With one slash of the ribbon by Freddie Krueger's razor claw, iconic horror actor Robert Englund opened Fan Expo Canada for another year, as "Nightmare On Elm Street" survivor girl Heather Lagenkamp screamed in the background.
Since then, Fan Expo hasn't stopped. While many special guests took Thursday as a travel day, Friday was chock-full of appearances by genre royalty, and it's only going to get bigger through the weekend. (Saturday is traditionally Fan Expo's busiest day.)
On Friday, Fan Expo goers learned Burt Ward was actually a crash-test dummy, Robert Englund and Heather Lagenkamp once outran a tsunami of blood, and Stan Lee wishes he had one superpower.
Boy Wonders Never Cease
A fan asked if Batman and Robin ever did their own stunts. Adam West was covered thanks to his stuntman Hubie Kearns, but on his first day, Burt Ward wasn't so lucky:
“I got in the batmobile, I looked over and there was a guy in a Batsuit, but it wasn't Adam [West]. I said, 'Oh, why are you here?' and he said, 'My name is Hubie, I'm a stuntman and I'm going to be doing the scene. 'Oh, that's good,' I said, 'But why isn't Adam doing the scene?' 'Oh,' he said, 'It's too dangerous, Adam might get hurt and we can't take a chance on Adam getting hurt.
I said, 'Why is it so dangerous?' 'Well, we come out of the cave at 55 mph, make a sharp turn right towards the camera and the sign goes down, we roll over the sign and it pops back up. It's too dangerous for an actor to be in there.'”
“'Wait a minute,' I asked, 'Don't I have a stuntman?' 'Oh yeah, you do.' Well, where is he? 'He's over there having coffee with Adam West.'”
Turns out, Ward's stuntman didn't look enough like him to pass as The Boy Wonder on camera, so for the next week, Ward would put his body on the line to get the shot until they found a replacement. On that first day in the Batmobile, the door flung open and Ward clung to the gearshift with his pinky to keep from flying out the door. He'd eventually go to the hospital to fix his dislocated finger, but not before they completed the scene.
“That was the first of five days in a row that I was in the emergency room. I'd never been to an emergency room in my life, I was just lucky,” said Ward.
“The second day, I was in a burning car with Frank Gorshin as the Riddler. Frank climbs up, jumps out. I was supposed to climb up and jump out. But just as I get to the top, unexpectedly, the car blows up and all I remember was ground comin' at my face really fast. I got hurt with second-degree burns to the back of my neck and I'm back in the same hospital with the same doctor and the same nurse. He says, 'Back again?' -- I honestly didn't think I was going to survive the first episode.”
A Blood Tsunami
Next up, Freddie Krueger got another shot at Nancy Thompson, as the actors behind the iconic roles from "A Nightmare On Elm Street" (Robert Englund and Heather Langenkamp) reunited to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie that started one of the greatest horror franchises of all-time.
"NOES" helped set the bar for future horrors with the creative ways Freddie killed his victims in the dream world. When technicians initially botched Johnny Depp's now-legendary death scene -- where his character Glenn is sucked through his mattress and all that's left is a geyser of blood -- off-camera, Englund and Lagenkamp were prepared to run for their lives.
“We walked in and our wonderful effects crew -- who hadn't slept in days -- had this rotating room all rigged for the deathbed explosion of blood and they pivoted the wrong way. I remember seeing the blood come out.”
“It was like "The Poseidon Adventure," where the ship starts tipping,” continued Lagenkamp.
“Heather was like, 'Robert, is there electricity in those cables and I was like, 'OH S**T!' and I grabbed her hand and we both ran out like girlie men. The blood went down the hall. It was like a real tsunami because the whole room was upside-down [shot to look right-side up] so all that stood between us and a wave of blood was gravity.”
Stan Lee's Superpower
Stan Lee doesn't do favourites. “I like everything,” he insisted to the packed house of fans who asked him about his favourite this and his favourite that. That may be true, but he's very proud of the clever answer he spouts when people ask about his favourite superpower.
“The most perfect superpower in the world would be luck because if you're lucky, you can accomplish anything and nothing would ever hurt you,” said Lee. “A guy shoots at you, the bullet misses because you're lucky. You want to win the lottery and get $100 million? You win it because you're lucky.”
So why hasn't the man who co-created some of the greatest superheroes of our time put pen to paper on this one?
“The only reason I can't write a superhero with the power of luck is because all of these heroes have to be visual – they have to look interesting in some sort of outfit,” he said. “I can't think of any reason why a guy who is lucky would wear a costume.”
Though be warned, the copyright is pending on this one.
“I shouldn't of said this because maybe some other writer is listening and he'll think of a way to give him a costume and he'll write about my lucky hero and I'll have lost that whole idea.... All of you forget I said that!”