Monster Mania March 2017 Review

March is here, so it means...MONSTER MANIA CON.

It was time for my buddy Andrew and I to pack up the truck and head up to Cherry Hill, NJ on what was to be very cruel weathered Friday morning. We were worried that possible massive amounts of snow and rain were going to stop our trip. But as it turns out, the weather really didn't come into play until after we arrived around 1 pm.

Arriving to our destination, we were immediately greeted with a gigantic hug by old friend, Hollie GoFrightly, who is one of the sweetest people I've grown to know through this convention. I haven't seen her in years, so it was great to catch up. I also ran into my buddy and all around terrific human being, Thomas Bryce of the famous ShitMovieFest. It's not truly a convention until the legendary SMF cooler makes an appearance:

We headed up to the SMF Suite to eat pretzels and talk blogging, food, wrestling and action figures. And then out of nowhere, a wild Jason Price (of IconVsIcon) appears. We're all talkers so we could really go on and on for even longer. I had to run, but this would not be the only time I'd run into either of them. In fact, the next time I saw Thomas, he was hanging out with our buddy Garret and Freddie the Wolf of Full Moon Reviews as well as The Mozz of The Shock Chamber!

Front L to R: GStarr, Freddie, Mozz.
Back: Thomas Bryce, Me, Andrew

So now, it's convention time. We lined up almost immediately for Ralph Macchio. Ralph is one of the biggest names I've ever wanted to meet. Karate Kid was a huge part of my childhood to the point that at age 4, I actually dressed like Daniel Larusso. On top of that, Beer League is one of my all time favorite comedies (as well as Andrew's), so when the convention announced him as a guest, it was a no brainer. We had to meet him. Thankfully, Ralph's agent allowed both me and Andrew to get separate photos. Not a lot of agents would be so generous. They'd actually charge for each person.
Thankfully, no crane kicking was involved.

Ralph was great. We chatted him up about Beer League and the shooting locations in NJ and Ohio. I'm sure he hears all the time about Karate Kid but to talk to him about a movie that means just as much and provides so much entertainment was even more fun. He even referred to me and Andrew as his "Beer League Brothers". And yes, of course, I had to tell him I loved Mad Magazine's Up The Academy to which he smiled and said "it was one of my first movies, how can I hate it?".

4 Life.

Pro wrestling hall of famer and one of the founding fathers of the legendary Four Horsemen, Tully Blanchard was really the only other celebrity I truly wanted to meet. Tully was always my favorite Horsemen in the history of the illustrious group due to his charisma, amazing promos and superb technical in-ring ability. I've already met the rest of the Horsemen, and then some, but Tully was it. In fact, on my "must meet wrestlers" list, he was number 2 (behind Hulk Hogan). Thankfully, he was in the same room as Ralph, so I was able to knock out both big name wants in one swoop. I told Tully that his post wrestling career is absolutely inspiring and how his motto of, "Be something but be the best" always stuck with me. He was very appreciative and an absolute pleasure to meet. Now, my list is down to one person. Hope to see you soon, Hulkster!

Richard Masur, among other things, the father from License To Drive.

Peter Maloney of the Thing. We also chatted about living in Rochester!

I promised a buddy of mine that I'd get him some names on his The Thing photo which already contained about 3 or 4 names. He asked me to get him Richard Masur, Peter Maloney and the famous Wilford Brimley. Three great guests who seemed very appreciative of all the fans who came to greet them.

Wilford Brimley. Perhaps the VIP of the show!

Of course, Wilford was the star of the The Thing reunion. His first convention appearance courtesy of Full Empire Promotions. Wilford was pretty quiet but very polite to his fans. The family before me had two little girls with them and after they took their photo together, Wilford decided to tell them a quick story. I couldn't hear it well, but the two girls, as well as the parents, walked away smiling which is all I needed to see. When I took a photo I joked "That's as good as I'm gonna look" to which he responded with "Well, I'm not gonna get any better looking, that's for sure.". If you have the chance to meet Wilford at any of his upcoming conventions, please don't hesitate. He is certainly worth your money and time.

The vendors room, is a big highlight for me. Whether it's a movie, an action figure or a glow in the dark Elvira cup, my cash flow simply did not allow me to get everything I wanted - which is okay. That just means I'll have a list for the next time! I can't begin to describe how many amazing artists were in the room. Posters, prints, props, custom action figures, stickers, pins, shirts, hats. The list goes on. I'm always amazed at the efforts and hard work put into these things and pains me to walk away when I see something I can't get anywhere else. I didn't get a lot of stuff, but what I did purchase, made me very happy:

 Ya know, I've been going to MM for years and it's a tradition to stop by the table that sells these items but I've never taken the plunge to really purchase them. Been eyeing that watch for years and now I'm the proud owner of that ugly, little spud!

CRYPTKEEPER HAT (from London1888): 

The hat is a real beauty. Add my previously purchased My Pet Monster pin (also from London1888) and it looks even better. I love hats and a hat featuring the Crypt Keeper? I needed it.

My only issue with the entire weekend as that the hotel was just absolutely cramped to the gills. I'd probably wager to say it was the largest attended MM to date. Attendance became so large that the local fire-marshal stopped by and forced ticket sales to be halted for at least an hour. That's great for business and the convention is indeed a business, but for an attendee, it causes a lot of headaches. It's a nice hotel, very impressive indeed. From perspective, the convention has gotten so large that it could probably be held more comfortably in a small convention center or something. The Oakes Expo Center could be a good spot. Then again, I'm not the promoter. I'm just a fan. Two totally different perspectives.

The promoter and his family put on an absolutely fantastic show and I certainly would rate this convention experience a solid 10/10. My previous MM experience was less than stellar and left me sour on the convention but this show restored my faith in the show. More Monster Mania's take place this year and I'm sure I'll find myself to one more before the year is over.


PS-Here's some more fun shots of me and my friends!

The legendary Ian of Ian's Pumpkin Carvings and his amazing creations!

Scentsy Queen Natalie and Tank of Fright-Rags.

My buddy Jessica aka The Queen of Cosplay
(3 time MM costume contest champion)

Courtney Catastrophe

Jason of IconVsIcon

The Legendary head of IVP Videos

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