The Fan Expo of 2011 had been headlined by horror star Robert Englund (alongside my personal favorites Danielle Harris, Doug Bradley and Lance Henriksen). Fan Expo 2012, however, catered more to Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Comics and everything else non-Horror. The most popular guests this time were Stan Lee, Gillian Anderson, Christopher Lloyd (wtf) and Amanda Tapping. They descended upon the city of Toronto to charge outrageous fees for their signatures. Fan Expo also increased the prices further for some autographs during the event (!).
The Horror quotient has been diminishing at Fan Expo over the years. Even so, they did manage to bring us HalloweeN director/writer John Carpenter, HalloweeN series composer Alan Howarth, scream queen Crystal Lowe (Insomnia, Wrong Turn 2, Black Christmas, A Little Bit Zombie), and the awesome Tony Todd (Candyman, the Hatchet films). There were also actors from The Walking Dead to appease fans of mainstream horror.
The 4 day Fan Expo 2012 was a gargantuan event that nonetheless left me feeling let down. Everything was unnecessarily expensive; the autograph lines were too long; and several panels were poorly organized. Furthermore, this convention is turning into something other than what it used to be. An example of how commercialized Fan Expo has become is that there were several events featuring stars from television shows that aren’t horror or sci-fi. Actors from the TV dramas Criminal Minds and Flashpoint were on hand.
There were also advance debut screenings of new TV shows including Arrow and Revolution. Fan Expo has indeed become the Comic-Con of the North. One aspect I did like about this year’s convention was that there were more females in attendance than in prior years. This welcome element balanced out the usual suspects comprised of robotic obese people, people who behave strangely, folks that look like they just crawled out of their mom’s basement, obese people and obese people.
An air of paranoia was palpable at Fan Expo 2012. Various celebrity handlers, such as those accompanying Christopher Lloyd and Julie Benz, harassed fans to stop taking photos. I overheard people complaining that the aforementioned individuals would approach them if they thought they were taking pics of their celeb clients (even if the fans were far away from the celebrity’s table). The vendors at some tables were also suspicious of everyone. With their aggressive attitudes, they dissuaded many people from approaching their booths.
I attended various Q&A sessions. Most of the panel moderators were morons. They thought that they were the celebrities. At almost every panel I took part in, the moderator would frequently interrupt the guest, make dumb jokes, laugh at their own dumb jokes, and ignore the questions from the fans. Many of the panel moderators behaved like divas (and they were mostly guys). At a particular panel, the moderator almost caused a stampede when he carelessly handled a bit of news. With Fan Expo being so successful at overcharging the fans, you’d think they’d have money to hire professional moderators instead of these amateurs.
Thankfully, the guests from the HalloweeN franchise were the ones who didn’t let me down (in addition to the lovely Crystal Lowe and the gentlemanly Tony Todd). HalloweeN and Michael Myers creator John Carpenter looked very happy to be in Toronto. He was appreciative of his fans and seemed to be in a very good mood. He spoke about The Thing and They Live. He also stated that he is looking forward to the upcoming NBA season. We met and shook hands. We spoke for a bit about his music. Below is the photo that he signed for me
Alan Howarth, the man who collaborated with Carpenter for the soundtracks to HalloweeN II and HalloweeN III, and composed the soundtracks to Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, The Revenge of Michael and The Curse of Michael Myers was an absolute pleasure to meet. Howarth was very engaging and conversational.
Howarth and I spoke at length about the music for HalloweeN III and HalloweeN 6. I also quizzed him about his work as a sound designer. He has a wealth of knowledge and he still remembers every detail of the HalloweeN movies he’s worked on. Howarth’s autograph and profile will be featured in an upcoming entry of HalloweeN Autographs.
On a side note, I was pleasantly surprised by the cast of the television show Lost Girl. I don’t watch the show but I encountered them thanks to a chick I met at the Expo. All six actors were incredibly nice and gregarious. The 3 female leads in that show happen to be certified hotties. So, special thanks to Anna Silk, Ksenia Solo and Zoie Palmer.