While attending CT HorrorFest this weekend, there were quite a few fan encounters with fellow Universal Monsters enthusiasts. In addition to meeting Mr. Ricou Browning, we also met a few interesting people worth spotlighting here on Universal Monsters Universe.
One of the main draws at CT HorrorFest was Mr. Ricou Browning. The 86 year old gentleman is that last remaining original Universal Monster as he was the underwater performer and actor for Creature from the Black Lagoon‘s Gill-Man. Starting at 11 am, Mr. Browning consistently had a line of fans eager to meet him and pay their respects to a true living legend in the history of theatrical classic monsters. You could read about that in our earlier piece, ‘Ricou Browning Takes Us Back To The Black Lagoon.‘
While at the Matrix Convention Center in Danbury, we encountered a fellow Universal Monsters enthusiast from New York. Rob, along with his family, came to Connecticut to see Mr. Ricou Browning; he’s a major Creature from the Black Lagoon fan. When asked if he was interested in the upcoming “Monsters Universe” of films, starting with June 2017’s The Mummy, he replied, “I’m waiting on the remake [of Creature.] I enjoyed The Wolf Man (2010), but I know that didn’t do well. I know there were problems with a director so the Creature didn’t get remade, but I hope they do remake it.”
Rob was kind enough to show off two fantastic Gill-Man busts he brought for Mr. Browning to sign. A big thank you to Rob and his family for taking some time out of their day to speak with us.
It’s always great to encounter fellow Universal Monsters fans, especially considering the real sense of community each has. The classic films are generational and it’s rather impressive that these characters have endured for just as long as heroes like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. We’ve previously spoken about the resurgence of interest in the classic monsters through the 60’s revival and 90’s merchandising and this is precisely where Brooklyn native Sam Berger fits in.
“Well, I used to watch them when I was like 12, 13 years old. I’d put my seat in front of the tv; my parents were sleeping, I’d watch them and it was Zacherly, he used to introduce all of the films on Chiller Theater. He’d always cut into the films with something ridiculous. If somebody threw someone out the window, they’d fall on him. So I saw those when I was young and then when the VHS’s came out later on, I bought them all because they brought back the memories of those monsters.”
When asked who his favorite Universal Monster was, Sam went with the Gill-Man. His sole purpose for coming to CT HorrorFest was to meet Ricou Browning. After an uncertainty of whether or not he should attend the day show, it was his missus’ insistence that he go and enjoy himself. Knowing that’d he have a fun outing, Mrs. Berger would be correct and it was great meeting Sam.
There’s a real community to the group of horror and monsters fans out there in the world. The Universal Monsters have been a major part of Hollywood since the 30’s. It was Tod Browning’s Dracula that opened the door to a world of gods and monsters for all of us to enjoy across generations. With Universal re-opening the tomb to The Mummy next June, and a plan to release a Universal Monster film a year, it’s time for this very community to grow even larger as old and new fans come together. CT HorrorFest was a great reminder that despite the monstrous creatures that provide us with entertaining scares and thrills, it’s through these frights and ghouls that have drawn all of us closer together. While the superheroes battle one another and wage their civil wars, maybe it’s time for the monsters to resurface and bring us back into the light.
Universal Monsters Universe would like to thank Rob and Sam for speaking with us, along with all the great people that made CT HorrorFest such a success.
(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)
(Photos by Peter David Zhong)