Monday, October 02, 2006

Arcana Report

Back from the Arcana convention, and while I'm still processing a lot of what we did, I'll say that it's definitely a convention I'll come back to.

One of the most productive elements was walking away with a short laundry list from other fans of some Asian horror movies to check out, such as The Maid, which is intriguing more for the non-horror issues of intercultural relations than for the actual ghost story itself, but that's another post. Already, my DVD has several interesting looking films waiting in line that we'll report on soon.

Sixth Sense meets Ju-On and Maid In Manhattan gone horribly awry? You decide!

The art show alone was amazing with some original pieces by Clark Ashton Smith being the personal highlight for me. It reflected an impressive range of original artwork across the 20th century with a sense of history that seems so rare for conventions that usually just display fan art, and not actually pieces of such high quality.

Couldn't believe I wound up at Arcana without any film on hand this time, so no pictures from me, though I know some will soon be posted elsewhere by others.

David G. Hartwell was a warm and insightful personality, and though I didn't get much time to talk with him, I felt he brought a great perspective to the industry, and why we write, and raised questions of what it will take for the next big jump in horror and fantastic literature.

You don't want a ride at the Carnival of Souls.

Standout films that we watched during this time included Carnival of Souls, High Plains Drifter, Beetlejuice, Kwaidan, Ringu, The Devil's Backbone and The Island of Lost Souls, plus others randomly scattered here and there, as it should be with any horror convention.

Hoichi the Earless is a must-see classic, especially as seen in 'Kwaidan'

The prestentations on Sunday went particularly well- a lively discussion on the evolution of the ghost within genre fiction reveals some interesting things about American psychology, I believe, as you examine how ghosts have gradually shifted from being rather benign, innocuous figures like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Topper to terrifying revenants of late as seen in An American Haunting or What Lies Below, among others.

I also presented a world debut reading of a short horror story of mine, A Model Apartment, that is among the first I know of to intersect Lovecraftian themes with Southeast Asian American motifs that was written by a Laotian American.

The auction went well. Didn't walk away with a giant robot army like I did during Diversicon, but added some unusual new books to my collection including Swedish Lutheran Vampires of Brainerd, by Anna Waltz.

These auctions are always fun- you can get some DVD's and tapes there for a buck a piece, amazingly, and that alone makes it worth it. Someone walked away with the entire Matrix trilogy for a little over $3. Which is about as much as I'd pay for it, if I had to.

I almost picked up a set of dinosaurs this time, but once again was outbid by a person who worked at a daycare instead. Surprisingly, dinosaurs are ridiculously popular items during the auctions, as far as I've seen.

We all had a chance to bid on a tape marked simply The Ring, but no one wanted to take a chance that it was in fact the actual videotape from The Ring, the kind that brings Sada a-knocking on your door in 7 days, so in the end it just kind of got gently shoved to the side with a collective "pass."

Films not to watch on VHS: The Ring.

Hey, it was almost midnight. What can I say.

I kept waiting for a copy of the Necronomicon to come up for bid, but the closest thing was a clock made out of bones. They assured us it was no one we knew. :) Scads and scads of old issues of Eerie, Creepy and other horror magazines were also on the auction block.

It's always good to lend a hand when it's needed.

Also had a fun dinner with Steve Fastner and Rich Larson, two Minneapolis artists who have a truly distinctive style, from the Bill the Galactic Hero series to the cover of That Darned Squid God. Their work is really a nice change of pace from what passes for most illustration and comics art today that I think is veering too much towards bad imitations of the manga style to jarring photo-referencing work that's just making books like the Fantastic Four or the Punisher unreadable. But that's a subject for an entirely different post.

Met far too many great people at Arcana to go into, but as I said at the top, it's definitely small scale and interesting enough that I'll go again next year, when George Clayton Johnson is brought in, the author and screenwriter for the Twilight Zone as well as Star Trek, Logan's Run, Kung Fu, Ocean's 11, Alfread Hitchcock Presents and tons of other things, apparently.

Thanks to everyone who made this such an enjoyable convention!

1 comment:

David said...

a really interesting post. Thank you for sharing.