Tag Archives: Rock and Shock

Rock and Shock 2013

I have to say that up until today, my Halloween spirit was lacking. I haven’t been watching scary movies. I haven’t been eating more than my usual share of fun sized Snickers bars. I haven’t been reveling in my usual Halloween activities. October has just been steadily and speedily been moving along and the whole damn month was about to slip on by without me doing a single thing about it.

Things had gone horribly awry somewhere.

But, today, something happened. something truly magical:

I went to Rock and Shock.

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For those that don’t know, Rock and Shock is a convention and concert series that is held every October in Worcester, Massachusetts. I haven’t really done anything with the rocking part of the equation. I’m there for the shocking. Last year was my first time there and I was impressed by the sheer number of vendors, celebrity guests and horror fans that were there.

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There is merchandise from every horror franchise you can think of: action figures, posters, beer koozies, coasters, shot glasses, post cards, lampshades, throw rugs, pillows, replicas, props, bootlegged DVDs showing the hit movie Jason versus Leatherface. If you’re looking for a piece of memorabilia from your favorite horror movie, this is the place to get it.

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And let’s say you don’t want things directly related to Jason or Freddy? They have things for you too. There are artists selling posters of their striking and macabre work. There are writers from small publishing houses and larger publishing houses. There are tattoo artists, taxidermists, animal shelters, jewelers and flask makers, make-up designers, mask makers; anything and anyone that might have something to do with those things that go bump in the night. They’re all there.

And then there are the celebrities. Kane Hodder, Gunnar Hansen, Robert Englund, Jason Mewes, Jack Ketchum; people directly related to the industry that keeps creating more scares.

I went from not feeling Halloween at all to feeling reinvigorated.

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Aside from the things I bought, the most important thing is that I got to wander around at will with a large group of people who share my niche interest. I got to talk to a local filmmaker about the movies they’re making, one of which was even banned in Germany. I chatted at an artist about Friday the 13th before walking off with a poster I hadn’t paid for. Gunnar Hansen quote Dylan Thomas at me. It reminded me about why I enjoy horror, Halloween and all this scary stuff. It’s about exciting, scary, terrifying art and the people who love to make it.  It’s about being able to connect with people who get it and love it as much as you do.

It’s about enjoying being scared.

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It’s also about Jason Voorhees action figures.

Tomorrow, I have something grand planned. I dunno if I’ll be able to pull it off, but I’m going to try. I’m going to try to do my damnedest to make up for the time I let slip by and give Halloween the attention it deserves in one big, bang.

See you tomorrow.

-D-

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Rock and Shock 2013: The Day Before

This will be the second year in a row that I’m going to Rock and Shock (which is happening right now!). Last year was great; I met some people, I bought some things, and I saw a lot that celebrated horror movies, books and scary things in general. It was nice to be surrounded by a crowd of people who shared the same morbid interests that I do and especially nice to be around people who exceeded my enjoyment of the genre a little bit too much, giving me a chance to feel normal.

This year, I have only a few plans. I’m going to lurk around the celebrity room briefly. I’m going to try and find another locally made horror movie that’s been banned in Germany. And I’m definitely going to order an overpriced beer and drink it before noon.

It’s more about the wandering around and taking in the sights than about doing anything. I’ll do my best to update the twitter and the blog as the day progresses.

Until tomorrow…

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Reflection

I’m still reeling a bit from the convention yesterday. I’m not a person that really likes big crowds of people and I don’t like big crowds of exuberant people. So yesterday was a bit overwhelming.

But, as I mentioned briefly in my last blog entry yesterday, there is something invigorating about being surrounded by a bunch of people who are doing what you want to be doing, who are enjoying what you enjoy. I write, on occasion, horror, but I surround myself with the things I like and the things I’m familiar with and it doesn’t really do a lot to get me going creatively.

I need to and should, go outside of my comfort zone, trying new fictions, new places, new art forms. The convention, in a lot of ways, was not geared toward someone like me. I don’t wave my freak flag high. I keep it locked in a chest in the basement behind a padlocked door. There were people with fangs and people with spines showing and and people on stilts and people with mohawks (!!!!!).

And all the things! There were posters and toys and little sculptures and pins and paintings and indie films and actors and make-up artists and authors and pythons.

It was overwhelming and wearying and tiring and by the end, I needed a sit down.

But I’m ready to start contributing again, I think. Ready to start putting those stories back out there and wincing as they’re sent back to me, but sending them out again anyway.

It’s about adding to that wonderful cacophony of scary that I saw on Sunday. It’s about going back there one day, not as a gawker or a viewer or a spectator, but as a maker.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Rock and Shock (The Event)

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I keep trying to condense all of this into one picture or thought that encompasses the entire event, but it’s just not possible.

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There are the celebrities. The few we actually talked to were absurdly nice and patient with our mumbling and limp handshakes.

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All around me, I see adulation for a genre that gets very little love outside of a small subset of fans. From modern horror to the old classics: everyone is here to share in their love of being scared.

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It’s the feeling of being with a bunch of people who love what I love, who work to create what I love. It’s bring surrounded by creators and artists and fans. It’s invigorating and energizing and l plan on coming back next year.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Rock and Shock

I made it.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Rock and Shock (The Trip)

We’re taking the train to the convention and so far, there have been enough oddities too warrant a mini entry.
The moment we boarded the train, an older woman stood up and shouted, “Oh God, is this Worcester?” The confused young man standing next to her assured her we had not reached the last stop on the train, but only a mile out from Boston.
We were also surrounded by old men wearing pins that said “train enthusiast”. Some had walkie-talkies queued to the train’s radio and it was from them we learned that the brakes had broken down and we weren’t going anywhere fast.
We’re now on a new train, still on our way to Worcester and to Rock and Shock.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Rock and Shock (Prelude)

So here’s the plan; I’m going to try and post small entries throughout the day from Rock and Shock. Hopefully there’ll be pictures and commentary and at least one story of me running from a crowd while Yacketty Sax plays.

I’m terrible at live blogging, but we’ll see how this goes. At the very least, keep an eye on my twitter, because I do update that.

I’m pretty excited.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Harvest Season

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Sometimes, it’s important to take a break from Halloween in the middle of the season and remember that Fall is great for other reasons as well.

When I was a kid, we used to head up to my grandparent’s house in Virginia in the Fall to pick the apples in their small orchard. My dad would climb into the trees and shake them as hard as he could and the apples would rain down. We’d gather them up and sort them out, the bruised and abused apples being set aside for cider.

The cider making was really the best part. The cider  press and grinder was a cantankerous wooden and iron contraption that would tear through the apples, grinding them into pulp, the pulp falling into a cloth lined bucket, which was then pressed. Swarms of yellow jackets and wasps would gather and I would always watch anxiously, hoping that they wouldn’t become part of the cider. Which, inevitably, they always did.

After we moved from North Carolina to New York, we stopped going down every year for apple pickin’. It has been years, maybe a full decade, since I last did any kind of apple picking.

Today, Emily, a couple friends and I all headed out West, going a little further out into Massachusetts, where there was fairly large scale U Pick apple orchard. I had been to a few of these operations, but this was probably one of the larger that I had been too. There were goats and pigs and hayrides and plastic jugs of cider and trees going red, yellow, gold and the apples. So many apples.

As a kid, it was one of the ways I defined Fall: you went out into the country and collected apples by the bagful and you got out into the air that was just starting to get chilly and you really saw Fall for the first time, in all its colors.

It was nice to be able to do that again and to usher Fall in again that way.

TOMORROW: Blood and Horror at Rock and Shock

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: Rock and Shock (The Prequel)

I know I’ve already talked about this once already, but I cannot stress enough how excited I am about Rock and Shock. Pinhead and Michael Myers and Jason and Candyman are all going to be in the same room together at the same time. And I will do my best not to call them that to their faces.

It’ll also be interesting to be in a place where I’m not the biggest horror freak. There be hundreds of other people there, all of them either on my level or more so. I will blend in and fit in with the crowd and that will be nice.

Horror, both in movies and in books, has been a driving force in my writing. It’s what helped me decide that I want to be a writer. It helped me decide what I want to write about. It gave me focus for something that needs to be focused in order to be useful.

It’s important to me in a way that other genres, that I also love, are not. It fuels my creative drive and that is a vital, important thing and Rock and Shock is a way to actually meet the people who make that genre possible.

There will be giddy squealing, is what I’m saying.

-D-

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31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Prequel

I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s descent into madness. I hope I never have to do that again. But it did give you a little taste of what to expect in the coming days.

For the next 31 days, I plan to post more Spoooky Beer Reviews, horror movie reviews, and my occasional over-philosophizing about the horror genre, both in books and in film. I plan to blog from Rock and Shock. I plan to even blog about things that aren’t directly related to Halloween, just to mix it up a little bit.

In the end, I hope that you and I will know each other better  and grow closer together.

And that you’ll buy my book.

-D-

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