This past weekend marked the tenth anniversary of the annual premier horror event, Texas Frightmare Weekend. Thousands of genre fans converged at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, located in the DFW Airport, for celebrity appearances, exclusive parties, screenings, panels, vendor rooms, and more.
While Texas Frightmare Weekend never disappoints with celebrity guests, Founder Loyd Cryer upped the ante for this milestone year with celebrity guests. Neve Campbell made her convention debut in Texas, appearing alongside Rachel True and Skeet Ulrich. Huge genre favorites Brad Dourif, Malcolm McDowell, Sid Haig, Elvira, and many more showed up to greet fans over the three day event. With the celebrity guest list nearing 60, fans were spoiled for choice. Marking the 30th anniversary of A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, stars mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Rusler, Marshall Bell, and director Jack Sholder were all in attendance for panels and fan signings.
The core group behind the Phantasm series also held their reunion at the event, with appearances by cast members Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, Angus Scrimm, Kat Lester, Bill Thornbury, Gigi Bannister, Bob Ivy, and creator Don Coscarelli. The director of Phantasm V: Ravager, David Hartman, also attended, sharing a special clip of the upcoming film for those lucky enough to attend Dallas’ Alamo Drafthouse’s screening of the original film just prior to Texas Frightmare Weekend.
Tucked away in a quiet corner of the convention space fans could peruse the Dark Art Show. The exhibit featured a lot of local artists, but the original Grandma Sawyer from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was on display in her rocking chair alongside an original painting from serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.
Acclaimed horror podcast Killer POV hosted a version of the insanely popular L.A. Dead Right Horror Trivia Night. While the L.A. incarnation lasts for three hours monthly at the Jumpcut Café, the event version was condensed to an hour. It’s no wonder why this event has a waiting list to get in; teams compete for some amazing prizes. Piles of CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, Fangoria magazines, t-shirts, buttons, and more awaited the team that won each category. With five rounds, teams could get weighed down with the goodies.
Killer POV also recorded the 100th episode of their podcast, live at the event. Hosts Rebekah McKendry (Fangoria), Rob Galluzzo (Fearnet), and Elric Kane (Inside Horror) discussed the direction of the genre, indie horror versus mainstream, and many more insightful topics alongside special guest A.J. Bowen (You’re Next, House of the Devil). Always passionate and eloquent about horror, fans can listen to new episodes every Friday here.
Many of the guests were featured in Q&A panels, and the reunion casts had special panels as well. One of the highlights, of course, was seeing an aging Angus Scrimm recite his famous Tall Man quotes from the first Phantasm. Did you know that Angus Scrimm won a Grammy for his work on writing liner notes for many albums? Perhaps you’ve heard of the Beatles? Angus Scrimm comically was nonplussed when he heard their first album prior to release, and felt they needed all the help they could get. Don Coscarelli seems just as enthused about the Phantasm series as ever, and shows no sign of slowing down. As long as he has ideas, he’ll want to continue.
Attendees also had early access to Mondotees.com releases of beautiful genre art prints and the vinyl soundtrack to Phantasm featuring liner notes by Don Coscarelli. These have yet to be released online to the masses. Also in early release, fans could snag an early copy of Madman on Blu-ray at the Vinegar Syndrome. Street date was initially May 12, though that has been pushed back to later this month. Severin Films screened their documentary Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau, with a Q&A after. An often comical film documenting the disastrous events behind the scenes of this abysmal flick, this is a must see and is now available on VOD platforms including Amazon.
What most impresses about Texas Frightmare Weekend, however, is the people. From the hardworking volunteers to the attendees themselves, everyone shows such joy toward the genre and each other. Fans are eager to show off their costumes or strike up a conversation at any time about their favorite films. The camaraderie amongst attendees, strangers and friends alike, lends to a close knit feeling. This extends to the celebrity guests, as well. Guests and attendees both stay in the Hyatt Regency, so it’s quite common to step into an elevator and strike up a conversation with Reggie Bannister and Gigi Bannister (did you know she took over yellow blood duties in Phantasm Oblivion, and no, it’s not pleasant for Reggie to get a mouthful of it in those scenes) or eat breakfast across from Sid Haig in the hotel’s café.
Loyd Cryer and his team put together a well-run machine, and they continue to raise the bar each year. This is an event that has something for ever fan, but most of all it’s an event to gather with fellow horror hounds and revel in the genre.
About the Author
Meagan Navarro is a blogger from Houston, TX. She fell in love with monsters at age four after being exposed to them via Ghostbusters, and her passion grew into an obsession for all things horror and Halloween (which is the entire month of October, as far as she’s concerned). Meagan also loves traveling and chocolate.