For a horror fan, any opportunity to geek out with like-minded people is a welcome one. We are by no means defined by our genre preference, but the chance to unite and celebrate our common interest gives a definite sense of camaraderie. Those who have attended Comic Con will know that it encompasses different genres of film, books, TV, gaming, etc. But a genre as broad as horror deserves its own event, and luckily for us northerners, HorrorCon 2015 took place right here in South Yorkshire!
HorrorCon was hosted at Magna Science Centre in Rotherham; also the venue for Yorkshire Cosplay Con. The spaces inside are huge, which was ideal for this event. Activities over the weekend included talks and Q&As, special guest signings and photographs, screenings, demos, live music, trade stalls, and even a live scare maze (The Pit, by PUP Events). The trade floor was connected to the main staging area for the special guest Q&As, so anyone doing a spot of shopping could easily dip in and out. The smaller talks/seminars, screenings, demos and The Pit were at the other side of the building, which did feel a little cut-off from the majority of the action.
Despite the distance from the trade floor, The Pit had a very atmospheric spot. It was housed in ‘The Face of Steel’ hall; a vast, dark expanse which is often used for bungee jumps. The Pit had been constructed along one side, with space in front for actors to taunt passing guests. The screams from within the maze echoed throughout the hall, adding to the sense of dread. In a way, PUP had made The Pit look far scarier than it actually was; a double-edged sword at an event such as this. Once inside, it had a good level of interaction and decent jump scares, all without the time and effort of a full interior build (guests were hooded). For HorrorCon attendees with no prior awareness of the scare industry, this would have been a great introduction, and overall it was a successful addition to the HorrorCon line-up.
In a similar vein, the weekend also featured talks by GNG Entertainment about their 2012 extreme event ‘Project Fear’. This seemed to go down well, however there was some uncomfortable fidgeting during footage of the simulated torture in the event. Seemingly, desensitisation to shocking on-screen content does not extend to scare entertainment, probably because the context is still unfamiliar to many. Other talks included a lively lecture from the Zombie Institute of Theoretical Studies, and a paranormal investigation talk.
The special guest Q&As were all fun and insightful. These included Gunnar Hansen, Caroline Munro, Tom Savini, Bill Moseley, and Ken Foree. Bill Mosely delighted fans with stories about how he acquired his most famous roles, and talked about the physicality of those performances with the wisdom of a master of his craft. Tom Savini sent hearts aflutter with a demo of the bullwhip used in From Dusk Till Dawn, and discussed his time as a combat photographer during the Vietnam war in relation to his SFX skills. He clearly enjoyed interacting with the audience, going off on wild tangents then scrupulously backtracking to ensure the questions were properly answered.
The trailer screenings had a good turnout, and the filmmakers revelled in the opportunity to present and discuss their work with an audience. The short film screenings (including Andy Stewart’s trilogy and the best of Celluloid Screams) gave attendees the chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy some serious headfuckery. The aforementioned fuckery continued late into the evening over at The Showroom cinema with Human Centipede 3, although the less said about that the better. Our re-enactment of The Human Centipede 2 with Lawrence Harvey on the trade floor was probably better.
Overall, HorrorCon 2015 was a fantastic event. By covering various aspects of the horror world, attendees had plenty of different ways to occupy themselves over the weekend, and a chance to discover something new along the way. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the team for having us, and I hope to see HorrorCon return for 2016!
Written by Polly Allen (@polly_horrorbox)
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