'Rock and shock' a perfect prelude to halloween

(above) A pillow inspired by the film "Shaun of the Dead."
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs
By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

It's that time of year again, when people's thoughts turn just a little dark Halloween. And by the looks of things at this year's "Rock and Shock" convention in Worcester a three day event celebrating horror movies, heavy metal rock 'n' roll and other pop culture phenomena that recently took place despite an economic downturn people are still willing to spend money on a rocks glass full of eyeballs that's actually a candle.

Well, I did. I had to bring my wife home a present.

"Rock and Shock" is a smaller version of the largest horror and pop culture show on the East Coast, "Chiller Theatre" in New

Jersey. That extravaganza (www.chillertheatre.com) will be presented Oct. 24 through 26 at the Hilton Parsippany in Parsippany, N.J. While I enjoy the Big E atmosphere of "Chiller" the event is huge "Rock and Shock" manages to satisfy my horror convention jones without a three-plus hour drive.

And luckily many of the companies showing off their wares at "Rock and Shock" have them available on the Internet, so even if you missed the show, you can still find those odd times you think you need for the holiday season.

Many of the exhibitors are native to New England, which adds a regional feel to the proceedings.

GASP magazine is one of those Massachusetts-grown creations as the publication is based in Gardner. The magazine, which is available online at www.gasp-magazine.net caters to "independent horror" in literature, film and art.

One of its staffers, Aaron LaBonte, explained the magazine supports "the little guy." Editor Candace LaBonte added the quarterly magazine is "an outlet for people who don't know how to publish their work."

The magazine can be purchased as a download, in conventional print form or on a CD-ROM through its Web site. It doesn't have any newsstand distribution at this time.

And it is for adults, as I quickly assessed with a quick thumb-through.

Currently the magazine is preparing its fifth issue.

The horror products of Horror D cor (www.horrordecor.net), whose booth was next door to GASP, weren't quite as visceral as the magazine, and should appeal to the horror fan looking for something a tad subtler.

Owner Matthew Molloy has been in business for two years manufacturing the previously mentioned eyeball candle a big seller, he reported, at only $5. This year he featured a blood splattered shower curtain ($24.50) and a bathmat ($7.50) with two bloody footprints as well as a series of throw pillows ($12), one of which honored "Shaun of the Dead."

Need a clock for the living room? Molloy was selling a bloody saw blade clock in two different sizes ($35 and $30).

"No script, no agenda, all bull****" is the slogan for Outside the Cinema (www.outsidethecine-ma.blogspot.com), a free podcast dedicated to horror films. Boston-based co-host Ryan St. Pierre said not only does he and his on-air partner Bill Fulkerson enjoy performing the Internet broadcasts, but also they are actually making a little money through advertising.

Definitely rated R for language, the podcast I listened to was like being in a room with two slightly hyperactive fanboys who are both knowledgeable and funny in a hyper-active fanboy way.

"The Ghouligans," a fun cable access show from Long Island, represented independent television productions. Producer Michael Koscik said the show has been in production since 2005 and lampoons classic movie monsters.

He quickly added, though, "we treat them with respect."

The DVD on sale for $15 is also available at the

show's Web site, www.theghouligans.com, with other merchandise.

I liked the show. It's a well-produced hybrid between "The Monkees" and the old "Beach Party" movies with classic sitcoms. Colorful and geared toward at least most of the family, "The Ghouligans" is goofy monster fun.

The other aspect of "Rock and Shock" and the upcoming "Chiller Theatre" are actors with pop culture credentials looking to meet fans and more importantly sell their autographs at $20 or $25 a shot. A new wrinkle this year was many of the celebs charged an additional $10 if you wanted to take a photo with them with your camera.

Yikes. I had wanted to take some shots but didn't want to take an illegal photo and be wrestled to the ground by "Rock and Shock" security.

The folks drawing the longest lines at "Rock and Shock" were former wrestler and star of "They Live," Rowdy Roddy Piper and Jason Mewes, "Jay" of "Jay and Silent Bob" from the Kevin Smith movies.

For some reason the various victims and monsters from the "Halloween," "Friday the 13th" and "Hellraiser" series just didn't attract fans more.

Well, I thought as I picked up my two collections of previews for grindhouse movies that played on 42nd Street theaters, there's no accounting for taste.