Rock and Shock recap 2011: A weekend of music, mayhem, and bodily fluids

Click here for more photos from Rock & Shock 2011.

Rock and Shock is a one-of-a-kind event: equal parts horror convention, heavy-metal show, and awesomeness. At this year's R&S, on October 16th through the 18th, splatter freaks slashed through the DCU Center, filling their bloody burlap sacks with frightful T-shirts, posters for Chopping Mall and Twitch of the Death Nerve, and autographs of Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), Ace Frehley (KISS frontman),  Rowdy Roddy Piper (ex-wrestler), and Gary Busey (maniac). Then they shuffled next door to the Palladium, craving not juicy brains but dark, macabre music by bands such as Mushroomhead, Earth Crisis, and Insane Clown Posse.  Yes, Insane Clown Posse.

And the madness didn't stop there.  Read on...if you dare! Bwah hah hah hah hah! *crash of thunder*

Frightful Acts

Halloween will be here before you know it, and if you don't believe me then maybe this will convince you (good luck getting it out of your head):

Unless you are completely lame, you'll need some sort of costume.  Something scary.  Just not this kind of scary:

Something that's guaranteed to scare the crap out of any faint-hearted trick-or-treaters.  How about this mask from Frightful Acts?

When you wear this mask, only the bravest costumed children will dare to take candy from your plastic jack-o-lantern, if they haven't already soiled their Harry Potter cape and run screaming from your front lawn. Frightful Acts also sells seven other creepy and cool masks, although none quite as nightmare-inducing as this one. Each is custom-made to fit your magnificent dome, and cost between $300 and $500.  They can be ordered at

Gene Simmons Monster Mini Golf
Ace Frehley was signing autographs, although there was no mention of KISS anywhere on the program. Instead, he was identified as "Legendary Guitarist".  Huh?  Why can't The Spaceman use the name of his own band?  This reeks of Gene Simmons's treachery.  Simmons is a notoriously shrewd businessman - I wouldn't be surprised if he owns the KISS name and won't let Ace use it unless Rock and Shock meets his demands:

-1/3 of each attendee's soul
-666 red m&ms autographed by Satan
-Ace must spend the entire weekend in a giant vat of Cherry Dr. Pepper

On Saturday, I spied Simmons from across the room.  At last, my chance to find out if he's the mastermind behind this madness!  But as I approached I discovered that it wasn't him at all.  It was a Gene impersonator (Genepersonator? Gene-alike?) and he wasn't there to keep an eye on Ace (or at least that's what he told me).  He was promoting the grand opening of Monster Mini Golf's newest course in Las Vegas (opening date unknown), where KISS will perform to kick off the festivities.  I don't know if Monster Mini Golf means that you play mini golf against monsters, or turn into a werewolf while you putt, or forgo the ball and hit Dracula's severed head down the hill of astro-grass, through a windmill, and into the cup.  Whatever it is, I'm in.  And I'm keeping my eye out for Gene, in case he shows up and demands a pound of flesh for each par that I make.  You may be tough Mr. Simmons, but I have a putter and I know how to use it.

Chillerama is an over-the-top horror/comedy film that appeals to genre fans, especially those who have a fondness for the fun drive-in flicks of the 60s through the 80s.

The film features four shorts from Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2), Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City), Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs), and Adam Green (Hatchet 1 and 2, Frozen).

Chillerama is one big love letter to subversive, offensive, disgusting, fun B-movies, and the audience ate it up . . . and then had to hold it down and try not to barf in their "I Spit on Your Grave" lunchboxes.  Because Chillerama is extremely, unapologetically gross: genital mutilation, buckets of blood and gore, heaping handfuls of shit, and mega-loads of semen . . . lots and lots of semen.  The coup-de-grace is a monster sperm - aptly named Wadzilla - that grows to the size of Larry Flynt's corporate headquarters and terrorizes New York.  I've always wondered what would happen if you put a condom on the Statue of Liberty, and, thanks to Chillerama, I finally have my answer (protip: trickier than it looks).

Given the film's niche audience, Chillerama won't be coming to your local multiplex anytime soon.  Fortunately, the crazy film nuts at Outside the Cinema podcast brought Chillerama to Rock and Shock - a perfect place for a throwback horror flick. If you missed the screening, don't despair -- keep your eyes peeled: most recently, Outside the Cinema screened an encore Chillerama at the Hollywood Hits Theater in Danvers, MA. And when you do see this film, bring a raincoat - it's gonna get sticky.

Before the Mask
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, released in 2006, is a clever, low-budget horror mocumentary about Leslie Vernon, a charming, intelligent man who is determined to become the next great serial killer.  His lives in a world where Freddy, Jason, and Michael Myers are real, and he wants to join their ranks as the new slasher icon.  The film has gained a dedicated cult following in the horror community, so naturally director Scott Glosserman wrote a sequel: Before the Mask: The Return of Leslie Vernon.

However, despite the legions of rabid fans, Glosserman and his team have been unable to secure funds for Before the Mask.  This sort of problem has caused major roadblocks for countless low-budget horror flims, but Glosserman has thought of a creative new way of getting his film made.  Nathan Baesel - Leslie Vernon himself - was signing autographs at Rock and Shock, and he filled me in their fundraising strategy.

PHX: Tell me about your efforts with the sequel.

NB: The Facebook page that we have set up right now for Before The Mask is a way that we're keeping the film sequel in the hands of the fans, just like the first film has had its lifeblood given by the fans.  So on the facebook page you can commit to donating a certain amount of money, [and] you get something in return: DVD, Blu-Ray, poster.  It goes all the way up to [where] we fly you out to the set, we put you up in the hotel with the cast and crew, you party with us, and we kill you off in a scene. So it's pretty sweet.

Also, if you get a DVD or Blu-Ray it's a special edition, separate from the ones that are being mass produced, and the filmic portions of the sequel will get, when it's all said and done, cut up into individual frames.  So if you are, say, the fiftieth person to donate you get frame fifty.

PHX: Wow.

NB: Yeah, it's pretty sweet.

PHX: I think it's wonderful, you're really putting it in the hands of the fans to show their support.  I think it's great.

NB: That's why we're still alive and kicking...if we can demonstrate, like it feels we've been able to do so far, to potential backers that, look, we've already got a community that's not just interested but really committing to, with money, demonstrating their interest in a sequel that says so much more than whatever profits we made the first time around.

Bitchin'!  A large portion of Nathan's autograph money at Rock and Shock went to the fundraising effort, and two other companies stepped up to the plate to help bring Before the Mask to the big screen.  Horror T-shirt company Fright Rags is selling Leslie Vernon t-shirts and hoodies - I got a t-shirt at Rock and Shock and it kicks ass.

DeConte Figures & Collectibles is launching an exclusive line of Leslie Vernon action figures, Leslie's slasher mask, and Leslie's weapon of choice - a sharp sickle.  The masks and sickles will be replicas of the real thing, so you'll have all you need to dress like Leslie and chase your younger brother around the living room.  A portion of the money made from the Fright Rags and DeConte merch will go to the fundraising campaign.  To make your contribution, click here.

If you're on the fence about contributing, consider this: some of our most beloved horror series started as low budget movies.  The original A Nightmare on Elm St, Saw, Friday the 13th, and Halloween - these movies were made for small bucks and went on to spawn huge mega-franchises that are beloved worldwide.  They made household names of Freddy, Jigsaw, Jason, and Michael Myers.  So do your part to help us add Leslie to the list - trust me, he belongs there.  Horror fiends at Rock and Shock, myself included, spent the weekend buying scary horror stuff and meeting our terrifying heroes.  Let's take it a step further and help be a part of horror history.

Because if Nathan Baesel is promoting Behind the Mask 12 : Leslie in Space at Rock and Shock 2023, then we'll have ourselves to thank.

READ MORE: For complete coverage of this year's Halloween mayhem, check out

Michael Neel is the co-creator of anthology-horror-film Drive-In Horrorshow and animated web series Infinite Santa 8000. He can be reached at



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