Growing up, Horror has always held a special place in my heart. The scares, the fun, the fans…I absolutely love the way it unites a particular crowd together. However, there has been one particular movie in the genre that has reigned supreme amongst all of them, that movie being John Carpenter’s Halloween. The Shape, Laurie Strode, Dr. Loomis…all characters you genuinely liked and wanted to know more about. The simple yet effective scares just made this movie for me, proving to me that subtle things such as lighting technique can be far more scary than buckets of blood.
With that said, Halloween had me befriending an entire community who all share the common bond of a mutual love for Halloween. I’d dress as Michael Myers for close to ten years of my life, I bought a Michael Myers doll from Spencer Gift’s, which in turn spawned a never-ending collection and I also met the love of my life… all through this amazing independent Horror film that I continue to love and watch to this day.
Having lived in California a majority of my life, I always felt as though the East Coast hosted the best Horror gatherings and events. However, California started the trend of holding the ultimate convention, beginning with the 25th anniversary of Halloween. This would pave the way for Halloween conventions every five years. Even though I was always dying to go and being a Northern California native, I was so close…yet so far away. By the time the 35th anniversary rolled around, I knew I could not miss out on yet another amazing convention.
I decided at the very last minute, that I would be in attendance at this thing. I called up my friend Shanda, whom I introduced to Halloween only a couple years prior to this event. Being an awesome friend and supporter of my Halloween addiction, she agreed to go with me to Pasadena for this opportunity of a lifetime.
35 Years of Terror was to be held in the Pasadena Convention Center from November 15th to the 17th and my decision to attend only happened two days prior. My enthusiasm was absolutely peaked! Scrambling for my favorite Fright-Rags designs to adorn, choosing what I wanted autographed, making sure all my cameras worked…it was blissful chaos.
After making the trek of roughly a seven-hour drive, we were there…Haddonfield, Illinois, well…the fictional Haddonfield that resides in Pasadena. The Myers house, the Wallace house, the Doyle house, Lynda’s house, the Strode house…all littered throughout the area, but still much closer than I had ever been before.
On the big day of my very first convention, I fondly remember picking up my wristband and waiting by the top balcony, just overlooking the main floor of the event. Only early attendees were allowed to venture in at this point, so I awkwardly paced and gawked from above. All the tables of vendors and guests had my stomach doing crazy flips! I spotted the Mondo table and from what I thought to have been a nifty program book for the event was actually in fact a convention exclusive vinyl! Either way, I didn’t even care what it was, but I knew I wanted it!
When the time came to enter the madness, it felt like I had been around these people all my life. Not only did I feel this around the celebrity guests, who I had grown with through my array of Halloween movies, but even the random guests from all over the world. There’s an amazing camaraderie between horror fans and especially Halloween fans. It’s an amazing and unique experience all at once.
In every direction, something truly epic was happening. Wendy Kaplan posing and coining the phrase “bup-uh-duh, bup-uh-duh,” (from Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers) while Tommy Lee Wallace gave Nick Castle a hard time for sitting in a chair while his fans leaned in for a quick picture. Simple things like going to a cafe across the street made for an amazing sight, as I witnessed Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris of Halloween 4 & 5) asking Michael Myers (Don Shanks of Halloween 5) to join her table for lunch! Everything going on was so surreal and crazy amazing, even though it might not be to a regular passerby.
I got to meet some absolute icons, reveling and reminiscing as I walked through the rooms and halls of the convention center. Another amazing moment was being able to capture most men to have played Michael Myers sharing the same stage for a lively panel discussion! I got to learn things like Don Shanks having his nose broken accidentally by a prop Donald Pleasance wielded in a scene of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers.
Once the experience of the convention was over, after meeting with friends I had conversed with for years, but had never met, there was still some important things that had to be tended to before making the journey back to the Bay Area. So Shanda and I made our way to try and put together a makeshift Halloween location tour, since the actual bus tour had been completely sold out. The first stop being the Myers house, which now resides in an awkward location near train tracks and serves as a chiropractor’s office. Right across the street lies the hardware store where Michael stole some Halloween masks, a rope and a couple of knives. Then we set out to find Tommy’s school, the Wallace house and the Doyle house where all the action happened. Coincidentally, Nancy’s house from A Nightmare on Elm Street is closeby as well.
After capturing all these moments, I had crossed off a huge bucket list wish and it turned out to be one of the most memorable times in my life. Not only had I gotten a full weekend dedicated to my most favorite and treasured scary movie, but I got to share it with so many people who feel the exact same way I do. It proved to me there is a special bond between the fan and the actor, but in the end we are all one in the same because we love and appreciate the Horror genre. Halloween will forever be the one, the only, the classic.