It may have been warm in the Valley of the Sun this past weekend, but the hottest place to be was Mad Monster Party Phoenix at the We-Ko-Pa Resort. This fast growing, family-run, horror-con saw even bigger crowds and an impressive list of horror icons.
Arizona’s third annual horror convention saw the likes of George Romero, Sid Haig, Malcolm McDowell, Danny Trejo, Adrienne King, Dee Wallace and William Butler, as well as some fan favorites that may not necessarily be thought of when you think horror like Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek), Lori Petty (Tank Girl, Point Break), William Katt (Greatest American Hero) and Stefan Kapicic (Voice of Colossus in Deadpool).
Mad Monster Party featured over 100 exhibitor tables of horror themed goodies ranging from standards like t-shirts, posters, toys, hard to find horror and monster films, novelty jewelry as well as several makeup and tattoo booths. For only $60 you could get a mini portrait of your favorite horror icon. One patient fan did just that, having four done including, The Wolf Man, Dracula, Frankenstein and Nosferatu.
There were plenty of panels to choose from. The Halloween and Friday the 13th group panels on, yes, Friday the 13th were packed and helped start the weekend off with the skull crunching fun from a giant axe. Saturday saw horror film king George Romero, the ever popular Danny Trejo and fan favorite Malcolm McDowell who insisted anyone in the back come up and fill in the RIP (V.I.P. to you and me) sitting in the front. It didn’t matter as all of them were packed to standing room only.
Photo-ops were also a hit with lines filling the hallways. The most interesting was Bill Mosely donning his character Chop Top Sawyer from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. FaceOff Season 9 winner Nora Hewitt was a surprise guest who decked out Mr. Mosely in his iconic character for possibly the last time, so it was quite the treat to see and get a picture. “The whole experience was amazing. Being a fan of the movie and Bill’s work, I couldn’t ask for a cooler opportunity, as a make-up artist and a fan. It’s really just a dream come true,” said Ms. Hewitt.
One of the more touching moments came when “Scares That Care” Founder and CEO Joe Ripple, presented Mad Monster Party Owner Eben McGarr and wife Jennie, with a huge genuine crystal statue as a thank you for all the couple has done for the charitable organization. Since 2012, Mad Monster has helped raise thousands of dollars through its conventions and other events.
“Joe Ripple is one of the greatest people I’ve ever met and his commitment to helping others is unsurpassed. That’s why “Scares That Care” is the official charity of Mad Monster,” Mr. McGarr said after the surprise ceremony.
Horror deity Sid Haig got in on the charitable action tending bar on Saturday night to the backdrop of the wildly popular Scaraoke. Mr. Haig was offering up his famous bubble gum martini and all proceeds went to the “Scares That Care” organization.
Other events included the ubiquitous costume contest that saw nearly 40 entrants with celebrity judges Stefan Kapicic (Deadpool) and Bill Bryan (Ghostbusters) and the raucous crowd as the official third judge. The winner was an 8’ tall scarecrow that would scare the devil himself away. That was followed up by the popular Miss ScArizona™ Contest. These scary cute ladies answered horror questions from judges Jonathan Brugh and Ben Fransham of What We Do In The Shadows fame and Frankenhooker herself, Patty Mullen, had a scream off that blew the windows out and a talent portion.
All in all there was a little something for everyone, kids and adults alike. And plans are already underway to secure a date for next year’s Phoenix show.
“Mad Monster is a family and our events feel more like family reunions than business. It appears the spirit of the show is infectious and more and more are joining the family. Not just the fans but celebrities and vendors too. If we haven’t yet, we hope to infect you too,” Mr. McGarr said after another successful weekend.
Did you attend Mad Monster Party? What did you think?