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Horror-Rama 2014-Toronto’s First Annual Horror Convention

Published November 7, 2014 by rmpixie

horror-rama

Horror-Rama, Toronto Ontario, Canada, November 1-2, 2014

 

I wasn’t sure I would even get to Horror-Rama due to my work schedule, but a week before the event, I learned that I would be free for an afternoon, so I bought my one-day $25 ticket not sure what to expect.  After checking out the website, I was prepared to part with some of my hard-earned money to get some stuff.  Horror stuff.  Little did I know that stuff was just the gory icing on the horror cake!

Let me back track a little.  You might be wondering what Horror-Rama is.  Put on by Suspect Video owner Luis Ceriz (one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in Toronto who runs one of the coolest movie rental and rare finds stores around) and Fangoria Magazine’s editor-in-chief Chris Alexander, it is Toronto’s first ever horror only convention, and it was a blast!  Catering to the horror fan who loves rare finds and weird stuff, there were many vendors selling DVDs and rare VHS horror films, as well as gifts, t-shirts, and original poster art and illustrations, but I suspect the biggest draw was the celebrity line-up.  Boasting such stars as Barbie Wilde mostly know as the female Cenobite from Hellraiser, Michael Slade author of Headhunter and Ghoul, Nivek Ogre of Industrial band Skinny Puppy (who I listened to endlessly in high school), and Lisa Marie of Mars Attacks, it was a veritable wonderland for fans of all things dark and diabolical.  Tom Savini was also there.  From special effects, to directing and acting, this horror dynamo was a revered name in the line-up.

I at first wasn’t going to attempt meeting him, for one because I thought it would be rammed and kind of like FanExpo, and secondly because I am an introvert by nature with awkward bursts of nuttiness.  I don’t know what to say to celebrities because after all, they are people just like me, and I don’t want to sound like a dork.  What was pleasantly surprising was the celebrity meet and greet area.  It was quite intimate, and it wasn’t crowded when I arrived, so I gave it a shot.  I mean, he was right there. Like, right there!  So I took the plunge, got an autographed photo of Savini and Danny Trejo in Machete Kills, a handshake and a picture taken with him for $30.  Unfortunately, I had nothing witty to say; the nuttiness crawled away and hid, and I didn’t bother to hand him my Rosemary’s Pixie card, even though he does follow me on the twitter (just sayin’).  I just smiled and said thank you.  In my defense, some dude would not stop talking to Savini while I was there, so I think that chatty dude owes me at least $15 for my troubles.  And I will find him…anyway, here is my photo-op with Tom Savini, who was really nice and called me sweetheart, and my weird hair (I swear it looked better in person):

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Pixie and Savini, just hanging out…

As for any other pictures, I didn’t take any at the event because I was there to buy stuff, and kind of forgot in my shopping frenzy.  I can however show you all the loot I got, including a rare find of Henry:  A Portrait of a Serial Killer for $12, and some top-secret but awesome gifts for my salt-of-the-earth-and-weird-like-me friend T-Bone:

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My loot. For obvious reasons, the top-secret gifts are absent because my friend is one of the 3 people that reads my blog…bah ha ha ha! I kid, folks, I kid…

I also wanted to pick up my pass for The Blood In The Snow Film Festival, happening from November 28th-30th at the Carlton Cinemas here in Toronto.  It’s a 3 day festival of 100 % Canadian horror, and it is always a good time. There was an Anchor Bay Screaming Lounge where a preview of the festival was screened, as well as indie horror movies Avenged (2014) and The Devil Incarnate (2014).  Check out the films and tickets for this year’s BITS fest here.  The convention also had a Horror-Rama Hangout, where you could attend Q & A sessions with some of the headliner guests.

I also hit the Black Fawn Distribution booth where there was a bunch of great Canadian independent film for sale.  Better known for films like festival hits Silent Retreat and Discopath, they were promoting a new horror called The Door.  I picked it up and was treated to an autographed copy by one of the film’s stars, Alys Crocker.  I also got a photo-op with her and had a quick chat with the film’s director, Patrick McBrearty.  They were both lovely and I can’t wait to watch this creepy film which caught my eye a few weeks ago on my twitter feed.

I wrapped my visit up somewhat early because plain and simple, I ran out of ducats.  I didn’t want to sell the farm for more memorabilia and movies, so after tracking Luis down to thank him for a great event, I took myself and my horror horde home.  I will definitely go back next year.  Horror-Rama fills a void for those of us that want a more specialized type of convention with all things horror for the die-hard fan and collector.  Go Horror!

 

Canuck Style Horror At The Second Annual BITS Festival

Published December 3, 2013 by rmpixie

This past weekend, I attended the second annual Blood In The Snow Canadian Film Festival:  a 3 day showcase of all Canadian content, all horror, all weekend!  It was my first time attending and I had a great time, in fact, the festival renewed my faith in this city of mine.  Toronto can be cold at times, but at BITS, there were so many great fans and volunteers who were willing to chat about the films and were just as excited as I was to be there.  I really liked the venue, the Carlton Cinema, in the heart of downtown Toronto; and even though the theatre was a good size, it had a cozy feel and had great seating.  There was also a “vendor’s village” in the lobby where you could find unique horror-themed gifts, and dvds from independent distributors and my favourite rental shop Suspect Video.

The selection of films was pretty diverse.  From body horror to killer puppets; shorts and feature-length films alike, there was something for everyone.  After the last screening each night, movie-goers and festival organizers headed to local haunt The Marquis of Granby, where they could meet with cast and crew from the featured films for some tasty libations.  I was actually able to make the final pub night where I mingled with new friends and chatted with a couple of directors.  Did I mention how nice everyone was?  This made up for the schmoozing I missed during the Toronto After Dark Festival.

I’ve got lots to report, so over the next few days, I will be posting about my favourite films and ones that got fans talking!

Rosemary’s Pixie’s First Anniversary!

Published October 17, 2013 by rmpixie

It’s hard to believe, but Rosemary’s Pixie is one year old!  But before we raise a glass, I have a confession to make…

I started this blog because I was in distress.  Last year, life handed me a giant shit pie.  For a little over eight months, it was difficult to leave my apartment because I was consumed by either anxiety or crushing grief.  As I tried to regroup a la Howard Hughes,  I was comforted by the knowledge that I could always throw in a cheesy horror DVD from my vast collection, order a slasher movie on cable, or crack open a horror novel and lose myself for a couple of hours.  You see, horror was always my first love.  I know, it sounds counter-intuitive.  Heavens to Murgatroyd!  Horror as a therapeutic outlet for someone who was haunted by death and anxiety?! You’d be surprised…

Watching film after film got me thinking.  I  felt the writer I used to be wake up and started to see things that I wanted to comment on and point out.  Many of my wonderfully supportive friends didn’t shared my enthusiasm for the genre, so I started writing about my opinions and observations right here, on good ol’ WordPress.  It didn’t bother me that I didn’t have an audience.  I just liked writing.  A lot.  I would reward myself by watching a movie and writing a post after several hours of job searching.  I started to venture out to Suspect Video to get a couple of cheap rentals here and there, and to chat with the knowledgeable staff.  Typing away on my laptop, with my cats snuggled close by, I started to feel better.  I was able to focus on something other than my troubles, and I only now realize how much that helped me regain confidence in many areas of my life.

I was shocked when I got my first follower and called my friend, Laina D., a seasoned journalist/published author/blogger, who applauded my tiny triumph.  Someone liked what I had to say!  This fueled me to carry on, and here I am today.  I am in a much better place, and I am very glad I took the chance to do something creative again.  I am also very, very grateful for the support of my fabulous friends and sisters, and for all the followers, visitors, retweets, favourites, and likers I have gained through Twitter, Facebook and WordPress.  I thank every single one of you from the bottom of my twisted heart!  Who knew something I started as a distraction would bring me such joy, just by adding my voice to the internet throngs.

Some highlights from the past year:

My lovely friend L.F. (who wants to remain pretty much nameless), designed the gorgeous pixie logo for me.  I was thrilled with her talent and will love that pixie forever!

After writing my first book review on The Demonologist, author Andrew Pyper found and retweeted the link to the post.  I was floored, since I was too chicken to tag him in my tweet.

The indie film Hate Crime disturbed me so much that I reached out to the director, James Cullen Bressack, to answer some questions about his film.  He did so within a day, and became my first interview.  Still very grateful for his time, retweets and all the traffic that he brought to my blog.

The dashing Neville Page, Face Off judge and Hollywood creature and concept designer extraordinaire, started following me on Twitter. A judge from my favourite reality show!  Imagine that?!!  And he is super lovely too!

Interviewing The House of Haunt band members Fang and Skull.  Really fun guys who are passionate about their music and horror.

Meeting writer Steve Niles!!!  This was a big deal for me.  I totally nerded out, and you can read about that here.  I am not ashamed of my er, coffee fueled spaz attack, and he is the nicest man!

I love this blog, I write about what interests me, and I’m glad to be a part of the blogging community as I grow as a writer/reviewer.  I think it’s only fitting that I celebrate this anniversary today with my one true love.  I plan to start with something from my collection (maybe Horror Express), and end with a big finish.  Tonight is the opening night of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, and since I missed the entire festival last year, I wouldn’t be anywhere else!   So now we can raise a glass, toast to pixie’s first anniversary and hope for many more here in the blogosphere!

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Um, o.k….so I’m raising two glasses…yeah, one’s for you…er,yeah…that’s it…

Pixie’s Day at FanExpo 2013

Published August 27, 2013 by rmpixie

So this weekend, I decided to check out the 2013 FanExpo.  Why, you ask? Because I am a nerd? Well, yes, there’s that, but also because even though I am not exactly a groupie, I thought I’d come out of my shell and head out to meet a couple of people, one of whom I might not get a chance to see again, perhaps ever, but more on that later.

I was originally going on my own, as most of my friends aren’t interested in horror or live out-of-town, when I found out that my good friend Nicole’s brother-in-law Henry Shel had a booth there and was promoting his books.  She wanted to go and lend her support,  so I ended up having company, and since she gets a kick out of anything against the norm, away we went!

Let me first say that I wished I had eaten a high calorie breakfast of eggs, waffles, pancakes, whipped cream, and syrup, because the amount of walking we did was insane.  We walked a couple of blocks from the subway to be ushered into a tunnel, (reminiscent of some sort of disaster movie where we line up to enter a bomb shelter) and waited in a four person deep line to buy tickets.  It moved fairly quickly and once inside, we meandered past cosplay enthusiasts, fellow nerds, and giant strollers filled with costumed babies.  Bumping into Henry Shel, we headed to his booth where he was promoting his books Space, Love, Superheros:  The Chronicles of My Secret Identity Crisis on Infinite Earths  and Operation:  DREAMGIRL (The Reluctant Diary of a Lovesick Average Joe).  pretty cool guy and definitely worth taking a look:  www.lulu.com/henryshel  Click on either of the 2 books to see a 10 page preview, or just buy em’!

Since we were in the artist section, where there were scads of talented artists signing and selling their work, I realized that Steve Niles was in the area.  I am a big fan of his and he was one of the two people I really wanted to meet. 30 Days of Night is an incredibly crafted story, and was my introduction to his talent.  I have since followed his work, the latest being Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem (which I plan to devour this Labour Day weekend as a treat), and was really jazzed to meet him and get him to sign a copy of my 30 Days of Nights graphic novel.  I would just like to add that I had a Starbucks coffee that morning.  For most, this is not an issue, but for this pixie, it’s a problem.  I just needed a boost, see?  To get me through a long day of walking around.  So I was kind of, um, supercharged.  When I found his booth, I was ecstatic!  Steve Niles!  Creator of the best vampire story around!  Eek!  Well, I really nerded out, spouting coffee fueled babble about the film adaptation of 30 Days, my 30 Days of Night manicure, Danny Huston as the best vampire ever, and turtles, but he was just lovely!  He signed my copy, and took a picture with me.  Worth the sore feet for sure, and who knows if I will ever get the chance to chat with him in person again!  http://www.steveniles.com/

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Pixie and Steve Niles!!

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My 30 Days of Night manicure. Inspired and yes, obsessed!

Other highlights included seeing  Luis the Suspect Guy from Suspect Video, some of the cast of Bitten and the hosts from InnerSpace, and ridiculous cackling over complete nonsense Nicole and I were prone to as we dodged the crowds.  We also stopped to check out a unique comic called The Black Bastard.  I was familiar with this one because I had met the creator, Matthew Mohammed, a few years ago at a previous FanExpo.  He was cool then and is still just as cool with his satirical take on racial stereotypes.  That site is currently under construction, so check your local comic book store for copies.

On to the “stars” as we kept putting it.  Where were they?  Way over in the North building.  Which meant around 5 escalator rides combined with a fair bit of walking to the main exhibition area.  Just before that was a walkway above the action.  It was here we could look down and see the tables where celebrities were signing autographs and posing for pictures.  However, we were promptly told to move as we were obstructing the flow of traffic, which was moving quite smoothly past us.  Whatever.  As we made our way down, I felt this side of the expo had a weird vibe.  We walked past different booths selling their wares, huge models of Daleks, K.I.T.T. the car from Knight Rider and then past the autograph areas.  Michael Rooker (Merle of The Walking Dead), Ron Perleman (Clay of The Sons of Anarchy and star of freakin’ Hellboy!), Dean Cain (Lois and Clark), Shawn Ashmore of X-Men fame, Laurie Holden (Andrea of The Walking Dead), George Takei (Sulu of Star Trek), and Linda Hamilton of Terminator fame were all graciously signing autographs that you basically had to pay for.  I don’t know the ins and outs of this fan expo business, and I’m aware everyone has to make a buck and bills have to be paid, but a lot of the costs for pictures and autographs were a bit steep.  I would have liked to have seen Norman Reedus (Darryl of The Walking Dead) but a) he was on a 30 minute break, and b) my sixty dollar photo fee did not include a foot massage from him.  Because for sixty of my hard-earned dollars, that’s what I would have wanted, if not more.  I also couldn’t be bothered to do any stealth photos liked I planned.  My contacts were drying out and the vibe was like a party that hadn’t quite taken off yet, with people milling around awkwardly watching the celebrities.

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Trust me, there are “stars” down there. Right Nicole?

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Exterminate! Exterminate!

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Some sort of K.I.T.T hybrid car thingy

great cosplay of Dr. Who's Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint

great cosplay of Dr. Who’s Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint

Anyhoo, after some lunch and a great bevvy, we returned to the fun South Building so I could meet Adam Lopez, founder and director of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.  I’ve corresponded with him via Facebook and email, so it was finally time to meet face to face.  Greeted with a lovely and warm welcome, Adam told me about some of the exciting sneak peeks coming up in the next few weeks.  He was super nice and super excited about the Spotlight Screening Nights-films being shown before the actual festival to get fans revved up for October.  Check out this link for show times and info.  The cost for tickets are really reasonable, and it’s obvious that Adam and his crew put a lot of effort into this event every year.  Because the festival is being held at the Scotiabank Theatre for the first time, it should be an awesome venue to pack in rabid horror fans.  I can’t wait!!

http://torontoafterdark.com/2013/

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TADFF founder and director Adam Lopez and Pixie!

There were plenty of seminars on writing, gaming, larping, cosplay  and screenings which we unfortunately missed, along with a David “The Hoff” Hasslehoff sighting, but all in all, this pixie had a great time.  FanExpo is a place where all the weird and woolly folk can go to express themselves as their favourite characters, buy all kinds of weird stuff, see their favourite stars, and feel like they belong.  Hope to attend next year!

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