Being a horror snob makes me a freak, not only among those Upstanding Citizens who view horror as morally suspect, but also to some degree among average horror fans. MotorCity Nightmares caters primarily to those average horror fans, eager for celebrity autographs and mass market darkness, but I was glad to find more than a few delicacies that suited my refined sensibilities. I confess I only had a couple hours to take in MotorCity Nightmares, and I spent them all in the merchants room. I did not even enter either of the screening rooms. I missed the concert and VIP party. Heck, one could argue I wasn’t hardly there at all, but these were a couple highlights I’m glad I didn’t miss:
• Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers — Full Disclosure: I’m a proud member of GLAHW so I had to stop by and give the gang a bit of grief. I even parted with actual cash to purchase a copy of David C. Hayes’ American Guignol, if for no other reason than it allowed me a chance to pontifcate snootily on the proper pronuciation of Guignol (“geen yoll” btw) a snobbish pretension that drew jeers and heartless comparisons to Alex Trebek. Seriously, I look forward to reading this collection of short pieces inspired by the French Grand Guignol school of over-the-top gore and pathos. David, you had me at “Ubu.”
• Donald England, Illustrator — I chatted briefly with Donald and purchased one of his “Lunchtime Sketches” – small pencil sketches done during his lunch breaks. (What image? Dr. Zaius angrily clutching a human doll) I bought it both because it was a fair rendering using modest materials but also to remind me to be creative on a daily basis, even if I have to sandwich in time between bites of a sandwich. A daily sketchbook or journal, kept diligently, keeps one’s craft warm under the fingers. Of Donald’s other work, I particularly liked his pen and ink drawings which share the same grace and sensibility as Bernie Wrightson’s illustrations. He does commission work; I wonder if he’d design an Xmas card for Elsa and I.
• MeatSpider Studios, sculpture — I was really taken with MeatSpider’s Lovecraft inspired sculpture. Sure, I don’t much like Lovecraft’s writing, that over-wrought pseudo-pretenious prose but I adore all the mythos trappings. In particular, I loved MeatSpider’s relatively tasteful mono-chromatic idols from the Cthulu cultists. They displayed a gentle sense of design, convincing texturing and aging and generally felt like some bizarre ancient artifact. As I recall, the pieces seemed rather reasonably priced as well, so I’m at a loss to figure why I didn’t purchase one.
• Gutter Ghouls — I grabbed their CD “MotorCity Murder Billy” and on first listen it’s good, hard psychobilly. Folks, there’s a reason they call Detroit “Rock City.” The Gutter Ghouls were playing the party later Saturday night and from their site, they’re playing lots of dates over the next few months.
• Motor City Haunt Club— Love haunted attractions perhaps so much you run one in your front yard? So does Motor City Haunt Club. They have monthly meetings, often a hands-on how-to, and they run The Haunted Garage Sale where folks sell haunting props. I really like their logo too, for what it’s worth.
• Wicked Celebrations — Need a hearse but still have a pulse? Call Wicked Celebrations to book a plush six-seat ride complete with wet bar. Prices seem competitive with a boring old limo, but who’d want to ride in one of those?
I chatted with lots more folks and stuffed my goodie bag with lots of wonders in the brief time I spent at MotorCity Nightmares. Next time, when I promise I’ll spend more time, maybe I’ll need to rent that hearse to help cart everything home.