Flashback Weekend Chicago Horror Convention 2018
One thing you’ll learn as you continue to read my shit is that I have a fixation, really a borderline obsession with the horror genre. I’m particularly fond of zombies but that’s a topic for another day. To my delight and surprise, Rosemont (a north suburb of Chicago) hosts a Flashback Weekend Chicago Horror Convention every year and have been for several years now (yet this is the first I’ve heard of it). No need to shame me as I’ve already flogged myself. Anywho, on a whim, my boyfriend and I decided to go because we’re a couple of weirdos that had nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon. Is Horror Con not widely advertised so only the real are in the know? Being that I only heard about the con through my boyfriend’s acquaintance, made me question if I’m as much of a horror head as I claim to be. Okay, let’s move on. I went to the con with an open mind and heart and really didn’t expect too much being that it was held within a few conference rooms at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel and not the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
Upon arrival, we purchased our day passes and tickets to watch Fright Night, which was hosted by the cast and director (we’ll touch on this later). I forgot about the subculture that resides within the horror genre and you know what I’m referring to. Think black, inverted stars/crosses, heavy metal, all dat shit. But it was nice to see people in their element and allowing their freak flags to fly. Though I wish there were more people of color among the crowd, I’ll take the few tokens that showed up. And I’m almost certain I bumped into a man with a swastika tattooed on him but I’m not sure so I’m not going to tell stories/start rumors. Merchants were lined in these conference rooms with gizmos and gadgets and odds and ends and even some old string. Again, Horror Con isn’t on Wizard World Comic Con Chicago level, so the goods were a bit on the Swap-O-Rama side than on the Chicago Premium Outlets side. I wasn’t really impressed with the selections but was determined to buy a shirt to add to my ever growing collection. With the blessing of the many-faced god, I found a really dope Pennywise shirt. My boyfriend on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. See, he was in the market to add to his DVD/blu-ray collection. He found a blu-ray copy of Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers but the seller was taxing $25 and no, just no.
Speaking of Sleepaway Camp, I had a brief encounter with Angela Baker herself (Felissa Rose) and she was a gem. I told her I recently seen the movie for the first time and enjoyed it, to which she graciously said “thank you”. A normal person would’ve just ended the convo there but no, I had to keep talking. So, let it be known that googled her after watching the film to see if she was really a man (SPOILER ALERT!). She and her team got a real kick out of that. But Felissa Rose wasn’t the only celebrity to grace the Horror Con. Alex Vincent (Andy Barclay) from Child’s Play, Kelly LeBrock (Lisa) from Weird Science, five actors that played Jason Voorhees over the years from the Friday the 13th franchise, and Michael Berryman from the original The Hills Have Eyes were also present. One thing that always bothered me about conventions is how "behind closed doors" the celebs are where they aren't easily accessible but they could be easily accessed here. You had the freedom to approach them at their table and just have a normal convo with them. Hence my convo with Felissa. This aspect of the con made for a more intimate experience.
No convention is complete without some cosplay. There was a nice amount of people that dressed for the occasion. So naturally, a costume contest was held. None other than Chicago’s own Svengoolie hosted the event (which was really cool).
Another decent feature during the con was the option to watch movies. Not only that, but the cast and director of a few shows were in attendance. Fright Night was shown outside via a giant inflatable screen. Before the movie played, the cast did a Q&A. It was my first time seeing Fright Night so I really had no idea what anyone was talking about but I enjoyed being surrounded by the excitement and enthusiasm others had. Oh but don’t worry, right as the Q&A ended, the screen decided to deflate because fuck us. We waited about 45 minutes before staff were able to get everything up and running again. It was a bit obnoxious as isn’t it someone’s job to make sure shit works?! The ONLY redeeming moment was when Amanda Bearse (Amy Peterson), took one for the team and got back on the mic to conduct a solo Q&A to keep everyone entertained. I hope they gave her a few extra dollars for her troubles.
Overall the convention was a good time.
Pros: movies played during convention, celebs were easily accessible, the Q&A before the films, I bought a dope shirt, the costume contest (read: Svengoolie)
Cons: small, a bit disorganized, I wish more people of color loved horror and would come out to these things, vendors were meh