The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

March 19, 2014

Shatner, Hogan, Elvira and more prepare for Mad Monster Party

By B.J. Drye, Editor
CNHI

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 — Prepare to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Anticipate a strange world, a new dimension, full of ghouls, creatures of the night and legends of television and film.

And, just what does one do when 24-inch pythons run wild?

These feats may be accomplished and questions answered during the 3rd annual Mad Monster Party, which begins Friday at the Hilton at University Place, Charlotte.

William Shatner, a.k.a. Capt. Kirk, T.J. Hooker, Denny Crane and the Priceline Negotiator, headlines the horror and sci-fi convention with WWE Hall of Famers Hulk Hogan and “Hot Rod” Roddy Piper, stars of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”  and “Friday the 13th,” and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, among many other guests.

Scott Homewood, who assists with pubicity for the convention, talked of how the event has grown in its brief history.

“Over the past two years we’ve hit on a formula on what we need to do and how we need to do it,” Homewood said.

“This year it’s more mainstream.

“You can’t really walk through life without hearing about ‘Happy Days’ or ‘Star Trek.’ ”

Speaking of “Happy Days,” Henry Winkler, who portrayed The Fonz on the 1970s television hit, will also appear.

Although Shatner is probably best known for his role on “Star Trek,” Homewood discussed how Shatner keeps reinventing himself, by releasing new music and hosting his own interview programs.

Besides signing autographs and being available for photo ops, Shatner will be part of the program “The Twilight Zone.” Shatner appeared on the program hosted by Rod Serling six years before “Star Trek.” Serling’s daughter, Anne, will also be in attendance to talk about her father.

John Schneider, alias Bo Duke of “The Dukes of Hazzard,” will appear two days, but a sneak preview of “Smothered, his latest film, will debut Friday night.

“We try to have a five-year rotation,” Homewood said.

“People are just starting to hear about the festival.

“It’s just trying to get bigger stars.”

A “Star Wars” reunion would be the ultimate goal of organizers, but the lineup this year has much to offer as well. There will be contests for model building and costumes, a midnight viewing of “Rocky Horror” and faceoff between Piper and Hogan, mediated by famed wrestling interviewer “Mean” Gene Okerlund.

“There’s a lot of different things you can do to engage people about these pop culture icons,” Homewood said.

Bruce Campbell, Danny Glover and Sigourney Weaver have been past guests.

“We always try to find something that will appeal to everybody,” Homewood said.

Homewood said he hopes people will have a “bucket list” moment through the show.

“All these people are happy. They know why they’re there — they are there to see their fans,” he said.

For ticket information, visit themadmonsterparty.com.

To submit story ideas, contact B.J. Drye at bj@stanlynewspress.com or (704) 982-2121 ext. 25.