Thursday, June 30, 2011

Monster Bash 2011

Well I just returned from the 2011 summer edition of Monster Bash, held in Butler PA. every year at the end of June. Monster Bash has become one of the most important events for me to attend each year for a number of reasons. Let's look at some of them.

1-Feel the love!! First and foremost, Monster Bash is where I belong. I'm a Monster Kid, one of the people who grew up in the time from the late 50's to the early 70's, when classic horror and science fiction films were shown each week on local TV, and Saturday matinees at the local movie house often kept kids entertained for hours with a line-up of cartoons and a features like King Kong Vs Godzilla. Monster kids read Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and built Aurora plastic monster models. Sure, we dabbled in other forms of popular culture of the time....Batman, Gilligan's Island, the music of the Beatles and the Monkees, but our personal treasure was the monster scene. If we were lucky, we had some friends our own age we could share our love of classic monster with, but for the most part we were the kids who happily sat alone with our magazines, model kits and movies. Now we're "grown up", but like many people. we are spending our adulthood trying to re-claim trasures from our childhood. At Monster Bash, we're finally able to mix with our own kind of folks and share the greatest thing in our lives outside of our personal faith or relationships. In short, we've come "home" for the weekend.

2-Meet the Stars!! Ok, so maybe the guests aren't really considered "top flight" celebrities any more, but in our hearts they're still the people who thrilled and chilled us in the movies and TV shows we loved. This year we met people like Norma Eberhardt, who as a young woman acted in a little-known film called "The Return of Dracula". No, it wasn't the best film ever made, in fact it was so low budget the actors had to provide their own costumes. But Norma was there, she helped to create one of the glorious Black & White films we thrilled to as kids. Moere importantly, we had the chance to say "thank you" face-to-face. I like getting autographed pictures and posing for photographs, but to me, being able to offer that personal "thank you" is the highlight of meeting any celebrity.

3-Your Contribution is Appreciated!! While the Bash is run very professionally and tirelessly by Ron Adams and his crew, I never feel like an "outsider" or a "tourist" at these events. Monster Kids are very good at forgiving "imperfections" in other people, which comes in very handy when an attendee wants to share the products of their own personal creativity. I've seen attendee posters, graphics and even poetry shared at these events, with the best example of "community appreciation" being seen on saturday Nights at the "live Theater" events. These often feature an actor named Zach Zito, who performs scenes from Poe stories or other horror/ macabre writers. Zach is somehow able to memorize multiple pages of dialogue, which he acts out dramaticaly for the audience. This year, Zach was joined on-stage by Hammer horror vets Caroline Munro, Veronica Carlson and Yvonne Monlaur, three beautiful veterans of the horror scene. These ladies seemed to ganuinely enjoy taking small parts in Zach's performance, despite what "outsiders" (non-monster kids) may call a somewhat amateur quality to the presentation. Zach was charged with enthusiasm, the Hammer Girls were happy to be a part of the scene, and the attendees loved every minute of it.

4-Loot, and plenty of it!! OK, I love shopping at the Bash. The dealer room is overflowing with "stuff" I'd love to own. When I talk about "loot", however, I'm also talking abou the bonuses you don't expect. The costumed (!?!) monsters walking the halls; this year the Mummy, Frankie, Mr. Hyde and Nosferatu were happily lurking around. The Bash Boys band!! An hour-long set of the most enthusiastically rocking Top 40 from the 50's and 60's ever heard. Free Givaways! It seems like there's always free stuff to be had at the Bash. This year there werer the glow-in-the-dark frisbees with pictures of the chipmunk-like vamp from the 50's drive-in classic "Blood of Dracula", tossed to the crouwd at the end of the drive-in style showing of that movie.

If you like classic monster movies and you've never bene to Monster Bash, make plas to go there next year. Bring the kids. Wear your cape if you like. It's always a "graveyard smash" at Monster Bash