This weekend I was invited to take part in what I understand is the first time Festival/Convention called Genghis Con. Held from Friday, November 18th through Sunday the 20th in Pittsburgh this little gathering of all things Horror turned into a very fun and enjoyable event. Mike Watt of Happy Cloud Pictures and Amy Lynn Best, Indie Horror Diva, teamed up to put this inaugural event on.
Reggie Bannister & THE BALL
The Radisson Greentree Hotel was basically taken over as the Grand Ballroom was filled with vendors selling DVD�s, Movie Posters, Collectibles and so much more. There was even a spattering of celebrities in attendance as well. Gunnar Hansen of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame, Reggie Bannister of the Phantasm films, Joe Bob Briggs of all things schlock, Tom Sullivan the F/X Master behind the Evil Dead and the God Father of Gore himself, Hershell Gordon Lewis were all on hand to meet, greet, sign autographs and even sing karaoke. Well, not all of them took part in the barroom karaoke, but it happened, believe me. The celebs also included a large group of Scream Queens with the likes of Brinke Stevens, Debbie Rochon, Heidi Martinuzzi, Ryli Morgan, Debbie D, and Syn Devil to make every fan boy�s mouth water.
Various screenings took place in the Screening Room throughout the weekend as well. The World Premiere of the Shock-O-Rama film Skin Crawl starring Debbie Rochon took place as well as a special screening of the Indie hit Chainsaw Sally was screened just before a special Q&A with Cast members Chainsaw Sally herself and Gunnar Hansen. Even my film, The Web of Darkness screened there as well.
Tom Sullivan and his Evil Dead pieces
Panels on Indie Filmmaking, Publishing, and more helped round out a very cool event. What made the weekend very cool for me was not only the fact that it was a Horror Convention and Film Festival, but it was a very family feeling all weekend. When things wound down for the day the fun moved to the bar area where the Celebs, vendors, filmmakers, and the fans who paid to come out and see them gathered to drink, socialize and be merry. Almost the entire bar was filled with Conventioners and it was a great time. Each night turned out to be a late one but it gave the people who attended the fest a unique opportunity to interact with the stars they normally only get to see on TV or behind a table in a friendly personal way over drinks and laughs. This is the kind of thing you wouldn�t see at a bigger corporate type Festival. You gotta love the Indie�s.
People showed up throughout the weekend all decked out in their horror related outfits. Two local TV programs were allowed access to interview the various Guests and some of the attendees as well. The ladies of Pretty Scary had an Awards presentation for Short Horror Films created by female Filmmakers and there were even a couple of DVD Distributors on hands such as Shock-O-Rama and Synapse. Michael L. Raso and Paige Kay Davis of Shock-O-Rama were very fun and enjoyable people to be around. I was really impressed with how personable all of the Celebrity Guests were to everyone who came up to just share their space for a few moments. This obviously was a big deal to several of these fans as they worship these icons of Horror. For people like Edwin Neal to come out from behind his table to joke with fans and Hershell Gordon Lewis to pose for pictures with everyone who asked was good to see. All the Guests were great to the fans and the fans were very appreciative. All in all I think the turnout was very respectable and a good time was had by all who attended. Here�s hoping they do it again next year and I will work on my Neal Diamond this time for my turn at the Karaoke machine.