Days Of The Dead: Indianapolis – They Came, We Saw, And It Kicked Ass

July 10, 2017

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG

So here we are my Little Monsters, Days of the Dead: Indianapolis has been over for a full week and that post convention depression is still lingering, but at least I have completely recuperated from the festivities . The horror community tends to feel like a big family to me, and horror cons are like a huge family reunion of sorts. And even though I have been to many comic and pop culture conventions, horror cons are where I feel most at home. While I, as many of you do, enjoy films across all genres, horror is without a doubt my favorite of them all.
For three days I got to spend time with my convention family, and now all I am left with, besides autographs and some other cool things I snagged, are the pictures I took and the memories. But they are some pretty damn cool pics memories, I must say.
Attending Days of the Dead gave me the opportunity to see some dear friends as well as the chance to make some new ones. It also allows me to completely geek out when I get to meet icons and legends from my favorite genre films. Yep, that’s right…even I geek out like a fan-boy sometimes, my Little Monsters.
Now I know that many of you out there joined me in attending this year’s show in Indianapolis, but I also know that there are more of you who didn’t. That’s why I’m going to show some of you a little bit of what you missed. And for those who were there, this will be a pleasant reminder.
This year Days of The Dead: Indianapolis was supposed to feature George Romero. That’s right, the creator of the Living Dead himself. Unfortunately Mr. Romero had to cancel due to health issues, but the folks at Days of the Dead were on it, and were able to quickly add more names to round out the weekend roster.
I was very pleased to meet Linda Blair, despite the fact that as with many other horror fans, The Exorcist scared the hell out of me. I also made a little donation to her animal advocacy organization, the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation. When I met Matthew Lillard, I asked him if he indeed put Casey Becker’s liver in the mail box next to her spleen and her pancreas. He admitted he was there  during her murder due to peer pressure, but insists Billy Loomis was the one who did it. And of course getting to see Sid Haig is always a pleasure. The man is one of the coolest and kindest guys you could want to meet, even when he tells you to “stop doing the asshole shuffle”. Then I really geeked the hell out, when I actually got the opportunity to meet the OG, the original man in the Godzilla suit from 1954 to 1972 – Mr. Haruo Nakajima.
Below I’ve assembled sort of a Rogues Gallery of other folks I was fortunate enough to meet and talk to over the weekend. Like Ken Foree, a hometown boy made good. Yep, he hails from right her in Indy. There’s also the man who played Bub, one of the coolest and oddly most endearing zombies in film history, Howard Sherman…or is it Sherman Howard. I’ve heard that he has been known to go by both variations in the past, so I’ll let you guys decide.
Eileen Dietz, who doubled for Linda Blair in The Exorcist and also played the demon Pazuzu, was such a sweetheart and talked with me for quite some time. And of course there’s my dearest, Felissa Rose, who I always look forward to seeing. It just wouldn’t be the same without her, and I was definitely chomping at the bit until they finally announced she would be there again this year.
Then there’s Bill Moseley. Seriously? Do I even have to tell you what a cool cat Bill is? Come on, this is common frickin’ knowledge, people. The pic of Bill is from last year, because unfortunately I couldn’t find a moment to snap a pic of him with the fierce beard he was sporting THIS year. You also have the subject of this past weeks Woman (In Horror) Crush Wednesday article, the lovely and very kind, Adrienne King. To say meeting her was a pleasure would be a gross understatement. She is a horror icon who loves painting and wine…she’s a woman after my own heart. Hell, Adrienne even has her own line of Crystal Lake Wines. I could go on and on about everyone I met, but wouldn’t it be cooler if you had your own stories and experiences to share. Many of us do, but if you don’t attend…well, you just have to live vicariously through the rest of us I guess.

Of course there are all the Little Monsters who got decked out in their full horror regalia. Each one of them taking the time to get into character before coming out to mingle with the convention going horde. Here are just a few of the faces in the crowd that I was able to photograph as they made their rounds.

Also, don’t forget that there’s  all manner of cool merchandise, art, t-shirts, collectibles and what have you, available on site for purchase from the individual vendors and artists. Next time I NEED to make sure I budget a little more wisely, and then MAYBE I will score all the merch I came up short on this time around.
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Jay Langley was back this year with his horrifyingly adorable Scare Bears. He made custom Dee Snider “Captain Howdy” and a Sting  Scare Bears especially for that weekend.  I also happened upon tattoo artist, Katie Wilson’s  booth, where she was selling the coolest custom, hand painted dolls featuring modern and classic horror characters. They are unbelievably cool. I really think she needs to sell them online, who’s with me?
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As a fan of Hellraiser, I couldn’t help but stop and have a look-see at these music boxes, made by Pyramid Gallery, based on the design of Philip LeMarchand’s infamous puzzle box. Do they spin and play a nice little song? Yes. Do they summon Cenobites? Uh…I didn’t stick around to find out.
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Besides scarring many viewers for life, The Exorcist taught us the dangers of using the Ouija board all by ones self. But whether or not you believe in communication by way of  the mystifying oracle that is the Ouija, these boards, made by Jason Schneider of Lake Erie Paranormal, would still make really cool show pieces. You know…if you’re too scared to use it.
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Among my friends, I am the one who has a wealth of completely useless movie knowledge that was acquired over many years growing up in the boonies, with little else to do but watch endless amounts of  movies on cable. Justin Purvis has created Movie Buff, a game that will make me a further annoyance to my friends every time I kick their asses when we play it.
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There were also a number of very talented artists on hand, selling prints of their work as well as some of their original pieces. My good friend, Jack Chattox, created the Godzilla print that I had Haruo Nakajima sign for me. He does incredible water color paintings, but has also been known to paint images on circular saw blades has made some killer skate decks featuring his artistic imagery.  Two other artists that I have seen at many cons are Lydia Burris and Byron Winton. I have a list of pieces by each artist that I NEED to eventually buy from these talented individual. Seriously, I could do myself a mischief financially trying to fulfill my want list.
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The folks from Terror Threads were there with a full range of bad-ass t-shirts, and luckily for me, they have an online store so I didn’t wipe out my entire weekend budget at their booth. They have some truly insane designs including some mash-ups of cult and classic horror films. But don’t take my word for it, go check them out yourself. Now I know some of you out there would love a set of wicked choppers, and others of you already have a set. Horror Show Jack is just the guy to hook you up if you are looking to get your first set OR if you want another set.
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Last but certainly not least was the irreverent children’s book I discovered on the last day of the show. Who knows how many ties I passed right by Sam Miserendino’s booth that weekend, but it wasn’t until I went to say my goodbyes to Felissa Rose that I saw somebody with this book. Many of you may know Sam for writing a comic book about a vengeful messiah, titled Prince of Pieces, but now you can get to know his children’s book that illustrates the dangers of alcoholism. If You Give A Bunny A Beer is one title from the Addicted Animal Series, which also features: If You Give A Panda Percocet, If You Give A Kitten A Cosmo and If You Give A Bear A Bong. Basically, DON’T give animals controlled substances. This book can be found for purchase at the Creator’s Edge website or on Amazon, BUT I couldn’t leave without getting MY copy on Sunday…I had to have it.
Aside from the celebrity guests and vendors, Days of the Dead also offered a full schedule of events that went on throughout the weekend to keep all of the Little Monsters in attendance busy. The Casket Creatures played the opening night party, there was the cosplay contest, as well as panels and film screenings, there was That Damn Tattoo Contest and a hell of a lot more.  But frankly, these things aren’t meant to be described anecdotally so much as they just need to be experienced. So if you are considering attending, I suggest you stop thinking about it and just DO IT. I wish I could go on at length about what it’s like to attend, but it’s just better to experience it first hand.
Horror fans are spoiled for opportunities to attend, because in addition to the annual June convention in Indianapolis, Days of the Dead also takes their 3 days of horror to Louisville, Chicago, Charlotte and Atlanta. For tickets and info about guests, photo-ops, vendors and even hotel accommodations for the September Days of the Dead in Louisville, KY <<<  click the link to head on over to their site.

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