By Jason Harris
There will be one more entry with pictures from Terror Con tomorrow.
There will be one more entry with pictures from Terror Con tomorrow.
New England is getting its second horror convention, TerrorCon, with the first one being Rock & Shock, which will be holding its eleventh convention this October. TerrorCon, which takes place in Rhode Island in June, isn’t the only new horror convention debuting in New England this year. Connecticut Horrorfest debuts in August.
TerrorCon is the brainchild of Steven Perry, director of operations for Altered Reality, who has brought conventions to fans of comics, movies, and pop culture. These conventions are Southcoast Toy and Comic Show and Rhode Island Comic Con. Perry had been thinking of his newest one, TerrorCon, for about a year, he said.
Rhode Island didn’t have a big horror type show, Perry said. “We wanted to bring that to the people of Rhode Island.”
Perry thinks the organizers of Rock & Shock do a great job so he decided to have his new convention take place in June so as not to interfere with Rock & Shock. He didn’t want to step on anyones toes, he said.
“Everyone’s happy and friends remain friends. It keeps everyone friendly with everyone. We believe that everyone should work together. There’s no need for shows to stumble.”
Perry isn’t sticking to only New England to organize shows. His company is in the process of organizing shows for New Jersey and Colorado, which should be starting up in 2015, he said. He can’t say what those shows will be since they are not fully developed, which is the reason he hasn’t announced them yet.
“Right now, they will both me similar to Rhode Island Comic Con.”
If you couldn’t guess from the different line-ups for Perry’s shows, they always try to do a theme, he said. They plan their guests around whatever theme they decide to do. Whatever guests they choose and book for the event, they are sure to tell the fans about who is coming. They have lists of guests for the next two years, he said.
“We like to keep the fans enticed and let them know what’s going on all the time. Something new pops up with us, we put it up for everybody to know,” Perry said about constantly updating the convention websites.
Perry was asked last November why they were announcing guests for this year’s convention when the 2013 one just ended. He responded with, “Why keep it a secret? We want them to know and get excited about it. We want the fans to make plans to come out to the show.”
Here is just some of the guests coming to TerrorCon: David Giuntoli (Grimm), Linda Blair (The Exorcist), Michael Biehn (The Terminator, Planet Terror), Dee Snider (Twisted Sister, The Celebrity Apprentice), Lita Ford, Cherie Currie, Michael Jai-Whie (Spawn, Arrow, Fast and the Furious 7, The Dark Knight), Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Criminal Minds), Josh Stewart (Grimm, Criminal Minds, The Dark Knight Rises), Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th: Part 7, 8 and 10, Hatchet), Lew Temple (The Walking Dead) and Dee Wallace (ET, The Howling).
Perry started organizing conventions with the Southcoast Toy and Comic Show, which was held in a VFW hall, seven years ago. That first show had about 300 people in attendance, he said. It’s a far cry from the 22,000 people who attended the first Rhode Island Comic Con when they thought the attendance would be around 10,000 and the 30,000 people they had for the second Rhode Island Comic Con. He’s expecting between 10,000 and 15,000 people to attend TerrorCon, which is a safe number in the mind of Perry.
“The horror market is a little more of a niche market so we don’t expect a large audience,” Perry said.
His vision for Southcoast was t bring a reasonable size show that would be community based, Perry said. He wanted something for the fans in that area to be able to look forward to every season or twice a year. Another thing he wanted to do was bring in celebrities that people don’t always have a chance to meet, he said.
Perry said that TerrorCon will be the same size of the original Rhode Island Comic Con plus an extra ballroom.
“TerrorCon will not just be horror. It will be horror themed, paranormal, all mixed together.”
TerrorCon takes place June 7 and 8 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, RI.
Another Rock & Shock has come and gone, the 10th one to be exact. It was another good one with even more vendors this year. The one thing that was lacking was attendees in costume. There just wasn’t a lot of people in costume. Here are pictures from the event.
There’s a misconception around the campfire these days that certain products should only be placed in a venue that showcases primarily the same exact products, just in different packaging. The same can be said about writers. We all want to present our work in environments where we are most likely to reach a captive audience. It only makes sense to want to sell our books at events where people attend simply to buy books. Trendy restaurants join other restaurants at local food festivals to sell their food and hot tub salesmen compete with other hot tub salesmen at the local hot tub expos, so why not? For starters, we aren’t hot tub salesmen; we’re authors with our own unique approach in our artistry. There is something very different in all of us that sets us apart from the assembly line produced…dare I say, crap.
Over the years, I have worked at various trade shows with my company and the most important thing I’ve learned is the value of having a unique and distinguished product to offer. Fortunately, my company fits that description, however I’ve witnessed much frustration and disappointment among patrons due to the over abundance of repetitive trade displays such as window installation, granite countertops and vinyl siding companies. So when I began the process of selecting events to promote my new book, I was aiming toward venues where I wouldn’t be just another author pushing my wares. I wanted to find places where an independent bookseller would be a welcomed surprise rather than a usual suspect.
Thanks to the like-minded folks at the NEHW who organize networking events, my vision has been met head-on. Sure, the horror cons such as Horror Hound Weekend and Rock & Shock are festive and fun. Yes, the energy at a comic con is off the hook, but when it comes to actual book selling and valuable interaction between writer and reader, arts and craft shows are an untapped resource for authors. When I spoke to a fellow writer not too long ago, they laughed and asked me if I hated the thought of being in a setting where soccer moms are buying handmade jams, baskets and socks. To which I replied, absolutely not. I would much rather interact with soccer moms than try to convince some teenager, who only has enough money in their pocket to meet Kane Hodder or Tony Todd at their 18th million appearance, that he/she should be buying my book instead. In short, I’d much rather spend my time at events where the chances are much greater that I’ll sell books and make fans.
Even though I write horror, a horror con isn’t always an ideal venue for a bookseller. The same can be said for comic cons. Attendees at these types of events are not really interested in books. They just aren’t. It’s not a slam on them; it’s just the way it is. They are more interested in meeting celebrities, sorting though rare DVDs and dressing up as their favorite characters. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy these events because I do and oftentimes it’s more about who you meet rather than book sales. Just two weeks ago, I had a table at the Toronto Comic Con. Book sales were ok, but the best part was meeting an illustrator who’s going to design for me. So in the end, it was worth the time, travel and cost. It’s definitely worth it to participate in as many events as possible. But they aren’t all at the top of my preference list.
Whenever I see arts and crafts events listed on the NEHW’s calendar, I jump at the chance to attend every one of them. I love that we’re known simply as the authors in the room, not the other authors, or the one out of 20 bookseller tables. We are distinguished and well-regarded might I add. And the best part is, the patrons at these events actually enjoy reading and they love the fact that they are buying the books directly from the person who wrote it. And make no mistake about it, we as writers and independent booksellers fall under the guise of arts and crafts. These events are held everywhere, at any given time of the year and at low-cost. Why not take advantage of it? Don’t just wait for horror events held in the fall. October horror writers are only what Santa Clause is to Christmas. But that doesn’t need to be the case. And if I have the choice between selling at a horror event, where I’m up against Jack Ketchum’s forty-dollar signed copy of Off Season and Robert Englund’s autograph, I’ll take selling next to a table of country-made jam any day of the week.
Rock and Shock is getting better and better. I was happy to be there on Saturday and Sunday. The NEHW organization fits in well at this convention. It was fitting that Robert Englund, the original and best portrayer of Freddy Krueger, was at this year’s convention. He was always my favorite horror movie actor.
It was great seeing the people of different ages walking the convention. There were young and old people walking between the booths in the dealer’s room. There were people wearing different movie t-shirts, but some even went further and dressed up in costumes.
These costumed attendees gravitated to the NEHW booth to hang out with the authors.
A horror fan brought two different conventions together within his costume when he created a zombie Stormtrooper.
When groups of horror fans weren’t meeting horror icons, they were walking through the dealer’s room looking for a copy of Evil Dead: The Musical or that cool looking movie related t-shirt like Children of the Corn or the original Piranha.
One dealer, Joe, has taken his love of movies and started a glass business, Glass by Joe. He has been working with stained glass for three years. He creates glass works of films like Ghostbusters and Jaws. He has also put the image of Freddy Krueger on stained glass.
Joe has even been commissioned by Kane Hodder, who has portrayed Jason Voorhees in a number of Friday the 13th movies, to create two pieces. Joe’s website is www.glassbyJoeo.com. Along with movie images, he also does landscapes, movie posters, and portraits to name a few.