This past weekend was not how I wanted to start off 2016. This is the first of two tributes I’m writing tonight and I’m not exactly thrilled about doing either one.
A few days ago, we lost a true gentleman of horror. I had the pleasure of meeting Angus Scrimm a few years ago and it was one of the best celebrity encounters I’ve ever had. It was in 2012 at the Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, NC. Those of you do conventions know how it goes. Upon arriving, you have your sights sets on your priority guests and make a bee line straight to their tables, then kind of get around to your own personal b-listers, and so on. So, even though I saw Mr. Scrimm sitting at his table on and off, I kind of took my time to get around to him. I’ve always really enjoyed his work, but if I was being completely honest with myself, he wasn’t at the top of my list that night.
The day went on, pictures were taken, autographs were collected, and before I knew it, things were wrapping up and everyone was packing up their tables. I decided to do one final sweep and hit all the ones I hadn’t visited yet. As I approached his table, I felt a little bad about ignoring him all day (surprisingly, he never had much of a crowd), but it would turn out that my timing was perfect.
I’d spent my total budget on autographs, so I asked him if I could just get a picture. He said he hated to charge me, but it would be $10, and as much as he would love to do it for free, his “people” would get angry, even though they’d stepped away for a few minutes. I was totally tapped out, so I asked him if we could just talk for a minute.
What followed was one of the best convention experiences I’ve ever had. He asked me to sit next to him and for the next 20 minutes or so, we exchanged brief life stories. He seemed much more interested in me than I was in him. He was incredibly kind and soft spoken and a truly gracious gentleman. The guy couldn’t be more different than his character in the Phantasm series.
After discussing me for a bit, I shifted the focus to him and we discussed how he first got into acting, the convention experience, and a little about his home life. I’ve had some really positive experiences with celebrity encounters, and a few not so great ones, but he was all class and his encounter definitely ranks now as one of the most memorable. I can’t say enough good things about him, and from the tributes I’ve read from celebrities and fans alike in the last few days, everyone echoes that sentiment.
Just before he had to leave, he gave me this flyer for Satan Hates You, a film he had just finished, which sadly I haven’t seen yet. I plan on doing something about that this week.
Angus Scrimm scared the living hell out of me as a kid and I literally had nightmares about him looming over me, yelling, “Boooyyyyyy!” Who didn’t? But, meeting him was one of the best highlights of that weekend, and of every convention since. R.I.P. Tall Man. You’ll be missed.