Having drinks with a celebrity…

I love horror movies.

I remember when I was a kid, my parents would often go to the drive-in. Fortunately, my mother was a big horror fan and some of my earliest movie memories included such classics as Dawn of the Dead, The Shining, Manhunter and so many more.

Now I write reviews for horror movies. Granted, it’s more of a hobby than a job (depending on the movie), but I have met a lot of good people and have had more than a few of great experiences because of this. Fred, the guy who is great enough to host my reviews on his site, HorrorTalk (link on the right), has given me an opportunity that I can never thank him enough for. My name in print. Granted, it’s my screen name for the forum, but it’s my work getting out for the world to see. And nothing is cooler than getting feedback from the director of a movie you reviewed. But that’s another post. I’m going somewhere else with this…

The beauty of the HorrorTalk forum is the people that run it and the people that post on the boards. And one of the coolest things is every year, since 2002, a group of us head to Horrorfind Weekend for a weekend of meeting our favorite celebrities and spending money to no end. All good times.

I have met numerous horror celebrities (TV, movies and authors) at the conventions, but one of most memorable was having a beer with Reggie Bannister.

First, if you don’t know who Reggie Bannister is–and you are a horror fan–shame on you. Go watch Phantasm. Go watch Bubba Ho-Tep. Go watch some movies. Come back when you know.

So, the story…

Last August, I arrived to the hotel where the convention was to be held and it was to early to check-in. So, naturally, I went to the bar and ordered a Sam Adams and a shot of Grey Goose (side note, the bartender asked me if I wanted it chilled. How the fuck else are you supposed to drink vodka?). I made a quick call to my buddy Eric to let him know I was at the bar and just to look for me when he arrived. I hung up the phone and proceeded to drink.

So I’m sitting there watching ESPN, drinking my third or fourth beer, just waiting. I turned my chair to the left to check out the pool… Strike that. I was looking around the pool. Seriously, who looks at a pool? I was looking for honeys. But, alas, there were none. But there was a guy sitting next to his wife, reading a newspaper. It was Reggie Bannister. Not one to stare, I verified in my head it was indeed him and turned back to the TV. Not long after I had turned around, I noticed his wife walking out of the bar to make a call on the hotel phone. That was my chance (as I’m not one to interrupt people spending time with their family).

So I walked over to him and said (already knowing the answer), “Excuse me, are you Reggie Bannister?”

He threw me a big smile and said, “Yeah. What’s your name?”

I said, “I’m Steve. I just wanted to let you know I love your work. I’m not here to ask you for an autograph, but I would like to buy you and the lady you are with a drink for the entertainment you have provided me over the years.”

He said, “Have a seat.”

I politely declined. I didn’t want to be that guy. You know, that guy who is hounding a celeb for their autograph when they are just trying to have a drink or some private time with their friends. I was bordering on the town of that guy as it was and I explained all of this to Reggie. I didn’t want to offend him and I sure as hell didn’t want to impose. As I was explaining this, his wife (who was the lady friend) had come back and heard the majority of what I said.

“Oh for God’s sake, sit down. He lives for this. He loves his fans. He’s not doing anything but reading the paper anyway.” She said.

Who was I to argue?

So there I was, having drinks with Reggie Bannister and his wife (whom, unfortunately, I forgot here name). You want to talk about beaming. Shit, I could feel the heat on my face. I was drinking with Reggie fucking Bannister. And he was cool! And we were talking about non-movie stuff. Just shooting the shit. We were just chilling! It was great.

Then my phone rang.

I looked down and checked the caller ID. It was another friend who was coming to the convention. I said to Reggie and his wife, “Excuse me, this will literally take one second.”

I turned my head, flipped the phone, said “I’m having drinks with Reggie and *wife’s name* Bannister. Fuck off,” and hung up.

I turned back to the table. I said, “Gotta set your priorities.”

I don’t think he heard what I said to my friend, but they laughed like they got the gist of what I said.

The next day, Eric and I were walking around the convention when Eric said, “Looks like the bar’s open,” because he saw Reggie leaving the celeb mini-bar (not a minibar, but a little bar) with a drink. Reggie, apparently hearing what Eric said, looked over at us and said, “Hey Steve!”

According to Eric, I never made a sound. Eric said he had taken a few steps ahead and when he turned back to me I was standing there “like a dope literally with your mouth open.”

I’m pretty sure I gave Reggie a wave It was one of those things where I was surprised he remembered my name. You gotta think the guy has seen 300 – 500 people in the past 2 days, and I made enough of an impression that he went out of his way to say hi.

Reggie walked off.

Eric told me to pick my jaw up off the floor.

Good times.


*Note, I edited this post after I got an email from Eric. He corrected the last part of me (some of which is taken verbatim from the email). I believe Eric is spot on with his description. Hell, I can’t argue with the guy when he says, “Trust me on this one. I was there, and not stunned into shock.”

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