First annual Horror-Con took place at Mount Royal University this past weekend
Halloween came early this month.
Dismembered limbs, hordes of un-dead zombies, and gallons of blood were found in Wyckham House at Mount Royal University. Welcome to the first annual Horror-Con, a convention celebrating the films, art and costumes of the horror genre.
The convention featured many seasoned veterans to the horror scene, including artist Nat Jones, fire performer and model Madelina Horn, and contortionist Visha Loo.
“Humans just naturally go to the dark side, and that fantasy that you can't really play. You can't be the killer, but you can watch him,” says Neil Richardson, a miniature set and character designer at NEvil Works.
Richardson says he has been obsessed by the horror genre since he was young – regularly sneaking out of the house to see horror flicks and sneaking in VHS copies of terror classic's into his family's home.
“In my house it was not allowed. I can't begin to tell you how many things of mine were destroyed because horror was so taboo in my house.”
“I love it because it was forbidden.”
Richardson says that patrons of Horror-Con have taken an interest in his work, which involve creating handmade and finely detailed pieces of iconic horror sets and characters.
“I have a passion, and I have a true love for the genre, and to be involved in something like (Horror-Con) is great.
“It may be small, but it's what we do.”
Costumes are not just for Halloween for these enthusiasts
Horror-Con is the first of its kind in Calgary – dedicated solely to the horror genre – drawing in many costumes worn by local gore enthusiasts.
Horror-Con attendant and die-hard fan of the genre, Lee Brown, wore a blood-spattered costume he created himself, which features cuts that gush with realistic blood and an electrical chainsaw prop. His outfit has become iconic in the local horror community and has made appearances at many local conventions, such as the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.
He says that people will always have a fascination with death.
“I think it's the blood and gore. People like to see the red stuff, but don't want to see the red stuff in real life,” Brown says.
“You're watching the movie and everybody is dying around you, but you're safe. It takes you away. No one ever wants to die, but we will watch people on television and movies die.”
His fascination with horror began when he saw Evil Dead for the first time – a cult-classic horror film from 1981 – and that obsession with blood and gore sparked him to design his own terrifying costume piece, according to Brian.
Celebrating the horror genre is a lifestyle for him and dressing up in terrifying costumes extends beyond Halloween for many members of the community, he explains.
The first of its kind in our city
Organizer of Horror-Con, Dan Doherty, says he is pleased with the outcome of his first event, and predicts that next year he believes attendance will be much higher.
“There was always a need for it. It's the first of its kind in western Canada. If Edmonton does it's own show, well that's awesome because it will help make my show better,” Doherty says.
“We are not competing. It's a small community and it's a small family. Let's trade information and get things going.”
Doherty said that the support he received from locals, vendors, featured guests and MRU was phenomenal.
“I will keep growing it. It's going to take a while to build, but I mean, I have a really good start. I have the community behind me,” Doherty says.
Horror-Con at MRU
Photos by: Jonathan Vern McGill
A post-mortem prop foot lay on the table of prop designers Frank and Vivian Gorey, owners of Chopper and Stitch studios. Among the foot lay countless other body parts, all of which are handmade by these two artists and sold at Horror-Con.
A sculpture created by Travis Shewchuk, one of the featured artist at this years Horror-Con. Meat Grinder was inspired by a character in the series '68, created by comic book artist legend, Nat Jones.
Vivian Gorey, of Chopper and Stitch, carefully paints a mini sculpture she was selling at Horror-Con.
A sculpted head that features realistic blood and wounds, designed by Travis Shewchuk, an artist featured at Horror-Con.
Niki Nix and Matt Baker joke around with a set of Freddy Krueger gloves. The two were at Horror-Con to promote the upcoming convention for tattoo enthusiasts, the Calgary Tattoo Arts Festival, held on October 14-16 at the BMO centre.
Bruce Trotz stands in front of his booth at Horror-Con, promoting his business, Scary In Calgary, which eatures an extensive set of homemade Halloween and realistic horror props and intricate sets.
- By JONATHAN VERN MCGILL