No Gein: Leftovers. The Apology Part 1

Posted: October 1, 2022 in No Gein Stories
Tags: , , ,

This story is a spin-off of my No Gein series, the premise of which is what if real life murderer Ed Gein never got caught. These stories are an experiment I call Pop Culture Alternate History. To understand the background, it may be helpful to read my first story here.

Hallow-Con, October 24th, 1992. New York City

Rita Mae had a love hate relationship with these shows. When she helped found Hallow-Con years ago, she envisioned an opportunity to interact with fans and creators in the horror community. During the last few years of this show, Rita witnessed so many wonderful people coming together to share their love of all things scary. Unfortunately, like most any other type of fandom, there was also that portion of the crowd that was, let’s just say problematic. While adjusting her microphone she looked out over the crowd and saw a few familiar faces. There were the usual cosplayers; people dressing up as characters from the Halloween films, classic monsters, and a few random others. Many of the costumes were really elaborate and she could tell fans put a lot of effort into them. There was one, however, that turned her stomach. “Too soon.” she thought to herself, spotting someone cosplaying as Jeffrey Dahmer. A questionable costume was the least of her concerns at the moment. As the convention room filled up, she wondered if she was about to be in the hot seat. Rita was sitting on a Friday the 13th panel, and she was the director of the fans least favorite entry.

At least Tom Savini was up here with her. The crowd gave a big cheer to the master of gory special effects who’d worked on several 80’s slashers. The rest of the panel got applause as well, and Rita couldn’t help wonder if the MC, who was a publicity rep from the studio, purposely introduced her last. As Rita heard her name being spoken, she cringed as there were some boos in the crowd. Of course, not everyone was so rude. Looking out in the audience, she saw author Robert Bloch applauding her. Next to him was a big heavy set guy who stood and applauded too. Tom Savini tried to assist, saying. “Hey come, on Part Five is my favorite!” When some in the crowd laughed Tom added “No, I’m serious.”

The panel opened with a Q and A. in which the panelists talked about the early development of the first film. Initially inspired by 1978’s moderately successful Halloween, early drafts went through a few ideas before settling on the villain being the Jersey Devil. One of the early ideas for the first movie was to have a female killer. “Thank God we didn’t go that route,” the publicist chimed in. “Friday the 13th never would have went anywhere then.”

Savini took a few questions about designing the Devil’s new look for Part Three, as per the film’s story the Devil got burned in a fire. Finally a question came to Rita Mae. She was almost hoping to get through the whole panel without having to say anything. What she got was a fair question though. “Give the supernatural elements introduced in Part Six, such as the Cult of Vorhees; do you ever wish you would have used those elements for A New Beginning?”

“That’s a good question.” Rita took a deep breath as she looked out at the audience. “When they ‘killed off,’” Rita spoke using air quotes, “the devil in the ‘final chapter’” she then paused to give the MC a snarky look. The audience chuckled to his response, which was motioning his fingers to mimic the holding of cash. “Anyway, as I was saying,” Rita Mae went on to explain, “the studio told me they wanted Part Five to have a more realistic tone in the vein of the the first film.” Looking again at the studio rep, she added, “Plus, the studio only gave us a budget of about 2 million.” The audience laughed again while she now mimicked the holding of money. For a moment, she thought maybe this session wouldn’t be so bad after all. Finishing her thoughts, she concluded, “This meant we couldn’t go too over the top with supernatural stuff. That’s how we came up with the idea of a human killer. Like they said,” she explained, referring to the other people on the panel, “that was one of the first ideas for the franchise.”

Some in the crowd, but not all to be fair, booed again at the mention of the actual killer in Part Five, a disgruntled special effects worker who impersonated the Jersey Devil to avenge the death of his daughter. This creative choice was not received well by the fans, which in turn had them direct their ire toward Rita during moments like these.

Next, Rita saw a young gothic-looking girl near one of the mics set up for fan questions.  She looked kind of familiar. Rita recalled that she’d just been sitting next to Bloch and that big guy. Next to her was a guy in a Halloween shirt that seemed to be her husband or boyfriend. It almost looked like he was consoling her as she looked really anxious approaching the mic.

“Hi,” the woman said nervously. “My name’s Vicki and I want to direct someday too.”

“Alright!” Tom Savini said, clapping his hands which led to some light applause from the audience.

“Maybe this panel stuff isn’t so bad after all.” Rita thought to herself.

After the brief applause the young fan sounded more confident and asked, “I know your entry isn’t the most popular in the series but I was wondering what you are the most proud of from that film?”

Perhaps, because of the backlash Rita’s film received, this was a question she never considered. After thinking about it for a moment, she answered. “I’m proud of a lot of what we did actually. While you’re right, it’s not everyone’s favorite, I am proud that we continued the story arc of the adult Tommy Jarvis.” Referring to the fan favorite character introduced in Part Four, played by Corey Feldmen, she went on to explain, “In fact, I would dare say by the time you get to Part Six with the Cult of Vorhees kidnapping Tommy and forcing him to bring the Devil back, you understand him more as a character. I think that is, in part, thanks to what we did in Five.”

“Your movie still sucked!” the Dhamer cos-player yelled from the audience.

“No, you suck asshole!” Vicki taunted back on the mic causing some in the audience to cheer.

“Wow!” Rita thought to herself, “hear me roar.” Then she said aloud to her adoring fan, “Thanks.”

“Thank you.” Vicki said before walking proudly back to her seat.

Savini then got on his mic and said to the audience “Guys just a reminder, let’s be respectful please. We’re all here to have fun.”

Following this, on the other side of the auditorium, a guy was laughing while he got on the mic and asked, “Is it true that originally there was going to be more nudity?”

“Yeah, they wanted me to shoot a fucking porno in the woods.” Rita answered, recalling her clashes with the studio who wanted more sex scenes in the picture. This time, the crowd reacted even more viscerally. Loud boos were followed by chants of “porno porno porno!” What was once a fun horror convention turned into Animal House.

“Your feminazi bullshit almost killed the franchise!” someone else from the crowd shouted.

“Great,” Rita again thought to herself, “Rush Limbaugh made it to the horror show.”

“I knew we shouldn’t have let that woman on here.” Rita heard the publicist mumble as he took the mic. “Alright everybody,” the publicist said while standing right in front of her. Oblivious to her feelings, a cocktail of shock and anger, he asked the crowd “who wants to hear about the next movie!” The crowd erupted while Rita could see the white light from a projector in the back of the room. Partially blinded by this sudden burst of light, but she didn’t bother turning to see the image that apparently made this crowd so happy. Most of the audience didn’t notice, and Rita presumed probably didn’t care when she got up and left. Exiting the convention hall, she heard the publicist say something about some deal with a new studio resulting in a new Devil movie that will be out next year. Rita didn’t care, it’s not like she’d be directing it anyway. She just wanted to go to the bar, then go back to her hotel room and curl up in her pajamas.

Tune back in after a few days to see what Rita encounters next at the horror show.

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