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Event Report: Horror Realm, Pittsburgh, PA

If you weren’t in Pittsburgh this past weekend, you missed one helluva good show. In fact, now that the alcohol has worn off, I find myself inundated with cool swag, great (if fuzzy) memories, and lots to write about. So here’s how it all went down from September 18th-20th, 2009.

Horror Realm

Friday we arrived just in time for the start of the movie Prometheus Triumphant and the first author panel, which featured Jonathan Maberry, James Melzer, and Rob Fox. Following them, Joe Knetter discussed the short film “Thirsty” based on his short story of the same name while Prey for the Beast showed in the movie room and authors David Dunwoody, Steven North, Kim Paffenroth, and Paul McConnel read from and discussed their newest books. At around 8pm, when the last of the straggling guests arrived, the cast of Pittsburg’s It’s Alive! appeared for their panel and, after a few moments of frozen posing, realized they were going to have to actually do something. So they answered questions while performing one of their “Chef Chicken” segments and made a damned fine buffalo chicken dip. The rest of the evening was taken up by the movie Die-Ner and a selection of shorts by “Bastard of Horror.” It was also about this time that people began slipping off, alcohol began to flow, and the convention really started to get into swing.

Day Two began with a makeup demonstration by the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, author panels by S.G. Brown, J.L. Bourne, Travis Adkins, and D.L. Snell, and film panels with Ken Foree, Scarlet Salem, and Jeff Lieberman. All the while, there was a horror trivia contest, a tattoo contest, and a costume contest (the winners to be announced later). As the sun went down, local Pittsburgh band The Devilz in the Detailz played the poolside party. Once they were done, Robert “Maniac Cop” Z’Dar and Tiffany Shepis took over the guitar and microphone, respectively, for a little while. Then it was back to the movie room for the world premiere of Ken Foree’s new movie Zone of the Dead (review forthcoming).

The last day of the con brought with it hangovers and satisfied faces, but they weren’t done yet. Authors Robert Best, Rhiannon Frater, Kody Boye, Eric S. Brown, yours truly Scott A. Johnson, and Z.A. Recht read from their latest works while movies Holy Shit! Zombies! and Demons Among Us played in the next room. Ken Foree, Bill Moseley, and Leslie Easterbrook also held the final film panel of the weekend.

While Horror Realm may seem like a small convention, it actually is the mutated and expanded form of Zombie Fest. This being the first year of its expansion, there was an amazing amount of fans in attendance, and the promoters, sponsors, and wranglers all did an admirable job of making sure things ran smoothly. The convention promises to get bigger and better next year, which means that people should start making plans to be in Pittsburgh now. It’ll be happening again September 17-19 in 2010.

Wanna see more? Check out the photo gallery!

Scott Johnson

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