For fans of all things horror and make-up effects, the Monsterpalooza convention returned to the Marriott Hotel in Burbank, CA, providing a chance for all to mingle with independent artists and industry professionals alike in an exciting yet accessible setting.  Presented by the Rubber Room and running from April 8-10, the convention exhibits make-up and special effects artists, vendors selling creature-feature DVDs, t-shirts, and posters, make-up and digital design colleges, a monster museum, and a number of well-known genre actors.  As a special treat, guests of the con can count on appearances by industry giants like Guillermo del Toro, Jon Favreau, and Greg Nicotero, wandering through the booths, celebrating the creature genre as much as the next fan.

Halloween is a holiday for everyone, and I don't wanna hear any mess about how it isn't recognized as an official American holiday. (I'm talking to you, haters from Mrs. Boyer's 3rd grade class!) First, it is totally secular. So, now that I've completely contradicted my opening sentence, let me amend. Aside from fun-hating religious nuts (which is a group that does not include all religious nuts, but does include religious nuts who don't like Halloween), everyone likes Halloween for one reason or another. Being a lazy person myself, I don't always get into the spirit of Halloween, but I do love the celebration of morbid fun and dark humor, the chill in the air, the notion to dress up in a costume and walk around in public with nothing else to do but indulge in a disgusting excess of alcohol, candy, or both.

Stripes, if you haven't seen it, go see it now! You may have noticed the recent steamrolling of Hollywood by macabre movies and television (Twilight and True Blood), the horror films and horror comedies (Saw and Zombieland), the docu-horrors (Paranormal Activity 1 & 2), the horror-dramas (Supernatural and Dexter), and, of course, the adolescent sorceress sitcoms (Sabrina the Teenage Witch).

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