As any New Englander with a deep love of horror movies can tell you, Worcester’s annual Rock & Shock convention is a superb way to live out one’s adolescent fantasies. This three-day-long extravaganza of “monsters, music, and mayhem” is the kind of event where, in the span of single weekend, you can shake Leatherface’s hand (and draw it back intact), pose with Pinhead, and—as was the case in 2009—get soaked in Faygo by Insane Clown Posse.
This weekend, Rock & Shock rises once again, with a lineup that’s as formidable as ever.
See Zombie Legend George A. Romero In the Flesh
Yes, this weekend, Rock & Shock hosts the godfather of the modern zombie film—George Romero, whose strange brain first raised the undead from their graves and unleashed a pop culture phenomenon that lurches to this day, nearly five decades after he first dropped Night of the Living Dead upon an unsuspecting audience. Get to know the man behind the ghouls, as Romero speaks at panel on Saturday night. If this isn’t your first fandom rodeo, you’ll know that there are few things scarier than the audience Q&A period, always a white-knuckle thrill ride. Will the hyperventilating fanboys to ask very, VERY awkward questions about the mechanics of zombie sex? The suspense is killing us.
Meet the Cast of American Horror Story: Freak Show
It’s not all that often that a Sabrina, the Teenage Witch cheerleader gets cast as a microcephalic circus performer, but such is the career of actress Naomi Grossman. She and fellow American Horror Story cast member Erika Ervin, a/k/a Amazon Eve, will helm a Friday night panel. And plenty of other horror luminaries are joining the fray: Other cult boldfacers to keep an eye out for: Doug Bradley (Hellraiser), Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects and Repo! The Genetic Opera), Tobin Bell (Saw), and William Sanderson (whose 40-year career spans from Blade Runner to True Blood).
Watch Danzig Channel Elvis
Ah, the decay of the Worcester Palladium—there’s no better setting for having your eardrums thrashed to a bloody pulp by the sounds of Danzig, who headline Saturday’s Rock & Shock concert lineup. Of course, while Glenn Danzig and horror go hand-in-hand, so do Danzig and Elvis. “Elvis is actually kind of how I got into music,” the 60-year-old former Misfit told Rolling Stone recently. And this year, the dark prince of gothic metal is showing his fealty to the King—with Danzig Sings Elvis and Skeletons, two releases dedicated to covers. As the world waits for those albums to drop, you might hear their cover of “Let Yourself Go” (which they’ve been playing on other East Coast gigs this month).
Blow Our Paychecks on Hellraiser Stained Glass Art
Joe (of Glass By Joe O) could build a mighty weird cathedral with his stained glass masterpieces of Xenomorphs, Cenobites, and Tardises. Luckily, he’s not doing anything of the sort, which means you can buy one to hang tastefully in your living room. Joe’s just one of the many vendors who’ll be piling into the DCU Center this weekend. Spend a few minutes surveying the con floor, and you’ll find yourself wandering a gauntlet of booths hawking everything from skeletal Barbies to T-shirts emblazoned with zombie Ziggy Stardust. If your greatest desire is to own a rodent skull encrusted with turquoise glitter, make a beeline for Of Steel and Bones, “a unique shop for the lover of things both macabre and sparkly.”
Finding a Forgotten Horror Classic on VHS
Among life’s little pleasures that have been sacrificed to the gods of technology: Evenings spent digging through shelves of lurid, battered VHS boxes at the video store. Need to relive the past? Just have to get your mitts on a copy of the original The Town That Dreaded Sundown (currently the title holder for the greatest trombone murder scene in film history)? Get an assist from The VHS Preservation Society, an outfit that “believes in your right to see movies as they were originally released on VHS.” They’ll hook you up with anything from Attack of the Killer Refrigerator to Zone Troopers.
Rock & Shock 2015: $20-$110 (three-day concert-and-convention pass); The Palladium, 261 Main St., Worcester; 50 Foster St, Worcester; rockandshock.com.
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