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Case Number 19700: Small Claims Court

Saturday Nightmares: The Ultimate Horror Expo

Saturday Nightmares // 2010 // 46 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // September 17th, 2010

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge Tom Becker missed the Expo, but has experienced some "ultimate horror" in Jersey City.

The Charge

Saturday Nightmares: "The Wedding Video" With Blood

The Case

The Saturday Nightmares Ultimate Horror Expo (of All Time) took place at the historic Loew's Theatre in Jersey City, NJ, in March of 2010.

Saturday Nightmares: The Ultimate Horror Expo is a puffy, home-vid look at the event, which featured appearances by director George A. Romero (Dawn of the Dead), Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog), makeup and effects wizard Tom Savini (The Burning), composer Harry Manfredi (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), actor Joe Pilato (Day of the Dead), and other horror luminaries. The centerpiece is a panel discussion with Romero and Barbeau, among others, talking about their careers.

I've been to horror expos. They're a lot of fun. I somehow missed this one, but if the next one is near by—particularly if it's at the opulent Loew's Jersey Theatre—there's a good chance I'll be there. It looks like a great expo.

But going to a horror expo and watching a movie about a horror expo are two different things, particularly when the movie is little more than a puff piece. This film effectively "sells" the event, and the footage of Romero would make it a cool extra on some future "Ultimate Box Set" of his work, but as a stand alone piece, it just didn't do all that much for me. It's a documentary insofar as it documents something that actually happened, but there's nothing dramatically or visually interesting. The tech is ultra low-budget, the celebrity interviews are reasonably informative but not especially revealing, and everyone seems to be having a good time. As a bonus, we get a commercial for the expo and a trailer for the DVD. If I'd been there, this would be a cool keepsake, but since I wasn't, this was sort of like watching a stranger's wedding video.

I think a "real" documentary about putting on a horror expo—from start to finish—would be a very cool thing. I'm sure there's a lot of behind-the-scenes tension about securing a space, approaching celebrities and dealing with their demands, handling the fans, and so on. These things tend to rely on lots of niche talent and people who were either famous a while ago or who had some kind of pivotal moment that makes them a footnote in horror history, like the girl who was eaten by the shark in Jaws. That documentary could be a lot of fun; this is more like a recounting of a fun time.

The Verdict

The Saturday Nightmares Ultimate Horror Expo looks like a good time; Saturday Nightmares: The Ultimate Horror Expo is like peeking in the window at someone else's good time. It's a fine marketing tool, but as entertainment, the DVD falls flat.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 65

Perp Profile

Studio: Saturday Nightmares
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 46 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Documentary
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Trailers

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