Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors Report - April 2008

Me at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors!

This year’s Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors in Southern California marked the first year the horror convention was held at the L.A. Convention Center. Organizers Creation Entertainment and Fangoria Magazine wanted to give more fans the opportunity to attend the usually sold out event. Also, the bigger space meant more vendors would be there, enticing attendees with their gore-drenched goods!

The intentions were good, and the larger venue would have fit a heck of a lot more fans, if only those fans had actually shown up! Unfortunately, this year’s event was pretty barren of attendees. Whether it was the change of venue, lack of big horror movies or stars at the event, attendance was definitely down this year.

George Romero signing autographs

I spoke to many attendees, including fans, press and vendors, and most complained of the convention center’s inability to accommodate the horror crowd. On Friday, there was only one place open for food and they only carried pre-packaged salads and sandwiches. Despite other conventions going on, nothing else was open. On Saturday, they opened up more of the small cafeteria, but even their Starbucks stayed closed (and don’t even get attendees started on the lack of bar!).

Though many grumbled about the lack of good eats and places to sit and hang out, the actual panels and presentations were quite good, though most felt a little stale. Most horror fans don’t need to see the girls from Rob Zombie’s Halloween after the disappointing panel last year. Does anyone even care anymore? The empty auditorium pretty much answered that question. Also, the usual horror celebrities had panels or were in attendance – Mr. George A. Romero (yes, he showed up this year!), Tony Todd, Ken Foree, Clive Barker, etc., etc. – but many horror fans have seen these stars multiple times, and so there was no real draw at the panels this year.

I did catch the panels on the upcoming Black Waters of Echo’s Pond (with actors Danielle Harris, the “Babysitter Twins,” James Duval, writer Sean Clark, etc.), Dead Air (including Corbin Bernsen and Patricia Tallman) and the available-on-DVD Gutterballs (including the cast and director Ryan Nicholson). I gotta say, Black Waters and Dead Air look pretty kick ass, and of course you know how we feel about the ultra-gory Gutterballs.

 Cast and crew of Black Waters of Echo's Pond

I also caught producer Rob Tapert (Evil Dead, the upcoming Drag Me to Hell) who assured the audience that while he may not know what the “next big thing” in horror is, he definitely thinks we’ll have fun with Drag Me to Hell. The Psycho reunion panel was also pretty amazing to witness, as it assembled guests from all four Psycho films and was hosted by our good friend Rob G., who is currently hard at work on a documentary on the Psycho films. Angus Scrimm (The Tall Man from the Phantasm films) graced attendees with his delightful presence over the weekend. It’s funny to think how terrifying he is in those films but what a sweetheart he is in real life!

The absolute highlight of the weekend was an independent film called Red Velvet that wowed the packed audience in the screening room. This whip-smart horror film played with horror conventions while delivering some very satisfying kill scenes and an entirely original killer. The cast and producer were also present to sign autographs during the convention.

 Wicked Lake cast and crew

Another highlight was being able to see friends I only get to see about once a year. The Icons of Fright guys, the Horror Yearbook kids, Mel House and a bunch of new people I had the pleasure to meet. It did seem that a few familiar faces were missing, though.

On an immensely positive note, Shannon Lark won Fangoria’s first ever Spooksmodel Contest!! Congrats, Shannon! You deserve it! If you’re not familiar with Shannon, you will be!

The switch from the Burbank Marriott to the L.A. Convention Center for Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors was not an easy one this year. I hope that this was due to growing pains and that all the kinks get worked out by next year’s convention, because the friendly, homey vibe that Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors usually is known for was seriously lacking this year. You can’t blame Fangoria or Creation Entertainment, though, as the panels were pretty cool. I think it’s more getting used to the bigger venue and the venue catering more to convention attendees (like having some freakin’ places to eat open!!).

A lot of people also didn’t attend the convention this year, and I think this was due to the fact that the horror genre has been inundated with Hollywood remakes/sequels, things are a bit on the slow side for the genre at the moment and people just didn’t show up at the new digs this year. I sincerely hope that things will pick up next year and more will attend, because the more the gorier!!

All that said, there are some freakin’ fun horror movies on the horizon (that aren’t watered-down remakes or sequels…yayyy!!) that I am very much looking forward to! And there were some wonderful panels and people in attendance this year as well.

I just can’t wait until next year when the Weekend of Horrors really settles in to its new digs and is able to stretch its legs a bit.

See you all next year!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...