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Hateful's Adventure at Horrorfind IV
Baltimore, Maryland [August 13-15, 2004]

The Godfather of Zombies George A. Romero

See what you missed out at Horrorfind Weekend IV, which happened to see the coming together of a large amount of zombie-related celebrities. ATZ's eyes on the scene, HatefulDisplay, fills you in on the fun and rubs it in to all who didn't make it. And if you look close in the pictures, you can almost see him getting more and more drunk.

by Ron Clark [aka HatefulDisplay]

Hey, it's Joseph Pilato And so here it was, Friday the Thirteenth. I was in all my glory as I drove toward Hunt Valley, Maryland for Horrorfind Weekend IV. All I had on my mind was meeting tons of people, including George Romero and Jeffrey Combs, who were the two that topped my “must see” list. Even getting lost a few times and knowing that I was not familiar with anybody who would be there when I arrived didn’t deter my eagerness. I was like a small child on Christmas Day!

I checked into the hotel and chugged down a couple of lukewarm beers I brought with me before getting in the line for pre-paid tickets. Initially, it was quite irritating to stand in line for around two hours prior to the doors opening. After awhile though, I realized that this was the place I have always wanted to be in, a place of like-minded horror enthusiasts. I found myself discussing independent and Asian horror films with people who knew what the hell I was talking about. Of course Romero’s trilogy was also a big topic of discussion.

Is that water on your foot Ms. Ross? When the doors finally opened, I headed inside and looked for a Romero signing line. Unfortunately, he had not arrived yet. Kane Hodder, Barbara Crampton, Adrienne Barbeau, Debbie Rochon, and Dee Wallace Stone were not there yet either. All of them showed up by the end of the first evening and honestly, there was plenty to do without them.

I started by drifting over to the table of Joseph Pilato, of Day of the Dead fame. He was a really cool guy and I was the first autograph he signed during the convention. I had a quote ready for months and he smiled when I had him sign his picture, “I’m running this monkey farm, Ron.” OK, maybe I’m easily amused, but Pilato was awesome and a standout guy throughout the con. He hammed it up with several of his lines from Day at such a volume that he took the attention of every one in the room on several occasions.

The Re-Animator himself, Jeffrey Combs The next move was meeting Gaylen Ross. I couldn’t think of any good quotes from her so I just had her sign her photo. She looks beautiful for her age and I feel that she is much more attractive now than when Dawn of the Dead was filmed. I accidentally knocked her water glass over on her foot when I crouched down for a picture next to her. I apologized and mumbled something about spilling water on her after waiting twenty years to meet her. She didn't get angry with me and took it very well. Thinking back, perhaps she should have stood for the picture and we could have avoided the whole mishap <ahem>.

I went on to meet Jeffrey Combs, the Re-Animator himself, who was especially nice. I couldn’t, for the life of me, come up with any questions to ask him so I briefly discussed seeing him in a non-horror film on television recently. Neither of us could figure out what movie I was watching so I moved on.

Bill Mosely...wants you! Next up was Bill Mosely’s table. His first response was to compliment my Misfits shirt and point out the fact that he was wearing two Misfits patches on his jeans. He was cool and gave a couple cool quotes to help me figure what I wanted on his picture. I went with the Boogeyman line from House of 1000 Corpses, which was something amusing that I recall from that film.

I then visited the beautiful Brinke Stevens. She was incredibly cool and talked about Nightwalkers and the upcoming sequel with me. She told me she would be in three segments of the sequel and I stressed my opinions that she deserved more exposure in the original Nightwalkers. I ended up buying a Demon Lust DVD from her, which she signed for free.

The dealers' rooms were next and that's when I began wishing I were a millionaire. I could have easily spent thousands of dollars down there. The place was packed with vendors selling anything and everything horror. You could purchase DVD’s, rare videos, posters, books, comic books, original artwork, jewelry, clothing, sculptures, and more. I ended up buying only a few DVD’s in the dealers’ rooms in order to keep myself in my weekend budget.

The signature smile of Brinke Stevens In the dealers’ room, I met the gorgeous and uber-friendly Syn Devil. I was also able to meet Tom Savini, who did not talk very much to my dismay. He did sign the Demon Lust DVD that I bought earlier for free, so I didn’t complain much.

While still in the dealers’ room, I also met the makers of two films I own:Teenage Zombie House Massacre and Stakes. Both men were very open to criticism on some of the aspects I disliked in their films. Both of them were very friendly and talked a lot about their films with me. I took the advice of Stacy, from Teenage Zombie House Massacre, and bought a copy of Midnight Skater. I know the money will go into future films so I had no problem dishing out the ten bucks.

The last line I stood in for that day was for Debbie Rochon. She looked incredible and was very friendly. She cuddled up close against me for a picture and that's when I discovered that I accidentally turned my camera off when I gave it to the guy to take a photo. I joked with her that I did it on purpose. Yeah, double the cuddle time. Debbie Rochon was definitely worth talking to.

I recognized Amy Lynn Best inside and asked about her upcoming film, The Resurrection Game. It has zombies in it, and any body that knows me knows that I’ll buy almost anything with zombies in it. She informed me that the film was complete and they were looking at least one strong possibility for high quality distribution.

Mmmmm...Syn Devil The remainder of the first night was spent between bars and outside the convention area. I ran into Angela Bettis, from the sleeper hit May, outside. She seemed to be amused at the fact that I asked if it would be all right to take her picture and joked about promoting health by smoking while I took it. I also ran into Kyra Schon from the original Night of the Living Dead. She's another woman who is very polite and has aged very well. I had seen pictures of her in the past, but they do not give credit to the real person. She posed for a picture with me that day and freely mingled throughout the weekend when she went outside for cigarette breaks.

Saturday morning, I struggled to get up around nine. That wasn’t an easy task after consuming such large amounts of alcoholic beverages the night before. I knew the Romero line would start early so I had to drag myself up and get moving. I hit the main line around 9:30 with the doors opening at ten. There were already more than one hundred people ahead of me. I didn’t really mind, it was my fault for not stopping the previous night's drinking sooner.

Three cheers for 'Teenage Zombie House Massacre' As soon as the doors opened, I got in line to meet George Romero. While in line, I met a couple guys who had gone to the Evans City Cemetery and took wonderful black and white photographs of the area used for Night of the Living Dead’s cemetery scene. The guys told me about almost getting hit by cars while doing the road shots. The photos were outstanding and it was obvious that they were well planned out.

After approximately two hours in line, I was ushered in and got to sit down next to Romero. It was incredible. I had tons of questions, but felt that I should only ask a couple so the others in line wouldn’t be held up longer than they had to be. I asked him what his thoughts on Lucio Fulci’s work were and he informed me that he felt Fulci’s films were fun and he enjoyed watching them. He informed me the downside to his work was that they lacked in the social aspects. I asked him his thoughts on the remake of Dawn of the Dead and whether he felt it paid homage to the original. I know I could have found an interview somewhere, but I wanted to hear it from the source. Romero informed me that he was not worried about any homage to his films. He smiled and told me, “It was a lot better than I thought it would be.” He went on to add that he doesn’t think zombies should run. I agreed with him, shook his hand one last time, and had to walk away.

Debbie Rochon makes me get funny feelings down there... Later on I made my way to the lower level to catch a couple authors’ readings. I went to hear readings from Brian Keene (The Rising) and Drew Williams (Night Terrors). Both men did amazing readings and were great to talk to. There were a number of other readings, but I skipped out on the rest. Keene was the only one I was intent on seeing. He was so loud at one point that he interrupted the reading in the room next to us. It was hilarious. I got to speak to Keene a few times throughout the weekend, and I must say he’s a really cool and down-to-earth guy. He offered to buy me a shot the first night if I ran into him at the bar. By the time I made my way to the second bar, I steered clear of him because I knew a shot of hard liquor would most likely induce vomiting when mixed with all the beer I drank.

The costume contest was held that evening. This was awesome. There were killer clowns, grim reapers, a scarecrow, an evil Little Red Riding Hood, and more. Some of the costumes were amazing. I can only imagine the amount of time that was put into them. During this part of the evening, I ran into Reggie Bannister of Phantasm fame. He was really nice and happily posed for a photograph.

Keene in badass mode After the costume contest, I skipped down to one of the bars to catch part of the 'Sugar Virus' set. They had a pretty cool sound that my friend found to be reminiscent of 'Samhain', if any one knows who they are. I picked up one of their CD’s to listen to later, which I found to be pretty enjoyable. Check them out if you’re into horror-punk or Misfits-type stuff.

Before I called it a night, I ran into fetish model Calla Ford and Irwin Keyes (House of 1000 Corpses) in the upper bar. I tricked both of them into getting a picture with me. Okay, maybe they were willing to get in the pictures. After that, and running out of the last case of beer we brought, I called it a night.

Here I ran afoul of a pissed-off werewolf The next day, I almost slept past the hotel’s check out time. I rushed to get my stuff to the car and to check out the convention one last time. I was pretty hung-over and dehydrated, so I wasn’t into staying much longer. I ran into one of the cool folks I met and said my goodbyes. Then, it was off for an incredibly long two-hour drive back to the land of normalcy.

Kyra Schon...with a trowel in my back Dawn's Scott Reiniger
Random blood-sucking chick My fetish is...Calla Ford
You like that Reggie guy from the Phantasm movies Irwen, please remove your hand from my thigh
Makeup man Tom Savini Drum major for the zombie clown band
Angela Bettis...when she's not chopping people up I think I'm totally plowed at this point
Uh oh, the demon's seen me... Is it strange that I find her REALLY sexy?
Author Drew Williams...reading You've got something in your ear...

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