Texas Frightmare Weekend 2018 terrified its way into horror-con goers hearts almost three weeks ago, so why did it take me until now to write about it? Well, I’ve only just touched back down in homeland Australia, and while the flight from Dallas to Sydney to Brisbane feels like it takes three weeks, it’s only around 20 hours all up. So what’s my excuse for unpunctuality? Well, boring stuff. My wife and I visited family and did some touristy things while we were in the US of A, and being on the road without a laptop made it hard to sit down and make words happen. But I’m making it up to you now.
Running from May 4 to May 6 at the DFW Hyatt Regency, Texas Frightmare Weekend is consistently one of the best run, most pleasant and family-like experiences any self-respecting horror fan could hope for. And it’s not like it doesn’t have stiff competition. In fact, there was another horror convention running in downtown Dallas on the same weekend! You know, the NRA one where Pence and Trump gave speeches?
Texas Frightmare’s lineup was much more appealing, with appearances from the villains of the SawFranchise, the Hellraiser Cenobite Celebration, the 30th anniversary of Chucky, the Loser’s Club from IT, and even crusty old Ron Perlman. There was something for everyone, and if you walked the floor with enough cash in your pocket, there was no way you’d leave empty handed.
The lines moved smoothly and for the most part, staff did a great job of keeping chaos contained. The only complaint I had was unpredictability in the Clive Barker line. We waited for around two and a half hours on Friday evening, only to be cut off after being told Clive was feeling unwell, and that he was only going to sign another 30 items before calling it quits. Instead of limiting each person to a single autograph, folks ahead of us were allowed as many as they wanted, leaving more than a few people disappointed and literally in tears.
However, being the class act that he is and despite his fragile condition, Clive decided to stick around and made sure everyone got their chance. When he asked what part of Australia I was from, he cheekily added, “I like Brisbane. Sydney’s overrated.” I agree Clive. I agree.
And it’s not just the celebrities that were a pleasure to meet – the vendors on the floor were varied and stocked to the brim with horror goodness. If I didn’t have luggage space limits, I would have walked away with more toys and t-shirts than any respectable grown man should own. The stalls for Severin, Vinegar Syndrome, and Arrow made up an irresistible wallet-vacuuming Bermuda Triangle of blu-rays in the middle of the Enterprise Ballroom.
I may have purchased more movies than I should have.
I regret nothing.
And speaking of spending cash, if you were willing to part with enough of it you could have had your photo taken with six… count ’em… SIX… Jasons (Kane Hodder, C.J. Graham, Steve Dash, Ted White, Ken Kirzinger, and Tom Morga) of Friday the 13th fame in full costume and makeup. The asking price was a little rich for my blood (around $360), but for the biggest fans, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity that was too good to miss.
The panels provided some great highlights too. During the Saw roundtable, we learned that Tobin Bell shares a few traits with his onscreen Jigsaw persona, keeping meticulous diaries of notes to fill in character details. At the Child’s Play panel, special effects wizard Kevin Yagher brought along a 30 year-old screen-used stunt Chucky, and with the IT discussion, little Jackson Robert Scott (who played Georgie) won the entire audience over with his sweet Pennywise-inspired dance moves.
There’s always something special in the air at Texas Frightmare Weekend, and 2018 was no different. Everyone’s there for the same reason – to have a good time and celebrate cinema of the macabre. There aren’t many events worth climbing into a tin can and launching yourself across the Pacific to attend, but for Texas Frightmare, I’m always happy to make an exception.