Weekend of stars, screams and silver screens


Bill Amos, Assistant Life, Art and Entainment Editor

There was no shortage of good times had over the weekend of Fear as it was anything but fearful, but an all around great time and unforgettable experience with horror icons from the slasher films of the late twentieth century.
If you didn’t get the chance to come to the Woodlands on state route 315 in Wilkes-Barre, PA on September 5 – 7 to join the wackiness that was Mr. Hush’s Weekend of fear, then you have surely missed out.
With over thirty celebrities in attendance, Mr. Hush brought fun and entertainment like the natives of the Wyoming Valley may have never seen before.
In attendance was Brian O’Halloran of “Clerks” fame who explained the advantages to coming to a smaller or regional show.
“You get a convention experience without the cost of going to the bigger cities like New York or Philadelphia,” O’Halloran said. “And, you get the chance to talk to horror icons like Stephen Geoffereys and Kane Hodder. It’s not every day you get to speak these screen legends. I’m a fan of these folks as well.”
As legendary as they are on that big scary screen where they’re best known stalking their prey from around dark corners and beyond, the shadows were the life of the party as they mingled not only with each other but also with their fans.
The celebrities themselves were excited and glad to come to Wilkes-Barre, according to David Madison, of Lords Valley, PA, who headed the promotion of Mr. Hush.
“As a filmmaker it’s amazing to see fans come out and talk about a film you made and to know that you’ve touched so many people with your film,” Madison said. “It’s amazing to know that so many people have seen your film. It’s absolutely mind-boggling.”
Madison wrote and directed the film “Mr. Hush” which opened the gates for the first of Mr. Hush’s Weekend of Horror as a way to promote his film.
Madison explains that as amazing as it was to see how positively fans have responded to the Weekend of Fear, the celebrities have also responded overwhelmingly positive with kindness and generosity toward the fans.
Kane Hodder, who appeared in the “Hatchet” film series as well as the “Friday the 13th” franchise as one of the many to play the unforgettable Jason Voorhees, couldn’t sit still long enough as he took every opportunity with his fans to chat and laugh and even throw jokes back and forth with other “Friday” icon Steve Dash, the original Jason Voorhees.
“If you don’t enjoy meeting people and having fun with people, you shouldn’t be doing it,” Kane Hodder said. “I’ve always enjoyed interacting with the fans and making them have a good time. The money is secondary for me. I know it sounds like bull, but it’s true. Anyone who has come to visit me has had a really good time.”
In the high spirit of the night, it was nothing to see Brad Loree, probably best known for his portrayal as Michael Myers in “Halloween Resurrection,” stalking his fans in quiet and bare feet as he laughed and exchanged humorous quips with fellow brethren of the slasher genre.
“Put your shoes on, ya bum!” Hodder shouted across the room through a chuckle as Loree posed, flexed and grinned right back on his way to shake things up with visitors around the room.
“Every time I come to these conventions I make new friends,” Loree said. “For me, it’s the connection with my fellow species and at the end of the day, the guy with the most friends is the guy who wins.”
Loree emphasized that he was glad to come together with his costars of “Mr. Hush” after four years and how wonderful it was to make three new friends from the “Clerks” film.
“When I get home, I’m going to rent it and watch it all over again,” Loree stated energetically.
Not all the fun was had in the celebrities’ signing room, however. Celebrity Karaoke, hosted by Brian O’Halloran Saturday evening after the convention, brought tons of fans flocking to the ballroom to share the stage with their favorite horror film stars.
“The Karaoke night was crazy busy,” O’Halloran said. “Steve Dash sang “My Way” by Frank Sinatra. We had wrestler Gene Snitsky sing “Xanadu”. I mean you’re never going to see that on Monday Night Raw.”
It was not just fun and games, however.
Conventions of this nature offer a sense of community for fans to mingle with celebrities and other people who are simply out to meet others who share the same love of the genre that they carry with them.
It’s a place to network, according to Madison, promoter of Mr. Hush’s Weekend of Fear. It is an opportunity to put yourself out there.
Edward X. Young, from “Sea of Dust” and the titular character in “Mr. Hush” explains that if you want to see more of the movies you love you have to come and support the genre.
“Where else can you come to see original stuff?” Young asks. “The convention is where you come to see something new and if it isn’t new there’s a different spin on the idea.”
He explains that the convention is intended to allow young and new filmmakers to grow and express their ideas while getting to meet their icon. It is a place where you can show your new movie or network yourself with celebrities and members of the industry.
“I do these conventions all around the coast and they’re like big high school reunions,” Young said, grinning. “I not only get to reunite with my friends like Brad Loree, who was the protagonist in ‘Mr. Hush,’ but I get to meet my heroes like Tom Savini. And I get to meet the fans, too.”
Young expressed his thanks to two fans that changed the course of his career just as he was about to retire, downtrodden and thinking he would never make it.
“I almost quit acting until I was recognized in public by Randy and Linda Bartha, who had seen me in a rest stop at one in the morning and knew me from one of my films.”
They recognized him as the zombie priest in a film called “late Fee” and at that moment changed the course of his future. Young had decided to continue acting and now stars in Mr. Hush.
“It just goes to show what it could really mean to an actor to know his work means something to his fan base,” Young expressed.
“That’s why it is so important that you come and support us at the conventions.”