It's late Saturday afternoon at HorrorHound at the Marriott East, and quasi-famous 1980s actor Michael Biehn is on the spot. Near the end of the “Terminator” panel who would win in a fight: “Terminator”’s Sarah Connor or Ripley of “Aliens” fame. “Who would win” questions are a longtime staple in fan communities, but they don’t always get asked to a group that includes the leading man who played opposite both characters, not to mention five minutes before the “Aliens” panel will start.
Nearly everyone on the panel turns their attention to Biehn immediately, even though the question was addressed to the group. Biehn puts on his best “why are you guys looking at ME?” face before responding. “Weellll ... I’d have to say that if it was the Sarah from 'The Terminator,’ Ripley would win, and if it was Sarah from 'Terminator 2,’ she would win.’” Spoken like a true Hollywood diplomat.
Fascinating thing about mid-range conventions — the line between fan and pro is thinner than ever. The autograph lines generally aren’t terribly long, and while the celebrities may have security nearby, it’s not usually the big hulking intimidating sort. But by the same token, it doesn’t have that vaguely sad feel you get when you see performers at certain conventions who just seem lonely at their tables.
You get a certain sense for the ordinariness of the performers, whether it be the way the gang from “Aliens” praises the real-life Marines who say they were inspired to join the military by the film, or how always-somber-on-screen Lance Henriksen comes off like a sly old hippie in real life, or even the performers oohing and aahing whenever someone walks by in a particularly inspired costume. We’re all in this horror/action loving business together. However we may be involved.