March 25, 2012

The Night of Unending Panels [Horror Hound Weekend - March 23]

Friday, March 23rd, was opening day of the Horror Hound Weekend in Columbus, OH. It was also the night of unending panels as Horror Hound used the evening to schedule three back-to-back panel and Q&A sessions.

At 7pm was the Rob Zombie's Halloween panel featuring actors Danielle Harris, Scout Taylor-Compton, and Tyler Mane. Immediately following at 8pm was a Day of the Dead reunion panel featuring Lori Cardille, Anthony Dileo, John Vulich, and more actors and crew. Then, to round out the night, we were treated at 9pm to a panel with director Stuart Gordon, his wife Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, and actress Barbra Crampton to talk From Beyond, Re-Animator, Dolls, and other Gordon-directed films.

While the From Beyond panel turned out to be the least attended yet most entertaining (Crampton, Gordon, and Purdy-Gordon have great chemistry), the Day of the Dead panel turned out to be quite meandering and - sometimes - off topic. The panel that managed to provide the perfect combination of insight and audience attraction was - hands down - the Halloween panel.

Here are some highlights of stories and trivia from each panel:

Halloween (2007) and Halloween 2 (2009) Panel

(L-R) Scout Taylor-Compton (Laurie Strode), Danielle Harris (Annie Brackett), and Tyler Mane (Michael Myers)
  •  Danielle Harris says H20 put the Halloween series in the toilet and Rob Zombie was needed to bring the series back.
  • Harris and Scout Taylor-Compton discuss how physically and emotionally taxing both of Zombie's Halloween remakes were but also how tightly knit they became as actors.
  • Harris shares a charming story about working with Donald Pleasence on Halloween 5 in which his breath was so boozy in one scene that it shocked a young Harris.
  • Tyler Mane explains why Michael Myers drops a TV in Halloween despite having a good grip on it: while carrying it, Mane hit a sprinkler on the ceiling.
  • Harris talks about venturing into directing with her film Among Friends 
  • Harris shares stories about being a child actor on the earlier Halloween movies, including an incident on her birthday when someone in a lobster costume came out with her cake and she ran away in terror. She admits to having a strange phobia of ocean creatures.
    • Mane explains that he's the first serial killer to "kill" an Oscar-Winner. In Halloween II, Mane's Myers repeatedly and viciously stabs a nurse played by Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer who won Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in 2012 for her role in The Help. In reality, Mane explains, he's viciously stabbing a sand bag off-camera over and over to the point of exhaustion (see clip). 

    Day of the Dead (1985) Panel  

    (L-R) Mark Tierno (Featured Zombie "Beef Treats"), Taso N. Stavrakis (Torrez), John Vulich (Featured Zombie and Special Makeup Effects Crewman), Debra Gordon (Featured Zombie), Lori Cardille (Sarah), Antone Dileo (Miguel)
    • Mark Tierno and Debra Gordon describe how they got into character as the first zombies pulled out of the mine corral. Tierno explains he made his zombie more expressive by suggesting a fear of the dark in his performance while Gordon describes embodying a zombie's overwhelming sense of hunger
    • Taso Stavrakis ruins my question to the actors about what kind of inner monologues they came up with to invent their characters by instead hogging the microphone. Instead of answering the question, Stavrakis explains why actors create inner monologues (yes -- I get it Stavrakis, actors are creating stories. I know. I know. Please pass the microphone to Anthony already)
    • John Vulich talks about a time when Tom Savini put the wrong type of fake blood in his mouth for a shot despite Vulich reminding Savini which kind NOT to use.
    • Tierno talks about working as a stand-in on Creepshow, doubling for Ted Danson and providing the voice of Carl Reynolds.
    • Vulich admits to being inspired by the wrinkled design of the zombies in Shock Waves when designing a similar look to Bub.
    • Lori Cardille shares some touching stories about the late Richard Liberty and how nice he was on set.
    • Antone Dileo describes keeping a journal on Day of the Dead to help him stay focused on his character and ensure a consistent level of intensity when playing Miguel.
    • Cardille explains that she recently revisited the underground storage facility where Day of the Dead was shot. They've now drained all the lakes, she says. Stavrakis is aghast and won't stop talking about where Gollum will live if the lakes are gone.

    From Beyond (1986) Panel 

    (L-R) Barbara Crampton, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Stuart Gordon
    •  In discussing Barbara Crampton's skimpy leather bondage outfit in From Beyond, Gordon turns visibly red while he sits next to his wife Carolyn Purdy-Gordon and recounts the time he took Crampton to The Pleasure Chest store to try on outfits for him although Crampton doesn't remember that happening. When asked who has that outfit now, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon jokes that she has it.
    • Gordon defends himself against Lovecraft purists for his inclusion of women into stories where no women appear and his refusal to set his Lovecraft films during the period they were written. He explains that Lovecraft's ideas go beyond their time; to suggest that all Lovecraft films must be period films is to suggest Lovecraft is dated. He says, however, Lovecraft was ahead of his time and we're still catching up to him.
    • Barbara Crampton describes being away from horror but making a return in new films such as You're Next.
    • Purdy-Gordon says she's comfortable playing grumpy characters. "I give good bitch," on and off set, she says.
    • Gordon expresses an affinity for the work of David Cronenberg. He explains that he was so disturbed by Shivers (aka. They Come From Within) that he had to flee a drive-in where he was seeing the film.