Gremlins in the Garage!

Chiller 97

Review by Dr. Scott Buonanno
The biannual Chiller Theatre show returned to the Secaucus Hilton Oct. 31, Nov. 1st and 2nd. The largest Sci-fi and Horror film convention in the northeast just keeps getting bigger and bigger. With numerous models, celebrities, seminars, and memorabilia, there is something for anyone with an interest in science fiction or horror.

I attended the show on Saturday, Nov. 1st. A three hour drive was somewhat hampered by a torrential rain storm passing through the area that also seemed to hold the crowds down early on. All the better to make it through the dealer rooms unhindered. This wouldn't last for long as, by midday, the hotel was jam packed with convention goers. I don't know how many people actually attended, but if I had to guess, I would say there were three or four thousand on Saturday alone. This is one monstrous (no pun intended) bash.


Of course, the principal attraction for me is the models. There was plenty of new stuff on hand as well as some hard to find kits. Cellar Cast was there selling their Frazetta and Vallejo inspired kits. In addition they debuted two new wonderful pieces. First is a 1/4 scale bust of Vincent Price. Featuring a pedestal base and torso, the likeness to Price is spot on perfect. Steve West continues to amaze. Also on display was his new Centerfold kit. Modeled after Julie Strain (a nice place to start), this one features a stunning recumbent nude. An absolute must for all girl kit lovers. They also had a couple of resin bases that will go well with many kits.

Screamin was there as usual. They finally had their new Pinhead available to purchase. They also had a new kit sculpted by Berger, a Connecticut sculptor and frequent guest at my local hobby shop. titled "Rise and Dine," its a living dead type kit. I saw the original sculpt and if Screamin does it justice, this will be a must get for all you necros out there.

Rezn Hedz was there with a few things to show. First of all was their new Devil Girls kit. A really nasty sculpt features two nude Satanic hotties playing "hide the forked tail". Can't have this one around the kids I'm afraid, but a nice looking sculpt. Larry also had a picture of ex-pornstar turned B-movie actress Ginger Lynn Allen to announce the first in a line of figure based on adult movie superstars.

Netherworld was in the house. Nothing new to report but I was happy to see a limited reissue of both their outstanding Channard kit with a reworked one piece base, and their wonderful Edward ScissorHands. Joe Mendillo continues to promise the re-release on the Xenomorphous Rex with a new and different base, but he was (as usual) kind of cryptic as to the time table.

G-Force made the trip from Canada with some nice stuff. It was quite interesting to see Gary White dressed up in the full regalia as Kiss' Gene Simmons to promote their new Simmons kit. Since the temps in the dealer room were getting a bit summer like, I would have hated to be sitting next to him for any length of time. The Simmons kit itself features the God of Thunder in about 1/8 scale with an several optional parts including an extended tongue. Quite nice and reasonably priced too. They also had their crow and Old Gullers Daughter as well as the Black Wave tattoo kit.

Morningstar was there with several new kits. First was a kit I alluded to in my Modelfest review. They have produced what is to my knowledge the first Star Wars Wompa in resin. A large kit, the figure stands some 14" tall and features a stalactite base that is almost 18" tall. If your a Star Wars fan grab it before the old C&D demons get it. They also had their new Cheech Marin from From Dusk til Dawn. Lastly, a real eye grabber was a 1/6 scale Jack Nicholson from the Shining. Featuring the possessed Jack dragging his injured leg and carrying an axe, this kit featured a strong likeness.

Alternative Images was there too. They had most of their line of kits and a few new pieces. First is their outstanding Paramour kit. Featuring the Creature from the Black Lagoon carrying his swimsuit clad victim, this is a beautiful piece. Its limited so grab it now. Also there was a large scale female vampire kit. I didn't get a name of the kit, but it was striking. Pressure cast pieces too. worth looking into for girl type kits.

Anubis was there as well with a couple of new pieces. First up was their new Blade Runner Spinner. Featuring a hollow cast resin body, the options for lighting this one are very real. Looked really nice. Next up was a white star cruiser from B5. This was one of the best looking pieces at the show. Almost two feet long if I remember correctly, this kit comes with texture maps produced from the CGI used in the show to help with what is one hell of a complicated paint scheme.

Artomic was represented by Fritz of Vampir Unlimited. Kuntz's new Man Who Laughs was out for sale. What a sculpting job by Tom! Featuring an extremely detailed representation of characters lacy period costume, this is one ornate sculpt. Kuntz continues to show why he is one of the best in the biz at representing period clothing. Pricey but an absolute must get for Conrad Veidt fans or Goths.

Shawn Nagle shared some space with Morningstar. I didn't see many of his pieces, except for a new Kong. A dynamically sculpted piece features the Goliath simian in a battle with three raptors. A really nice sculpt overall. Wish I hadn't blown the budget before I saw it..

Espi was showing off its Space Above and Beyond kits. They produce a Hammerhead, a Chig and a Chig fighter. They also had a new kit called Eater of the Dead featuring a Lovecraftian demon / beast devouring some pour soul. Quite grotesque.

Grems own Ed Bowkley / Diceman Creations had a few new pieces to show. In addition to his cool kits of 60's TV characters, Ed was showing a nice figure of the Godfather sculpted by John Garcia in addition to an impaled Kenny from South Park. Ed had a few odds and ends including a tiny Nicholson Joker, a skull and a base in addition to his other kits.

Another Grem, Jim Deming (Kitboy 33 to you an I) was there with his new Blind Date kit. Sculpted by Canadian Jaques Lemontagne this features a scantily clad damsel in distress being menaced by a werewolf. Quite nice.

I was happy to see Mike James and Azimuth at the show. If you read any of the mags, you're familiar with his kits. It was the first time I had seen the kits in person and man was I impresses. He has a distinctive style and puts out top notch castings. If you're a girl kit fan drop everything and call Mike up. You need these kits!

All in all, plenty of resin to be had here folks. This show is generally a little lighter on the Anime that Wonderfest, but House of Anime had some really nice pieces on hand. Some of the anime that was available was of the recast variety, but if you looked hard, you could find some really nice stuff, both original and recast.

As usual, Chiller attracts lots of celebrities and para celebrities. Among the notable were: Sara Karloff, Dwight Frye Jr., Ingrid Pitt, Linda Harrison (Nova from Planet of the Apes), Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), Tim Thomerson (Jack Deth, Dollman), Lee Merriwhether, Kyra Schon (little girl with the trowel from Night of the Living Dead "Mommy, I hurt!"), Barbara Leigh (the original Vampirella), Zacherle... whew! Get the idea. In addition, there was a room of porn stars, headed by Ginger Lynn. In this same room was little Scott Schwartz. You remember this kid." The Toy" with Richard Pryor. The kid who got his tongue stuck to the lampost in "A Christmas Story". Amazingly enough, he's doing porn now. I thought I had seen everything. Also, another room held some of the old time wrestlers. Classy Freddy Blassie was there in addition to Abdullah the Butcher. If you've never seen the Butcher, he weighs about 400 lbs and has scars in his bald head you could lose a quarter in.. No kidding!

As for the modeling community, the list is impressive as well. Lets see. Fred and Sylvia from Modelers Resource. Gordy Dutt and Crew from Kitbuilders, Jerry Buchanen. Dave Fisher and Terry Webb. J.P Joyce from Kitboy in Texas. Joe and Lois from Puff n Stuff. Sculptors included John Dennett, Paul Komoda, William Paquette, Mike James from Azimuth, Mad Labs Mike Parks, Predel from Styrene Studios, Steve West, Shawn Nagle, Dave Grant from Morningstar, Ed Eilbacher, Steven Venters, Staffan Linders from Swede Creations and many others I'm surely neglecting. A formidable assortment of talent to be sure. The nice thing is, everybody is very pleasant and approachable and willing to answer questions, give an opinion.

I spent only the one day at the show but frankly, could have spent three. I missed a lot of stuff that goes on (the costume party and the bands, the annual Gremlins dinner), but had a great time none the less. To give you an example how big the show is getting, two TV stations in the Hartford CT area sent crews to the show. Its a two plus hour dive from Hartford. Not exactly local news. But the show deserves attention. I've not made it to the West coast or to Wonderfest yet, but I can't imagine any of them beating Chiller for sheer volume. And it happens twice a year. If you live on this side of the planet, you owe it to yourself to come to Chiller at least once.


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