Ah the horror convention. I do not believe I have ever had such a love/hate relationship with anything quite like I’ve had with you. It combines my greatest passion with my greatest distain. Horror and smelling other people… I’ll let you decided which is which (HINT: there is no wrong answer…). These conflicting emotions towards these gatherings normal lead to me steering clear. Not that I think I’m better than anyone (my self-esteem is so low I envy the friendship between those two creepsters from the Sonic commercials… What!?! They look delightful!) me and large crowds don’t get around. So when the opportunity to attend HorrorHound Weekends 2016 presented itself take me going as a testament to the reputation this con has. Also a chance to meet Mick Garris (director of The Stand, Sleepwalkers and creator of Masters of Horror) didn’t exactly hurt.
HorrorHound Weekend is held at Sharonville Convention Center (just outside Cincinnati, OH). The Convention center is currently under renovations (looks to be expanding), but this in no way interfered with the weekend. The SCC was built for conventions and is a prime spot to host HorrorHound Weekends. Food court, showroom floor, conference rooms perfect for panels and even a fully stocked bar. Hell, I can’t see to many reasons to ever leave the place and had it not been for a sick spouse, I might still be there. My only complaint on the venue is it was a tad to small for the crowd. Horror fans flock to this con and evidence for that can be seen by the line wrapped around the building to get in. I was there for two days (Fri & Sat) and it was always packed. Not suffocating, but tight. Hopefully, with the renovations the center will open up more, but something tells me the beast that is HorrorHound Weekend cannot be contained!
Like I said up top, HHW lines up the an impressive line up when it comes to genre celebs. For the most part these guys & gals are surprisingly approachable. Most are causally sitting at their booths and are more than happy to chat it up and snap a pic with fans. The biggest shocker to me was, that highlights this point was Mick Garris. Tuck between his Sleepwalker cast, Mick was sitting at a bare booth greeting fans that walked up with a warm smile. No banner, no head shots. Just a white sheet of paper with “No Charge For Autographs” scribbled on it. In an industry of where people from hit TV shows and even minor characters charge $$$ for a handshake and picture, Garris was breathe of fresh air. A celebrity who really just wanted to meet his fans! Of course the more high-profile guest (The Walking Dead) are in demand and the lines for them are out of control. HHW knew this a head of time and were right on top of things keeping everything moving smoothly. This isn’t their first time at bat here and how smoothly things ran is proof of that.
Much of this is due to the staff working the floor. Insanely friendly and helpful to a point that it was almost scary. I’m (proudly) from Detroit, so when a staff anywhere is friendly I become suspicious and think they are either A) trying to rob me or B) trying to make me join a cult, then rob me. But neither ever happened. My lack of being recruited into the HHW Cult might be due to my constant state of inebriation and lack of money. But most likely the staff just genuinely is happy to be there and wants everyone to have a good time. Weird, yet comforting.
A showroom floor filled with horror related vendors, badass media guests, a film festival filled with prime indie horror flicks and on point staff is what makes HorrorHound Weekend a must attend convention for genre fans. And speaking as a genre fan nothing beats being surrounding by like-minded people who share in my love for the twisted and grotesque. Thanks to HorrorHound we now have a gathering that treats as something more than walking dollar signs. Weird to finally attend a con that actually wants to celebrate horror fandom. Not just cash in on it.
For info on upcoming HorrorHound Weekends info and announcements check out the official site here: Horrorhoundweekends.com