FRIDAY-SUNDAY

All the best movie monsters—the daughters of Dracula, the brides of Frankenstein, the teenage werewolves, the mummies dearest—remind us of ourselves. They are intensifications and distortions of the natural world’s order, uncanny reflections that show how near we really are to the shuffling, oozing beasties that make us shrieking in abject horror. The insect-headed scientist in The Fly is the chemistry geek with bad acne you avoided in high school. The panther woman in Cat People is the sex kitten who shot you down at the Big Hunt last weekend. The big ape in King Kong is your first boyfriend, overly demonstrative and not particularly bright. Scary as these monsters are—in particular the ones that sprang from England’s Hammer Studios in the ’60s—there’s something comfortable about the way they always politely die at their films’ ends, re-establishing society’s status quo in their death rattles. They’re like old friends, and this weekend’s Monster Rally ’99 convention is like Homecoming Weekend. Besides true horror royalty—actor Christopher Lee and stop-motion god Ray Harryhausen—and a local celebrity ghoul—Count Gore De Vol (pictured), who warped young minds as the host of Creature Feature on Channel 20 two decades ago—you’ll also get to meet…the Spawn of Monsters!—Bela Lugosi’s son, Lon Chaney’s great-grandson, and Boris Karloff’s daughter. Celebrate the golden age of horror and science fiction, buy memorabilia you don’t need, attend panel discussions, rub shoulders with the undead, and scream and scream again from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday, Aug. 6, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 8, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, 2799 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington. $20. (410) 665-1198. (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)