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Dec 072016
 

I will admit that it has been a few years since I last attended this convention. This year it was very special because my sister and I got to meet one of our all-time favorite performers, Weird Al Yankovic.

weird-al-yankovic

It was a real honor and was really excited, since Weird Al was a huge favorite of mine since childhood. I have been to several of his concerts over time, but never would’ve imagined that I would actually meet him face to face. It felt like going to a convention for the first time. Of all the celebrities I have met at these events over the years, that’s saying a lot.

Along side of getting a photo, I got Weird Al’s autograph on a small movie poster from the 1989 film UHF. It was also autographed by Jay Levey, the director. He also co-wrote the screenplay with Weird Al.

Even though a few scheduled celebrities could not make it due to the hurricane delaying Spooky Empire, many of them did like Butch Patrick. Yes, TV’s Eddie Munster returned this year and his Q&A panel was interesting. He talked about his time on The Munsters as well as his thoughts on the comparisons with related Munsters remakes like The Munsters Today (1987-1991) and the made for TV movie Mockingbird Lane (2012). Let’s just say that there’s no substitute for the real thing.

Overall, I had a wonderful time. One last note: I couldn’t help but notice that among the most popular celebrities to attend Spooky Empire were cast members from the new Netflix original series Stranger Things. It was mostly the kids who attended. What could’ve made that better, in my opinion, was if Winona Ryder had been there. Now that would have been interesting. Maybe she’ll come next year?

Aug 052015
 

I was very surprised when I found out that Roddy Piper recently passed away from a heart attack. He was so nice when I met him at Spooky Empire’s MAY-HEM back in 2012. I can also remember how star struck my sister was since she was a big fan for years.

Many of us remember him best as a pro-wrestler and was a huge part of the wrestling scene. He even had his own segment called Piper’s Pit, where he interviewed other wrestlers.

Like many pro-wrestlers, Roddy Piper was also an actor. From what I recall, his most popular role was his starring role Nada from the sci-fi movie They Live, where he could see aliens with his special sunglasses. My dad really liked this one.

However, I remember him from other things like the classic animated series Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N Wrestling (1985-1986). Obviously the cartoon version of Roddy Piper is an exaggeration on his wrestling persona. Although Roddy actually did do some voice acting roles, this was not one of them.

I can also remember Roddy Piper best for his participation in The Wrestling Album, which was released in 1985. First he sang with the other wrestlers in Land of 1000 Dances and performed solo in For Everybody.

The only other feature I saw Roddy Piper in was on an episode of Celebrity Wife Swap when his wife swapped lives with the wife of retired wrestler Ric Flair. It turns out that Roddy and his family live in a country house. Roddy was also training his son Colt Toombs to be a wrestler. You could really see the close bond they had.

Whether it was in the wrestling world or other pop culture, Roddy Piper has certainly been a big favorite, especially if you grew up in the 80s. He will surely be missed.

May 212014
 

In the Sci-Fi Channel original movie Alien Apocalypse, aliens invaded Earth and captured and enslaved the human race. Four astronauts return from a 40-year space mission to find that civilization had completely changed, only to end up captured by human bounty hunters that work for the aliens.

alienapocalypse

Two of the astronauts get killed quickly, so that only leaves Dr. Ivan Hood (Bruce Campbell) and Lt. Kelly Lanaman (Renee O’Connor). They work together to escape, but any slaves who try to escape and get caught end up losing a finger and the aliens eat them. Talk about finger food.

I don’t understand why the slaves have to wear masks while being forced to work. I guess the aliens don’t like to hear any complaining?

Ivan soon manages to kill one of the aliens with a drill bit, which proves that they can die as easily as any human. However, the aliens don’t go down easily, especially when they use their powerful mini tank, which is like a clown car. How many aliens do you think could’ve fit in there?

Bruce Campbell and me

I met Bruce Campbell at Spooky Empire MAY-HEM 2011.

Ivan and Kelly try to inspire hope and freedom to the other slaves, but the only one who goes along with it is Alex (Remington Franklin). Ivan and Alex manage to get away, but Kelly gets recaptured. That’s too bad. I would have liked to see more of her.

After that Ivan and Alex go in search of President Demsky (Peter Jason), who is rumored to have a fighting force ready to fight for freedom. As they travel, they find other escaped slaves to join them. Ivan mends their wounds and cracks their backs. Well, that’s one way to make friends.

Ivan likes to think of himself as the great healer, which is very inspiring to the others because no one seems to know what a doctor is. It’s strange that they don’t even understand a handshake.

This is a good film that really shows that freedom is worth fighting for. I’ve also got to admit, Ivan sure loves that potato liquor.

Jan 102014
 

Monkeybone is a wacky animated monkey from a comic strip, but the real focus in this movie is on Monkeybone’s creator Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser). Stu always had terrible nightmares, but was able to overcome them thanks to his girlfriend, Dr. Julie McElroy (Bridget Fonda) who is a sleep institute worker.

One night Stu ends up in a coma after a car accident and he finds himself in a strange world called Down Town. It’s filled with all sorts of creatures, some of which are animated in the style of The Nightmare Before Christmas.

There are some friendly creatures that Stu meets like Miss Kitty (Rose McGowan) the sweet and sexy feline waitress. My only concern is that she’s only in a few scenes throughout the movie. I would’ve liked to see more of her.

I’ve met several actors who played some of the different zany Down Town characters. They include Rose McGowan (Miss Kitty) at Spooky Empire 2012, Doug Jones (Yeti) at MegaCon 2011, and Brian Steele (Jumbo the Elephant God) at Spooky Empire 2010.

While Stu tries to cope with his situation, he discovers that Monkeybone is real and wackier than ever. Monkeybone like to perform and dive right into things, particularly Miss Kitty’s dress. I must admit that he sure knows how to hit his mark, if you know what I mean.

Stu’s only real concern is that he never had a chance to propose to Julie and tell her that he loves her. Luckily, Hypnos (Giancarlo Esposito) the god of sleep grants Stu and opportunity to do so by having him swipe an exit pass, which is what allows a coma victim to wake up. Of course that not easy to do. Since when do reapers go off duty?

After Stu succeeds Hypnos doublecrosses him and Monkeybone goes to take over Stu’s body and his life. Normally, Stu doesn’t like the idea of merchandising his creation, but Monkeybone is all for it. Of course, Monkeybone’s real task is to provide nightmares for Hypnos. In Down Town, people’s nightmares are like movies. The ones that Stu had are like big box office hits. No wonder he’s a celebrity there.

Later, Stu ends up meeting Death (Whoopi Goldberg), who happens to be Hypnos’s sister. (She’s not to be confused with Lady Death.) Normally Death isn’t so merciful, but she has a soft spot for Stu because she is a big fan of the Monkeybone comic strip. She sends Stu back to the world of the living to stop Monkeybone by simply kicking him in the rear.

Stu winds up in the body of a dead gymnast (Chris Kattan) that’s getting his organs removed by a group of doctors. What I don’t understand is why the doctors aren’t freaking out over a corpse that wakes up during the surgical procedure. Instead they chase Stu all over town to get his organs. That’s just so weird.

This was a good movie that has a similarity to Cool World. From what I understand, Monkeybone was labeled as a dark comedy, but what do you think?

Aug 232013
 

Image result for the addams family animated series

Many of us remember the classic Addams Family sitcom from the 1960s and the success continued with other versions. The one I want to focus on now is The Addams Family (1992-1993) animated series, which was produced by Hanna Barbera.

Shortly after the first Addams Family movie, this Saturday morning cartoon quickly followed with some new developments. First off, Thing used to be a hand that only appears out of open containers. Now he can travel anywhere as a dismembered hand.

Lurch is also different. He is still strong and intimidates guests with his presence, but he hardly ever talks. It’s just not as funny as the Lurch from the sitcom, who is still a big favorite of mine.

The Addams’s are a friendly close knit family despite how different they are compared to most people. The main people who are against the Addams’s are their neighbors the Normanmeyers. Norman and his wife Normina always think of ways to sabotage the Addams’s in attempt to drive them out of town. Of course they always fail, the Addams’s never hold a grudge. All they want to do is be neighborly.

Norman and Normina have a son, Norman Jr., who likes the Addams’s and is able to look past their differences. He often tries to convince his parents that the Addams’s are not so bad, but do they ever listen?

John Astin, who I met at Spooky Empire MAY-HEM 2012, reprises his role as Gomez Addams.

Overall, this animated take on the Addams Family franchise is a good one that’s more on a younger level. In other words, the creepy hijinks are smoother, whether it’s Pugsley trying to terrorize his sister with an axe, or Uncle Fester’s explosions and his use for light bulbs. It’s amazing.

One last item: This may seem a little off topic, but I also met Debi Derryberry, who voices the role of Wednesday Addams, at Anime Festival Orlando 2013. She has voiced many different characters over the years, including Jimmy Neutron.

Other than Wednesday Addams, the role I remember best was Tinkerbell from Peter Pan and the Pirates, which was labeled as a lost gem. Debi enjoyed doing that character.