On Friday, September 23, the 2011 Los Angeles Halloween season officially began, with the opening of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. Per tradition, Universal Studios launched their theme park Halloween attraction with the Eyegore Awards, which are handed out to celebrities in the horror genre. This year's recipients were David Arquette (SCREAM), Jamie Kennedy, Rain Wilson (who starred in Rob Zombie's HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES before going on to THE OFFICE), Bailee Madison (DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK), Emma Belle (FINAL DESTINATION 5), and Alice Cooper (WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE). Presenters included Calico Cooper (Alice's daughter), Rob Zombie, Adam Green (HATCHET), Thomas Jane (THE MIST), and James Gunn (SLITHER).
The event was hosted by Corey Feldman (THE LOST BOYS and its sequels), who has served this function for several years, and I have to say that, for what must seem like a somewhat monotonous gig, the actor infused the evening with a commendable enthusiasm that kept the half-hour event moving along at an entertaining clip. The introductions feature the somewhat scripted-sounding banter one expects from awards shows, but the presenters admiration for the recipients was obviously sincere, and the acceptance speeches were admirably terse. The highlight was Wilson, who expressed pride in still being recognized for his role in Rob Zombies's film, long after THE OFFICE has given the actor a much higher profile.
The big disappointment of the night was the absence of Alice Cooper, who was busy preparing for his next tour, in support of the recently released album WELCOME 2 MY NIGHTMARE (a sequel to his 1975 solo debut WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE). Cooper's daughter presented the award, and Cooper accepted via a videotaped speech, in which he took a moment to warn Calico about the evening's host: "Watch out for Corey: he bites, and we don't know where he's been." The award was perhaps inevitably appropriate, as this year's Halloween Horror Nights includes a "Welcome to My Nightmare" maze, inspired by the outrageous shock-rock antics of Coopers infamously theatrical stage show.
As usual, the Eyegore Awards show was preceded by the red carpet arrival of this year's presenters, recipients, and other horror celebrities. Check out the video for interviews with James Gunn, Sid Haig (HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES), Derek Mears (FRIDAY THE 13TH), Calico Cooper, Adam Green, and Halloween Horror Nights Creative Director John Murdy, who explains why FINAL DESTINATION 5 would not make a good Halloween maze but THE THING does.
All of this of course, was merely prelude to the Halloween activities inside the Universal Studios theme park, which you can read about here.