Texas FrightMare Weekend May 2012
Dallas, Texas (Home)
Horror conventions are awesome – that's a law of nature, like evaporation and condensation, or distillation of wood. I've heard many great things about Texas Frightmare Horror Convention in Dallas, and I was so jazzed that was able to go this year from May 4th-6th. Could it live up to the high bar set by such stellar cons as HorrorHound Weekend or Rock and Shock?
Simply put: yes. It kicks major ass. And I have proof. May it please the jury:
Exhibit A: A new branch of the horror con family tree
I've been to a lot of horror conventions, from nearby Worcester, MA to the outskirts of rural Kentucky. They're all different and fun in their own unique way, but they all have one thing in common: their geography. They're in the Northeast and Midwest, and you tend to see many of the same people at all of them – which is a good thing, because meeting fellow horror fiends is one of the best things about any horror con. You haven't lived until you've stayed up until 5 in the morning talking with other horror fans about which of the four versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the best (answer: the second one from 1978) and other conversations that only a true horror fan can love.
I traveled with my good friend Joe Lemieux, who is not only a producer with Grim Films LLC (of which I am a producer and partner) but also Zombie Frank, one of the stars of Drive-In Horrorshow (which I directed). Aside from the exceptionally awesome Kristy Jett from Fright Rags and a handful of celebrities, we didn't know anyone at Texas Frightmare – which turned out to be a great thing. People were really friendly (as horror fans usually are), and we quickly made a bunch of new friends that don't go to any of the Midwest/Northeast cons – and, as usual, we were discussing our favorite films, from Hellraiser to The Ice Cream Man. Awesome.
Exhibit B: Cheerleaders + Chainsaws + Zombies = Exactly what hope think it is
Horror cons host horror celebrities, and Texas Frightmare delivered with the likes Derek Mears (who played a fabulous Jason from 2009's Friday the 13th remake) the legendary P.J. Soles (star of Halloween, Carrie, and Rock N Roll High School) and many more. Frightmare also had plenty of vendor booths, selling some pretty cool stuff, including Director's Cut, a horror role playing game (www.dcrpg.com) and the heavy music of Horror Cult (www.horrorcult.net).
What's more, Frightmare had something that I've never seen at a con: a booth promoting a video game. Lollipop Chainsaw is an upcoming hack-n-slash about a cheerleader who fights zombies with pompoms and a chainsaw; I would have been satisfied to check out the trailer and hear their promotional schpiel, but they had stations set up where we could play the game. So you know I was all over that. I only played the first ten minutes or so but when I cut a zombie in half and rainbows poured out of his severed corpse I was in heaven. The guy at the booth said that Lollipop Chainsaw is full of weird and unpredictable shit like this, and I hope he's right. It's written by James Gun, writer of the Dawn of the Dead remake and director of Slither, among other things – an encouraging sign. I'm really sick of cookie-cutter action games, where you have about five hours of killing fun before things get stale and repetitive. Hopefully the game can deliver, and if the first ten minutes are any indication I will probably have to pick this up.
Exhibit C: Pot Zombies and Dad Rape
As with most horror cons, there were many horror filmmakers promoting their films. I picked up The Orphan Killer, Crushed, Dear God No, and The Turnpike Killer, and I'm psyched to watch all of them. As a filmmaker myself, I appreciate anyone who sits at a booth all weekend, selling their horror films directly to the horror community – I've done it, and while it is a great way to get your film out there, it is mentally and physically exhausting.
Most horror cons show films, and even though Texas Frightmare showed movies all weekend I was so busy having fun that I only caught Father's Day – but wow was it worth it. How to describe this? It's hard to know where to begin. A killer who rapes fathers is a good place to start. Lots of gore, strippers, maple syrup...I'm not really doing it justice. Just trust me that Father's Day is sick, hilarious, violent, and looks like it cost way more than its $10,000 budget. Keep your eyes peeled for this movie. The trailers are awesome, but watch at your own peril – they give away a lot of the movie.
As I mentioned earlier, Joe and I met a whole new group of horror peeps, and some of my favorite are Justin Powers, Abel Berry, and the rest of the people behind Pot Zombies 2. I haven't seen Pot Zombies 1, released by Troma in 2007, but I've heard good things about it and I bought a DVD from them. After chilling with Justin and Abel in the hotel bar, they invited us up to their hotel room party for a special sneak peek of a scene from PZ 2. Man, it looks great – very slick and funny, with a polished look that you usually don't find in an indie film. The film is currently in production, and I'm eagerly awaiting its release – and so should you. And you don't have to wait for a special sneak peek of the film, because you can watch it right here:
I've presented my proof and I'm sure that you, the jury, will find in my favor. If you've been to HorrorHound Weekend, Rock N Shock, Chiller Theater, Monster Mania, or any other kickass horror convention, you owe it to yourself to go to next year's Texas Frightmare. You won't regret it.
I rest my case.
What they are saying about the Drive-In Horrorshow....
"10 out of 10"
"Drive-In Horrorshow delivers a visual feast of blood splatter
and clever storytelling."
"Drive-In Horrorshow takes the anthology and juices it fully with five unique stories that range from clever comedy to dark body horror."
"A well made anthology of short films."
"Highly recommended for those who want to confront the monsters under the bed of their childhood. And as always find them scary."
"The general tone of this film struck me, because I've seen real passion for the genre."
"This is a high recommend from me, very entertaining and obviously done by filmmakers who love the genre. Long live the horror anthology!"
"Drive in Horror Show is–WITHOUT A DOUBT–the greatest horror anthology since George Romero's Creepshow"
"I can't stop singing its praises."
"If you like horror anthologies pick this one up, there's something for everyone here."
"Every now and then a movie will come out that knocks you socks off and with its originality, creativity and magnetic appeal- well Drive in HorrorShow is that flick."
"With a solid lineup of 5 stories that range from the serious to seriously goofy, Drive-In Horrorshow is the perfect film for a Friday night. Or any night for that matter."
"A tasty little anthology in the vein of Creepshow or Trick 'r
Treat, Drive-In Horrorshow is a nifty treat of a film, well worth checking
"A cut above the rest and slice of incredible independent filmmaking."
"One of the most entertaining horror anthologies I have seen in
"The horror world is a fickle beast but Drive-In Horror Show manages to walk the lines of the subgenres without missing a beat. It's appeal reaches to horror fans of all types."
"Celebrates the long-lost beauty of the drive-in theater and all
its bloody glory."
"A slick five tale anthology film that was independently made
and a reminder of cool shit we used to see on late night TV when we
"A good throw back to the late night creature feature."
"Top notch effects that invoke fear and comedy at the same time.
I really really like this movie."
"The horror! But that's what he seeks."
"What motivated you and Michael Neel to make the transition from
candid interviews and political documentaries to ghoulish gore horror?"
"Wowzers! That really sounds like some good shit!"
*The Meat Man
*Pix From Fango
*Before You Start
*Choosing a DP
*Props and Art Direction
*Before you shoot
From the makers of Drive-In Horrorshow
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