A blood curdling scream of terror echoed through the 25,000 square foot Lexington Expo Center causing guests and vendors alike to pause in what they were doing. If this had been any other event someone might have called for the police or gone to see if someone needed help, but the people attending this particular event knew that there was no cause for alarm. Sure enough a minute later the next contestant in the scream queen screaming contest let out an equally frightening, if not as attention getting, wail of terror. The first annual Scare Fest Horror and Paranormal convention was under way in downtown Lexington, KY and the screaming contest was just part of the fun to be had at this unique three day long event.
“Unique? What’s so unique about a horror movie convention or a paranormal convention?” One might ask. Well taken by themselves they are not all that rare. What makes the Scare Fest special is that it is the first event to specifically combine the two genres. Of course there are people who might ask what the difference is. For the answer to that question one just has to look around the event hall. Booths done in the event’s thematic black and green colors made room for one hundred vendors and twenty plus guests. The vendors and guests were as varied as the people who came to see them. From the horror side cult favorites like Sid Haig, Tony Todd, and Bill Mosely rubbed shoulders with paranormal experts such as Chip Coffey, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, and Kentucky’s own ghost hunter extraordinaire Patti Starr.
The vendor booths were just as diverse as the guests of honor. Ghost hunting equipment, psychic readings, aura photography, and books on all subjects paranormal were mixed liberally with horror collectibles, gothic jewelry, hard to find DVDs, masks and anything else a horror fan could want. Indeed amid this market of the macabre and unusual there seemed to be something for everyone’s tastes. One man proudly walked away from filmmaker Vicent Bilancio’s booth holding signed copies of WEREWOLF IN A WOMEN’S PRISON and BLOOD GNOME. While another held a copy of the latest issue of the “TAPS Paranormal Magazine”.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to observe at the event however was not the guests and vendors, but the people who came to see them. Little old ladies with blue hair coming to get their fortunes told mingled with die hard fans of horror dressed as their favorite movie characters. Ghost hunters and FRIDAY THE 13th fanatics wandered the aisles and waited patiently to get autographs from their favorite stars.
You’d be mistaken if you thought that shopping for collectibles and getting star autographs were the only things to do during the three day event. Two seminar rooms were constantly busy as panels ranging from the FRIDAY THE 13th to a lecture on real world Vampires, informed and entertained attendees all weekend long. Not to mention the film screening room that showed a range of horror films including MURDER PARTY, SEVERANCE, and the Kentucky made horror film DEAD MOON RISING.
On Friday night there was a gala party attended by many of the celebrities and the lucky few fans that managed to buy the limited supply of Golden Tickets. Cocktails and snacks were served while partiers sang karaoke and enjoyed an intimate setting with some of their favorite stars. Independent film star Tucky Williams from Anubis Digital’s DEAD MOON RISING was among the celebrity guests. “It [the party] was so much fun! People kept coming up to me and telling me how much they enjoyed seeing my film. It was a great time!” After the party many guests went for a special midnight showing of POLTERGEIST at the Kentucky Theater. Immediately after the film, Patti Starr and a number of the other celebrity paranormal experts conducted the first ever ghost hunt at the historic theater. Saturday’s festivities included another midnight movie (the original FRIDAY THE 13th this time) and ghost hunt at the Kentucky.
On Sunday the winners of the costume contest were announced and it was no surprise when one of the entries from the folks from the Nightmare Haunted House booth won the event. Their group kept costumed monsters on stilts prowling the hallways and aisles of the show and entertaining visitors and stars alike. But then, as must happen to all good things the first annual Scare Fest came to an end, but not to fear. If you enjoyed the event or are sad you missed it, you’ll have another chance. The organizers are already busy working on the 2009 Scare Fest and hope to see you there!