Welcome to Akron, Monsterfestmania 

Me: “When the kids are older and we retire, I just picture us going to horror conventions all the time, all over the place.”
Hubby: “Yes! And we can drink lots of beer and watch movies and get beer guts!”

That was the conversation that concluded the night on Friday, after a very fun and fulfilling evening at Monsterfestmania Science-Fiction and Horror Show.  Akron is a small (albeit hip) city. So while we have had a comic convention for a while now, we haven’t hosted a horror con. So I was super excited last year when I received a postcard mailer for Monsterfestmania.

For the inaugural year, the event was held in Quaker Square. Side note: this is a space with a lot of Akron history. However, it’s a bit past its glory days. I understand that the show will be moving next year to the John S. Knight Center, which is a nicer, updated space that will undoubtedly be better for screening movies and holding panel discussions.

The CW network had a booth with a prize wheel. Not only did I win a free “Goosebumps” Blu-Ray, my friend Sarah spun the wheel and also won a movie too. Nice!
The vendors at the show were A+.  There were tons of old, spooky toy sellers, lots of clothing and media vendors, and a few comic artists as well. The folks from Cinema Wasteland (the best show around) were there as well, and they have great merchandise. 

Cinema Wasteland presses these great shirts, and they’re bargain priced at 2 for $25.

As for the guests and films, the show’s theme was horror hosts, so Fritz the Night Owl and Misty Brew were scheduled, among others. Unfortunately, Misty Brew canceled. So the movie slots were shifted around on Friday and while we had intended to watch her creature feature, we ended up watching part of “Psycho,” with an intro from Fritz. Friday also had a screening of “Dead Next Door” with an intro from Akron native J.R. Bookwalter. Bookwalter is a down-to-earth guy with a lot of great memories from the direct-to-VHS era of movie making, and “Dead” is a fun flick.

Other notable guests included Lisa Loring (Wednesday Addams) and Felix Silla (Cousin It) from “The Addams Family.” Renowned artist Basil Gogos, of “Famous Monsters” fame was also scheduled to appear, but canceled.

For it’s first year, Monsterfestmania was a great time. Admittedly, there are a few kinks to work out, but I was pleasantly surprised at the guest line-up, and you certainly can’t put the blame on the show’s organizer for 11th hour cancellations. The quality of the movie screenings could be improved (particularly with regard to the sound), but the move to the Knight Center could fix those issues in 2017.

Hands down, the best thing about horror conventions is the chance to share memories, movies, and panel discussions with fellow genre fans. You won’t meet nicer, more interesting people anywhere on the planet. And that’s why I picture my golden years as a grand tour of the world’s horror conventions — just to be around people who love things that go bump in the night as much as I do.

If you’re in the area next year, definitely check it out. If you see me, say “Hi!”

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