Last year was my first Walker Stalker Convention. This was almost my first convention ever, but then Supernatural had to swoop in at the last second and come to Atlanta the weekend before! I’m not talking about that convention right now though so more on that later. This upcoming weekend I will get to take part in my second Walker Stalker Convention and I could not be more excited if I tried. Last year I made a schedule for myself and my two friends, friends who supported me in this venture but were not fans of the show, that was so to the minute that my one friend asked me, “Michelle, when the hell are we going to eat?” My answer of course was between the panels and whatnot. Duh!
I thought I had it all figured out and oddly enough it worked out beyong great. In my mind there was a checklist. There were plenty of people there I wanted to meet, but I knew in my head it was impossible to meet them all. However, I’m not sure I would have gone at all if another friend had not bought me a photo op with Robert Englund. The Robert Englund. I have been obsessed with the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise for a long time. To the point that when Wes Craven passed, I felt oddly devastated to lose this great director even though I never had the opportunity to meet him. Maybe that is because when I was younger my goal was to be the female Wes Craven and who knows maybe one day I will be just that. No one really knows what their life has in store for them. But once she bought me that ticket I literally thought, “Oh wow I’m going to a convention!”
I knew then that I had to get ready and prepare for this based on other friend’s experiences at Dragon Con. So there I was looking over schedules, looking over other people who would be there, getting money from my father who supports my horror obsession to meet other people, and scrapping together enough money to take to the convention to spend. Let me tell you that whoever came up with this idea is a genius. I cannot fathom the amount of month that are made from these conventions between the meet and greets, photo ops, ticket purchases, and other various activities riddled throughout the weekend to participate in. But I am also not here to talk about the amount of dough that people can spend at these things either. I am here to tell you about my journey throughout the convention last year and that if you are on a fan you owe it to yourself to go.
On day one, my friend and I rode Marta, as we typically do whenever we can, to venture our way to the Georgia World Congress Center. Upon getting there, she discovered that her tickets were in the car and she did not have the email on her. Encouraging me to go in, it took a while to get through the photo op line, not so much through the will call areas. However, considering one of the people I was lucky to be standing in line with yelled out at IronE Singleton who came by to talk to us for a second while standing in line made me feel rather lucky to merely be standing there. I’m sure others can say they met one of the actors from the show while waiting to get into the convention, but this was not something I was necessarily expecting. Actually, I was not expecting it at all.
By the time I got my tickets, I was rushing downstairs to get to the first panel of the day. I hated the fact that I was already late for The Night of the Living Dead panel, which featured horror legends Russ Steiner and Judith O’Dea. Much to my surprised, and pleasure, the panel was running late! I had never been so happy to hear the word late in my life. And as soon as they came on stage, I immediately felt this joy I cannot explain as I became too enamored in their words to take too many pictures. Both actors were very informative about the movie and gave great behind the scene details that was absolutely fascinating. Though it would have been great to hear them talk longer, I did get to talk to them more when attaining their autographs and photographs with them. There will be more on that in tomorrow’s entry.
My second panel on day one was The Boondock Saints panel, which excited my friend and I to no end. We have loved that movie since high school I believe. The timeline has become a blur at this point, but listening to Sean Patrick Flanery was both hilarious, as well as . He told so many behind the scene stories that had us all cracking up and the fact that he was beyond animated helped matters. Sean was not there by himself though! David Della Rocco was of course on the panel as well, but did not speak a lot. In a way he was kind of like his character from the movie where the remarks that came out were rather random and hilarious at the same time. We also had the chance to sing Happy Birthday to Sean which was really cool, but what truly made this moment was when he made a comment that his name was Sean and not the dude from the Boondock Saints or Connor like he heard people singing. This was one of those panels I was beyond happy to say that my friend and I got to attend.
We had a little bit of time between the next panel and The Boondock Saints so we began to look around the vendor tables. There are so many talented people at these conventions. And there is artwork that I would not have thought to create in a thousand years. I was very grateful to be in the presence of such talented people. I managed to get some amazing prints as well as an awesome hand knitted ninja turtle beanie that I get to wear every winter now. Though last year we did not really have a winter here in Georgia so hopefully this year I will finally have a reason to use my hat this year. And after we bought far more goods than we probably should have we went to get in line for the Robert Englund panel.
This was one of the panels I wanted to see the most. That is partly because I LOVE Robert Englund. And lord knows I probably snapped a few more pictures of him than I should have, but that is besides the point. Robert’s panel was absolutely amazing because he talked about Wes Craven a lot and Wes’s inspiration behind Freddy. Apparently when growing up Wes was shown a lot of Disney films, which I personally find humorous. He explained that the image for Freddy came about because of this guy outside of his house in a dirty old sweater and hat. This was a night when his parents were not at home and it was just his brother and him. When they went back to look at the window and he was right there in front of them.
I honestly cannot fathom such a thing. I would have probably knocked on the window even though that would have helped no one. I am positive that anyone in the same situation would have been beyond freaked out. I also learned that Robert’s favorite Nightmare is Wes Craven’s New Nightmare because it was the one film that was truly what he wanted to see on the silver screen. A true blend of reality and the dream world. Plus to hear him say “Welcome to Prime Time Bitch” in Freddy’s voice. Classic. He was truly a treat to be able to listen to and I know if he is at any other conventions I attend in the future my goal will be to attend his panel once more.
After his panel, we did a little more shopping and then decided to see what some of the various autograph schedules were for various actors we wanted to meet and I got beyond lucky. One of the people on my list was sitting at his table, there was no line. Mr. Kane Hodder. Jason Voorhees himself! And I walked up to ask if he was still autographing for the evening. I went into apology mode because it was ten til eight at the time, which is when the convention closes on Friday by the way, and he laughed and just smiled at me. I also happened to tell him I would get out of his hair if he just signed my picture, which might have been why he laughed.
I explained that when the commercial came out for Jason X I scared my mom because I ran down the hall to inform her I was finally going to get to see a Friday the 13th film in theaters. And I explained to him that on the day I was supposed to go with my dad he had to work late for whatever reason and my mom did not want to see me disappointed so she took me. My mom, the woman who hated horror films. And to this day that is one of my favorite memories of her now that she is gone. For some reason I felt like I could really talk to him even though it was such a brief encounter. He truly made me feel important and that really says a lot when it comes to actors with their fans. I am so glad I stumbled upon his table that evening. I cannot imagine having never met him.
Overall, my first day was jam packed. Of course, I can say the same about the rest of the weekend, but I can honestly say that on that day I was bitten by the convention bug and I knew I did not want to go back to a time I was not attending them. Tomorrow expect me to be posting something, hopefully a smidge earlier, that goes into more details about day two of my convention time next year in a count down to Atlanta’s Walker Stalker Con 2017!