“Oh, please. I saw Paul Lynde do that same hackneyed trick on Bewitched.”

I just left ZomBCon 2011; it was my first and last time attending this con. I’m sure it didn’t help my overall impression of the con that I think zombies are beyond played out (seriously, stop beating the undead horse!), but I figured this would still have some horror things I would be interested in, and even better: it had Tom Savini, the “master of splatter”, a special FX artist I highly respect(ed).

But I’m getting ahead of myself. My first experience with the con was taking a lovely thirty minute tour of the Hilton parking garage, trying to find a parking spot. After I’d finally found a spot, we followed some posted signs to the convention, only to be told to turn around and trek back to a different area to get our wristbands. Since I was most excited to meet Tom Savini (I’d brought my first edition copy of Grande Illusions for him to sign), that was my first stop. He could not have been less interested in having any sort of conversation with me, looking away even as I paid him money for an autograph on an item I already owned. I asked him one question–has he ever considered offering online makeup courses for those people for whom moving to Pittsburgh would be extremely difficult if not impossible, and he cut me off, saying he wasn’t interested in competing with himself, and dismissed me. If looks could kill, the burning glance of hate he shot at me while sending me on my way would have killed me six times over–and that’s the only eye contact he made.

Look, I didn’t expect him to be my best friend, to stand up and take a photo with me, to chitchat or become sworn spit brothers. I understand that it’s awkward, even exhausting, to meet a bunch of people who know who you are, when you have no idea who they are, especially if they creep into the territory of rabid fandom, and you suspect they might want to make a dress out of your skin or something (which horror fans might be more likely to do). But I didn’t interrupt his lunch, or stop him at the john with his dick in his hand, asking him for an autograph. He was there of his own free will, I paid him for a moment of his time, and even then I couldn’t get his full attention. There wasn’t even anyone behind me–I was literally the only person asking for a second of his time, and he made me feel like I was some disgusting substance he’d found on his shoe. It was so disappointing, I could have cried. Granted, some of that is PMS talking, but if you’re not a person who is cut out to do meet-and-greets at conventions, maybe you shouldn’t do meet-and-greets. I’ve met a lot of celebrities–tv stars, movie stars, rock stars, porn stars, authors, artists, from the just-starting-out to the mega-famous-known-round-the-world and each and every one of them was nicer to me than Tom Savini.

We walked through the dealer’s area, but I was so embarrassed and shocked that I didn’t want to browse–not that I was much interested in getting a con tattoo beforehand, anyway. The only other activity going on at that time was a film screening of The Devil’s Rejects with Sid Haig and Bill Moseley, but I’d done that at Crypticon a few years ago and didn’t see much point in reprising the experience, and I didn’t have any interest in waiting around for any of the other zombie-related panels. When we left, about five minutes later, I left through a different door so I wouldn’t have to come face to face with Savini again.

I suppose I should look at it this way: forty minutes of wasted time saved me fifty grand in wasted money on Savini’s special FX school.

13 Comments “Oh, please. I saw Paul Lynde do that same hackneyed trick on Bewitched.”

  1. Phil C. October 24, 2011 at 4:16 am

    Savini is something of a legend in the fandom world for the curt, brusque way he treats fans. I’ve met him several times (he’s a regular at Dragon*Con) and I was never impressed either. I’m sorry he treated you that way, though.


    1. Mellzah October 24, 2011 at 7:02 am

      Yeah, a little online research after the fact and I realized I’m far from the only person he’s treated this way. It makes me wish I had bailed when trying to look for parking, though. Better to never meet someone I look up to if it’s doomed to be a negative experience–especially since I don’t know if I can ever look at his work the same way again.

  2. g33kgrrl October 24, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Aww, I’m so sorry you had this experience. I hope you can/did do something fun for yourself afterwards to make up for it.

    1. Mellzah October 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm

      We decorated the house for Halloween, I cooked a nice dinner, and we watched The Thing so the day wasn’t a total loss. 🙂

  3. epiphannie October 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    That sucks rocks. Savini makes Pittsburgh sound like THE bastion of bastards. It is not. It makes awesome football and Superfund sites. 🙂

    1. Mellzah October 24, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      If one or two bad apples could ruin the whole bushel, the whole nation would reek.

  4. Dan Wade October 24, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Tom Savini,

    master of early horror makeup. Innovator and creator of nightmares. If you haven’t met a lot of gruff east coast guys with a ton of ghosts in their closets then his attitude would make no sense.

    Let us not forget that the greatest artists often have been the most tormented.

    1. Mellzah October 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm

      I must admit I have met very few people from the east coast, much less gruff war vets. I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I don’t understand why he goes to cons if he really, sincerely does not want to meet fans.

      1. M'ris October 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm

        I am from the east coast (even east-er than Savini! horrors!), AND I am (amateur, infrequent) creator of nightmares, AND I hate 99% of humanity, AND I am not a colossal cuntbag.

        What I’m saying, Mellzah, is that I will give you an autograph for free, and not even sneer at you.

        1. Mellzah October 28, 2011 at 9:25 pm

          I definitely didn’t mean to make it sound like I was taking a swipe at all east coasters, just that I haven’t spent much time there (I was in and out of Drexel in less than three months, and that’s the only time I’ve been northeast of Wisconsin.) I have met some very fine east coasters, and I count you among them.

          …I’ll take that autograph now, on a photo of the two of us together.

  5. Tonya October 25, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Oh, I’m sorry to hear he was such a prick to you. Now I’m glad I missed his panel and didn’t swing by his table.

    I decided to bail Sunday after sitting around and hearing someone go batshit for at least 30 minutes on the ZomBcon volunteers’ walkie talkies. “Seriously, guys, is ANYONE out there close to someone from the (who the hell remembers) booth?!?! We NEED TO TALK TO THESE PEOPLE!” Followed by meeting up with a woman I’ve met at other cons who was getting nowhere asking volunteers about when a photo op (one she’d paid for as part of an expensive package) was scheduled and was nearly in tears. I’d overheard someone say one of the two guys she was looking for had left and had to be the one to tell her to go to what appeared to be volunteer central and ask until she got an answer. Sure enough, the guy was gone. And the con was so disorganized that NOBODY frakking knew this, apparently.

    Being barely able to move might have been a motivating factor for my leaving early, too. Thank the FSM for my rolling walker with the built-in seat – I’d have never made it at all otherwise. I don’t even want to get into the total lack of ADA-supports were in place.

    I will say I’m damned glad I got all my autographs, into my panels, and did my photo op with Sam Trammell on Saturday. The volunteer staff seemed to have a better idea of what was going on when and where on Saturday, too. But yeah, Sunday was a total clusterfuck.

    I heard while I was there that the con may be moving down to California next year so they can get more celebs to attend. Good riddance!

    1. Mellzah October 25, 2011 at 9:28 pm

      Yeah, I noticed there weren’t many ramps and with everyone squeezing into one elevator, it couldn’t have been comfortable for you! Not to mention a lack of seating in general.

      When a con is this disorganized, it deserves to crumble into nothing. They might be able to get more celebrities in California, but if they don’t get better organizers, they’ll only get them for a year, as no one wants to put up with a clusterfuck, even if they’re being paid to be there.

  6. Aimee November 3, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    How disappointing, I’m sorry that was your experience meeting him. What an ass. Like you said, if he doesn’t want to be there then he shouldn’t be.

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