The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

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.

HorrorCon2 WThe head of a battered and broken old man sits on the prop table of artist Travis Shewchuk, one of the guest artists at Horror-Con.
Photo by: Jonathon Vern McGill
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.HorrorCon3Neil Richardson invites passerby's to view his miniature sets and characters that he creates himself at NEvil Works. Among his designs are iconic horror characters from video game classic Silent Hill, which include the undead nurses and Pyramid Head.
Photo by: Jonathan Vern McGill

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.

HorrorCon1a WLee Brown wears his homemade monster costume at the first annual Horror-Con at Mount Royal University.
Photo by: Jonathan Vern McGill

“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.