HorrorHound started the year at the Sharonville Convention Center in Indianapolis, and as usual, everyone showed up. The bi-annual movie convention brings all manner of creature, beast, freak, rebel and misfit for a weekend of very crowded fun, signing, pics, music and film talk. Once again the event sold out Friday March 20 and Saturday the 22nd, with Sunday generally used as a day to finish up, rest and recover for those that mostly stay out of the daylight.
However, there were many who rose to the occasion and got there early. If you had a lot of guest celebs on your list, or were even a casual Walking Dead fan, it’s usually best to be one of the early day-walkers. The weekend traditionally culminating in a few haggard souls slowly dragging themselves in and out of the building, whether you’re dressed as a walker or just had ‘a bit’ too much fun and look like death.
The convention sponsored by Zombie Dogz, Samhain Publishing, 96 Rock and Thirteenth Floor Studios brought the celebs in mass, appealing to thousands of multi-genre fans. Horror, sci-fi, comedy, action and pro wrestling were represented among others.
Guest Celebrities included: Norman Reedus, Michael Rooker, Josh McDermitt, Alanna Masterson, Lawrence Gilliard, Jeff Kober, Max Hernandez, Madison Lintz, Adam Minarovich from the Walking Dead. Ryan Hurst and Mark Boone Junior (Sons of Anarchy), Denis O’Hare (Trueblood), Jason Mewes (Clerks), Linda Blair (Exorcist), Gregg Henry and Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), George Wendt (Cheers), William Katt (Carrie), Katherine Isabelle-actor and The Soska Sisters-directors (American Mary), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7, 8, Jason X), Joel Hodgson (Mystery Science Theater 3000), Terrance Zdunich (Repo! The Genetic Opera), C Thomas Howell (Soul Man), Brian Thompson (Cobra), Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story), Tom Atkins (Halloween III), Zach Galligan (Gremlins), Pat Healy (The Innkeepers), AJ Bowen (You’re Next), Pedro Miguel Arce (Land of the Dead), Jesse Hutch (Freddy VS. Jason), Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbot, Barbara Crampton, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon-actors, Dennis Paoli-writer, Stuart Gordon-director (Re-Animator), Rhyno (ECW,WWE), Ron Simmons (WWE).
Event graphic artists included: Horrorhound/Scream! Factory’s: Nathan Milliner, Joel Robinson and Gary Pullin also of Rue Morge Magazine, Mondo, Waxwork Records.
For anyone, looking for a good artistic skin buzz, the Ink Fusion Tattoo Festival Artists area was available to get your favorite horror movie character or nightmare permanently attached and engrained. With a global array of artist’s available from local-international there was a needle and gun ready for any color, creation and style wanted. Artists included Andrea Swabb (Satellite Beach FL), Brandi Smart (illustrative, Bombshell Hair & Ink, Benicia CA), Brandy Bryant (cover ups/black & grey realism, Jokers Wild Tattoo, Farmville VA), Cale Turpen (photo realism, Outsiders Ink, Tulsa OK), Chris Jones (color portrait’s, Physical Graffiti, Cardiff UK), Eric Vie (oriental/new-school, Engine House Tattoo, Germantown OH), Ian Simon (horror realism, freehand, custom, graphic style, Bitter Hearts Tattoo, Youngstown Ohio), Jersey Jay (color illustration, Pogue Mahone Tattoo Company, Red Bank NJ), Jessie Villars (cover ups, geometric tattoos, bright color pieces, Studio 85, Lebanon OH), Joseph Lagrua (traditional Style, Pogue Mahone Tattoo Company, Red Bank NJ), Josh Wiley (Modified Skin Tattoos, Dayton OH) Kelly Rogers (Gearhead Tattoo, S. Cape Coral FL), Marc Draven(photo realism, pop culture anything, Draven’s City Limits Tattoos, Tampa Florida), Matty McTatty (realism, Engine House Tattoo, Germantown OH), Mike Bianco (Pier 39, San Franciso CA), Mike Guidone (vintage, horror, Monkey Bones Tattoo & Piercing, Beavercreek OH), Tori Robinson (Tattoo Factory, Bucyrus OH), Scott Versago (Empire Ink, Akron OH).
Across the street at the Crowne Hotel HorrorHound Film Fest celebrated the newest, boldest and goriest in independent movies all weekend featuring the world premieres of The Caretakers, The Babadook, Old 37 w/Kane Hodder (Best Feature winner) and Holocaust Cannibal. Also debuting was the US/national premiere of Dark Star and The Other Side (Best Actor Chad Conley). Other films included Pieces of Talent (Best Director, Joe Shauffer), Re-Animator w/Fritz the Nightowl, Headless (Best Actress, Ellie Church, Best SFX), Killing Poe (Sneak Peak), Bloody Sucking Bastards, the HorrorHound Film Festival Awards, BackCountry, Wyrmwood and Night Terrors. A few killer shorts included The Psychopaths, Painkiller (Best Short winner), Howl of a Good Time, A Way Out, Isabelle, He Took His Skin Off For Me, and Dystopia Street among others.
For fans that loved the stories of the stars there were several Q&A movie panels throughout the weekend starting Friday evening with panels from films of Ti West, Old 37 and Joel Hodgson and an event with Terrance Zdunich. Saturday’s all day schedule included panels with Indie Filmmaker’s, the cast from House, American Mary and Guardians of the Galaxy. There was also a Horror Host Hall of Fame Ceremony and the Dr. Lady’s Costume Contest. Along with the afterhours concert’s Friday and Saturday night’s there was also a wet and wild after party Saturday at CoCo Key Water Resort. Sunday’s two event panel included Jason Mewes and Sons of Anarchy.
Many fans dressed up as their favorite movie, TV, comic and original characters, whether they entered the contest or just walked around scaring the locals or posing for photo ops. Local wrestler ‘the paranormal’ Eric Fallen was seen stalking the aisles over the weekend.
The costume contest for children and adults ended Saturday’s panel activities as the Shining sisters w/little Danny won first place taking the axe from the other kids. One fan definitely knew how to train his dragon, winning best in show with raised wings but no fire breathing and one big bad Alien spewed her venom enough to take home first place for best TV/movie character with Pumpkin Jack winning the blade for best original.
The usual demented, family of vendors were present offering any and every sort of cute, creative, morbidly-macabre creation the mind was capable of conjuring. From movies, books, demon dolls, movie memorabilia, T-Shirts, hand-made horror crafts (inspired by HP and others), magnets, props and toys, along with many other grotesque gifts to get for that special someone. There was something for everyone. So when you got out of bed and put the rude awakening beside them, they could wake up and scream.
The convention has been a longtime supporter of many monstrous merchants bringing the most creatively bizarre, morbid, unique and avant-garde fan made items, from home-based creations to independent/small business’s and movie studios of all types and budgets to the ears, eyes and hands of the appreciative public.
This year’s venders included: Amok Time (where action figures have never gone before), Bell Book & Comic (Dayton’s own), (Mr. heavy metal and horror himself) Bill-Zebub, (the monstrous illustration of) Byron Winton, Creatureplica ( bringing the Cryptids to life), Dark Sky Films (underground horror distributors), Dead Ink (scary street attire), Don’t Eat the Gum (for the Garbage Pail Kid in every family), Forgotten Boneyard (what Gein and Bates would be doing modern day), Geek Boy Press (pop culture shirts & artwork), Goregous Girls (magazine for the artistically demented), Horror Host HOF (honoring the best of horror show hosts), HorrorHound Magazine (the convention’s premier publication), Inner Demon Studios-w/Jenny Wallace and Shana Rae (independent film and images for all budgets), Joel Robinson (graphic designs from Dayton), Kalliope Kreations (home of the Krafting Misfits), KFHC (Kentucky Fried hardcore), Kitley’s Krypt (keeping the vintage/new classics alive), Kneehigh Horror (mini-movie standups), Lixonline (goodies for boils and ghouls), Logan’s World TV (classic movies, cartoons and wrestling), Mike West (Seventh Star Press), Living Dead Dolls (horror themed porcelain pretties), Nathan Milliner (Rebel Rouser art), The Goblin Trader (decorative skin dried hides).
NOTLP (Night of the Living Podcast and all things horror), Pieces of Talent (Joe Stauffer film), Pop Evil Art (evil artwork of the macabre), Post Mortem Press (off kilter genre press for up and coming/established writers), Real Ohio Ghostbusters (Ghostbusters fan club network), Red Death Studios (Vintage horror/B-movie attire), Rock Rebel (vintage horror apparel), Samhain Horror (scaring the world through words), Scare Bears (hand-made killer teddy’s), Severn Films (resurrecting/preserving the best in grindhouse/exploitation), (the truly magnetizing) Skull 13, Super Pumpkins (custom professional carving), Synapse Films (leader in cult/exploitation distribution), (the art on the) Thirteeth Floor, Thriller Contacts (you’ll see dead people, better), Tim-O & Harley Show (Horror/exploitation podcast), Toxic Shirt (Horror/cult clothing), Troma (home of the Toxic Avenger), Wicked Little Nursery (sugar and spice but cute, they ain’t).
Witch Doctor Films (finest in grindcast cinema), Shock Studios (the horrible creations of Mike Skaggs,) Horror Show Jack (customized fangs), Deadink Apparel (horror inspired streetwear), Kate Davis (personally macabre writing & art), Unpleasant Dreams LLC (where the macabre is colloquial), Nightmares Unlimited (hardcore props), Little Punk People (for the lil punks in your family), Killer Jewels (jewelry for the glamour ghoul), Weird on Top Pictures (oddness on camera from IN), Studio 605 (slaughter-riffic carnage from IN), David J. Getz (wrestling/movie memorabilia), Baron Von Porkchop (Dayton based horror show), Alternative Cinema(you’re East Coast source for independent movies) and the Cincinnati Roller Girls were also in attendance.
Friday Night’s ghoulish after hour activities across the street ‘crowned’ the evening off with entertainment by HorrorHounds own DJ Joel who turned the main vendor room into a night-spot, goth club where all the haunted honey’s got their gravely groove on with glow sticks flying. Joel blasted out some NIN, the Cure, Rob Zombie, Beastie Boys, Depeche Mode, Marilyn Manson (for the beautiful people), and Beck, for the Kanye fans.
Next up for our eye bulging pleasure was Cleveland’s first and only dark horror cabaret dancers the Monster Dolls, came up for some shimmy and shaking, monster mash style. The HorrorHound version of river dancing with masked maidens, synchronized to well-practiced routines with group/character storylines danced to the hypnotizing soundtrack of damnation. Created in 2004 by Frankie Von Doll, the girls have a wealth of expertise in tribal/Egyptian belly dance, hip hop, modern dance, yoga and hoop among others and have taken the show national.
Bellatrix Blade, Frankie Von Doll, Mistress Sin, Nile 8, Scarrie Ann Stalker and Trixie were all there to howl, claw, crawl, slither, rip or tear their way into the audience’s heart. They stalked and seduced, eyeing their prey as they moved. Boogied and bounced (no twirking allowed) to the Misfits “Day of the Dead,” the muscles, menace and screaming guitar of Doyle’s “Dreaming Dead Girls,” the whisky smooth burlesque swing of Rob Zombie’s “Little Piggy” and the incredibly trippy, cathartic Mr. Bungle’s “Goodbye Sober Day.”
Miss Scarrie Scarecrow performed with whips and flying glow-sticks with the Hellfreaks. “Don’t Feed the Models,” they just want more and will carve the rest out of you. The Meteors brought the “Corpse Grinder” as the girls brought out the blades. The Shanklin Freak Show introduced its “Twisted Family” as the boas and barbed burlesque hit the stage. Trixie, the little wolfie hellcat brought out the beast in everyone with some sweet “Cherry Pie.”
Horrorhound Records artists Harley Poe, The Big Bad and The Loveless performed over the weekend with For the Wolf appearing at the convention.
Kokomo Indiana’s beach boy surfer dudes (not really), though they have current/upcoming surf-punk music, came back to HorrorHound to spread more horror fan holiday cheer. With their own evil brand of comedic-vile, torture-porn lyrics about everyday love, grave-robbing and necrophilia with a catchy folky twang. They began, saying it’s not your fault your being a bitch, not like a vampire or a witch, cause it’s that “Time of the Month.” There was Satan Sex and No Regrets on “Ima Killer.” “It’s Only the End of the World,” blessed be the Wretched, Filthy and Ugly. They treated “Olivia” like a doll even with her inflatable ego. Those damn, filthy succubus “Suckers” love to lure victims to their doom, and some actually like it. B-sides from the Basement brought up the “Witchboard” and as every horror movie (ever made) about them tells us, don’t play with them!
“Corpse Grinding Man” was like finding love six feet under and all the other wrong places. Tonight was “Vampires Night Out.” I don’t want you, just your bodily fluids, crimson preferably. They got down and holy with title track “Man of God.” Respect the men of the cloth, but keep the kids away. Their dear “Maria’s” gone a lil possessed, hand-walking down the steps, head spinning everywhere. He came home to a surprise Pazuzu nightmare. Honey, where’s the crucifix? “The Worm Crawls In” questioning the sturdy craftsmanship of your final resting place after the first week.
The “Ouija” invited the innocent to play but brought out the damned. “Transvestites can be Cannibals To” was dressed to drag, a meal home, to go. You wanna go where “Everybody Knows My Name” and nobodies glad you came. Why? Cause you are the f’n devil! Asshole. They finished “Still Here” with their middle fingers in the air.
Saturdays after hours activities started off with The Renfields, from the deepest darkest, most romantic parts of Transylvania, Romania via Morgantown, West Virginia. The shambling and staggering graduates of Transylvania High School come to America as a terrifying band of dead/undead brothers hell-bent on killing, re-animating and recruiting a worldwide horde of undead fans one basement and graveyard at a time.
Arriving by hearse bound carriage the brothers showed up expecting/hoping for the wastelands and zombie carnage, as seen on the tube. Their biting beliefs were shattered by the reality of TV that their monster heroes were fiction and though Johnny Depp resurrected him on screen, Ed Wood was long dead. They found America full of “Nu-Metal” and poppy MTV pseudo-punk rock bands. But where, oh where, were their beloved iconic punk rock rebels?
The Ramones final resting place revealed the truth and our young heroes decided to take a stand, grave-robbing with good intent. Exhumed not to consume, they unearthed the remains to the dark regions of Transylvania for post-mortem sedation. Some quick work with surgical steel and a few life-giving neon syringes Herbert West style and with some pain, blood and pleasure each brother had a new heart. Ready to bring back Transylvanian Pogo Punk!
The Renfields, everyone’s favorite party platter guests were: The Abominable singing angel Vincent Renfield. Drummer, backing vocalist and Giver of Re-Animation Dr. Herbert Von Renfield IV, The Fiend on bass who never talks but sings real nice when swinging a shovel and loves The Town That Dreaded Sundown, and guitarist Dick Ramsses-Renfield, player of Beatles chords, especially Helter Skelter.
They love American internet and hate gimmick bands. They began with the pogo bouncing Billy Idol meets Ramones “Last Man on Earth.” Pack up the Dexter gear; it was time for a road trip. They cruised the downtown strip with a body in the back, hockey mask and killer attitude with a “Machete a Go Go” in the backseat. The good people of Crescent Cove were disappearing without a trace, could it be the “Killer Klowns” from outer space? It’s a cotton candy cocooned nightmare. No worries, Sargent. Mooney’s on the case. The “Invisible Man” was there moshing in the crowd. He’s still mad no one picked him up and left to get bandages.
They played a golden oldie from the first album as “Nosferatu” rose briefly during the quick, silent instrumental tune. Next up was every driller killer’s favorite late night all-female shindig, the “Slumber Party Massacre.” Complete with a ‘possibly first ever’ circle pit pillow fight. The show also included a werewolf dance off, pit face off with things getting a little hairy.
Little Miss Scarrie Scarecrow returned for a solo performance, bound by neck and presumably by contract.
Next up, those blood-red fanged horror punks from the haunted hills of West Virginia, the Big Bad showed up to playfully rumble. That’s right no clean cut socs allowed here, just switchblades, leather and misanthropic hair. Zackula, Wolfman Jack, Dee Kayed, Grave Flowers, Colonel Cuttingham and Necro Nate all showed up to take out Mary Lou, for one last ride, before shovel met head.
Representing the coolest rebel shine from the 50’s and the coolest modern day monster mash-bash they dove in “Seeking Souls” from the sea of people. They “Shine(d) the Signal” and the bats showed up. It was “Fright Night” all over again. They told the spooky tale of “Shadowbrook Rd.” Then invited those lonely wayward spirits “Out of the Morgue” through the board to come out and play. At some point back then, Pantera took over this town but now The Big Bad says “We Own This Town.” They love playing bloody Nintendo!
They finished, reminiscing about “Prom Night 1957,”It was a night of memories, and mayhem at the “Maniac Manson.”
Then it was the return of the cat people as Trixie entertained in between sets.
The Loveless, was Dayton’s answer to a Megadeth’ed speed metal version of psychobilly punk rock. They were just regular old hardcore “Speed Demons” with feet to the metal, err punk rock pedal. They pulled a Dexter and put everybody “On the Slab.” It was a “Deville-ish” ride down the hell scorched road to damnation, with your tongue hanging out licking the whiplash wind. The “Scarewaves” came through the radio then the terror-vision. The aliens are coming! It was a “Haunting” whirlwind of a tune. “King Greaseball” sported his slicked back colors proud. They finished up, going down that “Hellbound Track.
The Nekro’s from Denmark showed up for some psycho-hellbilly fun. Since 1989, it’s been like Elvis meeting the Wolfman. DD Verni has the Bronx Casket Co. but Nekroman plays his own on stage. Spinning, strumming, beating and attacking the big-crossed stand up box. He carries his final resting place with him with pride.
The Nek-Romantix came out “Struck by a Wrecking Ball.” It was time for everyone’s medication from the “Night Nurse,” Ratchet or Silent Hill, your choice. Forget chocolate and diamonds, “Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend.” They asked for your soul, not your heart. To quote Dr. Frankenstein its “Alive,” it’s Alive!
They proved to Mushroomhead that a “Brain Error” was worse than a “Brain Hemorrhage.” The family always falls to pieces. Whether it’s a released psycho stalking an all-girls night in or your friendly masked oral care physician, nobody likes a “Driller Killer.” Don’t worry about the birds when you’re in Copenhagen, beware of the Gargoyles. Oh, our sweet-departed “Nekrofelia,” you are gone and rotting but never forgotten. They made the “Devil Smile” playing “Horny in a Hearse.” Like Jesus on Easter, it was a “Nice Day for a Resurrection.” No matter what month it is, you will always be my psychobilly pretty “Sub-Culture Girl.”
Some chicks got the devil in them, in more ways than one, will I “Survive or Die.” Summer camps are never a good idea for holidays. It’s only a bloody good time for one person anyway. They’re all “Hellbound,” anyway. Pinheads coming for you, put down the shiny box, stay unchained, and keep your skin to yourself.
They neared the end with dark closed door stories of the house that sinned before the sun rose. That good ole tainted “Haunted Cathouse.” They finished with a solo cheerleader murder. Don’t ever piss off the nerds, or the quiet ones.
Norman Reedus image courtesy of Jon Calderas
Tattoo image courtesy of Chris Jones
All other images by Mike Ritchie @ www.facebook.com/mike.ritchie.338