Freeform Meanderings: Horror Conventions and Being a “Fan”…

Freeform Meanderings: Horror Conventions and Being a “Fan”…

Dammit, I have to work this morning, but I’ll get to Horrorfind around noon…probably. That’s what went through my head as I awoke early Saturday morning lacing up my work boots. Work occurred like it tends to do and after a quick shit, shower, and shave–I was on I-83 headed North to Pennsylvania. The Wyndham Gettysburg to be exact; meeting place of the twelfth. gradually moving away from it’s origin state of Maryland Horrorfind Weekend. I had the usual everything packed for a daytrip in which all funds where going straight to my destination. NurtiGrain bars, peanuts, beef jerky, water, and magazine polybags. Just in case, a few empty DVD and VHS cases to boot. Not only was I planning to browse, I was to meet our own plucky Kristy Jett and some of the brawn behind As I drove, I tried to simply relax and be optimistic about the day. After all, I was about to enter a haven of like-minded individuals who share my passion for the genre.

Shit, just passed the entrance road to the Wyndham. A grand establishment for sure and a great place to hold a convention of this sort–at least on the outside. Plenty of rooms and even adjacent lodging literally within earshot. Not to mention a restaurant and a dedicated theater on the grounds where Horrorfind’s Film Festival was being held. After parking as far away as possible out of fear for dings, I walked back to step into the unassumingly short line. Some deep thoughts could be heard from behind relating Freddy Krueger’s rapist underpinnings with the political climate in which Craven began his career. That’s when the undeniable urge crept in. One that I’ve struggled with valiantly for a long time.

Perhaps Kristy has a point…or it’s just that obvious from my articles here and over at my little blog. Maybe I really am that self-absorbed elitist asshole that I’m sometimes charged with being. Maybe I should accept that when I look out over the entrance, I see cattle mulling about who most likely wouldn’t recognize Peter Cushing unless he was dressed as Grand Moff Tarkin or written under Stephenie Meyer’s hand. Why must all the pale white guys insist on I Spit On Your Grave t-shirts two sizes too small for their pudgy midsections? Is goth really a lifestyle, or merely cover for one’s own inadequacies? Are all these Hot Topic posterboys the horror fandom version of near beer? Why does it seem like all those interested in the classics are balding middle-aged guys hustling about with cardboard poster tubes? Where’s all the well-rounded horror fans that aren’t wooed by the next Japanese gore explosion or also rans hawking productions that will undoubtedly land in a future Mill Creek 4-Horror Film DVD set? Maybe I’m John Doe vomiting on shoes from everyday banality? Or maybe I’m that damn awesome.

Finally, after some herding through the lobby, I got my single day bracelet and awkwardly headed in the general direction of everyone else. The crush of humanity. I don’t do well with crowds, especially when you can’t even hear yourself think. I appreciate the gusto, but please paper-mâché Alien, avoid standing in the access corridor to the dealers room. It got real irritating waiting for the halted masses so the easily impressed could snap photos with some black spray painted newspaper. Squeezing into the dealer’s room; the place was way too dim. Nice ambiance, but that coupled with standing within four millimeters from another body at all times was simply too much for me. The aisles were also quite tight. I’m an inherently courteous person, so I frequently found myself stuck waiting for persons in front of me while being pushed from behind. Crowds are a fact of conventions, especially at the time I arrived, but if this was a Great White concert it’s not hard to imagine many charred bodies with stomped larynxes left in the wake.

Prices are also always an issue. One would think independent cult DVD studios would shave a bit off their prices when selling direct off the table. No middle men, yet $20-25 is the norm. I’m sorry for not supporting the little guy despite seeing them in person. Money talks, bullshit walks, and I have no qualms about soliciting third party sellers. I never even got to the celebrity room; although I’ve never understood the notion of defacing goods with autographs from personalities putting on a face for the crowd. Not to mention most of the people I would personally love to meet being long time dead. Certainly an unpleasant experience and one from which I only bought one thing–the ticket. As usual, I found more horror-related stuff this morning at my local swap meet haunts for a fraction of the price…

My experience wasn’t Horrorfind’s fault in the slightest. My old curmudgeon ass simply ain’t jiving with horror conventions. Perhaps back in the stone age, before the Internet, such gatherings served a much more important purpose. Nowadays, they primarily make easy prey for collectors while sellers prey upon those less learned. Sure, it’s nice to meet friends, if you find them, but I’m on the fence to the importance of these events. Does disliking cons make one less of a horror fan? Perhaps next time I should abide by Johnny’s Horror Convention Survival Guide. What do you guys think?


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5 Responses to “Freeform Meanderings: Horror Conventions and Being a “Fan”…”

  1. I can remember the days when the horror con around the Toronto area meant finding some great prices on things I couldn’t get anywhere else. Now it’s a challenge to get a deal on anything and I had to personally walk away from plenty of tables this year with nothing because dealers were unwilling to cut any deal at all.

    I gotta say that I enjoy grabbing an autograph though. It did seem that I was more interested in some of the people that nobody else wanted to wait in line for. Pays off when you can stand and chat with them for 10 or 15 minutes about the mundane moments in life.

    It’s not the same type of fun that it used to be but I’m still a sucker for a horror con!

  2. What do I think? I think that maybe you have outgrown these sort of events and should avoid them .

    Still I applaud you for braving the crowds. I can no longer abide them.

  3. I’ve always felt strange about meeting horror icons (icons of any kind in general). I met the singer for Mindless Self Indulgence and found myself absolultey trying to contain my “star worship” tendencies only to feel like I acted like a real jerk when all I wanted to say was, “I really appreciate what you do”. Call me insecure, but it ends up seeming more like a zoo and then a meeting.

    I always think that I’m going to find something new and amazing at one of these at a great price, but truth is that horror cons are an impulse buy and you can definitely get people to dish out normal price if not inflated prices. Poo.

    I’ll stick to movie marathons and maybe the occasional trip down horror con lane. Nothing to travel hundreds of miles for (but if you know of one that’s worth the trip I’ll be there). lol

  4. not really a big convention fan myself…..too many hyped up people. i spend most of the day either pissed off or smiling wickedly because in my head i’m slaughtering all those who are pissing me off. and the whole idea of celebreties getting paid to show up and a fan paying for an autograph just sucks!! i’d rather run into rob zombie or whomever at a book store, than at a place where he’s paid to be…probably doesn’t want to be there…and is being swarmmed by a million human shaped flies. but hey way to go on braving the wilds for us to bring back your insight!!!!


  1. […] convention, FanExpo. Not everyone likes the horror con experience, however; some are downright dismissive. One is tempted to speculate that some horror fans think they’re above even talking to other […]

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