Road to Texas Frightmare Weekend
Fan conventions are what dreams are made of. They make my fan girl heart flutter. And Texas Frightmare Weekend is no stranger to making dreams come true; if your dreams consist of things that go bump in the night or otherwise freak you the hell out. In just a few days horror enthusiasts will flock to the 12th annual TFW to connect with each other and the masterminds behind some of their favorite works of art.
While picking the brains of past TFW attendees, it was consistently said that this convention is one of the most intimate. Suzanne Rhodes, who has attended larger conventions described, “Other cons VIP tickets are oversold and are outrageously priced. Lines are poorly managed and photo ops are usually chaotic and unpleasant. The celebs are obviously in working mode and are sequestered.” Not at
TFW! According to Rhodes, you can often find your favorites actors walking the halls or having a cocktail at the bar. “The celebs are more accessible and as a result are friendlier and their true personalitiesoften come through. This makes for more natural encounters with celebs and most of [them] are more relaxed around their fans.” This year Suzanne is most excited about the guests from AMC’s The Walking Dead. “I have autographs or photo ops with 80% of the past and current characters on TWD. No small feat I can tell you.”
Brian Huggins, who has now been attending Texas Frightmare Weekend for a decade said, “I was initially drawn to TFW by my enjoyment of the horror genre. I heard a radio spot about it and decided I would go and see what it was all about.” Though sitting in on panels, seeing the screenings, vendors, and other fans in their cosplays are certainly enjoyable, connecting with the guests is Huggins’ favorite part. He has had the opportunity to meet many previous attendees including Matthew Lillard, Robert Englund, Ed Neal, and many more. “They all seem to enjoy meeting their fans and understand the time and money fans spend just to get a signature [on a photo]. They truly appreciate the opportunity to give that personal connection back to their fans.” Michelle Swafford, who has been attending TFW with her husband since 2015 said, “The chance to meet someone that I have watched a thousand times on TV or movies and ask them questions and just chat for a minute is an unforgettable experience.”
First time attendee Angela King is hoping for precisely this kind of cherished exchange when she comes face to face with her idol, Chris Sarandon. Though she loved him as Jerry Dandridge in Fright Night, it was his role in A Tale of Two Cities that solidified her loyalty as a Sarandon fan. When King was 11, she was deeply affected by the story and life lessons brought to life by Sarandon. After the movie, Angela discussed what she had learned with her mother, who told her she would soon be studying this story in her English class. That’s when King decided she wanted to get a degree in English, so that she could learn more about these stories that were shaping her young mind. And that’s exactly what she did. She went on to graduate with her English degree in 1991 from Belmont College. “Chris Sarandon is my hero and a mentor to me from the job he did crafting his characters. Growing up during the time I did, there was not really any way for me to locate him in order to tell him how he influenced me. You never know how you can impact another person. I would love to have a photo at my desk of myself and Sarandon. He still inspires me.”
The fan interactions have continued to draw horror enthusiasts in droves. Including TFW devotee Trace Andrews who stated, “I will be going to Texas Frightmare from now on, every year that I am physically able to. TFW seems more like a family affair geared for true fans.” The love and respect for TFW creator Loyd Cryer and the environment he has created is strong. Huggins said, “Loyd does a great job every year of getting terrific guests, having knowledgeable and customer oriented volunteers to cater to the attendees needs.” Many people cited affordability and the family oriented vibe as reasons they continue to return to TFW year after year.
Guests this year include The Walking Dead’s Pollyanna McIntosh, Austin Amelio, and Tom Payne. Also on the roster are pro wrestler Sting, cast members from Bates Motel, Shannon Elizabeth, a Fright Night reunion, and many more. For a complete guest list, check out Texas Frightmare Weekend’s official website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also follow our continuing coverage right here on our blog and social media.