ScareFest 2015 Convention Review

ScareFest is a convention in Lexington, KY for Paranormal and Horror fans.  2015 saw it’s eighth event, though it didn’t seem to be the powerhorse it has been in the last few years. In previous years, ScareFest had such a crowd that it was impossible to walk around inside the Lexington Convention Center, granted the space is not incredibly large, but it is fine for a small convention. Last year and the year before, I thought ScareFest had outgrew the convention center, though this year, it seemed to be the perfect size.

As with any convention, guests do cancel. That is out of the control of the convention and it cannot be helped, even with contracts/agreements in place. Though this year, it just seemed that ScareFest had a harder time holding on to guests. I even found that one guest had cancelled and went to a different convention (HorrorHound).

The guests this year included the great George Romero, who is known as the King of the Zombies, as he wrote and directed Night of The Living Dead. I did get the pleasure to meet with him for a few moments to get a couple of items signed. He is a sweet man, with such an incredible imagination. He also held a panel on Saturday. I was thrilled with this panel, as most questions did NOT revolve around zombies. Mr Romero has done so much more, even though he is known for all of his zombie movies. He’s worked with many other greats in Hollywood, including Martin Scorsese. The stories he told during the panel were great, talking about how many times he tried to get a movie off the ground, but it just never fully fleshed out. I for one would love to see a Batman movie directed by George Romero.

ScareFest also brought in a large majority of the cast members from American Horror Story: FreakShow. I haven’t watched this particular season of AHS, but my friend who I attended the con with has seen this season and thoroughly enjoyed it. We did go to the panel. It was another well put together panel, with such interesting questions and guests. Some of these guests have disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Phocomelia, Achondroplasia, and Sacral Agenesis. Each guest told stories of their disabilities or their life in such an inspiring manner. The entire panel was incredibly entertaining, even for someone who has not seen an episode of that season.

At the event, there was also a small reunion for the movie Fright Night for its 30th anniversary, with three of the main actors being there; William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, and Stephen Geoffreys. In honor of the 30th anniversary, there was a midnight movie showing of Fright Night at the nearby theater, showing an original print of the movie.  The panel was okay, with some funny stories. Though the director did Skype call in, we did not get to see him as it was only on a laptop and not through a projector. It seemed even the moderator was a bit annoyed by that.

There were also guests from the Phantasm movie, including the director of the first movie, as well as guests from House of A Thousand Corpses, Christine, Destination Truth, Dead Files, Paranormal State, and more.

I also got to attend a panel about the Horror Writers Association. It was an interesting panel with information regarding the HWA, the benefits of being a member, and just helpful facts to know.

I’m not really certain what happened this year with the convention, though I do suspect it was competition with HorrorHound. It just seemed to be lacking in the normal numbers of guests, attendees, and vendors. Normally, it is wall to wall with attendees trying to get around to see all the guests and vendor booths. But this year, it seemed too easy to get around without the space having increased.  The number of vendors also seemed to be less this year, as I did not see some of the normal faces that I do at this convention. I had some money set aside for some more artwork at a particular booth, but sadly, the artist was not there this year. 

They did try something different this year with registration. While I didn’t have to go through the normal registration process, they went with the three small booth registration that was used the first time I attendee Lexington Comic Con and found it to be a complete disaster that year. I did not see any disasters with the lines at ScareFest, so they may have that part down pat. However, I noticed that instead of the normal wrist bands or even badges, they opted for cards. My friend had a business card sized ticket that she handed the doormen on the way in, which they marked and allowed her in. Never again did she have to show that card after entering the main area of the convention, though she did get her hand stamped for re-entry into the main area.

The main panel room was moved upstairs away from the main convention. This wasn’t a very large room, as it seemed smaller than the normal large room that panelist get. This was the only panel room I could find that was outside the main convention area. If ScareFest grows back to it’s normal size, it could definitely use the rest of the additional space up on this level to help spread things out a little.

Overall, I enjoyed myself at ScareFest this year. I have attended each year, except the first year. There for a while, I started to not enjoy the event as I felt it grew too large, too fast and wasn’t sure how to handle itself. Maybe that hurt it this year as an after effect of last year’s event or maybe the competing convention was just too strong this year. Either way, ScareFest seemed to still miss the mark slightly, but for me, it still hit strongly enough for me to want to continue to attend this event in the future. I do hope it did well enough this time around to continue on for its ninth event.

If you haven’t been to ScareFest and your fan of the horror scene or paranormal, you need to attend. It’s a small convention, usually chocked full of interesting panels and guests discussing a variety of topics. I always find the small conventions the best for meeting guests and other convention attendees, and this is one of the best, in my opinion.


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