Chiller Theatre 2004 Flashback

Well it’s almost Chiller time, ladies and gents. This weekend marks yet another trip to Parsippany NJ for Chiller Theatre! And this is a pretty special show for me as it marks 20 years since attending my very first horror con! Looks like I’ve come full circle. After all those years of missing Chiller shows, I’m finally able to celebrate this big milestone back “home”. And just for extra fun, I wanted to go back and repost my experience from my very first show all those years ago. Thankfully this was on my old hard drive along with a bunch of other livejournal posts and even some of my old wrestling e-fed matches and promos, so I figure why not do a “directors cut” of this particular write up. It’s been punched up with better grammar and I attempted to edit any typos too. The only other major change is also changing the name of a former friend who I attended this show with. So when you see “Kuruku” that’s code for someone else.

It’s odd to think back on the last 20 years of attending horror cons and realize just how things have changed. Not just me but the horror fandom, my contributions to the fandom or other fandoms, and of course, conventions themselves. Everything has changed. Some for the better, some for the worst, but that’s always life.

Chiller was always the show I wanted to attend the most: my pal, the late great Todd The Bodd Fulkerson got me into collecting autographs and encouraged me to hit conventions on the east coast. Thankfully the bigger shows were in the NY/NYC/PA area so driving from MD/DC wasn’t an issue. And after a two year streak of not being able to attend, I was finally able to make Chiller Theatre in spring 2004. Up until that point, me and my friend at the time only attended comic and anime cons, so a show like this was a massive eye opener. Everything about the trip. Being that close to Giants stadium was awesome (literally across the street from it. We had a great view outside our hotel room!), going to White Castle before going to a movie theater in East Hanover, NJ and then coming back to our room but discussing the events of the day the entire time.

This was also my first time traveling to NJ. Never been before but after attending this show and the side trips and traveling I did throughout the weekend, I fell in love with my beloved New Jersey. It’s a wild state filled character, great hard working people and some great events. I always feel like a second home in NJ. It’s just one of those places. 

So let’s zoom back to 2004. Remember, I tried to fix a lot but I’m sure there is still plenty of schlock  that said, enjoy!



After getting off work, I head over to Kuruku’s place, where we pass the time by watching some glorious Filmation goodness. I also receive a very valuable gift: an original Battle Armor Skeletor MOC from 1983!!!  Apparently Kuruku got his hands on a few vintage MOC MOTU and wanted to share one with me! Not a bad way to start the weekend, eh? So we head out at 6:00 and after having the worst Roy Rogers burger ever, we get to drive in rain. On a Friday. Lovely. Well we finally  to the hotel about 12 midnight. We didn’t stay at the hosting hotel, The Sheraton, so we stayed at the smaller hotel next door. Thankfully there was a small path we could get to the Sheraton. So we call it a night and get ready for our biggest con ever.

(2024 edit: The Sheraton is now a Hilton and the hotel we stayed at is currently an Extended Stay Suites. Whether or not that is what it was at the time, I can’t remember but that sounds about right)

But, before we head to bed for the night, we go back out to grab a few essentials and naturally, we find a....White Castle. yes. Oh yes. We are so happy.


I wake up pretty early that morning, which is weird, considering I usually need about 10 hours of sleep. Kuruku gets up at his usual "Wake me up in fifteen minutes, which drags out for 3 hours untill we go. We register 2 hours later at 12 noon. We start some stuff  with Mad Max Guy (2024 edit: yup that was the legendary Animal who served Chiller proudly for many many years before retiring very recently. We love ya, Animal!-Chad) who must be a Chiller Theatre regular, because I didn't know who he was but he was fun to joke around with. So, after registering, we head up to the dealers room, which is waaaay more insane than something like Ohayocon. They had a plethora of fantastic items, including bootleg dvds! A great selection of unique action figures, models, posters and of course: COMICS, COMICS, COMICS!!! 

Anyway, We finally head outside and get ourselves in line for the celebrity tent. We continue to wait in line about 2 hours which thank God for awesome people to chat with because otherwise it would have been a much worse experience. We talked to a lot of great people in line and bummed  some smokes.(2024 edit: as of October 2005, you could still smoke in the hotel lobby) I'm standing close to the beginning of the line, when all of a sudden, The Icon himself Rowdy Roddy Piper comes out. I scream "RODDY YOU ROCK!!!!" and he waves back with his signature “I love you” hand signal. Finally, it’s time to enter the famous celebrity tent and meet our favorites. First name up is none other than The Icon, the Hot Rod, Rowdy...RODDY...PIPER!!! 

We had to wait a little for him to come back from his lunch break but it was so worth it. He was ready to go with fans and provided everyone with a very memorable experience. We talked about working with Billy Blank and our love of the Rock N Wrestling cartoon. I got him to sign a promo picture, a video cassette case, and I bought a Hot Rod! shirt, which I've wanted since I was a little kid. 

So then we wandered over to the biggest line...the Batman cast line. First we met Adam West. His assistant (Fred Westbrock) kept messing with Frank Gorshin and Haji. But back to Adam, we asked him what his favorite Simpson line was and he said "Pure West". I did it for him, and he had a good laugh. I got him to sign a picture for my pal Andrew and one for 

Next, we met the amazing Julie Newmar, who was still absolutely beautiful!!! Kuruku 
 asked her to sign his "My Living Doll" video tape which she was very flattered to sign. I got her to sign two pics, one of Catwoman and a pin-up from the 60's.

Next up, the Riddler himself, Frank Gorshin. We were hoping to get him to do a Paul Lynde impression to counter Kuruku. He told us that his throat was hurting. I told Frank  that Kuruku does a killer Paul Lynde, and he encouraged Kururu to do it! He failed and Frank just laughed. I got him to sign one photo. 

After Kuruku embarrassed himself  in the face of an icon and disgraced Paul Lynde, we met Richard Hatch from TV's Battlestar Galactica. Ryan and him had a great conversation, and Richard complimented Kuruku. "You’re a guy that thinks, and I appreciate that". And he really dug my Jim Morrison shirt, which rocked! He was a great guy to talk to about tv and a guy that really loves his fans. Kuruku purchased 1 photo.

Our last celebrity encounter was our most disappointing meet of the week. Lou Ferrigno. Not the nicest guy, I’d like to assume he was just having a bad afternoon

(2024 edit: this seems to be a very common recurrence with Lou. He can apparently be a bit more grumpy at conventions.)

So after walking around for three hours in the tent, we head out for a smoke. Kuruku goes into his bed and I go up to the dealer room. I go into a different one, thank goodness, and find G.I. JOES!!!! HOO-RAY! I buy a Crimson Guard and a Fridge that I can finally play with and keep the other one in the mail-in bag. I hesd back to the hotel and tell Kuruku about my find. I also inform him that they had DVD's and he buys the Best of She-Ra and I find a Crimson Guard Python Patrol in the box that I was digging through before. Must’ve missed it! I also registered my alliance with the Horror Channel and in turn, was rewarded with a squishy little stress TV with the Horror Channel logo on it . 

Before we left the con finally, I went to the Troma room, and got my picture taken with Team Troma and Toxie!!! I would've liked to meeet Lloyd Kaufman, though. Some day!

(2024: that day would finally come in 2010, 2015 (twice that year!) and 2017. Meeting Lloyd is still a favorite moment of mine!)

After that, we were spent. Mentally and physically so we went back to our room, relaxed for a bit before heading off to WHITE CASTLE. Naturally being us, we got lost in what seems to be worst part of Jersey(hell we could’ve driven into Yonkers for all I know!) . At 10:10 We went to go see the movie Ladykillers, starring Tom Hanks, which was funny, the only issue was I fell asleep in the theatre and snored for about 5 minutes, until Kuruku woke me up. We headed back at 12:00 midnight and went to sleep. It was a long day and it really caught up with us. But man oh man did we cram a lot into one day!


I really don't think I can qualify Sunday as a con expierence, because we really only registered for Saturday. We bid fairwell, and headed back to Maryland.

WELL. Not not so bad, eh? We pretty much lived it up for our first horror show. It was a brand new world and one of the most important shows I’ve ever attended. To this day, Chiller remains my favorite show. I’ve said it before but it’s just such a comforting convention whereas others can sometimes feel like a chore these days.

See you guys Parsippany! Stop by the VHSPS booth and grab a good disc or two!

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