5 Ways to Monster Mania Part 3
By George Rose
April 18, 2019
#3) HALLOWEEN RETURNS AGAIN… AND AGAIN
And just like that, the best Neve-gasm of my life was complete. With the autograph and two photo-ops now over, the rest of the day would be a quick and smooth process. The thing is, someone who plays an iconic role will have a longer line and likely incites more conversation from the fans. Neve Campbell played Sidney Prescott for all four Scream films and was the main victim across the series. Freddy Krueger was the main villain across all Nightmare on Elm Street films and was played by the same person, Robert Englund, across the board. Wait times come long and chat-worthy topics come easy. This was not the case for James Jude Courtney.
There have been many version of Halloween and many actors to don the Michael Myers mask. While Jame starred in the recent uber-successful Halloween reboot/sequel of sorts, he has only been Michael once and nobody knows him outside of that role. Therefore there was a short wait, a low $40 autograph/selfie combo charge, and minimal conversation. “Hi, nice to meet you, loved the new film, glad you landed the gig of a lifetime and hope to see you at a convention again soon,” was the extent of it. Boom, done, next guest.
#4) FREDDY VS JASON VS MONICA VS GEORGE
If meeting Neve Campbell was like finally making love to your childhood crush and meeting a James Jude Courtney was akin to quickly making out with a stranger in a club, I’d say that meeting Monica Keena was comparable to getting drunk and hooking up with one of your friends. I say this because I didn’t expect to meet her that day although I’ve certainly enjoyed her celebrity friendship over the years. I remember her being the bad girl influence on Dawson’s Creek and I obsessed over Freddy vs Jason, a team-up feature that pitted two of horrors biggest legends against each other with Monica playing the main victim. She doesn’t have her own Funko Pop figurine but I did have a Freddy and Jason 2-pack. If Kathy Najimy hadn’t cancelled at the last minute, which meant I couldn’t get her Hocus Pocus figurine autographed, I wouldn’t have decided to have Monica sign a makeshift Freddy vs Jason box set. You know, like when a date cancels on you or you experience an unfortunate breakup, and then you get drunk and fuck a friend. Isn’t that a thing? No, just me in my 20’s? Well, that’s what happened.
The thing is, Monica is an interesting example of celebrity. She played a bad girl and horror victim, roles you imagine a more scandalous faux-celebrity might take on. She obviously wasn’t gunning for an Oscar and her paparazzi snapshots over the years show her in more revealing clothing. Even in her Freddy vs Jason role, she seems to be acting through a drug-induced haze and I always wondered whose dick she sucked to get the gig. Harvey Weinstein, perhaps? And then I start to feel bad for judging her based on two roles and the unfortunate time period women worked through in the last few decades to have to even get certain roles. If she was a gold-digging whore who slept her way to fame, there’s as much of a chance it was selfish ambition as it was the perverted abuse of higher executives. You never know or get a better idea until you meet this people. Well, I finally met Monica Keena.
She wore a spaghetti-strap red tank top, had what appeared to be cheap red lipstick smeared all around her mouth, had unbrushed hair gelled back as if she dried her hair driving a convertible, and basically looked like she rolled out of bed for the event after a rough night out partying. I’m only comfortable calling out someone’s white-trash look because I myself grew up amongst a white-trash army of high school bullies. I call it like I see it and I’ve seen the bottom of the landfill. Then again, I’m a gay-geek hybrid and I’m aware that looks can be deceiving. Rest assure, I was wrong about Monica.
Within the first exchange of “hellos” I couldn’t hear an ounce of slurring, with nothing but crystal clear annunciation coming from Monica. She was sweet and excited to have fans at her booth. I asked why she hadn’t been around the convention scene before and she claimed, “It wasn’t until recently that I learned I needed a booking agent for these types of events and I’m so happy I finally got one.” She must not have signed a Freddy and Jason Funko Pop two-pack before because she didn’t seem to know what it was, which led me to explain that she has no individual figuring but my love for her was worth creating this Funko opportunity. I didn’t just have her sign her autograph and character name, but I also had her write over the word “and” with “vs”, so as to make this an unofficial version of the Freddy vs Jason film, as opposed to just a two-pack of competing franchises. We joked that both villains lose in the movie which makes her the winner, which by default makes the film all about her, which by default makes her more famous than either iconic character. She laughed and then added to her autograph, signing it a second time on top along with the words “I won!”
Then my friend Travis had her do the same on his figurine. While this was happening, Monica came to notice that Travis and I both had Pop protectors over our Funkos and asked about them. Mine was a thinner plastic that provides less protection but is easier to get off the Funko. Travis’s was a thicker plastic that protects better but can be difficult to get off. Monica then began to sign Travis’s Funko so I figured she was distracted. I turned to Travis to make a little side-joke, saying that, “Yeah I use thinner protection, which means it feels better!” I said this at a whisper with a nudge of my elbow, a nod to dick jokes and my overtly sexual nature. This is common to Travis and a theme in our friendship. I didn’t think I said it that loud and I certainly didn’t think Monica heard it.
But she did, and the she started laughing. And then she laughed harder. And then I started laughing. “Oh my God, I didn’t think you would hear that,” I said, “I didn’t mean to be so vulgar in front of you.” With her big boobies nearly bouncing out of her tank top with laughter, she said it was a great joke and she agrees, less protection does in fact feel better. And just like that, Monica became one of my favorite people that just happens to also be a celebrity. We took some pictures, hugged a few times because now I was obsessed with her, and then Travis and I started to head home. Although I didn’t expect to get her autograph prior to the event, it ended up being among the best $50 I’ve ever spent at a convention.
#5) DEATH OF A DREAM
And just like that, it was over. I met the woman of my dreams (Neve Campbell), joined the best coven in the world (The Craft), met a version of one of my favorite horror legends (James Jude Courtney), and learned that you definitely shouldn’t judge a book by her barely dressed cover (Monica Keena). It doesn’t matter if Monica sucked a few executives off to get ahead in life and it doesn’t matter that I had to get beaten up in my youth to find solace in horror movies. It doesn’t matter what made us the people we are, just that we are the best people we can try to be. Monica doesn’t have a huge claim to fame and until recently she didn’t have a convention booking agent, but now she’s doing her best to get out there and meet her fans. It doesn’t matter than my vengeful childhood tendencies led me to Monster Mania, because I’m a decent person who ultimately just wants to thank the stars that saved my life. Throughout that life I’ve had hate in my heart and fornicated with many to distract from those urges, only to find my own peace writing for a movie website and chasing celebrity autographs. Who we were and what we did doesn’t compare to who we want to be and what we can do to make those dreams happen. But just like sex and drugs, the completion of a lifelong dream comes with a hangover.
From a financial standpoint, the day left a hole in my wallet: $115 on three Funko Pops + $25 for a custom Craft shirt + $50 on a Scream costume/sword + $320 on two photo-ops + $20 for digital copies of those photo-ops + $100 for Neve + $40 for James + $50 for Monica + $20 for a day ticket (no press passes at Monster Mania) = $740. Honestly, though, the financial cost was nothing compared to the emotional one. The thing about meeting one of your Top 10 legends is that you spend a lifetime waiting and hoping to do so. Once you do, what is there to look forward too? Meeting celebrities is like having sex, and having sex is a lot like doing drugs; you experience these incredible highs, a total sense of euphoria that dilutes any sense of joy immediately thereafter. The next day you start to come down from that high and are back to regular life. The problem with a high is that it isn’t followed by normalcy, but rather a crippling low bordering on depression. Yes, this sounds more like a crazy bipolar person's reaction than a normal, healthy fan but I’m not normal, remember?
I didn’t just meet Neve Campbell and I didn’t just get to enjoy the convention. I have to write about it and the only way to do that is to be honest. I can’t write about Neve without explaining my relationship with her growing up and exposing parts of myself that are messy and still painful all these years later. I would be doing you a disservice to hold back on these facts and would feel as though I was lying to you if all I did was highlight the best parts of the convention and not the worst parts of my soul that, to me, work in conjunction with my fandom. I met someone my life was built around and it was magical and incredible and it took the heart that Neve glued back together over the years and shattered it all over again. I woke up the next day still tired, a little sad, and dreading the article to come. I knew it would be long and melodramatic, and I knew it would take time to get through. But this is who I am and this is the article you get. Not all convention articles are so personal, as you’ll learn in the next few weeks with a few of the Cons that follow Monster Mania. But as for this horror convention, it took a toll on me. It was a dream come true but, then again, a completed dream is the same thing as a dead dream. It leaves a void that only the next celebrity can fill and, looking ahead, there isn’t a Top 10 celebrity in sight. There are legends and there are stars I’m eager to see, but this convention had a game changer for me and I needed time to recover. But only in death can someone be reborn, and with that time taken I have gotten to go back to the movie theater where this fandom began and got to fall in love with movies again.
There are two big conventions coming up (The Great Philadelphia Comic Con and Awesome Con in DC) as well as one of the biggest films to come out in our lifetime (Avengers: Endgame). That’s the thing about hangovers; they’re ugly and take time to get over, but you always move on from them. There’s always a better day ahead, a new convention to attend, more sex to have and love to find. The world is full of highs and lows, and sometimes they happen together. This Monster Mania changed my life and fulfilled a childhood dream I never thought I’d achieve. Dreams do come true (Neve Campbell) and you should never judge a book by its cover (Monica Keena), but no matter what highs and lows happen you should always remember one thing; nothing is set in stone and you can always change up the path you’re on with a reboot (James Jude Courtney). And with that, friends, Monster Mania 2019 will go down in my version of history as one of the most emotional and epic conventions I’ve ever attended.