The New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival held its second event of 2017, and expanded even more with the abilities to present a fan friendly and fun time for everyone including the vendors and stars, the pomp and circumstances not present rather sheer thrilling madness. This event already announced their third convention on the back of the program guides with the dates of March 2nd through the 4th, 2018.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
Since the first round of films didn’t start until 530p I scoped out the vendors, stars and so on, before quickly stopping by Robert Bruce’s vendor table, acquired seven Universal Studios Monsters CVS Bean Bag Plushies, fans know these items. I spoke with filmmakers, eventually making my way to watch the first short block of films already in progress, included in the segment Call of the Void, Base on True Events, Your Date is Here (2017) and Creatures of Whitechapel (2016) a crime and horror tale by award winning director Jonathan Martin, which later earned many awards at this fest. Next up Camp Killer (2016) by Shawn Jones, lot of reference to the slasher genre, will all the tasty joys of true splatterpunk and gore fest movie. I then entered into the domain of insanity of Return to Return to Nuke ’Em High Aka Vol. 2 (2017) aka RTRTNH2, the choice to see part 2. The title actually repeats the first two words, a film from the Troma team, well this movie throws everything at the screen and enjoyed by a packed house, it contained many gross sequences, reunites the lesbian lovers Lauren (Catherine Corcoran) and Chrissy (Asta Paredes) to defeat the evil terrors. Some suggest Lloyd lost his mojo, however his movie generates a bit of humor directed at everyone, lots of fart jokes, and how modern technology warps youth’s minds.
Then to close out the night with watching The Barn (2016) in the Gold Room, a smaller crowd, but no less enthusiastic, enjoying a movie from director and writer Justin M. Seaman who thought of this story back when he likely an early teen. It involves Sam and Josh in high school in 1989, on Halloween and dealing with rules and consequences of violating them. Justin gave a great throwback film, which splashes an incredible amount of blood splattering throughout the screen, and just giving audiences a terrific feel for the flick.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
After another short film block #3 of the festival, a much-awaited film entitled The Dark Military (2017) from director Loren W. Lepre, who also penned the script, about a LIVE webcast on Halloween with individuals trying to survive the night. Then time to see a short film called The Violence Movie (1988) from Eric Wilkinson who likely handled everything in the movie using a VHS Camcorder on $100 he cast his younger brother, David as the killer, something about it sold the audience likely the charm. Next, a dark comedy called Big Bear it contained no blood-loss, a zero body count but overall quite entertaining and most of the crowd stayed to watch flick, actor Tyler Labine character a recovering alcoholic looking for any reason or justification to drink, but acts weirdly amusing in the movie. Afterwards time to meet and greet Circus Rejects and discuss the rash of clown sightings, and how their makeup designs all trademark and protected, and I met filmmaker Chris Wagler a producer for a film called “One for the Road”, a vampire movie. In a lengthy discussion I learned about the film’s connection to Stephen King, and sought extra funding for their movie, for $1 to have your name added to credits. As customary at many conventions, an after party event takes place, first Jess-o-Lantern, then Stereotytans, and finally, a punk band called Charm School with a great finished to their set.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
A sad day, as the beast of the convention winds down, some stars only about to stay two days because of filming target days. Then a quick walk over to see artist Joel Robinson, his work graces the Shout Factory Blu-rays, namely their horror division, also other commission work, after another great discussion of his work, I purchased more of his art, this time Carrie. Along the route meeting Grey Matter Art and commenting about their incredible posters, and their work on a Puppet Master comic-book, (which they gave me, Thanks!).
At 11a it was time for another short film block (technically the six out of seven) of the event, a misnumbering in the program guide, but without a hitch it launched on time and without a flaw, contained 4-films. A packed audience flooded the silver room for the short film entries a silly but fun movie entitled Attack of the Handface People started the program a clearly plays off of Night of the Living Dead. The next film entitled Doll Collector an uninteresting and quirky tale, followed by The Offer and lastly another Troma entry called Dolphinman Battles the Sex Lobsters (2016) is all anyone needs to know about this inane production.
As the day clicked fans shared their love and passion for horror, exchanging information, talking about making their own projects, it is a great time to share the love for our beloved genre. A crowd gathered for the LIVE commentary by the director and cast of Night of the Demons (1988) and the audience gained a magnificent insight about the movie, including behind the scenes information from this reunion of actors. The NJ Horror Convention and Film Festival out did themselves, and created a fan-loving event, which has many buzzing about the next one, the vendor tables already selling, and others reserving their rooms (I did, and applied for my press pass). Either way this con and the people associated with it have created something the true horror fans crave and sincerely want more of it, so remember March 2 – 4, 2018 Renaissance Hotel in Iselin, NJ creeps up fast.