Horror fans flock to conventions like children stalk ice cream trucks. It’s a need to quench an insatiable thirst for our genre obsession, and the promoters behind these events go to great lengths to please attendees. When I got my hands on the SATURDAY NIGHTMARES: THE ULTIMATE HORROR EXPO OF ALL TIME documentary; I expected the same old event review, and that’s exactly what I got. Only this one was like watching Aunt Irene’s old home videos.
The event took place March 19th-21st, 2010 in Jersey City, NJ at the historic Loew’s Theatre. The convention itself seemed pretty cool- focusing a lot on George A. Romero and his work. Adrienne Barbeau also appeared, as well as Ken Foree, Tom Savini, and FX artist Joshua Turi. From the vendor’s lobby to the panel discussions, it looked like a good time was had by all.
The documentary itself, however, just didn’t cut it. Director Michael Stever took the ‘as if you were there’ approach, walking the viewer through the set up, the event, and the finale. Even with some cinematic structure, a taste of comedy, a mysterious dancing woman, and the oddly placed cheerful music, it didn’t feel like a documentary- it felt more like a man’s journey through a fun weekend. It’s a low budget, free for all with some celebrity interviews and a bit about the theater’s history- other than that, I would have labeled it an infomercial.
This DVD could have worked if the creative forces that be had taken a step by step approach at creating one of these events. From the initial location scouting, to finding and securing celebrity appearances, to the expo itself, a documentary of this caliber would have served its purpose on this track. Unfortunately, parts were nothing more than a montage of people walking, engaging with costumed actors, and a ‘filler’ costume contest. As is, the film could serve useful as a marketing tool, but falls flat as entertainment.
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