When people think of horror, it’s easy to reduce the genre to blood, guts and gore. People may not know about the growing popularity of horror conventions, which are driven by love of the genre and a sense of community.
Calgary Horror Con returns this Saturday for its fourth year. Guest relations coordinator Sandi McLellan says the festival is about building community through a shared love of all things horror.
It was this appreciation that brought McLellan and founder Dan Doherty together as friends. They were both zombie extras in the locally made film The Dead Mile and quickly bonded over their shared love of horror films.
“I appreciate every genre of it,” says McLellan. “If you give me the cheesiest movie you can find, I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy it, because that’s someone’s work.”
While Calgary may seem an unlikely place to have a horror convention, McLellan says there are more fans here than you might think.
“There’s a huge horror community here, but it’s pretty disconnected,” says McLellan. “[The convention] is about bringing people together.”
The benefit to having a smaller convention is that people are able to interact with one another and don’t have to wait in long lines like they might at bigger conventions like the San Diego Comic Con, says McLellan.
“We’re still at a really good level where you still get your one-on-one time. You can talk to the celebrities. You’re not being herded through like cattle,” says McLellan.
Although the horror genre and those who enjoy it might had a bad reputation, McLellan says the convention is an inclusive and family friendly event.
“The horror community is very friendly,” she says. “As far as a lot of genres go, I would say the horror crowd are a little more accepting because they are a little different.”
The convention features guests such as Lloyd Kauffman (The Toxic Avenger), Alex Vincent (Curse of Chucky) and the original Michael Myers actor Tony Moran. In addition to renowned horror actors, there will also be visual art, comics and film screenings.
There is a screening of Return to Nuke ‘Em High at the Plaza Theatre on Saturday night. Actor Lloyd Kauffman will be in attendance for a Q & A after the screening.
The festival takes place at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre and runs 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily. Tickets are available online at horror-con.ca. Day passes are $20 and weekend passes are $35. VIP passes are also available and include access to a party on Friday, August 1, a weekend pass and access to the Plaza screening.
Individual tickets to the film are $15.