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TEXAS FRIGHTMARE: EVEN THE SCARES ARE BIGGER IN TEXAS

With two of my favorite cosplayers of the weekend, Marc Meeker and Marcy Meeker

When I arrived at Texas Frightmare Weekend 2017, my expectations were admittedly high. After talking with many fans prior to the convention, I was anticipating an intimate and exciting fan centered event. TFW did not disappoint. From director Ted Raimi speaking to you on the dance floor at a party to Ric Flair sitting just feet away at the hotel bar (yep, both of these things took place), truly anything can happen. The two and a half day event included guests from cult classic film Fright Night, Bates Motel and many, many more. Additionally there were parties, karaoke, vendors, and cosplayers galore.

Justin and Abby Mitchell in character as Mungy and the Missus

Among the costumed attendees were Justin and Abby Mitchell who reprised their roles as Mungy and The Missus. Mungy is a crowd favorite at TFW. But what seems scary on the exterior has a really sweet meaning behind it. The Mitchells now plan their anniversary around the convention because of their shared love for horror. “We’ve been horror fans our whole life. I’ve loved clowns my entire life and after we got married we just kind of found out that we both enjoy it,” Justin said. Abby added, ‘We worked in haunted houses together and we started going to horror conventions in Kansas City to Cyrptocon. We found out [about Texas Frightmare Weekend] from some fans there and when we came last year it was so amazing that we decided we had to do this every year. We want to be VIP every year and it’s just special because we get to be someone that we’re not every single day. We get to let loose and the entire atmosphere here is so friendly. Everybody loves everybody else. It’s like a huge community, a huge family. And so it means so much to us that we just decided this has to be a part of our lives from now on.”

Nicole Erskine and her son Zack with Freddie Highmore from Bates Motel

The impressive guest list is always a draw for convention attendees and this year was no exception. “I was most excited to meet the cast of Bates Motel. They definitely were more than I expected. Usually the fans have to strike up conversations [but Max Thieriot and Nestor Carbonell] were talking to their fans as if they’ve known them which definitely adds to the whole experience,” Maritza Henson explained. Nicole Erskine, who attended the convention for the fourth time this year was also excited to meet the Bates Motel cast, including Freddie Highmore. Erskine was touched by the special attention Highmore paid to her young son. “As an adult, we don’t have many things that excite us. Excite us in a way similar to being a child on Christmas eve. Can you really think of ANYTHING that makes you feel like that anymore? Anything that makes you excited, and anxious, and so happy you can’t sleep? That’s what frightmare does to me,” Erskine said. “And that’s the reason I keep going back. It makes me excited again. In a way that nothing else in my everyday adult life does.”

Josh Rose with actress Elizabeth Daily

Second year attendee Nathan Burroughs enjoys the guests but cites meeting new people with the same interests as one of his favorite things about TFW. “And actually running into the guests  at various points of the weekend,” Burroughs said of running into Ric Flair at the hotel bar. Though many attendees I spoke to were returning guests, there were also many new faces at the convention including avid horror buff Josh Rose. “It was my first time attending the 2017 Texas Frightmare. As an avid horror movie fan I can happily say it was truly an honor to meet some of the most humbling and down to earth people from all over the world. I look forward to many more years of setting aside vacation days to attend this fun, exciting and marvelous adventure of Texas Frightmare.”

 

With one of the many Dark Hour Haunted House cosplayers on hand to take photos at Texas Frightmare Weekend

Whether you are looking to meet some of the creative geniuses behind some of your favorite television shows and movies or if you just want to connect with other horror fans, TFW needs to be on your list of conventions to attend.  While many conventions can leave you feeling rushed, TFW has a very relaxed vibe. “What I love about it is we can be from all over the country, the world but we come here and we’re all united under one atmosphere,” Mitchell said. “It’s pure joy and happiness.” The next Texas Frightmare Weekend is scheduled for May 4-6, 2018.

Road to Texas Frightmare Weekend

Purchase tickets online via the Texas Frightmare Weekend website.

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

Tom Payne as Paul “Jesus” Monroe – The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCs

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.”

Fright Night and Princess Bride star Chris Sarandon

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.

Pro wrestler Sting will be appearing at TFW May 6th.

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.

Stars of The Walking Dead head to Texas Frightmare Weekend

Tom Payne will be appearing alongside costars Pollyanna McIntosh and Austin Amelio.

The 12th annual Texas Frightmare Weekend Convention  presented by Arrow Video will be taking place May 5, 6, and 7 at the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport. Scheduled to attend are The Walking Dead’s very own Tom Payne (Jesus), Austin Amelio (Dwight), and new series regular Pollyanna McIntosh (Jadis). This will be the trio’s first time to appear at TFW.  Fright Night stars Chris Sarandon, Amanda Bearse, Tom Holland, William Ragsdale, Stephens Geoffreys, and Jonathan Stark will be also be in attendance.  Other guests include Malcom McDowell (Clockwork Orange, Startrek: Generations), Rick Hearst (Vampire Diaries, Brain Damage), Bates Motel’s Freddie Highmore, Max Theiriot and Nestor Carbonell and many more!

Spend the weekend meeting and greeting your favorite stars, listening in on panels and hitting up all of the TFW parties! For a complete list of guests, events, and ticket information, check out their website www.texasfrightmareweekend.com.