Convention season, a horror nerds dream; it’s the time of year when we can all get together and share in our love of gore, slashers and everything creepy. My husband and I recently traveled to Lexington, Kentucky for ScareFest 8. For those of you that are unaware of what ScareFest is, it is a convention that blends together the worlds of the horror and the paranormal, you can learn more at scarefestcon.com. This entry is about our experience.
We were only able to spend two days in Lexington, but those two days were absolutely fantastic. Who was on the guest list? Legendary Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses), Ari Lehman (Friday the 13th), Robert Mukes (House of 1000 Corpses), numerous cast members from American Horror Story, a Phantasm reunion, Tim Shockey with the Green Goblin Head from Maximum Overdrive, the father of zombies himself George Romero and many more.
You know how they say “you shouldn’t meet your heroes ” because most of the time they turn out to be huge jerks? Well, that isn’t always true. With the small amount of time we had at the con, we met Sid Haig, Robert Mukes and Ari Lehman, Romero’s line was insane both days we were there, like approaching Norman Reedus level of crazy. All three of them were fantastic.
Sid Haig is one of the sweetest, most down to earth, genuine people you will ever meet. If you ever get the opportunity, take it. He makes time for each person that comes to see him. He cracks jokes and makes you feel important, like he actually gives a shit that you came to meet him. It didn’t matter if you traveled 5 minutes or 5 hours, he was all about his fans. For those wondering, if you brought your own item, it was $10 and if you had him sign something from his table, it was $20, pictures with him were of course FREE.
Ari Lehman, there is so much to be said about him. I have heard every kind of story, but you can’t always believe what you read on the internet. Meeting him was a fantastic experience, he was funny and charming and more than enthusiastic about meeting his fans. It was more like meeting an old friend than meeting a celebrity that had no idea you even existed. His autograph prices were pretty much the same as Sid’s, $10 for a flat item (poster, picture), $20 for action figures and things like that, he was selling various collectibles including signed machetes all priced reasonably and pictures with him were also, FREE.
Robert Mukes truly is a gentle giant, I am 5’3 and he made me look like a child, but he is one of the kindest people you will meet. We had him sign an original DVD copy (the one with the cardboard case) of House of 1000 Corpses, and he shared stories from set and cracked a few jokes all while showing genuine appreciation that we came to see him. When you meet him, you can tell he has a passion for his craft and is thankful to his fans. His prices were the same as Sid’s $10 for your item and $20 for an item from his table.
The vendor area is always a highlight at every convention. There was a little bit of everything from POP vinyls to artwork to Halloween decorations, pretty much anything your ghoulish little heart could possibly desire. The vendor area at many of he conventions I have been to have been cramped and disorganized, but ScareFest had it together. Everything was easy to see and you could navigate the area without bumping into the person next to you. Unlike other situations that have felt more like an awkward drunken bump and grind, we had a very pleasant experience navigating through.
Our favorite vendor was also there as an artist and is ScareFest’s artist, Joel Robinson. Not only is his artwork fantastic, but he is so nice and has a real passion for his work, his fans and the genre. If you haven’t seen his work, give his facebook page (artpusher.net- The Art of Joel Robinson) a like and check out artpusher.net where you can purchase his prints and t-shirts. If you ever see him at a convention, be sure to stop by and say hello and pick up some awesome prints and shirts.
Yes, you read that correctly, Staph. ScareFest gives their volunteers and staff a unique nickname. The Staph was friendly and knew what they were doing. We have been to many conventions where the staff had no clue what was going on or where things were, but everyone was helpful and organized.
ScareFest is quickly becoming our favorite convention. It is a bit smaller than some of the other cons out there, but in a way that makes it even better. If you have never been to a con before or you suffer from crowd anxiety like myself, ScareFest is perfect. Everyone is friendly and excited to see one another. Every time we go, we leave anticipating next year’s show. We have met so many great people and made new friends every time we visit.
We really cannot recommend ScareFest enough, neither one of us has had a bad experience. The guest list is always amazing, the staph is friendly and we will be making that 4 1/2 hour drive next year. Hope to see you there!
Anxiety comes in many forms, some suffer from chronic depression and some have episodes of anxiety. If you have ever dealt with this, you know how debilitating it really can be. Until right this second, only those close to me have known that I suffer from anxiety. For me, it acts up when I am in large crowds or feel overwhelmed by a situation.
It all started when I was about 13, I would find myself getting massively overwhelmed by school and other teenage bullshit. I would have horrible panic attacks. Now as an adult, the full blown panic attacks have stopped, the best way I can describe my anxiety side effects, it is kind of like having the flu and being drunk at the same time. The room will spin and I will get very lightheaded and my vision will blur and it feels like I am about to throw up. It’s not my idea of fun, but it is a large step up from cold sweats, hyperventilation and feeling like my heart is going to pound out of my chest.
I never wanted to talk about it because I didn’t want people to think I was weird, so I just dealt with it the best I knew how. I am much better at controlling it now and when I do get overwhelmed, I have gotten better at calming myself. Suffering from something like depression or anxiety can make you feel very alone, none of my friends or family were dealing with it, so I felt like they didn’t understand or wouldn’t understand. I kept it a secret from everyone for quite a while.
What I do requires me to be around and speak to a lot of people, so how do I deal? As crazy as it sounds, conventions and social media have played a very big part in me learning to “deal”. Knowing the vast number of others out there that go through the same thing and many others that go through worse than me out there help me feel less alone in the whole situation. Hearing the stories of others and knowing that there are others out there that do understand has been the biggest part of me being able to “deal”. Recently, Supernatural star Jared Padalecki started a campaign, ALWAYS KEEP FIGHTING, to combat depression and anxiety. Knowing someone of that caliber has had to deal with this and is taking a stand is kind of what inspired me to finally fully come out about my 10+ years of dealing with anxiety.
You would think going to conventions and subjecting myself to large crowds knowing that my anxiety gets worse in that type of setting wouldn’t help much at all. I have found that it actually does quite the opposite. I do have spikes in my anxiety when I am in these settings. The best advice I can give it to just take breaks. I tell my husband that I am feeling overwhelmed and I go outside and I give myself a little space. A little breathing room and fresh air can do a lot. I’m not saying this will work for everyone, so please don’t track me down and kill me because it doesn’t work for you. I am just sharing my story and what I have found helps me to give others dealing with similar shit a few methods to try.
I am not a professional and I am in no way “cured” of my anxiety, but thanks to my family and friends and my extended horror family, I am getting better one day at a time. Who knows, maybe one day I will be 100% free of my anxiety, but for right now, I am going to continue to do what I do and hope for the best.
If you are suffering from depression or anxiety, know that you are not alone. I know from personal experience that coming forward and talking about it is the hardest thing you will ever do, but it is also the most therapeutic. Don’t suffer alone, even if you only tell one person, at least it’s out there and someone knows. Hang in there and stay strong.
I hope this entry is of help to others in a similar spot. If you made it to the end of my babbling, thank you for hanging in there.
*All names of persons and business have been changed to protect the identity of those involved, and pretty much so I don’t get sued*
Life as a freelance writer can be either really exciting or extremely boring. You won’t become a millionaire and sometimes jobs are few and far between. This is a tale of the time I worked for a gossip site and had the worst job experience of my adult life.
Between the end of September and the beginning of October of 2014, I received an email from the head of, well I will call it, Bant.com. I was asked to come on as an entertainment writer, so I did my research and checked fully into the site and it’s staff before I signed the contract. Everything checked out and I had heard of this site before, so after carefully reading over the contract for a couple of times, I signed on.
We could come up with our own topics, but they sent us a “topic list” to choose from. Because these were “hot topics”, we had a deadline to have them turned in. If we missed 2 deadlines or more, we would forfeit our pay for that month. I guess I should explain the pay. Payment was once a month and you would get paid based on the number of views and engagements on your posts.
Anyone that has ever worked for another entertainment outlet knows that once you finish an article, you have to submit it for a final edit before it is published adding to the time it takes to get your article in. Anyway, I followed all of their guidelines and had everything turned in on time. There were 2 different editors I dealt with, I will call them “Editor A” and “Editor B”. Editor A was fantastic and would give great critics and was 100% professional, but Editor B was a massive asshole and had a big problem with female writers. I dealt mostly with Editor A, I would turn my pieces in on time and he would go over them and post them to the site.
Editor B was in something like 3 times a week. Editor B would take down my posts that Editor A had published and send them back to me with the nastiest remarks on them. This would make my article late and cause a “strike” against me. Because of this jerk, I ended up with a ton of strikes against me. I covered the premier of season 7 of Sons of Anarchy, and this piece became their top read for the month, but because of what Editor B did, I received no compensation for it.
I was pretty pissed off to say the least, but I liked the site and I got along great with everyone else that worked there. I continued working for them until 2 things happened that month. The first thing that kind of got to me was the “topic list” for that month. On this list, there were several article topics that were meant to tear down other entertainment sites (the main target was Buzzfeed.com). I understand competition, but slander is not something I am OK with. I chose topics with an actual entertainment based theme. Here is were stupid thing number 2 happened.
Once again, I had my work turned in on time and Editor A had published it to the site. Well, the very next morning, Editor B had removed the pieces and sent them back to me with yet again, more asshole remarks splashed all over them. I fixed what he claimed was wrong and sent them back. Editor A received them and put them back up. That didn’t last long, Editor B was back at it. He took them down and this time was even meaner in the things that he said. Not only did he pull my work down, he sent me a very nasty email. In this email he pretty much told me that I am a terrible writer and I should go live in a whole and never attempt anything creative ever again. That’s fine, don’t like me or my work, cool, but what really pissed me off about this email in particular was his closing line.
“This isn’t a job or environment for a female.”
Um… OK. Editor B had finally crossed the line. He not only tore me and my work down, but he pretty much attacked my whole gender and basically made the assumption that none of us have talent and that we shouldn’t be allowed in the writing world.
Needless to say, I was as polite as possible when I emailed him back telling him that I was fed up with his bullying and constant harassment and that I quit. I worked for Bant.com for about a month and a half.
That was my story about the time that I was hired to work for an entertainment site that turned out to be a trashy gossip site and the harassment I endured.
Until next time,
Conventions give horror fans like myself a chance to meet some of our horror idols. The worst thing that can happen to a fan is meeting their idols and finding out that they are a complete asshole, but Kane Hodder aka Victor Crowley is a 100% genuinely awesome person.
I met him at Scarefest 7 in Lexington Kentucky back in 2013, right after the release of Hatchet III. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the Hatchet series, so I got the crossed hatchet symbol that commonly accompanies the Hatchet film titles a couple of months before Scarefest.
Anyone that has ever seen Kane in person knows he’s a really big guy, and myself only being 5’3, I looked like a child next to him. Despite his large appearance, he gives off such a friendly vibe. He is one of the easiest people to talk to.
Some “celebrities” pretend to be interested in what you have to say and the artwork you show them whether it be on paper or your skin, but when I told Kane about my tattoo, his eyes lit up. He came around the table and wanted to see it right away. When I showed him, he talked about how awesome it is and how much he loves to see pieces of his work immortalized. He asked ME for a picture with it, Kane fucking Hodder wanted a picture with me and my tattoo! I’m not a typical “fangirl”, but that moment was probably the highlight of my horror nerd experiences. I must insert a disclaimer here, Kane does choke, FOR REAL, male or female. He grabbed my hair (the tattoo is on the back of my neck) and yanked me around, but how can you be mad? I got tossed around by Victor Crowley!
After the picture, he spun me around and put me in a choke hold for another picture, again, he asked for another with ME. After the second picture, he put his arm around me and said thank you, he thanked me!?
My husband and I got married on Friday, June 13, 2008 (Jason Voorhees’ birthday is Friday, June 13). We told him about it and he thought it was awesome. He is so genuine and you can feel the passion he has for his work and the love he has for his fans when he speaks. He doesn’t try to rush you along, he gives his undivided attention to his fans and does not like to be interrupted. A wrestling announcer broke over the PA in quite a loud, obnoxious manner while Kane was talking to a fan. Needless to say, Kane was not very happy about that. He slammed his pen down, came out from behind the table with that “I’m going to rip your head off and shove it up your ass” look in his eyes and demanded to know who was doing it. Yeah, they stopped after that.
If you ever get the opportunity to meet Kane Hodder, seize that opportunity. He is such a great guy and would never stomp on your horror nerd dreams. For those curious, he is $30 for an autograph, but pictures and genuine awesomeness is FREE.
That was my experience meeting Victor Crowley, and I would not change a second of it for anything. Enough babbling and nerding out from me for now.
Until next time.