Rock and Shock celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, and it was a fitting commemoration of the annual horror convention. The event took place October 18-20 at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA, with the nightly events being held down the street at the historic Palladium. I missed the con’s first few years – solely because I wasn’t old enough to drive – but I’ve attended it religiously ever since. Of course I wasn’t going to miss the 10th celebration.
I usually spend Friday wandering around the vendor room. The opening night offers a good crowd but not as overwhelming as it typically becomes on Saturday. The convention floor was a horror fan’s dream, overflowing with clothing, movies, posters, toys, music, books, art, masks, memorabilia and much more. I may not have bought much, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to.
The celebrity room was equally impressive, boasting some of the biggest names in the genre both past and present. Many of them also participated in Q&A sessions throughout the weekend – more on those later. There were also film screenings, seminars, video and board game tournaments and even activities for kids all weekend long. Needless to say, there was never a dull moment.
To cap off the first night, I skipped the Walking Dead panel (with Michael Rooker, Scott Wilson, Lew Temple and IronE Singleton) in favor of a special screening of Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie with star Jason Mewes, who also tried his hand at producing the effort. Kevin Smith (who wrote the flick) was originally scheduled to be on hand for the event, but he regrettably had to cancel at the last minute due to scheduling conflicts with his new horror film, Tusk. To make up for his absence, Mewes held a free meet and greet with fans after the show.
Jay & Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, as its title suggests, is an animated film following everyone’s favorite doobage duo, Jay and Silent Bob, as they become hapless superheroes. It’s an hour of potty humor, which is hit or miss, but it had a couple of really funny moments that played well with the audience. Following the film, Mewes conducted a Q&A alongside his Clerks cohort Brian O’Halloran.
Mewes joked about how he finally has a chance to talk, since Smith usually hogs the spotlight at such events. The Q&A was filled with many fun moments, but none were met with such excitement as when Mewes revealed that they hope to start shooting Clerks III early next year. Another big ovation came when Mewes told the crowd that he has been sober for over 3 years now. He also said that Super Groovy Cartoon Movie should be on DVD around February, and he is currently trying his hand at writing the sequel.
Saturday kicked off with the world premiere of Fantasm, a documentary about horror conventions directed by Kyle Kuchta. I’m an associate producer on the film, so my opinion may be a bit biased, but I think it came out great. Anyone who has ever attended a convention will immediately connect with it, and those who haven’t will want to. Clocking it at just under an hour, the documentary will leave you wanting even more. It’ll be playing at other film festivals before hopefully hitting DVD next year, so keep an eye out for that.
Saturday was packed with great panels – including one with Robert Patrick and another featuring Sharknado director Andrew C. Ferrante and actor Jaason Simmons – but the one that stood out the most was dubbed “40 Years of Our Worst Nightmares.” It featured Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street), Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Tony Moran (Michael Myers in Halloween) and Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th Parts 7-10).
It was absolute treat to see these four icons on the stage together, sharing their experiences portraying some of cinema’s most memorable characters. They all had great stories to tell, particularly the always-talkative Englund. He reiterated that he is done playing Freddy, and he would only consider reprising the role if the prequel that had been floating around before the remake came to fruition. Hodder, on the other hand, delighted fans when he said he’s willing to don the mask again.
The highlight of last year’s Rock and Shock – and quite possibly the most entertaining thing I’ve ever seen at a convention – was the live Holliston table read with creator Adam Green and his co-stars Joe Lynch, Laura Ortiz and Corri English. This year, Green, Ortiz and English returned, alongside cast member and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider (making up for his cancellation the previous year), for more fun. It didn’t quite top last year’s appearance, but it was still hilarious.
The panel began with a regular Q&A, during which Green revealed that Season 2 of Holliston will likely hit DVD and Blu-ray around March of next year, for reasons unbeknownst to him, and he hopes it will include the aforementioned live table read. He also revealed that they won’t know for sure if a Season 3 is happening until later this year or early next. Following the Q&A, the cast members hosted mock auditions for the show, bringing select fans on stage for a cold reading of a unique scene followed by an improv scenario. They were joined by surprise guests Kane Hodder, Tony Todd and Dave Sheriden, who appeared in character as Scary Movie’s Officer Doofy.
I caught the tail end of the Army of the Damned panel, dedicated to Woodhaven Productions’ latest highly-publicized, locally-produced effort. It was cool to see some big name stars – most notably Eric Roberts and Joey Fatone – appear at the event. The highlight was hearing Fatone, when asked about his past in Nsync, say that waving his hand and saying “Bye Bye Bye” paid for his house. I missed Army of the Damned’s red carpet premiere that night in favor of seeing the almighty Danzig perform.
Saturday’s concert featured a plethora of opening acts spread across two stages, but the band I really wanted to see was the headliner, Danzig – and they did not disappoint. Danzig is celebrating his 25th anniversary, so the crowd-pleasing set consisted almost entirely of material from his first three albums. But the highlight of the night was when he was joined by former Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein for a handful of classic Misfits songs, including such favorites as “Astro Zombies,” “I Turned Into a Martian,” “Skulls” and “Last Caress.” You can read my full thoughts on the show over at AbsolutePunk.
Although I skipped out on Sunday’s festivities, Rock and Shock’s final day was anchored by a concert featuring juggalo rap duo Twiztid. In conjunction with Twiztid’s appearance, the one and only Sid Haig as well as Hanna Hall made special appearances. Sunday also included a Cabin Fever panel with Jordan Ladd, Cerina Vincent and Joey Kern.
Many congratulations are in order to the folks behind the scenes at Rock and Shock who have made it such a success for 10 years now. It consistently provides horror fans from all walks of life a haven in which they can come together and celebrate the genre they love. Here’s to another 10 years!
Check out all of my photos from Rock and Shock 2013 here.