I LOOK FORWARD to Flashback Weekend: Chicago Horror Convention every year. Not so much because of the guests of honor (who are always great — this year included Robert Englund, Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi) but because of the chance to hang out for a couple days with friends and fans that I only see a once or twice a year. While the Nightmare on Elm Street, Candyman and Evil Dead reunions are going on down the hall with movie stars, I’m reuniting with good friends.
This year was no different! As always, my table was right next to the Synapse Films booth, so I got to talk with Don May Jr, and Jerry and Noa Chandler and Ryan Olson from Synapse all weekend.
We had dinner the first night at Bill Murray’s Murray Bros. Caddyshack bar & grill and enjoyed some “Crispy Potato Golf Balls” and other fine “sports bar” fare. They even did a special menu for the con featuring things like Norman’s Psycho Grilled Cheese, Freddy’s Dream Burger and Leatherface’s Slaughterhouse Pork Sliders.
Fellow Flame Tree Press author and longtime friend Brian Pinkerton stopped down on Saturday to grab a Sam Raimi photo and visited me before heading across the street to a concert with his wife.
I never thought he’d get through the lines, but somehow he managed it and made it to his show on time. Later that night, right after Noa and I got off the Zombie bus, I ran into him and his wife Jill on their way back to their car. Perfect timing all around!
And for the first time, Lon Czarnecki, a friend of mine since high school (we’ve hosted many horror movie nights together for friends in my basement!) had a booth as a vendor to sell his wife Amy’s cool creepy dolls and other horror merch.
I didn’t get any autographs this year (doing that is always a challenge when you’re running a booth — leaving the booth equals no sales!) I thought about trying to meet Melinda Clarke — I rewatched her Return of the Living Dead 3 the night before the convention — but instead I just caught a glance at her at her table from down the aisle.
I did score a bunch of DVDs however from my friends at Synapse and Vinegar Syndrome, and even picked up a couple from the Full Moon booth.
Over the weekend I got the chance to talk for a bit with my ol’ pal Chad Savage, took Noa for her first walk on the Zombie Army Bus now that she’s over 21 and I caught up with a bunch of local readers, including Jenn Summers, Joseph Plotchl and Dori Valenta, Mickey Thompson and finally met Rachel Rose Bee “The Housewife of Horror” who lives just a town a way from me and does a lot of horror reviews and a video show.
On Sunday, my son Shaun came down as he does every year, to hang with our Synapse friends and to spend some time as Shaun The Evil Bookseller so that I can walk the hall for a few minutes. He and Don traded strategies for Pokemon Go.
After we tore down the booth on Sunday, I took Shaun to our annual dinner at the nearby Hofbrauhaus and this year Lon Czarnecki and Don May joined us. All in all, another great show with great people! I already can’t wait until next year! Here are some more pictures from the hall: