Twice, I’ve visited the Wizard World Comic Con in New Orleans. Last weekend, I attended Contamination Defcon 4, another “signing convention” (where you buy signed photos from “celebrities” from various movies and TV shows), but this time I was the one doing the signing. Though the whole thing felt sort of foreign to me, I ended up having a wonderful time in St. Louis and got to meet a lot of Midwestern horror and biker movie lovers. I also got to meet a lot of actors including NOLA local Theodus Crane of AMC’s Walking Dead with whom we shared flights. It felt good having another local around.
I was seated next to my Kill Bill and Quentin Tarantino Presents: Hell Ride costar, Larry Bishop, who I’ve known since 1996. I also found Andrew Prine, my costar in the Johnny Knoxville film, Daltry Calhoun. I quickly realized that it becomes normal to know people at these conventions as many of the same people participate in them, but it was wonderful having friends at my first convention.
The best part of the experience was meeting the attendees. So many of them had seen my more obscure zombie movie, Flight of the Living Dead and the cult biker movie, Hell Ride. I was signing a Kill Bill poster with David Carradine’s autograph already on it when I realized what keepsakes these signatures can be. I worked with David twice and would treasure a token from him. Carradine and Dennis Hopper both passed shortly after Hell Ride. The movie has become a time capsule of cool as Francesco Quinn, son of Anthony Quinn, has also passed away.
I never met former Kiss band member, Ace Frehley, but I did get to visit with Miles O’Keefe of Tarzan, The Ape Man, Steve Railsback of Helter Skelter, Night of the Living Dead‘s Tom Towles and the ladies of Evil Dead; Betsy Baker, Ellen Sandweiss and Theresa Tilly. I hung out with Danny Hicks from Evil Dead 2, Camille Keaton from I Spit on Your Grave, Lynn Lowry of Cat People, R.A. Mihailoff of Leatherface and Hatchett‘s Kane Hodder. It turns out Hodder worked stunts on Enemy of the State, but I don’t remember meeting him back then. And I got to tell An American Werewolf in London‘s David Naughton that I was a Pepper too. Naughton starred in a Dr. Pepper campaign beginning in the late 70’s that remains one of the most memorable commercial campaigns ever (here’s one of the spots). But it was his 1981 hit American Werewolf that cemented his place in pop culture.
The people of St. Louis were very welcoming and I did get to see the Gateway Arch on the way to the airport. If you’ve never visited the area, be sure to try their toasted ravioli. Other than Wendy’s, every restaurant we ate at served the tasty treats. It’s always hard to leave New Orleans and we missed Satchmo Fest, but the convention was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing another one. Thanks to Scott Ray for talking me into this!