Celebrating 25 Monstrous Years of Wonderfest (Friday, May 30 – Sunday, June 1)

This weekend will mark the 25th anniversary of Louisville’s original sci-fi/horror/model & toy convention, Wonderfest, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel with props from “Jaws,” movie premieres and Hollywood monster makers!

Greetings, Boils & Ghouls, it’s the Phantom of the Ville coming to you from the Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Expo Center at 830 Phillips Lane where you’ll find the biggest monster bash of the summer this weekend from Friday, May 30th through Sunday, June 1st. This year, Wonderfest is hoping you’ll escape with them for a weekend that celebrates our united love of monsters, aliens, spaceships, robots and worlds of the imagination.

This year Wonderfest is more or less consciously rebelling against the latest trend of mega comic book conventions and expos that focus more on bringing in B-list celebrities to sign autographs at greater and greater inflated prices, and is focusing more on the things fans really love about these events: the shared camaraderie and love of cinema fantastique. Admission for adults is $25 for one day and $33 for the weekend, ages 4-12 is $8 for one day and $11 for the weekend. Ages 3 and under are free. Early bird admission, which gets you in two hours early at 8AM on Saturday morning is $55 for a weekend pass.

One of Wonderfest’s first time guests this year is production designer, Joe Alves, who got his start as an art director on Rod Serling’sNight Gallery” and went on be production designer on “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Jaws 2” and “Escape from New York.” It was Alves who drew up the plans that led to the construction of the mechanical “Bruce the shark” for Steven Spielberg’sJaws” (1975). The producers were so pleased with his work on the first two movies, that Alves was given the directorial reigns on “Jaws 3D” (1983).

In honor of his work on the “Jaws” franchise, Wonderfest has managed to bring together a display of original props from the film including a full sized great white shark head, the original harpoon gun, an original screen used barrel, the actual air tank that was thrown into the shark’s mouth, Quint’s jacket and more!

Among the who’s-who list of other imagi-film effects guests is Carol Bauman of Industrial Lights & Magic, longtime “Star Trek” designer, Rick Sternbach, special make-up effects guru, John Goodwin, comics artist, Kerry Gammill, “Return of the Living Dead” production designer and Tarman creator, William Stout and “Battlestar Galactica” conceptual designer, Eric Chu.

Also returning is production designer, John Eaves, who spent the last few years working on films like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Star Trek into Darkness” and “Iron Man 3.” (Secret tip: We all know he’s working on “Star Wars Episode VII” right now, but is under a contract of denial via J.J. Abrams. This doesn’t mean we can’t grill him for information all weekend long!) Also appearing again this year is master prop maker, Ken Palkow, who has recently built props for “Godzilla” (2014) and “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014). Look for him to bring some of those props and others with him to the show.

Listen up, kiddies! There are a few movie premieres, cult film screenings and exclusive events you won’t want to miss and they are all FREE with admission. Get all the information below:

FRIDAY NIGHT: Don’t miss the exclusive Wonderfest premiere of “Classic Chillers of the Silver Screen” at 9PM in the Upstairs Theater B. This documentary about our favorite classic movie monsters is presented by the Witch’s Dungeon’s, Cortlandt Hull, and puppeteer, Bill Diamond. This is actually the fourth documentary in their ongoing series that includes “The Witch’s Dungeon,” “The Aurora Monsters: The Model Craze that Gripped the World” and “The Phantom of the Opera: Unmasking the Masterpiece.” Cortlandt will also be bringing along a new Maleficent full sized figure and another secret monster figure to debut at his Witch’s Dungeon display.

SATURDAY NIGHT: Don’t miss the world premiere of “That $#!% will Rot Your Brain: How the Monster Kids Transformed Popular Culture” at 8PM, a new documentary by director, Robert Tinnell, creator of films like “Frankenstein and Me” (1996) and the ghostly “Believe” (2000). Tinnell will be there to present the film in person.

Then stick around for an insane screening of “Godzilla VS Megalon” (1973) at 11PM, as Nashville’s infamous horror host, Dr. Gangrene, presents a live theatrical hootenanny scheduled to include live kaiju battles and the world’s largest Jet Jaguar sing-a-long.

SUNDAY NIGHT: The Wonderfest 25th Anniversary Bash tickets are only $5 which will include exclusive film shorts and materials. There is a cash bar available and food will also be available for purchase.

Be sure to check out the website at www.wonderfest.com for a full schedule of panels taking place all day Saturday and Sunday. One you may not want to miss is the first panel slated for Saturday at 11AM in Theater B which will feature original Aurora monster model developer, Andy Yanchus, and Aurora model historian, Dennis Prince, who will be unveiling their new book, “Aurora Monster Scenes: The Most Controversial Toys of a Generation.” The book will be released for purchase this weekend at Wonderfest!

Also, the annual Rondo Awards (which Louisville Halloween received its first nomination for Best Website in 2013) will be given out Saturday afternoon at 5PM in Upstairs Theater A.

Join us for a weekend of killer sharks, giant monsters and 25 years of creepy memories. I will return soon with lots more news of the weird and terrifying reviews. See you at Wonderfest!

The Phantom of The Ville

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