It goes without saying that being a woman in horror is a tough racket, and as one of those people who tends to...well..stand out a little, it's hard to find somewhere to truly feel at home. But when I found horror conventions, it's safe to say that I was instantly hooked. While there are times that I still stand out, horror conventions are somewhere that I truly feel comfortable, which is an amazing thing. I've had the good fortune to be involved in several conventions now on more than a fan level, more recently attending not just as media, but as a bit of a personality as well. Back in May I was invited to host and speak on some horror themed panels at Crypticon Seattle with some friends of mine (who are also awesome women working in horror) and we had an absolute blast, so when I was offered the opportunity to moderate not one but TWO panels at Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta, I leapt at the chance to be involved.
As part of some pre-promotion for Walker Stalker, I was able to do some interviews with a few of [The Walking Dead](series:201193)'s stars, Denise Crosby (Mary), director and makeup FX artist Greg Nicotero, and the creators of Walker Stalker Con, James and Eric.
Friday, October 17th
On my first day in Atlanta (the first time I've ever been this far south in the United States) and the first day of the convention, my first stop was making a run through the two convention halls to plan out where I needed to be so I could stay on time and on track for the various events, interviews and other stuff and thangs I had scheduled. I also made note of where some of my favorite artists were located, because it's always nice to meet in person the people who's work you admire on Instagram (that sounds really dumb doesn't it? Yay, internet friends!).
One of the best things about Walker Stalker Con is that Eric and James aren't just convention organizers, they're Walking Dead superfans, and their passion for the show and for the fans is what is at the heart of this convention.
Case and point, check this out... James and Eric recreated Dale's Winnebago...with every detail intact, right down to the little knick-nacks inside. And it works too, they drove it to Atlanta from Tennessee! It's the perfect tribute, and even more perfect because Dale himself, Jeffrey DeMunn, is in attendance this weekend!
Wanting to hit the signature floor before the crowds really hit, I got the chance to meet one of my favorite horror women, Denise Crosby, who graciously signed my Pet Sematery poster and posed for a photo with me. I was a bit aflutter because she's a serious inspiration for me and I'm so thankful that she took the time to chat with me a little before moving on to see other fans.
I was invited by Walker Stalker Con to host 2 panels today, Dead Men and Dead Women. These two panels are populated with deceased cast members, which is amazing because AMC is extremely tight fisted on current cast members and their panel and interview time. Joining me for the Dead Men panel were Vincent M Ward (Oscar), Jose Pablo Castillo (Martinez), Travis (TLove) Love (Bowman/Shumpert), and Daniel Thomas May (Allen). We chatted about their favorite deaths on the show (Hershel was a unanimous choice), and Travis Love had a heartfelt moment describing the death that affected him the most.
The Dead Men also agreed that Carol's recent explosion back on the scene in the Season 5 premiere was an amazing turn for her character arc, and waxed poetic about the death (or maybe not) of Bowman and Oscar.
Daniel Thomas May was comfortable with Allen's death, saying that he's glad that Allen chose NOT to shoot the Governor, as his hesitation showed that he had held on to his humanity. Although, he admitted to wishing that he could have been shot "a little lower in the face" so he could come back as a zombie. Jose Pablo Castillo was also proud of Martinez' death, and was happy with the way that the character had been changed from the comic. This group of guys was hilarious and wonderful to chat with, and the audience loved it. Did you know: Travis Love started out in the prop department, and actually designed and chose the accessories for Bowman before he was even asked to play the character!
The next panel, Dead Women, was a little more challenging. Joining me on stage were some lovely young ladies who all had the unique distinction of being some of the most iconic faces and moments in the show...the catch? They were all DEAD when their time in the spotlight came! Melissa Cowen (Hannah the Bicycle Girl), Addy Miller (Summer, the first zombie we ever see in [The Walking Dead](series:201193)), Madison Lintz (Sophia), and Kylie Szymanski (Penny, the Governor's Daughter). The ladies talked about their characters, and a little bit about their experience in Zombie School. Addy Miller admitted that she was scared of Zombie School at first because they made the zombies watch "gross zombie movies" during their training, but she also made sure that we knew that now that she wasn't so young, those movies didn't scare her anymore.
Addy also admitted that she didn't make her own zombies noises, but Kylie was more than willing to show off her zombie vocalization skills, which the crowd loved! Melissa Cowan told the audience about being chosen by Frank Darabont during a casting audition, and how she wasn't sure if it was a compliment or not that he had chosen her before her zombie makeup had even been designed! Melissa also talked about how weird it is to be an action figure, and how thrilled she was to see someone cosplay Bicycle Girl for the first time ever at Walker Stalker Atlanta!
Madison and Kylie also revealed that they didn't have to attend Zombie School, and how difficult it was for Madison to stay in character when coming out of the barn for her zombie reveal, "after a summer and a half of screaming and crying, it was weird to be the one with no emotion and everyone else was crying...I could feel the tears welling up..."
Something I wasn't expecting? My favorite horror lady, Denise Crosby crashed the panel! I was thrilled that she joined us and shared her thoughts on some of the iconic zombie ladies on stage, and her personal connection to the death of Sophia. Also, she confirmed, no more Mary at Terminus. :(
I'm still in denial.