As your guide in nerdventures, we travel to the annual event known to California monster fans as MONSTERPALOOZA..aka; the place to be in March. Only a couple of hours from my home, Monsterpalooza consistently proves to be a haven for die hard fans of creature features, providing endless isles of hand made masks, makeup application demonstrations and all manner of creature displays from massively popular films to undiscovered indies. After joining a couple of LA friends already waiting in line for tickets, the fun began with a small but impressive parade of amazing costumes.
Once inside the convention center, I made sure to drop by and say Hi to all the usual suspects like Chris at Darkside DVD and the crew at Rotten Cotton. From there, I checked out all the fantastical weirdness Monsterpalooza has to offer. Highlights included Jonathan Payne and his grotesque body parts as art sculptures, including a particularly disgusing mouth-tongue-whoknows thing, and the marionettes of Scott Land, which made me flash back to a TV show from my childhood called Passe-Partout, which utilized a small army of puppets...but that's where the comparison ends. Land's creations are a bit more "adult" in nature.
A few booths from there, a spectacle that sent my nerd-senses tingling stopped me in my tracks... C-3P0's hands..clearly screen used and fairly mind blowing to behold in person. After I recovered from my initial geek-shock, I noticed I'd arrived at the "Prop Store" booth where you could find the Alien Queen from Aliens, magnificently displayed in a glass case, among other treasures of a non sci-fi variety like the claws of Catwoman from Batman Returns.
Another company whose works stunned in their painstaking details included Graven Imaginings, whose sculptures of classic Universal Monsters were breathtaking. The Mummy was a particularly gorgeous piece, making me long for a much bigger spending budget. Alas, budgets be tiny, so no Mummy for me.
Another company that made me wish for more spending cashhhh was Tweeterhead, with statues sculpted to perfection and so on point, they look eerily real. Their sexy and boobieful Elvira Mistress of the Dark made a lot of us horror girls wish we could look like her for just one day. Their Lily Munster was equally packed with endless detail and darkly beauty. Every piece of art seemed to surpass the one before it.
A big part of Monsterpalooza are the makeup effects tutorials and demonstrations, of which there were many. Premiere Products Inc had their usual middle of the floor booth where makeup and effects artists swarmed. Amid the flurry of action was Christopher Nelson, whose work was recently seen in Sabotage, NCIS: Los Angeles, and American Horror Story. (Also, for eagle eyed readers, he was the groom in Kill Bill.) Watching him, or anyone of his caliber, is always facinating. At the EI School of Professional Makeup, lovely ladies were working on another lovely lady who later ended up looking like a proper Geiger creation. Lastly, in the most interesting makeup event I was lucky enough to catch, RJ from Face/Off and Foxy and Co. were giving a class on how to apply makeup to create a proper movie grade zombie at the Encore suite. Listening to him talk was incredible, but I had to keep moving, as I only had one day to check out the whole convention and still needed to go see the museum!
Saving the best for last, I kept the museum for my final convention destination. Every year, this is the highlight of my visit to Monsterpalooza. This year's museum did not disappoint with a varied array of works from different artists and creators like painter Aaron Kai who specializes in realistic portraits of our favorite movie characters on various media, including the occasional leather jacket. Further down the line were busts of everyone's favorite busters, Spengler, Venkman and Stantz, which was a great way to remember Harold Ramis. The most impressive piece to me was screen used armor from Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. It was set up in a scene from the movie as Dracula impales an opponent while at war. That armor is what cosplayers dreams are made of... and it was almost close enough to touch...
Before leaving, we hung outside of the convention center with friends and fellow horror geeks while taking in more of the cosplayers' creations. There seemed to be a lot less people dressed up for the event as opposed to the number found at Son of Monsterpalooza, but it may very well be due to the time of year. Son of Monsterpalooza is closer to Halloween and thus more people do get in the spirit by dressing up. The cosplayers we did find at Monsterpalooza were quite talented, from the female versions of Chucky and Pinhead to the Cantina Band. All did a tremendous job and were loved by the crowds watching as they played and posed for pictures. My personal favorites, as my nerding out over the C3P0 hands earlier might have indicated, were the members of the Cantina Band who played us the song and danced for a while.
It should be noted that fans, artists, and vendors were showing their respect for recently deceased Dave Brockie (Odurus Hurungus of Gwar) by wearing t-shirts, patches and jackets with the band's logo, proving how much of an influence the man had on horror fans from all walks of life.
CLICK HERE for the full gallery of Monsterpalooza 2014 images!