While we were unable to make it to San Francisco for Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett’s inaugural Fear FestEvil that took place this past weekend, friend of Metal Insider Nona* and her friend Marc were there, where they filed this report:

“Heavy metal and horror films are all the same to me,” Kirk Von Hammett said as he kicked off his first Fear FestEvil at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco.

The weekend started Thursday night with a VIP party and early viewing of Kirk’s Crypt. There was a lot of stuff on display that I hadn’t seen at the two Orion festivals. Our host, Mr. Von Hammett arrived in full vampire costume including fangs! He spent much of the evening talking with guests, taking photos, and sharing his love of his collection.

Friday afternoon, the FestEvil began with its first ever panel entitled “Collecting Horror,” with KVH, Mike Hill, and Chiller Theater’s Kevin Clement. Next we went downstairs to watch Academy Award winning FX master Joel Harlow transform Anthrax’s Scott Ian into a very realistic Jack the Ripper. There was no way to know it was Ian after all the airbrushing and prosethics attached to his face.

I skipped the next two panels to slice up some mice as part of a taxidermy class. Blood, guts, and broken knee caps kept us busy for three hours, and I walked away with a mouse in a top hat drinking wine. After washing the guts off my hands, I caught the “Best Friends Forever,” panel featuring Greg Nicotero and Kirk Hammett. They talked about their lives in entertainment and horror films.  Scott Ian sat in in full Jack the Ripper disguise.

I spied a small sign on the KVH Toy booth advertising a private tour of the Crypt with Kirk at 8pm. I immediately signed up. This was a highlight, as he explained to the 14 of us what every item in the Crypt was and what it meant to him.

By now Carcass had begun and you could hear it in all spaces of this three story venue – it was loud. I managed to stay in the pit for five minutes before escaping to the bar. The main event, of course, was Exodus who did not disappoint the moshers. The set list included “Death,” “Black List,” ” A Lesson,”  and “Toxic.” When Kirk joined his former bandmate Gary Holt for the encore they began with a medley of sloppy Metallica riffs.  The show closed with BOC’s “Godzilla,” including a dancing Godzilla on stage.

Saturday I showed up a little later for a Tokyo panel featuring Haruo Nakajima, the original Godzilla and Bin Furuya, the original Ultraman. The Japanese speakers and their translator answered questions from the audience for 45 minutes.

My next panel was “Man Behind the Screams,” with influential horror movie artist Basil Gogos and Kirk Hammett. Gogos’ paintings are some of Kirk’s most prized possessions and highly sought after by collectors. Next up, the panel that drew the biggest crowd all weekend: “Speaking in the Key of Horror,” with Slash, Kerry King, Doyle Von Frankenstein and KVH. This all star panel talked about things that scare them, their favorite movies, and what remakes they wish weren’t made. Slash drank a Starbucks iced nonfat latte throughout.

The night ended with (loud) sets by Death Division, Orchid, and Death Angel. Kirk Hammett joined Death Angel’s encore for a tribute version of “Heaven and Hell,” “Happy Birthday” to Mark Osegueda and then closed out the entire festival with “Trapped Under Ice.”

The FestEvil was very well run. There were plenty of vendors, art classes, model contests, BARS, random celebs, (Chuck Billy, Jim Martin, Linda Ramone, Rob Flynn, John Marshall, Greg Puciato, PJ Soles, Tom Savini) and horror film icons (Lugosis, Karloffs, Chaneys) to keep you busy during the days and more than enough painful thrash metal to deafen you at night.

Exodus (with Kirk and Godzilla)

Exodus (with Kirk and Godzilla)

Doyle, Slash, Kerry King, Kirk

Doyle, Slash, Kerry King, Kirk