The Silver Scream Film and Comic Fest hit the ground running on a grey, rainy day in the beautiful wine country of Santa Rosa, California. Werewolves, aliens, and a life-sized Freddy Krueger figure ushered in the guys and ghouls brave enough to face the falling water.

A packed house awaited Robert Englund (Freddy himself!) to our ribbon cutting, commemorating the First Annual Silver Scream Fest. When he arrived, he arrived in style, sporting a glove with knives for fingers. After Famous Monsters publisher Philip Kim welcomed the throng of fright fiends to the first annual Silver Scream Fest, Englund added in his best Freddy voice, “The first and the LAST Silver Scream!”

The crowd ate it up! And yours truly had front-row access to the festivities. After the ceremony was complete, Englund hung around to chat with his next victims… er, fans. He took special notice of a youngster, Johnny, who was maybe 8 and who had come dressed in Freddy’s trademark sweater and even his own knife-glove! Englund took photos with him and let slip of a new sequel: “Freddy vs. Johnny: Nightmare in Santa Rosa!”

If only!

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He took time to sing the praises of legendary makeup artist Rick Baker (who will be joining us tomorrow along with director John Landis and star David Naughton to reminisce about the making of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON on its 35th anniversary). He said Baker was the best makeup artist he’d worked with, including many Oscar winners. Of course, Baker himself has seven little gold men of his own!

If you’re in the area, Freddy… er, Robert will be back tonight following a screening of the original NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET for a tribute to late NIGHTMARE director Wes Craven, who left this mortal coil last August. He’ll be joined by star Heather Lankenkamp and Craven’s longtime producer Marianne Maddalena. You don’t want to miss it! I know I won’t!

In the lobby, acclaimed artist Rob Prior treated onlookers to a painting of Freddy right there in real time. Creating his art ambidextrously means he can really move, both hands moving at lightning speed. You gotta see it to believe it!

And there’s SO MUCH MORE TO COME! Tomorrow we’re screening four of Bela Lugosi’s classic flicks, along with another Wes Craven tribute, this one following a screening of the underrated NEW NIGHTMARE. There will be graphic novel artists discussing their craft, a celebration of Uncle Forry, and so many good indie films. You can get tix at SilverScreamFest.com!

All photos courtesy The Film Squad!