Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange (Photo: Warner Bros.)
Yes, it's that most wonderful time of the fear — err, year — when the Mad Monster Party returns to the Queen City to once again shock the citizenry with another superlative lineup of celebrities and events. It's a testament to the hard work, business acumen and overwhelming love for cinema of co-creators Eben McGarr and Joe Moe that the event has been successful enough to not only warrant a fifth local gathering here in Charlotte, but to also inspire the dynamic duo to subsequently offer MMPs in Phoenix and Chicago.
The fifth annual Mad Monster Party will be held March 25-27 at the Sheraton Charlotte, 555 S. McDowell St. Complete details can be found at www.madmonster.com, but here's a sneak shriek — err, peek — at some of the people, places and things involved with this year's shindig.
The Corner Of McDowell & McDowell: McDowell isn't just the party address; it's also the name of one of this year's biggest draws. Malcolm McDowell, so evil as the Droog Alex in A Clockwork Orange and so sweet as H.G. Wells in Time After Time, will be on hand to sign autographs and pose for photos (remember, the celebrities charge for autographs and often for photos, so come prepared). McDowell is well-versed in fantasy flicks, having also starred in Rob Zombie's Halloween reboots, Star Trek: Generations, the Cat People remake, Doomsday, and so much more.
Romero Returns: Back in 2009, The Light Factory and Reel Soul Cinema presented American Zombie: George A. Romero's Film Revolution, a three-day event featuring screenings, tributes, a local film contest, and the presence of the man himself. Seven years later, the Night of the Living Dead helmer will be shuffling back to Charlotte to attend MMP. (Photo op & autograph pre-sales are already available for Romero, McDowell and select others, so might be best to go ahead and reserve slots before they're booked up.)
Jeremy Bulloch in The Empire Strikes Back (Photo: Fox)
Jeremy Strikes Back: Boba Fett has been played by various actors in various Star Wars projects, but MMP has snagged the man who originated the part. Jeremy Bulloch essayed the role of the crafty bounty hunter in both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
MMP: The Final Frontier: Trekkies attending the event will receive a special treat in the form of Nichelle Nichols, who played the iconic character of Lieutenant Uhura on the classic Star Trek TV series and in six motion pictures.
Linda Blair in The Exorcist (Photo: Warner Bros.)
Turning Heads: It's been 43 years since The Exorcist smashed records and courted nationwide controversy, but Linda Blair is still instantly recognizable for her star turn as possessed moppet Regan MacNeil in the 1973 blockbuster. Her subsequent genre efforts (including Exorcist II: The Heretic, Grotesque and Repossessed) have been far less noteworthy.
Out Of The Shadows: Three of the gents involved with last year's delightful indie hit What We Do in the Shadows will be in attendance: actors Jonathan Brugh (who played Deacon) and Ben Fransham (the Nosferatu-like Petyr) and makeup effects artist Don Brooker.
Everybody Into The 'Pool: X will mark the spot at this year's event, since one of the guests will be Stefan Kapicic, the actor who provides the voice of the CGI-generated X-Man Colossus in the current box office smash Deadpool. It's his first convention appearance, so be gentle.
Ben Fransham in What We Do in the Shadows (Photo: Unison Films)
Op Shop: The Mad Monster Deluxe Photo Ops provide fans the opportunity to pose with a celebrity in a green-screen setting, with the performer's theme-related background visuals later added and thus providing a pretty picture (or a pretty gruesome picture, as the case may be). Last year saw The Texas Chain Saw Massacre's Gunnar Hansen (who sadly passed away this past November), House of 1000 Corpses' Sid Haig and Fright Night's Stephen Geoffrey holding special photo ops; this year, the participants will include the aforementioned Bulloch, Brugh and Fransham as well as James Duval (the rascally rabbit in Donnie Darko) and actor/makeup legend Tom Savini (in character as From Dusk Till Dawn's Sex Machine).
Mounting Eggcitement: As usual, the Party will be packed with extracurricular events, including such old favorites as the Miss Mad Monster Pageant, Scaraoke and the Mad Monster Film Festival, plus new attractions like The Macabre Magic of Zabrecky and (for kids) The Mad Monster Easter Egg Hunt & Egg Decayrating Contest.