I boarded an American Airlines flight on October thirteen leaving my desert home in Yuma, AZ, bound for Westfield, MA. This trip was to visit family and to attend “Rock and Shock”, one of the best horror conventions ever established.
The night before the convention, my sisters were anxious and I was restless. Tomorrow was going to be a frightfully delightful day, and that night I dreamed of what I would tell Adam Green, and hopefully not get choked up in front of Kristina Klebe.
The next day my family and I pulled into the DCU Center with plenty of time to spare. Upon entering the convention, however, I was disheartened to see that there was no Artist Alley. The last time I was at Rock and Shock 2015, there had been.
With my backpack slung on my shoulders, I entered through the metal doors and into my candy store.
I was delighted with the line-up this year, but I was equally excited to get matching sibling tattoos with my older sister. The convention ran for three days, and we had picked the second day, a Saturday, to attend.
The crowds of horror addicts, like myself, were slim but that just meant longer time to spend with our favorite celebrities, and after browsing through the vendors and sponsors area, we made our way to the celebrity zone. My heart was beating fast, and I tried to calm my nerves, but first on our list was Jonathan Breck of Jeepers Creepers.
This film was one of the many that spawned a love of horror for me when I was a boy in Jr. High. That first film had bred a serious appetite for my love of the Creeper.
It would be years later that I would find out about the director and his dirty deeds. A director does not make up the entirety of a film, though; actors do too.
I think we can all agree that Breck knocks it out of the park with his portrayal of the creature, and I had my copy of the film on DVD stashed in my backpack. I patiently waited in line with my dad, holding the movie in my sweaty hands and before I knew it, the funniest thing happened.
Mr. Breck starts yelling at my dad.
“Hey, don’t I know you from somewhere?” he asked my father.
“No, I don’t think so? Weren’t you in that one movie?” my dad joked.
“Ha,” he said, “for real though have we met?”
My dad just shakes his head and gives him his name and says, “Nice to meet you.” Now it’s my turn and I place the movie onto his table. We greet and I shake his hand.
“Who am I making this out to?” Mr. Breck asked.
“Austin,” I reply. “Also I actually just saw the third one.”
“Really?” his eyes widened. “What did you think?”
“Well the story was kind of all over the place. Felt very rushed. But I think the stunts were pretty cool. I also like how you used the truck more.”
“Interesting. You know we had a very lousy budget for this one. So much in fact, the part where I’m standing on top of the truck, barreling down the freeway, I’m only fastened to a rope. I actually was scared and asked my stunt crew where my harness and crane were, they were like, ‘well this is it. All we have.’”
Wow! I couldn’t believe the insight I just got. I took my picture with him after the autograph and thanked him for everything walking away with a huge grin.
Kristina Klebe was next, and I was fired up about meeting her. If you’re not familiar with her work you need to check out Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Tales of Halloween, and more recent Don’t Kill It.
What I’m really excited for is her upcoming performance in the Hellboy reboot! I reached her table and at this point I am all by myself.
Instantly my nerves started to rattle like fringe wiring. I tell her hi and that I would like to get this picture signed.
“I really liked your performance in Tales of Halloween. That short story was really spooky. I’m actually a writer.”
She looks up at me for a moment. “Really? What do you write?”
“Well… are you allowed to accept gifts?” I asked her.
She continued to stare at me and then said, “I think so, as long as you’re not going to get weird.”
I pulled out a copy of my latest book, Dead Diaries. I handed it to her.
“Wow thanks! You wrote this?”
“Yes, I’d like you to have it.”
She smiled at me and I start to blush like a blooming rose. She handed me my autograph and took two pictures with me and hugged me. She wished me good luck on my writing journey and I’m off to the next one.
I started to hurry because I had a tattoo appointment to keep, but still had a few celebrities to go. The line for Massachusetts’s greatest Adam Green was pretty long, but I had my copy of Hatchet II for him to sign.
Adam has been an influence on my writing since meeting him last time, and I finally got to tell him that. He also wished me luck on my writing and asked where he could get a copy of my book. Dang, should have taken two copies of my book with me instead of one!
I checked the time and still had a little while before getting inked so, along with my dad and little sister, we traveled into the Panel Room to wait for Mr. Green and some of the cast of the newest film in the Hatchet franchise, Victor Crowley. Listening to Green explain his passion of horror was so inspiring.
Hearing the tribulations and trials of the cast and crew was very encouraging, and I also laughed upon finding out that at one point in his career Kane Hodder was approached to play Freddy Kruger. That would have been something, wouldn’t it? I salute you Mr. Crowley and Mr. Green!
With all that out of the way, I was now in line for Tom Payne, better known as “Jesus” from “The Walking Dead.” Mr. Payne was very humble and sincere.
After this I returned to the vendor’s area and finally found a book stand, but not just any ordinary stand. Two authors named Patrick Lacey and Adam Cesare were there.
We instantly bonded over my Stephen King shirt and writing. It was very nice meeting them and getting to know other authors. I purchased two books from them and was on my way to get my matching sibling tattoo.
The man tattooing us was Jamie Cross of Nightmare Tattoo. Along with this, some of my favorite horror icons are Freddy Kruger and Pinhead. I decided to combine the two and my sister agreed. I have such ink to show you!
In closing, if you’re ever on the east coast around the middle of October and are a horror aficionado then this is the convention for you. The crew at Rock and Shock are amazing.
I can’t think of any better horror-con. Not only is it a gory spooky filled day, but the night holds the wailing instruments of “The Rocking Dead.” Unfortunately I missed that this year. The prices are perfect and each celebrity really takes the time to hear from their fans.
Rock and Shock keep this momentum going, you guys are the best!