In the video below, Andrew and other brewers receive awards and special recognition for their participation in the Brewfest. Andrew also talks about his charity fundraiser, the Mountain Film and Theater Arts Committee, which provides scholarships to individuals who wish to pursue a career in the performing arts. Andrew’s work for charity over the years has been inspiring, with 100% of the proceeds from his beer and event merchandise supporting non-profits such as Smile Train and Operation Provider. We are happy to announce that Andrew met his fundraising goal for MFTAC this year!
Join us for an an exclusive interview with Wishmaster star Andrew Divoff! Andrew met with us at Crypticon 2017 to discuss his charity, Mountain Film and Theater Arts Committee, his new Djinn rings (soon to be available on his official website), and his new line of beer. We love this interview!
Stay tuned for future updates about Andrew’s charity fundraising efforts and his upcoming beer pour at the Lake Arrowhead Brewfest.
Join us as we review our time at Kansas City Crypticon 2017!
Crypticon KC 2014 was the first convention I ever attended. This year, I went on a road trip with my podcast cohost Todd and his wife Colleen. Oddly, Crypticon Kansas City was actually held in St. Joe, which is roughly an hour away from Kansas City itself. I assumed that the move from the Howard Johnson Plaza in KC to the St. Joe Civic Center was merely for economic reasons. I found out later that it was because of a very real-life horror story.
For those of you who prefer your horror in film and culture, Crypticon did not disappoint. It was great seeing my friend Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster, Lost, Toy Soldiers), who sweetly agreed to chat with my mom on the phone before things got too busy.
I also enjoyed seeing Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, Star Trek) again. He kicked off the convention Q&A session with several fascinating stories and a great sense of humor.
Another fun session was the panel with X-Files stars Mitch Pileggi and William B. Davis. The most interesting aspect of this panel was their discussion about paranormal activity and the existence of extraterrestrial life. Pileggi is a believer and Davis is not.
Battlestar Galactica and A-Team star Dirk Benedict gave a lively talk about his personal life, past romantic relationships, political views, and love for his children. I didn’t always agree with his opinions (for example, he had many positive things to say about Donald Trump), but it was refreshing to listen to someone who was unafraid to share his unfiltered views.
We met a lot of new people too, a few of whom will be future podcast guests. African-American horror-fantasy author Crystal Connor shared a bracing story about a collision with a swastica-tattooed skinhead, only to be surprised that he was more concerned for her well-being. Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) and Mark Patton (A Nightmare on Elm St. 2) have passionate opinions on depictions of gender and sexual orientation in horror films, and I can’t wait to talk to them further. Later, über-sweetheart David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London) chatted with us about his upcoming projects, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming and The Hatred.
On the final day, Andrew Divoff shared information about his upcoming charity pour and new hand-sculpted Djinn rings. We talked about the new convention venue, and he asked how it compared to the old one. I explained that I stayed in the Howard Johnson Plaza in Kansas City during Crypticon 2014, and while my room was clean, there were definite problems with the facility. One elevator bounced sickeningly before stopping at the correct floor, and another was broken entirely. I opted to take the stairs instead, and found the dismal concrete stairwell to be littered with broken glass and used needles. The convention hall itself looked decent, but occasionally I would notice a foul stench waft through, as though a particularly flatulent convention-goer had walked by and cropdusted the aisle. It turns out that the old plumbing system perpetually leaked sewer gas during the summer months. As unsavory as that was, I speculated that Crypticon simply moved because they found a cleaner, bigger, or cheaper venue.
But then, Andrew said, “No, it was closed down because of the bodies in the elevator shaft.”
It was like American Horror Story: Hotel, minus the glamor. Maybe more like Bentley Little’s novel The Resort. This took me down a rabbit hole of research of the Howard Johnson Plaza/Ramada Inn, beginning with reviews from hotel guests who had far worse experiences than I did. (See select photos above from TripAdvisor.) There were tales of mildewed coffee pots, filthy bedding, broken windows, televisions “ghetto-wired” directly into the electrical outlet, cockroach and rat infestations, bedbugs, and entire sections left abandoned, with unmade rooms potentially occupied by homeless people. It seems that the Howard Johnson Plaza was like a ghost town by September 2016 and abandoned entirely by December.
As for dead bodies, I found evidence of only one in the elevator shaft. According to Fox 4 News and the Kansas City Star, a homeless man who frequently sheltered in the hotel reported to police that he had found a body in one of the elevator shafts, and that it had been there for quite awhile. So long that it was not immediately obvious whether the body was male or female. While I have not found much follow-up information about this, it seems that the death was accidental. The victim was apparently stealing copper pipes and fell to his death.
Stay classy, KC.
In case you haven’t caught it, my dear friend Justin Beahm started his own podcast earlier this year, The Justin Beahm Radio Hour. You may already know Justin through his work as a writer with Fangoria and many other horror magazines, as well as the producer of many Blu-ray special editions of great horror films. And of course, Justin had a leading role in Silk, which was previously reviewed on this blog. In his podcast, Justin conducts thoughtful interviews with a variety of people in the horror film industry.
Episode 6 of Justin’s show is a real treat, because Justin interviewed my friend Andrew Divoff. This episode is special not only because I can hear two good friends’ voices, but also because this may be the most in-depth and personal interview Andrew has given.
Check out Episode 6 here.
Support Justin’s work by subscribing to his podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Youtube.
This was my first year attending a Horrorhound show, and it ranks as one of my top conventions along with Crypticon KC and Rock and Shock. There are bigger shows with more guests, but in my experience, bigger shows are less pleasant for the simple reason that one may end up waiting in line two hours to speak to a guest for all of 30 seconds, and paying $80 (or more) for a single autograph. Then, if you want a photo with a guest, the only option is paying another $100-250 for a professional photo op, in which one is herded through something resembling an assembly line process. Brutally efficient, but basically, one is paying more for less. Perhaps I’m being a bit of a curmudgeon here, because the fans I met at the bigger conventions felt that this was money well spent. If autograph collecting is your thing, and you have the cash, I won’t further besmirch your enjoyment of such venues.
My priorities are a bit different regarding what I look for in a convention experience. Perhaps I was spoiled by my first convention experiences, because I got to spend a significant amount of time with some of the guests, whom I now consider my friends due to our ongoing communication. While I do have a modest collection of autographs, I’m more interested in the various guests as people, and not just for their respective work products. What are autographs compared to getting advice from Andrew Divoff on learning foreign languages (he speaks eight), insight into Ted Raimi’s daily routines for maximal productivity, not to mention guests’ personal stories that are never discussed in interviews? Horrorhound Indianapolis was one of those rare conventions that was big enough to never become dull, but small enough that there were ample opportunities to have extended conversations with guests, several of whom interacted with fans at the hotel bar.
Aside from my friend Andrew Divoff’s appearance, an added bonus was the Wishmaster reunion, which included the film’s director and special effects artist Robert Kurtzman, lead actress Tammy Lauren (her first convention appearance), and supporting actors Tony Todd (best known for his role in Candyman), and Ted Raimi (also of Xena: Warrior Princess and the second season of Ash vs the Evil Dead ). This was my first time meeting Ted Raimi, who was one of the nicest guests I’ve met, but also quite intellectual and a fascinating conversationalist. Other personal highlights included meeting Bernard Rose, the director of Candyman and the criminally underrated Snuff Movie, a smart meta-critique of reality television and digital surveillance; and meeting Piper Laurie (Carrie and many other films), who now has her memoir Learning to Live Out Loud: A Memoir in print and audiobook edition. While most conventions concentrate heavily on films and filmmakers, I was pleased to see many book vendors and authors at the event, including John Everson, author of the outstanding horror novel Nightwhere.
As with all good conventions, there were ample activities aside from celebrity signings. I only attended two panels, both of which were outstanding. The Candyman panel featured some of the most thoughtful discussions of racism, classism, and other social divides. The Wishmaster panel not only had great behind-the-scenes story about that film, but also an odd and hilarious backstory about the casting of actual prostitutes as extras in Ted Raimi’s 1993 film Skinner [VHS]. There was also an ongoing film festival, most of which I missed. However, I made a point of seeing the new Kevin Smith film Yoga Hosers, which is a loose follow-up to his film Tusk. Yoga Hosers follows the two Colleens, who worked as clerks in Tusk. But as the film’ s effects artist Robert Kurtzman stated, despite a few horrific effects and monsters, Yoga Hosers isn’t a horror film at all, but rather more of a teen movie with a lot of smart one-liners. I think fans will enjoy Yoga Hosers if they keep that in mind; it wasn’t at all scary, but I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard at a screening.
And, of course, there was also the convention-within-the-convention, Maskfest, which showcased an astounding array of masks and other costume accessories. I nearly went home with a set of Maleficent or Black Phillip-style horns, until I considered I have so few opportunities to wear such things.
Even though four days of sleep deprivation from these activities left me broken and beaten upon my return home, Horrorhound Indianapolis is a show I want to attend again!
Andrew Divoff returned with his Djinn’s Hellabrew to the Lake Arrowhead Brewfest earlier this August. This batch of Hellabrew amped up the heat factor with the habernero pepper notes at the forefront, but still refreshing enough to win over those with an aversion to spiciness. This was the last collaboration between Andrew and Wicks Brewing Co. to produce the Hellabrew, due to Wicks entering a contract to produce another client’s beer for large-scale distribution.
As with last year, it was a special experience for me to assist Andrew at the Brewfest. Andrew is one of the nicest people I know, and he has a genuine care for his community.
This year was special, because Andrew raised money at the pour and on his website for a new scholarship benefitting two Rim High School students who wish to pursue a career in the arts. By the end of the Brewfest, Andrew raised more than double his original fundraising goal, which will allow each student to receive $1,000. As a pleasant surprise, Andrew was recognized by California state senator Mike Morrell for his work benefitting the surrounding mountain communities.
For updates about the Djinn’s Hellabrew and upcoming pours, visit his Three Marm Brewing page on Facebook.
The Djinn’s Hellabrew is a unique beer developed by film actor Andrew Divoff, and named for his malevolent character in the first two Wishmaster movies.
I first met Andrew at a charity event last year. What an all-around great guy! Andrew is a genuinely kind person who likes to “pay it forward” by fundraising for a variety of good causes. It was a delight to volunteer his second pour of his Hellabrew at the 6th Annual Lake Arrowhead Brewfest. Proceeds benefitted Operation Provider.
I was fortunate enough to experience both the original Djinn’s Hellabrew (poured at Rock and Shock 2014 near Boston) and the new, modified recipe. While I found the original Hellabrew quite enjoyable, the heat from the habanero peppers could be too intense for some beer enthusiasts. The new beer (served on August 8, 2015) dialed back the heat somewhat, allowing more subtle flavors to come forward. The result is an unique Belgian strong golden ale with a mildly spicy aroma, Persian lime flavor, and a habanero finish that warms the throat, yet dissipates quickly enough to remain refreshing. This pleasantly complex ale can also be served as a “bloody beer” with the addition of a spicy Bloody Mary mix.
The Hellabrew was a huge success with those in attendance, with many people coming back for multiple refills and stating that it was their favorite beer at the festival. Word of mouth generated so much interest that the kegs were tapped out an hour before the end of the Brewfest. Fingers crossed that this awesome beer gets widespread distribution soon. For information about future distribution of the Djinn’s Hellabrew and future pours, contact Three Marm Brewing, or contact Andrew at his Facebook page.