The Wonders of Wonderfest 2014!

Take a visual journey through the enchanted rooms and haunted hallways of the Wonderfest Hobby Expo!

Good evening, my Louisville Monster Army, it’s the Phantom of the Ville just returning home to my dusty mansion after an exhausting but exhilarating three days and nights at the 25th anniversary of the Wonderfest Hobby Expo. The dealer’s room was packed with monster toys and cosplay creatures, and there were a number of Hollywood special effects legends on the guest list including a couple of surprise last minute additions.

Since Wonderfest’s first show in Louisville 25 years ago, the convention business has changed completely. There are now bigger shows with bigger celebrities to tempt your attention and your wallet several times a year in the Ville, but there is no other show with the love of monsters and the true love of the craft that goes into making monsters, spaceships and worlds of the imagination. Other shows may have more flash, but no show has the heart of Wonderfest.

This little article isn’t even going to try to give you the entire Wonderfest experience. This is just a visual trip amid the showroom floors through the eyes of your favorite Phantom. Let’s get going, shall we?

Jaws” production designer, Joe Alves, was a very personable and intelligent Guest of Honor with an elephant’s memory about every project he ever worked on from his first job animating the Monster from the Id in “Forbidden Planet” (1956) to working with James Cameron on the effects for “Escape from New York”  (1981) to directing “Jaws 3-D” and beyond. He even told me stories about working with Steven Seagal, who apparently has a problem with making it to the set on time every day, in Hazard, KY on “Fire Down Below” (1997).

Star Wars” animator, Phil Tippett, was a surprise guest. After animating the monster battle chessboard on the Millennium Falcon in the original “Star Wars,” Tippett went on to animate the tauntauns and ATATs in “The Empire Strikes Back” and become head creature creator on “Return of the Jedi” where he designed and built Jabba the Hutt and the Rancor Monster. He also created the dragon in “Dragonslayer,” the bugs in “Starship Troopers” and ED-209 in “Robocop.”

Let’s take a trip to the beating heart of Wonderfest, the model room, where model builders from around the world come together to participate in the biggest model contest on earth. This year saw a record number of models entered into the contest, leaving me with only one thing to say about the monstrous hobby: It’s alive! It’s alive! It’s alive!

The Phantom of The Ville

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