Horror is certainly no stranger to Los Angeles these days, but it will take on a gruesomely different face (one with tongue placed firmly in cheek) there during Fangoria magazine's seventh annual Weekend of Horrors on Saturday and Sunday at the Airport Hyatt.
"It's a raucous gathering of horror film fans and followers who come out to meet their favorite stars and celebrities in an informal, horror marketplace," Fangoria editor Anthony Timpone said in a recent phone interview from Fangoria's New York offices.
The event, which is being co-sponsored by Creation Conventions, promises to be extra special this year, with the inclusion of the Chainsaw Awards, Fangoria's equivalent of the Oscars. The host will be actor Bruce Campbell, star of the "Evil Dead" movies.
"Fangoria has been giving out movie poll awards for the last 11 years, but this year we decided to revamp it, add more categories and turn it into an actual ceremony," Timpone said.
Awards for best film, actor, supporting actor and actress, music, special effects, directing and more will be given Saturday night by a stellar lineup of presenters, including Samuel Arkoff of American International Pictures, Roger Corman (director of such horror classics as "It Conquered the World" and "The Little Shop of Horrors"), Stuart Gordon (director of the cult classic, "Re-Animator") and reigning horror queen Linnea Quigley.
Quigley, who has appeared in dozens of horror films--including "Return of the Living Dead," "Witchtrap" and "Night of the Demons"--will also be participating in the popular Scream Queen Panel, a forum featuring some of the industry's naughtiest and most diabolical mavens, including Brinke Stevens, Michelle Bauer and Monique Gabriel. The foursome will talk about their work and answer questions from the audience.
The event will also feature appearances by a who's who of the industry's top names, including director Sam Raimi, who will be previewing "Army of Darkness," the second sequel in his popular "Evil Dead" series.
Clive Barker, author of "Hellraiser" and "Nightbreed," will be on hand to talk about his work on "Hellraiser III" and a new film called "Candyman," based on one of his stories.
Director John Landis will discuss his new vampire epic, "Innocent Blood," his first horror outing since his 1981 hit "An American Werewolf in London." Actor Ken Foree, star of "Dawn of the Dead" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre III," will speak and answer questions from the audience along with "Re-Animator" star Jeffrey Combs, "Alien 3" star Lance Henriksen and Adrienne King of "Friday the 13th" parts 1 and 2.
Others scheduled to appear include Italian fright master Dario Argento, director Anthony Hickox (and the cast of his latest film, "Hellraiser III"), "Sleepwalkers" director Mick Garris, English actor Ian Ogilvy (star of "The Conqueror Worm" and "And Now the Screaming Starts"), actress Barbara Steele of "Dark Shadows," "Black Sunday" and "The Pit and the Pendulum," and special-effects wizard Gabe Bartalos of "Basket Case 3."
Eric Caidin of the Hollywood Book & Poster Co. has organized a special film festival that will run continually both days.
"We'll be showing films that are basically not available on video or are rarely shown," Caidin said. "There will be a couple of films by Dario Argento--'The Cat o' Nine Tails,' which was one of his early films from the 1970s, and 'Inferno,' which is very rarely shown."
In addition, "Hideous Sun Demon," and "Man From Planet X" will punctuate a special tribute to genre great Robert Clark, who is one of the event's honored guests. Other films will include "The Corpse Grinders" by Ted Michaels, "Black Sunday" starring Barbara Steele and "Friday the 13th Part II" (with a special introduction by leading lady Adrienne King).
There will also be a special salute to "Alien 3," which will feature sneak-preview footage, slides and original props and prosthetic appliances from the soon-to-be-released film, plus a special ceremony inducting new members to the Fangoria Hall of Fame.
The convention culminates Sunday with an amateur costume contest, with separate categories for adults and children.
Fans looking for that just-right souvenir can stroll through the merchants room, where everything from fake heads to film scripts and T-shirts will be sold.
People looking for the ultimate creature makeup for their Halloween costumes can find the genuine studio-quality prosthetic appliances and masks. Hollywood special-effects makeup artists will demonstrate and give tips on how to get that professional look.
What: Fangoria magazine's Weekend of Horrors.
When: Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Los Angeles Airport Hilton, 5711 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles.
Whereabouts: Take the San Digeo (405) Freeway north to Century Boulevard west. Turn left and drive about 1 1/2 miles. The hotel is on the right.
Wherewithal: $13 per day in advance; $16 at the door.
Where to Call: (714) 740-2000 (Ticketmaster).