Horror Convention Report: Monster-Mania Con 36, Cherry Hill, NJ (March 10-12, 2017)

Finally, the Thug has come back to New Jersey! Monster-Mania Con happened this past weekend in Cherry Hill, NJ which is right outside of Philadelphia, PA. Throughout the past few years, the Monster-Mania conventions continue to gain momentum and grow. The convention happens three times a year: twice in Cherry Hill and once in Hunt Valley MD. Mr. Dave Hagan and his sons David and Doug do an amazing job putting these shows together which is obvious from both the continual growth of the fan base and the quality of guests and vendors at the show.

JJ Fittos with Kristy Swanson, Buffy the Vampire Killer

This weekend was no different. The biggest draw for the general audience was that of John Cusack, the line to see him seemed to be never ending. For me, the biggest draw was Kristy Swanson, the original Buffy. For those of you that know me, I am a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, both the film and the series. It was definitely a fan boy moment for me meeting her and getting my picture with her. I might say she looks better than ever.

Among the other draws there were Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher (who you may know as Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Wilford Brimley (The Thing), Adam Green (Hatchet series), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7-10, Hatchet), Doug Bradley (Hellraiser), Barbara Crampton (The Re-Animator) who still looks great, D. B. Sweeney, Bex Taylor Klaus (Scream the TV series), Nick Castle who was the original Michael Myers known as “The Shape”. Also of interest was a “The Thing” reunion featuring Thomas G. Waites, Wilford Brimley, Joel Polis, Richard Masur and Peter Maloney and of course the newbies, another huge draw consisting of Caleb McLaughlin and Gaten Matarazzo joined by Mark Steger from a little Netflix series you may have heard of called Stranger Things. For metal heads, Rex Brown from Pantera was there, there was a Karate Kid reunion featuring William Zabka, Ralph Macchio and Martin Kove, I assure you that no legs were swept.

The main vendor floor of Monster-Mania 36

Aside from the great guest list, there are a number of vendors there that sell just about anything horror-related you can think of. My friend who was there for the first time referred to it as a flea market for horror fans. He walked away with his wallet a bit lighter than when he arrived. You can get a genre t-shirt for just about any film you can think of, buy some Blu-rays, get a custom set of fangs made, purchase knives among other genre related memorabilia. Films are shown throughout the day and evening for those interested in just relaxing and taking in some great movies. Also of interest are Q&A sessions with the stars in attendance, of interest this time were Kristy Swanson, a Shining reunion featuring the twins (Lisa and Louise Burns) and Danny (Danny Lloyd), Adam Green & Kane Hodder, Stranger Things cast and The Thing Cast. The other thing that makes this a great convention is the people in attendance. Having a group of people under the same roof with like interests makes for a great time.

JJ Fittos and the crew from Night of Something Strange (John Straiton, left and Wayne W. Johnson, right)

Aside from meeting Kristy, my favorite thing about the convention was meeting the guys and gals behind two of my favorite films from last year Night of Something Strange and The Barn. If you haven’t seen those two films immediately stop reading this and go and watch them, NOW! Seriously, what are you still doing here? Director/writer Jonathan Straiton and his producer/wife Brie were great as was Wayne W. Johnson who plays Cornelius. I have to admit of being a bit of a fan boy here taking multiple pictures with them. They are the type of people that just make you want to watch their movie and root for them because they are such great people. The other film I mentioned, The Barn was represented by equally great people: director Justin Seaman, his wife Tanya and director of photography Zane Hershberger. Also, how can I forget, the Boogeyman was also there. I absolutely needed a photo with him! I am holding hope for a sequel to both of these films: a part two for Night of Something Strange is being discussed so I am holding out hope. Check Night of Something Strange out at nightofsomethingstrange.com and The Barn at nevermoreproductionfilms.com.

JJ Fittos with the Boogeyman from The Barn

Monster-Mania Con has a little something for everyone and if you are not a current attendee, you need to be. Mr. Dave Hagan, his sons and entire staff work tirelessly to make this a great time and are extremely successful in doing that. Take the time to make it to this convention, you will not be disappointed and these guys deserve it. I am already looking forward to covering the next one as well. Who knows, you may see a Gruesome Magazine booth there in the near future….stay tuned.

The next Monster-Mania Cons are set for August 18-20, 2017 in Cherry Hill, NJ and September 29 – October 1, 2017 in Hunt Valley, MD. Start planning today!  http://monstermania.net/

This con easily gets 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) on the Thug Meter

Barbara Crampton, right

JJ Fitt
Joe lives in the coal region of Northeastern PA with his beautiful wife Mary and their French Bulldogs Watson and Xander. He's a huge fan of all things horror and can't explain why especially since he was afraid of everything as a kid. He co-hosts the Indie Infestation podcast which gives a platform for those involved in the indie horror scene to get their name and projects out there. When he's not working he is usually watching the latest horror movie or show, at the gym with his wife or taking in a sporting event, Eagles! His all time favorite horror movie is the original Halloween, still effective to this day. Hit him up on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or drop an email, let him know what's awesome.