David Howard Thornton & Damien Leone

Attended my first Shock Stock convention in London, Ontario as the horror bug bit me extra earlier this year. It normally happens in July when I wish autumn would just arrive already, but it’s not even 2019 Q3 yet!

Before making the long drive to London, I started my morning with a brief stop along the way at Indigo Sherway Gardens for a Pokémon Detective Pikachu photo-op event. There was barely anyone there so of course everything went perfectly and I was on my way in no time.

Shock Stock has been held annually at the Ramada Inn situated right off Highway 401 West. This horror convention boasts a party atmosphere rather than the usual convention feel and has been going on every year since 2011. Normally, I never bother regularly attending conventions that are considered too far away for me (i.e. more than an hour drive) as I generally don’t like travelling, but this year’s guest line-up interested me enough to make an exception…

My primary reason for making the nearly 2-hour drive was because I absolutely had to meet my new favourite killer clown from Terrifier (2016), which originated from All Hallows’ Eve (2013), known as Art the Clown! Both star David Howard Thornton (actor) and Damien Leone (director, writer, creator) were the headline guests this year which made me consider attending in the first place.

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Upon entry, the first purchase I made was an Art the Clown 1/6 figure custom-made by Mike Thain a.k.a. The Toy Butcher. He was selling them for $200CAD each but I managed to get him down to $180 – more on par with those “third party” figures in the Hong Kong market. There were 14 varieties of blood-splatters to choose from but I decided to get a clean version as I felt the bloodiness detracted from details in the sculpt.

Continued wandering around to browse the vendors before going back to the celeb area to meet Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet, Chopping Mall) who wasn’t busy with a crowd around.

At 12:30pm, it was time for the Art the Clown in-costume “professional” green screen photo ops. I put that in quotes because there was nothing professional about it. Honestly, the quality simply did not even come close to what Comicons typically offer. It was more like those party photo booths and that was actually the kind of setup they even used! Is it just me or does the horror fan demographic not have any standards at all for photos? 🤔

Needless to say, I was quite disappointed with the quality of the photos and it was definitely not worth the $140CAD I paid. Luckily, I was able to get two photos ops – one with Art the Clown alone, and another with both Art the Clown and Damien Leone. Thank god they let me keep both! I found it weird how Damien was not standing in any of the photo ops going on… except for mine because I requested it. After all, everyone paid $140, which is the price of a duo photo op and not a single attendee said anything about that! Wow. Really. 🤦🏻‍♂️

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Dropped by my favourite convention folks’ Black Fawn Distribution booth and picked up The Ranger (2018) on Bluray/DVD combo, which I had been quite anticipating to watch. The horror bug bit me really hard this year so I also got one of their older films Dead Genesis (2010) that I had yet to watch before as I was itching for more Black Fawn stuff. With this, I now own every single one of their releases in my physical media library. They also gave me an authentic costume piece from The Heretics (2017) as well. 😎

Over at the Vinegar Syndrome booth, I grabbed a bunch of remastered obscure and classic films on Bluray including: Battle for the Lost Planet (1986) & Mutant War (1988) double feature, Grandmother’s House (1988), Demon Wind (1990) and the limited edition Arrow Video release of Waterworld (1995) – which is actually one of my favourite films, contrary to popular opinion. 😬

While wandering, I discovered some new unheard-of horror films at Videonomicon. Picked up indie filmmaker Torin Langen’s 3 Dead Trick or Treaters (2016) and a nostalgic Canadian horror film Science Crazed (1991), which was filmed in Toronto back then. Adjacent to their booth was a vendor, Terry Jones, whom I was told starred in “Science Crazed” as one of the leads and he voluntarily signed the DVD cover for me.

Sometime amidst the show, I got a photo with the trio from Witch Finger Horror Podcast: Yasmina, Morgan and Megan.

Dropped by Kobold Pictures‘ booth to see film producer Ryan, whom I previously met at Horror-Rama 2018. He is also the archivist behind Rubber Monsters of Schlockland, which has helped me discover countless favourite B-movies featuring practical effects. Alas, he couldn’t bring any actors from his film Hetzhund: The Duke of Crows out to Shock Stock because London was too far of a drive from Toronto. Turns out I didn’t bring my poster for nothing though as The House of Haunt front man Fang Binite was hanging around, playing impromptu acoustic performances on guitar, and he also worked on music for the film. There was also someone who’s name I forget, but she had a minor acting role too… so at least I still added two new signatures to my lobby card poster. 😅

“LMFAO… but why???” you ask.

Well, there is a certain charm I enjoy from collecting indie movie posters and getting them signed & personalized to me by the artists involved in making them – even if they are “nobodies” and despite some of my friends & acquaintances’ ridicule of “Who? Who? Who? Is there an owl in here or do I just don’t know any of these people?” 🦉

Later in the day, I noticed the queue for David Howard Thornton and Damien Leone was not as insane anymore so I finally went over to meet them. They were both super friendly and could not have been more down-to-earth. David took the initiative to chat with me and while doing so, I ended up telling them that I drove 2 hours primarily to come and meet them. They were so appreciative of the fact that I liked them that much to go that far. 😅

I initially planned to get Damien’s custom Funko figures but they were priced at $120CAD and $140CAD, depending on clean or bloody versions. Although the craftsmanship was astonishing, it was quite a lot to me considering I don’t even like Funko Pops! If only he had made 1/6 scale figures as well, then I would’ve definitely gotten one from him instead! Sigh. I love those creepy piercing eyes though. Why couldn’t they have been proper figures… 😔

Later in the afternoon, I spotted none other than Ted Raimi (Joxer the Mighty, Xena: Warrior Princess & Hercules: The Legendary Journeys) paying a surprise visit to the local horror convention. I saw him go into the Screening Room to enjoy the Shock Stock shorts segments and was determined not to let my chance to meet him slip away…

Went about my shopping within vicinity and kept checking the area in case he might leave early and, indeed, he did about 10 minutes prior to the end while I was browsing a selection pins at Sandy’s Treasures. I excused myself and told the vendor I would be right back when I saw Ted standing outside the screening room chatting with his plus-one, presumably deciding what to check out next at the show. Admittedly, I got somewhat starstruck even though I usually don’t as I loved him on Xena: Warrior Princess (1995–2001) since childhood. He was so chill, chatted and happily took a photo with me. 🤘🏻😁

After getting a photo with Ted, I resumed my shopping and purchased a Loot Create Alien Xenomorph #LootPins for $10CAD.

It seems I was the first person to spot him and news of his presence slowly spread around the show like a zombie outbreak virus. More and more people ended up tailing him around to ask for photos and autographs, if they had anything Evil Dead handy on them. Even some of the vendors were scrambling to see if they had relevant stuff to get signed. 😅

Last but not least, I finally saw Felissa Rose (Victor Crowley, Sleepaway Camp) when I noticed the constant crowd around her had finally dispersed. I was kind of hesitant but she was such a sweetheart despite the fact that I only wanted a picture with her. Although I was considering an autograph from her, she didn’t have any photos I liked that were of sufficient quality. Also, Sleepaway Camp (1983) was way before my time and I admittedly didn’t really understand the appeal of it, so I mainly wanted to meet her because she was hilariously annoying in Victor Crowley (2017). 😂

While checking my convention itinerary to make sure I accomplished everything, I noticed a few “nobodies” I had yet to meet. Actor and director Michael Todd Schneider of Maggot Films, was at the Taboo Textiles booth so I got a photo with him… just because… 🤷🏻‍♂️

Since I was planning to be back in downtown Toronto by 9:00pm the latest, I had to leave at 6:00pm to make the dreaded 2-hour return trip. I always tend to stay until the end when show hours are officially over for all conventions I attend, so I found myself quite reluctant to leave until I finally came to my senses at 6:45pm. It was mandatory that I left by then or compromise my plans later at night to meet Jay Leno!

The road trip to and from London gave me a rare opportunity to appreciate the rural areas in my province of Ontario, which I rarely explore. I thought nighttime drives between my condo and house were soothing, but now realize the quiet countryside has that beat – provided there’s not much traffic, of course. Just beautiful and serene with my music playing on surround sound speakers in the car while cruising home after a day gone well. Bliss. 😌👌🏻

Since we no longer have Arby’s in the Toronto area, I couldn’t help but make a brief rest stop mid-way in Kitchener to stock up on almost a week’s worth of tantalizingly delicious Roast Beef Sandwiches and a Milk Shake for the road. 😅

Autographs, Hauls & Loots

As the horror bug had bit me extra earlier this year, it was not surprising that I bought mostly movies. I did spot a few figures that I wanted, such as McFarlane’s Pumpkinhead and Species figures, but the prices were too high than my willingness to pay.

My favourite item ought to be the Terrifier poster, beautifully signed in silver by David Howard Thornton and Damien Leone! This is going to look great on the wall next to my Child’s Play poster by Ghoulish Gary Pulin from Horror-Rama 2018. 😍

Hauls from Shock Stock 2019.

Convention Review

Considering I was coordinating multiple interconnected time-sensitive logistics, today was one of those rare days where everything went virtually 100% perfectly. Feels like I should have bought a lottery ticket before the day’s end… even though I don’t believe in gambling. Wish this feeling could happen more often. 😊

Shock Stock itself was pretty small so this was another one of those super laid back conventions that allowed me to appreciate all the small things, rather than constantly running around trying to check as many things off my list as efficiently as possible.

They also say the party still goes on all night long at Shock Stock. If only I wasn’t on a tight schedule to return downtown, I would have loved to stay for much longer and experience more of it. Even though I am a reclusive hermit by nature, the social environment was very welcoming and I found myself surprisingly more talkative than usual. This show certainly had a different feel than the usual conventions I attend and allowed me to come out of my shell comfortably. Everyone could not have been more friendly and I even got lots of compliments on my Gundam Café Bag from Tokyo! 😎👌🏻

The only awkwardness I felt, if any, was being the lone Asian horror fan in all of London, Ontario. 😂

Seriously though… is it just me or are there rarely Asian horror fans here? Come to think of it, it’s similar at Horror-Rama as well. 🤔

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