This past weekend I attended my first horror convention, and suffice it to say that I’m now hooked. A full weekend submersed in all things horror seemed like a blast going in, but I had no idea. Screenings, panels, vendors selling all sorts of horror related items, and access to so many horror icons all persuaded me that this was an event I needed to attend. But what I didn’t know about Texas Frightmare Weekend, what made this event truly awesome, was getting to see first hand just how amazing people are in the horror community.
Texas Frightmare, it turns out, is a social event. Long line to meet your favorite horror celebrity? You’ll hardly notice, because your line neighbors will strike up a conversation with you and share their horror experiences. Do you look confused because you’re not sure which line you’re supposed to be in? Before you have to ask, someone will smile and show you the ropes. More than an event to connect fans with their favorite icons, it’s an event to connect fans with each other. It sounds sappy, but never have I been prouder to be a horror fan.
Before you even step foot into one of the event’s rooms, you’ll notice an array of fans showing off their very well put together costumes.
Anyone in costume were typically surrounded by a thick crowd, so I didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked. I did notice a creepy clown theme, so beware those who have a clown phobia.
Being a huge cinephile, I was stoked to meet the celebrities and attend their panels. I absolutely love learning about the behind the scenes experiences and what goes into the making of my favorite movies. It’s neat to see actors gather on stage together when they probably haven’t seen each other in years. The Terminator panel included Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Robert Patrick, Kristanna Loken, Jennette Goldstein, Earl Boen, and Peter Kent. Seven people to discuss three Terminator films, all crammed into an hour. Other panels featured a sole guest, like Tobin Bell or Scott Wilson. There were enough scheduled to cover just about all interests.
I believe there were over 40 celebrity guests in attendance, so meeting some of my favorites was a definite highlight of the trip. You get brief one-on-one time to engage them in conversation, sometimes longer as some of them had no line at all when I passed by their table. Lou Taylor Pucci, for example, spent a good while answering questions as I grilled him about his role in the 2013 Evil Dead remake. For example, there were only two takes, period, to nail the arm scene in the film’s climax. Really makes me marvel at the scene even more knowing the pressure they were under. Or, that Lou spent a lot of time between takes jumping rope to not only maintain energy levels but to try to keep things fresh. He didn’t want his expression of fear to become stagnant, so that was his way of trying to keep things varied. He also was very hesitant to even audition for the film in the first place, because the original is so sacred to him. So when he was called in to audition he intentionally gave his worst audition. Also, the long hair and beard was something he had to convince the director and producer to keep. That was his way of paying a sort of homage to the original. He was so enthused to meet and speak with fans that he lost his voice by Saturday.
Other tidbits I picked up over the weekend:
- Sharni Vinson’s role in You’re Next was a cake walk compared to prep for her role in Step Up 3d, which required weights, capoeira classes, and a variety of other training classes.
- Doug Bradley’s feelings on the term reboot, “Bullshit.” And his message to those wanting to remake Hellraiser, “Fuck off.” (Just so you know, he’s also one of the biggest sweethearts I’d met at Texas Frightmare. He felt guilty about misspelling my name and chased me down to compensate for it in a huge way.)
- Barbie Wilde, female Cenobite, is now a writer for Fangoria magazine. Getting covered in plaster in preparation for Hellraiser 2 was nerve-wracking for her.
- Robert Patrick studied a variety of animals to achieve his character’s persona in Terminator 2, including a praying mantis.
- Kristanna Loken wanted to fans to associate her terminator as female, so she tried hard to maintain a sense of femininity in the role despite being an inhuman character.
- Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn both thought they were signing on to do a sci-fi flop when doing the original Terminator.
- Chris Marquette has recurring nightmares about Chucky the killer doll.
- Kyle Labine is not so good at beat boxing.
I’m bummed it’s over, but now that I have a feel for how things work I can plan better for next year. Because I will be going back.