Another Texas Frightmare Weekend has come and gone, but the fans who attended this year’s event will no doubt be left with plenty of wonderful memories from their horror-filled weekend. The 2017 show, which ran from May 5 – 7, was again held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel inside the DFW Airport in Dallas, Texas. The show drew packed crowds of horror fans on all three days of the convention, with many celebrated icons of the genre also in attendance. Texas Frightmare is now in its twelfth year, and showing no signs of slowing down yet.
There were some big film reunions happening this year at TFW–the anniversaries of lifelong favourites including Fright Night, The Thing, and Suspiria brought guests that many fans perhaps only dreamed they could meet in person. But show-runner Loyd Cryer made it happen for them, and gave them the opportunity to have face-to-face time with people like legendary cinematographer Dean Cundey; actors Wilford Brimley, Keith David, and Udo Kier; director Tom Holland; and the Maestro himself, Dario Argento.
This marked my fifth year in a row at Texas Frightmare, and I could not have been more excited to be back. I kicked things off on Friday night by meeting actress Pollyanna McIntosh from The Woman and Tales of Halloween (also, most recently, The Walking Dead), who is an extremely sweet and wonderful person.
Then it was time to chat with a couple of actors from the amazing A&E show, Bates Motel–Max Thieriot and Nestor Carbonell. Both of them seemed so happy to be there talking to fans, and gave each person that came through their line a sincere conversation. In fact, my friend and I liked these guys so much that we ended up meeting them several times throughout the convention!
Blumhouse.com was one of the TFW sponsors this year, and they were represented at their booth by the hosts of the Shock Waves podcast. Shock Waves is my favorite horror-related podcast, and I was incredibly excited to finally meet these guys in person.
Ryan Turek, Rebekah McKendry, Rob Galluzzo, and Elric Kane are some of the most enthusiastic and passionate horror fans I’ve come across. They not only moderated most of the panels on all three days of the convention, but they also hosted a trivia night on Friday (my team was the runner-up winner) and recorded their 50th episode of the show live on Saturday night.
The first thing I did on Saturday was meet the new Norman Bates himself, Freddie Highmore, who was again very sweet and engaging with all his fans. When the doors opened for general admission, his line filled up incredibly fast. I also met actors Ryan Hurst and Sean Whalen, and caught up with several people who have become a part of my TFW family over the years.
My most anticipated and most memorable meet of the convention, however, was writer/director Tom Holland, the creator of my all-time favorite horror film, Child’s Play. Any expectations I could have had of him were exceeded, as he was so kind, funny, and appreciative. He signed my Child’s Play poster and my plush Chucky doll, and gave me a wonderful memory that will last a lifetime.
At 2 p.m. on Saturday, I helped pack the house for the Bates Motel panel (which you can see here) with Ryan Hurst, Nestor Carbonell, Max Thieriot, and Freddie Highmore. The crowd was so enthusiastic to hear from them, and were fueled even more by the energy of the guests themselves. After the live Shock Waves podcast later that night, it was time for the VIP party.
This party always has a nice casual atmosphere to it, and this makes it easy for people to be able to go up to anybody and just have a nice conversation, and hopefully make a new friend. I talked to many awesome people here, but when Sean Whalen told my friend and I that he was going to be doing karaoke downstairs soon, we moved the party that way. Sean gave a very energetic performance of the song “Shout!” that had the whole room dancing and singing along.
Sunday was the last day of the convention, but there was still plenty of fun to be had. First up on my agenda was getting a meeting with a not-to-be-missed guest, Dario Argento. He was there first thing when the doors opened and fans were already clamoring for his line. Argento was soft-spoken and sweet, and smiled at my Suspiria t-shirt before signing two autographs for me and taking a picture. I also met Chris Sarandon (another signature for my Child’s Play poster), Ted Raimi, Dean Cundey, and Jen and Sylvia Soska.
The convention was, of course, not all about the guests for me. I picked up way too many Blu-Rays and DVDs from vendors like Arrow Video and Severin Films; scored a beautiful print from Mondo for Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, as well as several others from different artists; and bought plenty of T-shirts and enamel pins. As things were winding down for the weekend, we made the rounds of saying goodbye to all of these awesome vendors and artists, many of whom are at the convention every year.
In short, it was another absolutely stellar year at Texas Frightmare Weekend. At this point, the con feels like my second home, where I always look forward to seeing my family again. I always come away feeling exhausted, but at the same time energized, as it reminds me why I love horror so much and the filmmakers and fans that make this community a special one.
Frightmare’s lucky 13th year is in 2018, and you can bet that I will be there for one of the best horror conventions in the country (and you should be too).