Monsterpalooza 2018

Edited by Ariel Landrum
Photos from Tania Escobar

image_01 (1).jpg

For three days straight, Monsterpalooza celebrated 10 years of frightful fun, from Friday April 13 to Sunday April 15, 2018. This convention focuses on the horror genre, attracting people who delight in gore. Since it stomped its way to the Pasadena Convention Center in 2016, the coordinators have incorporated an “Afterlife Party,” free for those with con-wristbands, which takes place on Saturday.

Though there is the expected live entertainment, unlike other convention after parties, this one includes an award ceremony: The Fright-Time Achievement Award, honoring the movie industry’s special effects makeup artist. Every year it is presented to an honoree by a surprise celebrity guest.

Prior winners include three time Oscar winners Greg Cannom and Ve Neill. Cannom is best known for his work in White ChicksVan Helsing, and 1992 Dracula starring Gary Oldman, who was also the special guest to present the award.

Neill is best known for her work in Edward ScissorhandsPirates of the Caribbean, and Beetlejuice. Presenter Pee-wee Herman (Paul Rubens) gave the glass laurel to Neill as the two collaborated together on Pee-wee’s Playhouse

The affair is hosted by Premiere Products Inc. (PPI) every year and the winner of the prestigious award this year was legendary makeup artist Rick Baker. He has won seven Oscars in various films, including The Wolfman to How the Grinch Stole Christmas to Men in Black. He is even the man who transformed Michael Jackson from man to beast in his music video, Thriller.

It would seem that he is the perfect first pick for The Fright-Time Achievement Award. As Monsterpalooza celebrated a decade of existence, it’s more appropriate that they marked this achievement by honoring a true star. Not only was Baker recognized at the festivities, PPI had their first makeup tribute in the exhibit hall at their booth so they could showcase Baker’s work.

The entertainment for the night was master of ceremonies Monte Revolta and His Band of the Living Dead. The band created a montage of Baker’s works which played perfectly with their music. Attendees dressed in horror cosplay laughed and danced during the performance.

As the music died down and the footage ended, special guest celebrity Slash, guitarist from Guns ‘n Roses came out to present the trophy. He is a huge fan of Baker’s work in The Incredible Melting Man, and the 1976 King Kong. Accompanied Slash was also writer and director John Landis and actor David Naughton, both who worked with the luminary on the film American Werewolf in London

After receiving praise, Baker joked, “I feel like I’m at a wake or something. I’ve seen my life pass before my eyes.” While giving his speech, Baker held back tears as he claimed, “I’ve gotten a lot of awards and things but this one, believe it or not, means so much to me because you guys are my people.” 

Personally I tried not to cry myself as Baker is an inspiration and hero to me. I’m also an employee at Universal Studios, where his name never goes unspoken and is synonymous to many of Universal’s legendary creatures.

As the party drew to a close, I was sad to see it all go, knowing that this year is one for the books. The Afterlife Party does an amazing job of celebrating what Monte claims is “a room full of sick twisted individuals”.

Follow Tania E. on Instagram: @Twisted_Tania 


For tickets and details on Monsterpalooza: