Friday, July 19, 2013

Day One of Comic- Con: My Costume Experience

In 1997, I went through a terrible breakup. Out of spite and a desire to never see my ex again, I kept his VHS tapes. One of those tapes was Army of Darkness, the final film in the Evil Dead trilogy.

Trapped in Time. Surrounded by evil. Low on gas.
Best. Tagline. Ever.

I was going through a difficult time with the breakup and trying to find a job after college, and I started watching Army of Darkness almost constantly. Oddly enough, it made me feel better. It's a hilarious, almost cartoonish send-up of a medieval horror/action flick, and it's impossible to have a bad day on a day you've watched it.

Eventually, I found a job and met my husband, but I didn't stop watching Army of Darkness at least a couple of times a month. In fact, when I got my first DVD player in 1998, I ran out immediately and bought the entire Evil Dead series.

There are not enough words to express how much I love these movies. I've memorized most of the lines. I have named my embroidery machine and my car Ash, after the films' chainsaw-armed hero played by Bruce Campbell. (One of my other sewing machines is named Bruce). I watch the entire trilogy every Christmas Eve, the way some people watch It's a Wonderful Life. I own every version of the DVD and at least five Ash/Bruce Campbell action figures are prominently displayed in my office. 

These are my go-to movies for when I'm feeling down and, this year, I've been watching them a lot. When I was diagnosed with pneumonia in January, reading Army of Darkness comics helped me deal with the pain of my illness and loneliness of hospitalization. I saw the reboot of Evil Dead right after having throat surgery in May and, for the two hour duration of the film, I was completely out of my agony.

Evil Dead: A post-surgery alternative to Vicodin.

Recently, on a day when I was wearing an Army of Darkness T-shirt, Pete suggested that I go all-out and make an Evil Dead costume for Comic-Con this year. He was half-joking, but I thought it was a wonderful idea. I normally don't dress up for conventions and I'm not very comfortable with public attention, but I really loved the idea of paying tribute to a series of movies that has meant so much. I grabbed my sewing machine - the one named Ash - and got started.

There are a lot of female characters in the Evil Dead series of films. There are so many that one of my DVDs has a special feature titled "The Women of Evil Dead," and (SPOILER ALERT) the hero of the new reboot is a woman. However I really wanted to dress up as Ash.

Obviously, I'd need to make a few modifications to the costume.

Along the way, we decided that Pete should dress up, too. Since I was going as Ash, my first idea was that he should go as Evil Ash, but he suggested that he go as the Necronomicon, the book of the dead that awakens the films' demons.

It took a couple of weeks of work and a few book-building mishaps, but I completed our costumes on Wednesday, just in time for Comic-Con yesterday.

I'm usually watching the Evil Dead flicks in a bit of a vacuum, as they're not that popular with too many of my friends. So, I was really surprised by the positive reaction to our costumes. We were approached for photos by other fans, some of whom were wearing Evil Dead T-shirts, and so many people shared stories about how they love these movies. I even met a few more Ashes:
This Ash had a passing resemblance to Bruce Campbell and his costume was spot-on accurate.
This fan was dressed as S-Mart Ash, one of my favorite costumes from the films.
Overall, the experience was wonderful. It was great to see that these movies have touched so many people the way they've touched me. As a fan, it was so affirming. It's one of the great things that happen at Comic-Con.
I've become a convert to wearing a costume to Comic-Con. It's something very special to share your love for a film and find other fans. I don't know what I'm going to wear next year, but I'm already thinking.
Of course, I'll have more pictures of Comic-Con later and details on how I made the costumes. In the meantime, we're going back on Sunday in plainclothes. It will be Amelia's turn to wear a costume, and I hope she has the same great experience I did.


  1. Awesome! I'm so impressed with your costumes and so glad that you had a great experience!

  2. Monica, I had no idea!! Army of Darkness was a HUGE favorite of my family in our high school years. I remember going to the drive in to watch it and my little brother and his best friend saying all the lines! It has been yeeeeeaars since I have seen it, but I would love to watch it with you sometime!! Enjoy the conference and if you see Ian Somerholder from Vampire Diaries, blow him a kiss for me! I just loooooove him... See you soon!!