How to Survive a Horror Convention

Serena Whitney

Many sites do editorials about how to survive a horror movie. Sure it makes us laugh and smile when we see the lists and the rules, but you have to ask yourself how useful are these survival guides? Will you ever be in a situation in real-life where you would be stuck in predictable slasher movie? Would you even be friends with people who are as one dimensional as the obligatory horror clichés? Could the legendary composer Harry Manfredini really warn you danger was around the corner with his “ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma” sound effects? The answer is no! As humorous and clever as the survival guides really are, they really mean d*ck to anybody who reads them. That’s why I chose to write up a survival guide that horror fans could really use. A guide that will prove to be very handy if used correctly. If you’re a true horror fan, you will need this guide one time or another. So let’s begin!

There are certain rules one must abide by to successfully survive a horror…..CONVENTION.

Rule #1: DO NOT BE A POSEUR First of all, a horror convention is a like fashion show for loyal horror geeks. It is a place where horror fans can come together and show off their most prized horror t-shirts and costumes without feeling like complete knobs. Just like fashion labels though, there are brand names when it comes to horror t-shirts. First, you’ve got the popular Evil Dead, TCM, Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street shirts. These are what I like to call the ‘GAP’ of horror shirts. This is because they are the most obvious and acceptable choices. Then you’ve got the ‘popular for now’ t-shirts like Grindhouse and Battle Royale. Those are the ‘Sean John’ of horror shirts. Then you’ve got your big spenders looking to impress you with their obscure and custom made Dellamorte, Dellamore and Tom Atkins and Billy Drago ROCKS! T-shirts. These are what I like to refer to as the ‘Gucci’ of horror shirts. Lastly, you’ve got your sad cases of people who decide to wear their over sized Hide and Seek t-shirts they got free at Blockbuster video. Wearing shirts like this is the equivalent of wearing a shirt with a big ‘WAL-MART’ label on the front. It will leave you open to public mockery and you will probably die from the humiliation. If you do not have any shirts to show off, just do what I do and say f*ck you to brand names! Just be yourself and have a good time!

Rule # 2: DO NOT BUTT IN LINE AT AN AUTOGRAPH SESSION Unless you have a severe and painful death wish, I highly recommend you to wait your turn when waiting for a horror legend to sign your prized memorabilia. Even if you butt in line by accident you will most likely suffer the consequences. Honestly, I don’t even blame people at these events. If ever I was to line up to see Robert Rusler from Vamp and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 and if someone was to butt in front of me, I would take my press pass and stab that person’s eyes out! (Sometimes that is the only function a press pass can do at these events! :P)

Rule #3: DO BRING EXTRA CASH If you go to a horror convention with empty pockets, you will regret it big time, for every hard to find and obscure prop piece, DVD and poster will likely be right in front of your eyes. Yup, that Full Moon DVD collection you couldn’t find anywhere else will be on sale. That shirt Sasha Jenson was wearing in Halloween 4 could be in your collection, (*However, his freshman paddle from Dazed and Confused is probably a far more valuable find) and that Cut and Run poster that’s framed and signed by the complete cast will be right in front of your eyes. If you do not bring extra money and miss buying these things, you will probably want to kill yourself. Believe me, I’ve seen many people freak out big time!

Rule #4: NEVER LEAVE IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANEL: Unless you’re at a huge panel that fits 5000 people in one space, I would really suggest that you stay put for the remainder of a panel. It’s rude and disrespectful, and standing up and walking out in the middle of a panel is like getting up to go the bathroom at a comedy club in the middle of a bad comedian’s show who has ran out of jokes. Basically, you’re asking to be made fun of. So unless you’re at a Linda Blair panel and all she can talk about is her petition for ending the ban against pit bulls, SIT DOWN and WAIT!

Rule # 5: TRY NOT TO LAUGH AT FANBOYS’ IDIOTIC QUESTIONS This is a hard one to do and it always happens at every convention I’ve been to. Somebody always asks a stupid question to a horror legend that makes everyone in the room feel like they’re enduring another compilation episode of bad auditions from American Idol. However, most of the guests usually keep quiet. You know why that this? Horror legends are already very used to the absurd and outlandish questions that they are asked at every convention they have to endure…I mean go to. I have literally seen Kane Hodder answer a question about what hardware store Jason shops at to buy weapons to kill his victims with, without as much as giving the weirdo…I mean audience member a weird look. Most fans also know better not to laugh a fanatic’s questions, because they also know that some people take these things far more seriously than others. So pointing and laughing at somebody is actually not wise. Sure, that person who asked the question may need psychiatric help, but in the horror legend’s eyes, you’re the d*ck that laughed at them. Do you really want someone you’ve admired since you were 11 years old to view you as a complete d*ck? You’d probably die of heartbreak! So try your best not to laugh at an embarrassing question. It takes discipline, (or for others not quite as strong, it takes a pair of tweezers in their pants.) but it can be done!

Rule # 6: DO NOT BRING NON-HORROR FANS I know sometimes you may feel compelled to bring a friend with you to a convention to introduce them to the world of horror, but I highly recommend you leave them at home! First of all, why would you want to put them through that torture? Secondly, they will break EVERY rule I just mentioned above without breaking a sweat, and they will take you down with them! For example, last year I decided to bring my friend to the rare Dario Argento panel at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre that I had been eagerly awaiting months for. He stood in line with me and started laughing. He then said very loudly, “I don’t understand the big fuzz over this man. I watched that Masters of Horror episode, and it wasn’t even that good.” I had to hurry us out of the line before everybody in the line could take out their soon to be autographed black leather gloves, break a couple of windows and push our necks directly on the shattered glass. Just leave them at home if you know what’s good for you.

Rule # 7: DO NOT ASK AS*HOLE QUESTIONS There is always that one jack ass in the room that feels that it is his or her duty to point out the proverbial pink suede elephant in the middle of the room. For instance, ICONS OF FRIGHT has recently posted about their detailed coverage of the Fright Night reunion panel in Texas that had “class act” in the crowd make fun of Stephen Geoffreys for the adult film he made a LONG time ago. I really don’t understand why people feel like they have the right to do things that. It’s the most awkward thing in the world! They also always think they’re the first ones to point out things like that. So he made a porno! Big whoop! I’m just telling you now, if you decide to ask questions like these, be prepared to be the AS*HOLE that will pointed out at the entire convention.

Rule # 8: RESPECT OTHER FAN GEEKS Most horror conventions usually take place at the same place where Sci-fi and comic conventions are. For some reason, every fan geek thinks there is a hierarchy of geekdom. We know we’re geeks, but for some reason we still think we’re more cool than the people into SCI-FI or anime. Truthfully, I treat all fan geeks like I treat religion. I may not understand their love for certain things, however, I do respect them. To be quite honest, I am very freaked out by SCI-FI geeks. (Anybody who stands 5 hours in a line up and spends 500 dollars for William Shatner to autograph a generic Star Trek photo has to be nuts!) So I’m always nice to them, because one time or another, you will have to share space with them at Buffy/Serenity or Jeffrey Combs panels.

So there is my list! Follow these rules and you will have no problems! :)

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