Nerd Culture

Jason, Freddy, and Everything Else You Need to Know About Mad Monster Arizona 2018

Benjamin Leatherman
Costumed attendees of last year's Mad Monster Arizona.
If ever there was a day to celebrate all things freaky and frightening, it's Friday the 13th.

Sure, it's considered to be one of the unluckiest dates on the calendar, thanks to all those long-held superstitions and whatnot. It's also linked to creepy and sinister things, too, like black cats and black magic.

Oh, and that legendary Friday the 13th horror film series might also have something to do with the date's reputation for spookiness, too.

In short, Friday the 13th seems an appropriate day to kick off an event like Mad Monster Arizona, the annual weekend-long convention celebrating horror fandom, with appearances by actors and actresses from famous slasher flicks, discussion panels, costume contests, and even “scaraoke.”

This year's Mad Monster Arizona kicks off on Friday, July 13, and runs through Sunday, July 15, at the We-Ko-Pa Resort in Scottsdale. And according to the event's organizers, it's going to be the biggest edition of the event to date.

“I think this is our biggest guest list we've had so far as far as horror film A-listers go,” says Mad Monster Arizona organizer Kevin Blanchfield.

And if you're into either Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street, that isn't an empty boast. Robert Englund, who starred as Freddy Krueger in the first eight Nightmare films, is scheduled to appear at the event. Ditto for Kane Hodder, who played hockey mask-wearing Jason Voohees in four Friday the 13th flicks in the 1980s and '90s.

“Yeah, we've got both Freddy and Jason this year,” Blanchfield says. “That's pretty big if you're a horror fan.”

Just like the rest of Mad Monster Arizona's celebrity guests, Englund and Hodder will pose for pictures and interact with guests during the event. Heck, Hodder will even don several different versions of Jason's costume during photo ops. Meanwhile, Englund will be sporting Freddy's signature glove, complete with claws.

But don't worry about getting stabbed.

“Robert is very good when interacting with the fans. He's a bit in character still and is fun to be around and interact with. He spends a lot of time with each fan and gives them the time of their lives.”

Mad Monster events, which are put on in other cities around the U.S. by the cult film magazine and website of the same name, usually include several guests from the realm of science fiction as well.

This year, that will include appearances by Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and Jenette Goldstein from the 1986 blockbuster Aliens. Other guests include X-Men's Tyler Mane, Mitch Pileggi from The X-Files, Dee Wallace from E.T., and William Forsythe from Dick Tracy and Boardwalk Empire.

"We're kind of all over the board in terms of horror and sci-fi. That's what we try to do, mixing it up for everybody," Blanchfield says.

What else awaits you at Mad Monster Arizona 2018? Check out our extensive guide to the event for full details, if you dare.

A Mad Monster Arizona attendee dressed as Jason Voorhees chills out. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
A Mad Monster Arizona attendee dressed as Jason Voorhees chills out.
Benjamin Leatherman

When and Where: Mad Monster Arizona 2018 will haunt the We-Ko-Pa Resort and Conference Center, 10438 North Fort McDowell Road in Scottsdale, from Friday, July 13, to Sunday, July 15.

Hours: The vendor hall will be open from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Late-night programming and events will take place starting at 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.

Prices: Single-day general admission is $25 in advance and $30 at the door for Friday and Sunday. Saturday GA tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door. A three-day "shriekend" pass is $60 in advance, $70 at the door.

Big spenders can opt for the Really Intense Partier (or R.I.P.) package available online for $199 that covers the whole weekend and includes early-bird entry, access to the guest lounge, admission to nighttime events, a swag bag, Mad Monster shirt, and other perks. (Note: Online and advance sales for admission stop at midnight on Thursday, July 12.)

If you're interested in getting a picture with one of the special guests, photo ops range from $60 to $200 and depend on the names involved. More details can be found here.

Age Limits:
Mad Monster Arizona is an all-ages event. Kids 12 and under can get in free if they're accompanied by a paid adult. That said, it is a horror event and will feature plenty of scary subject matter that might be too much for younger attendees.

The event is open to all ages, and kids under 12 are free with a paid adult. Keep in mind, however, that it’s a horror con, and some stuff might be too intense or frighting for some tykes. It’s also worth noting that the late-night and after-hours programming is only open to those and 18 and over.

Getting There: We-Ko-Pa Resort is on the northeast end of Valley just outside of Fort McDowell. Depending on where you're coming from, it's a 15-45 minute drive. The easiest way to get there is to take the Loop 202 freeway to Country Club Drive in Mesa. Exit and then head north on Country Club, which will turn into Arizona State Route 87 (a.k.a. the Beeline Highway), and drive for 15 miles. When you get to Fort McDowell Road, turn left and follow the signs to the resort.

Parking: There's tons of free parking at the resort. Get there early, since the good spots tend to go fast. In other words, the later you get to the event, the farther out you'll have to park.

click to enlarge Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger - COURTESY OF MAD MONSTER
Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger
Courtesy of Mad Monster
Celebrity Guests: Thirty actors and actresses will be at this year's Mad Monster Arizona, including the stars from several famed horror and sci-fi franchises. To wit: Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and Jenette Goldstein, all of whom appeared in the 1986 blockbuster Aliens, will appear at the event. So will William Forsythe from The Devil's Rejects, X-Men's Tyler Mane, and Mitch Pileggi from The X-Files.

Other horror film stars scheduled to attend are Sleepaway Camp's Felissa Rose, Dee Wallace from E.T. and Cujo, Child Play's Alex Vincent, and From Dusk till Dawn actor (and special FX legend) Tom Savini. R. A. Mihailoff, who played Leatherface in the third Texas Chainsaw Massacre flick, is also slated to be there.

Meanwhile, Kane Hodder will be posing for photos wearing several different Jason costumes, including the purple and turquoise getup the character wears in the Friday the 13th 8-bit Nintendo classic from the '80s and the “Hell Jason” from 2017's Friday the 13th: The Game. And, as we said, Robert Englund will pull on Freddy's  famous glove for his photo shoots at the event.

Mad Monster patrons can also get pics with either slasher star and a pack of their victims. A number of actors and actresses who played characters in the Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street series will do group shots with Hodder and Englund. Among them: Thom Mathews, Noveen Crumbie, and Larry Zerner from the Friday the 13th series, and Brooke Bundy, Andras Jones, Ronee Blakley, Lisa Wilcox, JoAnn Willette, Amanda Wyss, and Toy Newkirk from various Nightmare on Elm Street films.

"Robert likes to bring along a lot of the cast with him that were in the movies," Blanchfield says.

A full rundown of Mad Monster Arizona 2018's celebrity guest list can be found here.

click to enlarge A Mad Monster attendee gets a tattoo of Frankenstein's monster. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
A Mad Monster attendee gets a tattoo of Frankenstein's monster.
Benjamin Leatherman
Vendors: Want to get inked with your favorite movie monster at the event? Or are you in the market for a copy of Faces of Death on DVD, a mint-condition movie poster for Bride of Re-Animator, or even a cutesy Chucky doll made from yarn? All of these wants and needs can be satisfied with a visit to Mad Monster's expansive dealers room in the resort's main ballroom.

More than 60 vendors from Arizona will be set up inside the 15,000-square-foot room and will offer a variety of geeky and horror-themed items and services. The lineup will range from local tattoo studios like Mindsick and Dark Empire to publishers like Blood Bound Books and Pallbearer Press. There will also be a variety of artists, apparel companies, toy shops, boutiques, and prop-makers, as well as local haunted attraction Sanctum of Horror. (A full list of vendors is available here.)

What to Bring: Comfortable walking shoes are always a good idea, whether you need to flee from a knife-wielding psychopath or just keep your dogs from barking too badly after a day on your feet. Beyond that, you'll want to bring a bag or backpack to carry your stuff, a fully charged cellphone, an ID, and a certain amount of cash (since it's quicker than using plastic). And if you'd like to dress up as a character from a horror cinema, that's totally cool with Mad Monster's organizers. On that subject …

click to enlarge Cosplaying the twins from The Shining at Mad Monster Arizona 2017. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Cosplaying the twins from The Shining at Mad Monster Arizona 2017.
Benjamin Leatherman
Costumes: They're very much encouraged at Mad Monster Arizona, especially getups inspired by horror films, slasher flicks, or television shows like The Walking Dead or Stranger Things.

A costume contest is scheduled to take place on Saturday night at 7 p.m. and will offer $500 in cash prizes. Cosplayers can also get a free professional green-screen photo of themselves on Sunday.

“We love it when people come out to the show in costume,” Blanchfield says. “Some people really go all out with what they're wearing and it really adds to the atmosphere.”

Just as long as they don't go too far, though. Mad Monster is considered to be a family-friendly event and no dangerous-looking costumes, gear, or weaponry will be allowed. Same goes for anything that involves nudity. Consider yourself warned, mortals.

Programming and Activities: Q&A sessions featuring many of Mad Monster Arizona celebrity guests will happen throughout the weekend, some of which will focus on particular movies of franchises. Robert Englund and his castmates from the Nightmare on Elm Street films will participate in a panel about the series on Sunday afternoon and Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and Jenette Goldstein will discuss Aliens on Saturday afternoon.

Other activities include a panel devoted to favorite horror films, a “dead right” trivia contest, a live show by Blumhouse's popular Shock Waves podcast, and the annual "Miss Scarizona" pageant on Saturday night.

"The big thing is we try and create an overall event for the whole weekend," Blanchfield says. "The hotel is there, the casino is there, the pool is there, so you can spend a whole night or the whole weekend at the resort."

And don't be surprised if you wind up partying alongside a celebrity guest, he adds.

“That's the cool thing about our show,” Blanchfield says. “Sometime the celebrities are hanging out all weekend, too, which is always fun.”

Check out the full schedule for Mad Monster Arizona 2018 below.

click to enlarge The entrance to last year's Mad Monster Arizona. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
The entrance to last year's Mad Monster Arizona.
Benjamin Leatherman
Daily Schedule: Mad Monster's mix of freaky and frightening fun begins on Friday evening and goes until early Sunday evening. Want to know when a particular photo op or panel is happening? Check out the following list of what's going down in monster town each day.

Friday, July 13:
6 p.m.: Vendor hall opens
7 p.m.: “Women of Horror” panel and photo ops with Robert Englund
8:15 p.m.: Lance Henriksen Q&A
8:30 p.m.: Photo ops with Christine Elise and Alex Vincent
9 p.m.: Friday the 13th: The Game panel
9:15 p.m.: Photo ops with Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and Jenette Goldstein
9:30 p.m.: Photo ops with Mitch Pileggi
10 p.m.: Tyler Mane Q&A
11 p.m.: Dealer room closes. Scaraoke starts.

Saturday, July 14:

11 a.m.: Dealer room opens
11:11 a.m.: Robert Englund Q&A
12:15 p.m.: Photo ops with Robert Englund
12:30 p.m.: William Forsythe Q&A
1:30 p.m.: Terrifier cast Q&A
2:30 p.m.: Photo ops with Kane Hodder as “Savini Jason”
2:45 p.m.: R.A. Mihailoff Q&A
3:15 p.m.: Photo ops with Christine Elise and Alex Vincent from Child's Play
3:30 p.m.: Aliens cast panel

click to enlarge Actor Lance Henriksen of Aliens and Terminator fame. - JON FINGAS/CC BY-ND 2.0/VIA FLICKR
Actor Lance Henriksen of Aliens and Terminator fame.
3:45 p.m.: Photo ops with Mitch Pileggi
4:15 p.m.: Photo ops with Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and Jenette Goldstein
4:30 p.m.: Mitch Pileggi Q&A
5 p.m.: Photo ops with Art the Clown
6 p.m.: “Scares that Care” Charity Auction
7 p.m.: Dealer room closes and costume contest begins
8 p.m.: Miss Scarizona pageant
9 p.m.: Scaraoke

Sunday, July 15:
11 a.m.: Dealer room opens.
11:11 a.m.: Photo ops with Robert Englund
11:15 a.m.: “My Favorite Horror Movie” panel
12:15 p.m.: Childs Play Q&A with Christine Elise and Alex Vincent
12:30 p.m.: Photo Ops with Kane Hodder as “8-Bit Jason”
1 p.m.: Photo ops with R.A. Mihailoff as Leatherface
1:15 p.m.: Nightmare on Elm Street panel
2 p.m.: Mitch Pileggi photo ops
2:15 p.m.: Photo ops with Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen, and Jenette Goldstein
2:15 p.m.: Shock Waves podcast live show
3:15 p.m.: Photo ops with Christine Elise and Alex Vincent
5 p.m.: Dealer room closes