Fun times at the Scarefest Horror and Paranormal Convention 2017

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A Weekend at Camp: Scarefest 9

By: Eric Brooks


The Leaves have turned colors and Halloween is nigh upon us. That means another Scarefest has come and gone. This year's was the 9th iteration of the horror/paranormal convention at the Lexington Convention Center in Lexington, KY. This year the event organizers opted for a special theme: Camp Scarefest. There were two major reasons for this: a celebration of 70s and 80s slasher films set at summer camps (especially Friday the 13th) and the opportunity to introduce the world to the new Friday the 13th video game. The event organizers did a nice job creating atmosphere by creating an awesome camp complete with bloody cots and trashed canoes where photos could be taken and by dressing the staff as camp counselors. The official artowrk for the event also carried the theme well and was as good or better than any done thus far. Even the show program was done as a camp handbook. All these elements made for a very fun and interesting framework for the event as a whole.

Sean Cunningham & Harry Manfredini
of Friday the 13th fame

Any event like Scarefest rises and falls on its guests. This year most of the major guests were stars of the Friday the 13th franchise. Among them were Tom Savini who did the makeup and effects in several of the films, Henry Manfredini who did the original music for the first film, and Sean Cunningham who created the franchise. There were also no less than four Jasons including Jason #1 Ari Lehman and Kane Hodder who holds the record for playing Jason the most. There were many other guests of course. Matthew Lillard and Skeet Ulrich who starred in Scream were very entertaining and did a excellent panel. Malcolm McDowell made a return appearance in support of Rob Zombie's new film 31 which unfortunately had to be cut short due to another engagement. Tyler Mane, best known as Sabretooth in X Men, was there with several other stars of Sleepaway Camp. 80s scream queen and pinup girl Traci Lords also made an appearance. This year the Sacrefest organizers ventured into new guest territory with several musical celebrities including rocker Lita Ford and thrash metal band Gwar and their barbarian costumes. Scarefest is the world's largest horror and paranormal convention and so there were a number of important guests from that realm. As usual, there were a number of guests from Ghost Hunters including Jason Hawes, Paul Bradford, and Rosalyn Brown. Kim Russo, the Happy Medium, attended and performed a séance. Finally, Scarefest received its annual visit from medium Chip Coffey.

Kentucky Actress & Filmmaker
Katie Stewart
Rock and Roll Legends
SyFy's Ghost Hunters
Jason and Steve

While the celebrities are the main draw, for most Scarefest attendees, the majority of their time and money is spent in the vendor hall. This year's edition featured many of the old favorites and an assortment of new additions as well. The Wolf Run Nature Sanctuary made quite a splash with Nayeli, a wolf hybrid they rescued. She is a beautiful girl and has quite the personality. The Dragon's Hoard brought a variety of interesting arms, armor, and historical costuming to appeal equally to the discerning warrior or cosplayer. Kenny of Kenny's Mountain Taxidermy and Curiosities had his usual collection of weird slimy things in jars and critters in every pose and state. It is one of the most impressive displays at Scarefest and should not be missed. One interesting twist on the usual vendor hall experience this year was the psychic lounge. All the tarot readers, palmists, and other psychics were placed together in a single area. It provided a nice effect and was interesting to visit.

This year Scarefest had a special feature: the premiere of the Friday the 13th video game. Apparently though there have been frequent additions to the franchise on the big screen, it had never been adapted as a video game. Several years ago a Lexington company began work on a game that was set in a summer camp and featured counselors versus a machete wielding psycho. It was meant to be a tribute to Friday the 13th and several folks involved in the film were involved. Eventually, word reached the creator of Friday the 13th and he offered the game makers the license to actually make it the Friday the 13th game. Elements of the game made their debut at Scarefest and the team that made it provided a panel to discuss the making and nature of the game. Check back on soon for a full article on the game.

The lovely Actress & Musician
Traci Lords

Overall, Scarefest was a lot of fun as usual and provided some nice new changes as well. The Camp Scarefest them was a lot of fun and well executed. Teaming up with the folks who debuted the Friday the 13th game was also a mutually beneficial move. Scarefest seems generally to be on a sound footinvieg as it heads toward its 10th anniversary. That said, if the organizers really want to make the 10th truly memorable and a step forward there are several steps they might make to accomplish that. As previously mentioned, it is the celebrities that drive the show. If the organizers could get at least one really big name like Bruce Campbell, Andrew Lincoln, any of the cast of Stranger Things, or John Carpenter it would definitely up attendance and energy at the show. Greater thought also should be given when guests are signed as to how they are used Tom Savini is a horror legend whose work includes some of the most famous films and people in the business. It would have been great to have him do a panel by himself to discuss his career and achievements instead of only having him appear on Friday the 13th panels. He probably could have even been a headliner this year. Identifying those opportunities is key to making a bigger, better event. In all, Scarefest is a great event and the 10th anniversary seems promising. With a little luck and the right star or two, it could be spectacular!


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