mighty-action-wondercon-2013After surviving six years of fanboy mania and sensory overloads at Comic-Con, I knew I’d find Anaheim’s WonderCon to be the more manageable younger sibling of the San Diego pop culture fest.

And it is. Parking’s a cinch (I won’t give away my secrets), the lines move swiftly, and there’s actual room to breathe on the floor of the exhibition hall…and tweet my heart out from anywhere in the convention center. (free wi-fi!)

Saturday, the busiest day of the 3-day-long convention, kicked off with the Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures showcase during which exclusive previews of Pacific Rim and The Conjuring were shown to a massive audience inside the Anaheim Arena. Director James Wan (Insidious) came out on stage, along with the real-life people who inspired his latest “based-on-actual-events” supernatural thriller, and showed us the extended moments that were found in the chilling trailer earlier this year as well as a scene involving a sinister presence hiding behind the door of a little girl’s bedroom.

Guillermo del ToroDirector Guillermo Del Toro was later on deck to present a new trailer of his highly anticipated robots-vs-monsters epic, Pacific Rim. The man behind such fanboy faves like Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy discussed the film’s enormous scale (sets built seven stories tall) and his decision to use advanced CGI instead of motion-capture technology when staging the ginormous battle scenes in the movie. I believe my reaction to the new footage was this: “Holy shitballs, that was amazing.”

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However, it was the LOL-worthy presentation of Sony’s This Is The End┬áthat made the day. Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Seth Rogen and director Evan Goldberg, who dressed up in some S&M gear (he thought he was at AdultCon), got the crowd pumped up for the apocalyptic comedy in which dozens of celebrities appear as themselves during a major catastrophic event — at a James Franco house party. An exclusive clip showed the deaths of several famous faces, including Paul Rudd, Aziz Ansari, Kevin Hart, and an assholish Michael Cera who gets bitchslapped by — wait for it — Rihanna. The footage definitely cemented the film’s status as the comedy to top this summer. Check out the first hilarious opening minutes of the panel HERE.

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As for the rest? The cast of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones also appeared with Cassandra Clare, the author of the book series from which this new film franchise has been birthed. Having read the first book, a supernatural fantasy thriller about a teenaged girl who becomes a key player in the midst of a demon war, I was somewhat interested in hearing what went down behind the scenes. However, I should have realized how much of a lovefest it would be with the fangirls in the audience (TIP: zone out during the Q&A session in order to skip the frustratingly cliched questions from fans). Entertainment Weekly‘s Dalton Ross did his best to moderate the panel with neutral, safe questions with the actors. However, I just couldn’t believe that star Lily Collins was a fan of the books before booking the role that could possibly fatten up her bank account. (isn’t that what all actresses say?)

And then there was the Evil Dead panel, a gloriously gory sneak peek at the horror remake starring Suburgatory‘s Jane Levy (and opening this week). Making a surprise appearance was the Man himself, the guy who’s synonymous with the entire franchise, Bruce Campbell. The amount of soundbites that came out of this mouth, quite frankly, exploded my brain…as you may see below:

– Hiko Mitsuzuka (@TheFirstEcho)