Texas Frightmare Weekend is arguably the biggest horror convention in the country, uniting thousands of genre fans every year. The annual event hosts celebrity appearances, exclusive parties, screenings and much more.
I remember attending the very first Texas Frightmare Weekend back in 2006. It took place at the Grapevine Convention Center, providing a mere 23,500 square feet of event space. Hey, everyone’s got to start somewhere, right?
Now, a decade later, the convention takes place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, which is located on the grounds of the DFW Airport. The 93,000 square feet of space is more than enough to house the event’s growing fan base – at least for now.
It had been nearly 10 years since I’d attended Texas Frightmare Weekend, and I felt like a fish out of water. I’m not what you’d consider a die-hard horror fan. I’ve seen a good number of genre films over the years, but I’ve never had the urge to dress up as Leatherface or spend hundreds of dollars on themed collectibles. Still, even in my casual attire, I was welcomed with open arms by the other attendees, most who went all out to show their love for the genre. Regretfully, I didn’t capture near as many photos as I should have. Some of the costumes were absolutely incredible and certainly deserve to be showcased. With that said, if any of you have pictures of yourself in a diabolical costume, and you want to show it off, send them to [email protected]
This year at The Southwest’s Premier Horror Convention, several actors from films like Phantasm, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Child’s Play and The Craft were brought together for rare cast and filmmaker reunions. There was a Phantasm Ball with a musical performance by actors Reggie Bannister and Bill Thornbury.
Screenings this year included independent movies like Clinger, Deadtime Stories, Sacrament and Doll Factory. There was also a sold-out screening for Scream in which Neve Campbell was on hand for a Q&A.
Here are just a few of the many celebrities that were in attendance at this year’s event:
Neve Campbell (Scream, Wild Things, The Craft), Skeet Ulrich (Scream, The Craft, Jericho), Tara Reid (American Pie, Urban Legend, Sharknado), Kim Coates (Resident Evil: Afterlife, Sons of Anarchy), Malcolm McDowell (Rob Zombie’s Halloween, A Clockwork Orange), William Sadler (Demon Knight, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Disturbing Behavior, The Shawshank Redemption), Brad Dourif (Child’s Play, The Lord of the Rings, Urban Legend) and Alexandra Breckenridge (The Walking Dead, American Horror Story).
Although Texas Frightmare Weekend is a 3-day event that takes place from Friday, May 1st – Sunday, May 3rd, my schedule only allowed me to attend Friday, and that isn’t a bad thing. The crowd was fairly light, and I imagine it’s because a lot people couldn’t get off of work and travel to the event in time to make it count. This meant smaller lines at celebrity booths, more walking room and more visibility. Unfortunately, after a couple of hours I was hit with a massive headache. I tolerated it long enough to participate in the photo op I’d purchased with Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich (aka Ghost Face and his Prey) but after that, I had to call it a night.
Even though my time at this year’s Texas Frightmare Weekend was brief, I had an absolute blast. I was able to meet some of my favorite actors, all who were surprisingly approachable. Since I knew Neve Campbell would have the longest line out of any other celebrity in attendance, I decided to stop by Tara Reid’s booth first. What started as a group of approximately 10 people quickly turned into a line of over 50 eager fans anxious to chat with the star of such films as Urban Legend, American Pie, Sharknado, My Boss’s Daughter and Josie and the Pussycats. The line eventually had to be shifted a bit to prevent us from blocking off other booths.
I’ve met a number of celebrities over the years, but believe it or not, Tara is one of the sweetest, most down-to-earth stars I’ve had the pleasure of mingling with. And I don’t think I need to mention that she’s a total knock-out!
Originally, my dad (who was my partner in crime) and I had mapped out everything we wanted to do throughout the evening, but eventually we decided to just go with the flow. We spent about an hour just roaming around, looking at rare knick knacks, and stuffing our faces with snacks (okay, I went solo on the face-stuffing).
Eventually, we happened upon William Sadler’s booth, and of course, I had to geek out. Come on! It’s William Sadler!! I mean the guy’s been in just about everything. Most people know him for his role as Heywood in The Shawshank Redemption, but his resume includes films like Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Disturbing Behavior, Demon Knight, The Green Mile, Eagle Eye, Iron Man 3 and Machete Kills.
Since I was a bit starstruck, I didn’t get to ask him everything I intended to. I was able to get a couple of photos with him. Oh, and I learned that he simply goes by Bill.
Perhaps the most important task of the evening was to make sure we made it to our photo op with Skeet Ulrich and Neve Campbell on time. Neve wasn’t doing photos at her table, thus the only way to score a photo with the Scream star was to purchase a photo op. We arrived approximately 45 minutes before the photo op took place, thus we were first in line. Even though I had a throbbing headache the entire time we waited, it was definitely worth it in the end. This photo is definitely getting the frame treatment.
Again, while I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to, I had an absolute blast. I want to thank Lloyd Cryer for putting this event together year after year. What started as a small horror convention back in 2006 is now ‘the’ horror convention for genre enthusiasts from all over the country. Additionally, I’d like to thank Lloyd for allowing us to attend this year’s Texas Frightmare Weekend. We look forward to doing it again next year.
I’d also like to show my appreciation for the hotel staff, Wolf Studios Photography and the convention staff. Everybody was incredibly professional, friendly and eager to answer questions.
Finally, I want to thank all of the celebrities who took time out of their busy schedules to come out to Dallas.
Did any of you readers attend this year’s Texas Frightmare Weekend? If so, what were some of your favorite moments?