate, and he is responsible for directing some of my favorite movies, including Halloween, which is the first horror movie I ever truly loved. (Halloween will be turning 40 this year). He could not be friendlier, as he chit-chatted with my friend and I about the time we saw him perform live last November. And he graciously signed my book that my same friend gave to me, On Set With John Carpenter. I’m just glad I kept my composure. I will never forget that moment.
The other major meeting that took up a huge chunk of my time at MMC was waiting to meet ELVIRA, Mistress of the Dark. But it was worth every minute of the wait- what a sweet, lovely icon, who is a heroine for all of us ladies who share her witty, sardonic sense of humor, while, of course, showcasing that women within the horror community aren’t just weirdo nerds who like bloody stuff- they can also be pretty damn beautiful as well.
Because of the over-abundance of MMC attendees that day, I sadly missed all of the talented vendors and movie screenings that were happening. But, because of all the time I spent in long line after long line, I did get to people-watch. Below is a picture I took (while waiting in line to meet John C.) of a room filled with others anxiously waiting to meet Tim Curry- just to give you an idea of a mere percentage of the amount of individuals attending the entire convention. Unfortunately, Tim Curry was in a closed-off room that was only accessed to those who had pre-paid for pictures with him, so I didn’t get to witness him for myself.
I admit, I was a little disappointed in some of the lackluster cosplays this time, except for a few which I didn’t get a chance to grab pictures with/of. There were a ton of Jason Voorhees, which is kind of “meh” for me. Jason Voorhees isn’t one of my personal favorites, and he is so easy to dress up as, that it doesn’t impress me much. (All five of the actors who have played Jason Voorhees over the years attended MMC 39, so that probably explains why so many imitators lurked around.) There were also, of course, a few Elviras walking amongst the crowd- some cute, but others flat-out atrocious.
Some stand-out costumes included on-point versions of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, in honor of Tim Curry. As I mentioned above, there were so many 2017 Pennywise costumes that I got bored quickly. (I don’t dislike the new one, but I much prefer to see cosplays of the original Pennywise.) I spotted a 10/10 costume of the Creeper from Jeepers Creepers at one point. One of my absolute favorites was a towering, heavy-set man dressed as John Wayne Gacy’s alter ego Pogo the Clown, complete with a business card offering “parties, magic tricks, and rape.” (I’ll confess, I was actually a little afraid to take a picture with/of that one.) You would think that with John Carpenter in attendance, there would have been more classic Michael Myers stalking the halls of the convention, but I only noticed the one I took a pic with, in the group picture of me, him, and the three Jasons. Aside from a few brilliant cosplays I saw during MMC 39, I moreso enjoyed a few others I spotted during my last time attending:
Some other celebrities I noticed but couldn’t quite capture clear pics of included Tony Todd from Candyman, who stood at well over 6-ft tall; the kids from the Losers Club, from 2017’s It, except for Finn Wolfhard, who I suppose is too popular with his success from Stranger Things to attend conventions like this (who knows); Kathleen Turner, who starred in the darkly comic Serial Mom (and Friends as Chandler’s dad-mom); Richard Dreyfuss of Jaws fame, who was behaving strangely and erratically to the point that attendees complained about him; Australian actress Sharni Vinson, who played the badass final girl in You’re Next; Ally Sheedy, who we all know and love as the “weirdo” from The Breakfast Club; and…the remainders of the Chiodo brothers, who worked on Killer Klowns from Outer Space, seen below:
Even though I probably had a better time at last summer’s MMC than I had at this last one because of the fewer crowds, you can guarantee I’ll be back at this summer’s MMC 40 in August. Thanks to everyone who organizes conventions like this one and keeps horror alive and well right in our backyards. Definitely recommend checking out and supporting the next one that rolls around.