5 Ways to Monster Mania Part 2
By George Rose
April 17, 2019
#2) THE NEVE CAMPBELL SUPERFAN EXPERIENCE
So the day finally arrives. I park just a few minutes after the 10am opening and am through the guest check-in by 10:30. First stop, photo-op tickets. You can pre-purchase them in advance but I did not, and when I went to get them online the Friday before the Sunday I planned to go, it was made clear that pre-sales stopped once the weekend of the event arrived. I was instructed to try my luck for available tickets at the show, which instantly made that my first mission of the day. Without Neve Campbell and The Craft tickets locked down, the purchases of the Scream costume and my custom Craft shirt would have been in vein. Luckily they were not sold out, and after spending $320 ($80 for Neve, $220 for the Craft group and $20 in taxes/fees), I was locked in for the photo-ops.
It was 10:30am and my first photo-op was at 11:45am, which was for The Craft. With Neve’s photo-op scheduled for 12:00pm, I knew the right move would be to head over to Neve’s autograph table first. After ignoring all shopping en route, I quickly found where I needed to be… at the back of a line almost 300 people deep. At least, that’s what a loose count of the crowd revealed. I had one hour before I was told to return to the photo-op section and decided I would roll the dice in Neve’s line. Basically, if I got through in an hour than I made a good decision. If I didn’t make it up to the front before 11:45am, I’d have to leave my place to run back to the photo-ops, only to return to the autograph line later and be back at the beginning.
Since it was the start of my day and little had yet to go wrong, my good spirits made the steady line seem rather quick. I chatted with some fellow fans, practiced using my paint pen on a spare pad (a good idea to make sure the paint consistency is right for the autograph), and dig my Funko Pop out of my backpack. Whenever I checked the time I’d panic, then I’d get distracted by fans, then I’d check the time again and saw it fly by. My nerves were pounding and I knew in my heart I’d somehow get screwed out of my pre-photo-op autograph. Neve must have know I was dying inside because she decided to twist the knife.
So now it’s 11:30 and I’m maybe 20 people away from meeting Neve, but I only have 15 minutes left before I have to run to the photo-ops. Next to Neve are Fairuza Balk on the left and Robin Tunney on the right. Their individual photo-ops were just before the Craft group shot, so I kept looking at them to see when they got up as a “heads up” that I only had maybe 20 minutes before Neve would leave. They were still sitting there at 11:40am, which told me that photo-ops were running late and that my chances at a early Neve autograph were looking good. I turn to Fairuza, she’s still there. I turn to Robin, she’s still there. I turn back to my love, Neve, and she’s walking away from her table. The few of us at the front of the line closest to meeting her start worrying and you can hear the confused murmurs quickly spreading down the line. A moment later, it was revealed to us that Neve was, in fact, human and had to use the restroom.
“She better not be taking a shit,” I said to the assistant after a few seconds without Neve. I was less than a dozen people away in line with less than a few minutes left before I knew she’d run off to her photo-op. Then, I noticed Fairuza left her booth and it became clear I screwed up my morning schedule. As I started to beat myself up and question if I should curse the gods, Neve returned!!! She must have known her photo-op wasn’t far off and the line started moving again faster than ever. This meant I would barely get any time with the legend before I was out of her line. I got my red paint pen and my Ghostface figure out so I could be as ready as possible. My heart was pounding and before I knew it I was on-deck and it was my turn to pay. I gave the assistant $100 ($60 autograph and $40 selfie) and shuffled my way in front of Neve. The moment I waited over 20 years for had arrived.
Time constraints meant it wouldn’t not last long but tagging on a selfie pic was sure to extend it a little. I moved my way in front of Neve and immediately began beaming with joy. “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH,” I said, several times actually. She thanked me and started to sign my Funko Pop with the red paint pen I handed her. And then I went blank. She said nothing while she signed and I just stared at her like a idiot. I’m not sure if I was dumbfounded by her beauty or if I was respectfully letting her sign without distraction. Then I could feel myself asking that question in my head and I knew I had to say something, ANYTHING, lest I waste this rare moment and shoot myself in the foot for it later. I had wondered in advance if I would use my minimal time discussing Scream, the defining horror franchise of the 90’s and the impact on my life as a horror genre fanatic. I wondered if I would talk about the Craft and how a fake letter written to me as a kid was like a form of bullying that broke my heart. I wanted to focus on her biggest hits because they had the biggest effect on the world but, then again, I imagine those are he movies the hundreds of fans behind me had in mind too. I just didn’t know what to say!
Well, in this moment I was stripped bare of all I had planned and all I had hoped for. I wasn’t a movie fan, a horror fanatic or a writer for a film website. I was a person who had been broken and reborn by the help of Neve Campbell over the years, but that can be awkward to talk about. To thank her for Scream and The Craft, films I fell for in hopes of exacting revenge on teenage assholes doesn’t seem like something she’d want to hear. And as much as talking about gay stuff puts a sour taste in my mouth, it’s more motivational than talking about cutting someone throat to the bone. So, I went with what my heart said would make Neve feel the best despite what would make me feel the most uncomfortable. I said, “Just like everyone here I loved you in Scream and The Craft, but I wanted to thank you for making Three to Tango during a time when making gay films was probably more harmful to a career than helpful. But it means a lot that someone of your stature would do the right thing and not the easy thing, so thank you for being brave for my people when we couldn’t be.”
The movie bombed when it came out so I imagine most of you don’t know what I’m talking about, but she starred in a movie about gay conflict in the corporate world back when it was still a taboo topic. After I said this, she stopped looking at me like just another common fan and as a person she had truly impacted. She smiled and thanked me again, not simply for my fandom but for saying such kind words. And then I knew we were in love and my life was complete. Instead of rushing me along to make time for the next person, I proceeded to have a nice chat with my new bestie.
“I love your shirt,” she told me. I explained it was custom made and that I would also be doing her individual photo-op in addition to the selfie right now, although what I really meant was, “I’m buying everything you’re selling so love me most and take me home with you.” We hugged and, naturally, I let it go on too long. We took some quick pictures and then, before the assistant tried rushing me along, I asked one last question. “Do you think it would be ok if during the photo-op I do a very dramatic pose and possibly have you hold my leg up?” I could tell she didn’t quite understand what I meant but she smiled and said it would be fine. I thanked her again for taking time out of her life and work schedule to come meet her fans in the Philly area. I begged her to return again and said I’d see her in a few minutes. And just like that, a moment 20+ years in the making was over in under five minutes. It’s a good thing pictures last forever.
With Neve (and all the ladies, really) running a little late for photo-ops, I still had time to make it to that section of the venue before The Craft photo. I decided that I didn’t just want the Ghostface costume during my Neve picture but that I also needed a fake knife, so I told my friend Travis (who was attending with me) yo go find a plastic hunting knife at one of the vendors on the show floor while I waited in line for The Craft. That’s the sort of $8 charge I should have easily tagged on to the purchase when I got the costume off Amazon, but even someone who preps for a convention can still end up forgetting something.
By the time I got the Craft photo-op line, it was already rather large. The thing about photo-ops vs autograph lines is that pictures move much faster once they get going. They’re a no chatting or distractions, just “walk up, click, and go.” Since I had been in Neve’s autograph line for over an hour, I was towards the back of the Craft line. During this time I chatted with other fans, many of whom seemed jealous of my custom shirt made for the pictures. With meeting Neve such a success and having new fan friends praise my shirt creation, I was riding high. Then Travis returned from the shopping. He said he found only one knife, which surprised me since I figured a Monster Mania horror convention would have a bit more in the way of costumes for sale. He told me it was $15 and proudly handed me this hidden treasure. I looked down at the knife and back up at him in disgust. “What the fuck is this?!”
“It’s the only knife I could find,” he said in defense. But it wasn’t a knife. Not a 6” hunting knife, not a 12” carving knife, not even a dull butter knife. He brought me a nearly two-foot-long serrated… sword? It looked like a sword, like a weapon to be brought into battle and not any number of the knives used in the Scream movies. Well, fate had spoken and this was what the gods decided I would wield during my photo with Neve. The Craft line started to move and I told Travis I’d meet up with him shortly. An announcement was made on the speaker that since photos were running late all chit-chat with celebrities should be withheld for later during the autographs. Within minutes it was my turn.
I couldn’t tell Robin Tunney that I loooooooved Vertical Limit as a teen; I couldn’t tell Fairuza Balk that I looooooved The Waterboy growing up; I couldn’t tell Rachel True that I had no idea how much I’d learn to love weed later in life after watching Half Baked when I was too young to fully understand it; and I had already loved up on Neve. I had three seconds to say something to the group as I walked up to them and I went with, “I love you all so much, thank you for finally coming to a convention together, I’m so happy to be a part of your coven,” as I flashed off my “Squad Goals” shirt to them. They all smiled at me and seemed to like my shirt, but I couldn’t tell. I just turned to the camera, smiled, heard the click and was ushered along by a staff member. $220 gone in a flash! Get it, a flash?! Hahahahaha, moving on…
Neve’s photo-op was just after The Craft’s, so I went right into the next line. Oddly enough, I was the last person in that line. If anyone gets a few extra seconds with a star it’s the person at the end of the line. I put my backpack on the ground and started getting my Ghostface costume together. I wondered if there was some way to cut the knife Travis got me in half but it’s so freaking big that there was a metal pole running through it that prevent such a modification. Costume on, knife out and minutes later I was at the front of the line. “It’s me again!”
After three encounters in an hour and a self-proclaimed best friendship in place, I shouldn’t have been so surprised Neve seemed to remember me. I reminded her about my leg getting lifted up and she said she was ready. Well, the leg tried to go up but got stuck on the costume, because it’s long and narrow and apparently floor-length skirts are not meant to withstand a high-kick. The leg almost made it up, Neve mostly sort-of caught it, and I would have fallen backwards if she didn’t catch me with her free arm. When it was over, we both looked at the photographed with worried faces. “It came out good,” he said. Rather than question it and beg for a retake, I figured fate would take charge and I’d be happy with whatever it was. After all, if anything ruined the pictures it was that stupid two-foot sword. I hugged Neve one last time, thanked her again and went on my way. Even as I write this, it saddens me to think that may be the last time I ever see Neve Campbell again. I sure hope I made NeveLover7 proud.