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San Diego Comic-Con 2012: Top 13 Horror Options for When Hall H & Ballroom 20 Are Just Too Full

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San Diego Comic-Con 2012: Day 4 (July 15) Schedule Now Live; Heinlein Blood Drive InfoSure, horror fans hope to see “The Walking Dead”, Pacific Rim, the “Virtual Drive-In”, Resident Evil: Retribution, Silent Hill: Revelations, Elysium, & “Supernatural” in Hall H along with “Dexter”, “True Blood”, & “The Vampire Diaries” in Ballroom 20. But what if the lines are too long?

What we have here is your 2012 San Diego Comic-Con Horror Lover Survivor Guide for those times when no matter how early you thought you were for your favorite panel, it wasn’t nearly early enough. So shake off the disappointment and head for the next best thing – those smaller panels that elbow their way into the Convention Center to do battle with the big Hollywood productions that have nearly taken over the show. Or maybe take in some off-site activities and get a fresh point of view. Here are our Top 13 picks for when you need a Plan B. They include some untested new TV shows, a pair of saucy indie filmmakers, reflections on a true legend in the genre, the return of a CG animated feature based on a beloved video game, a Devil’s Carnival, a Vampire Slayer, and of course the heart and soul of the SDCC, actual comics!

1. The Walking Dead Escape— How’s this for a crazy idea? Ditch the Convention Center entirely for a while and head over to Petco Park for “The Walking Dead Escape” obstacle course. There are three ways to participate:

  • Survivor: Navigate through zombie-infected Evacuation Zone.
  • Walker: Embrace the inevitable and become one of the undead.
  • Spectator: Watch the apocalypse from the sidelines at the Escape Party.

    The world we know is about to end. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions will sweep the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. The only way to survive is to buy an Evac Pass, track the virus, and get out before it is too late. In a matter of months society will crumble, and San Diego will be first of many cities to fall. Only a few will escape. Some won’t even try.

    We’ve leaving off Preview Night (everyone knows that’s the primo shopping time anyway) and diving right into Thursday, July 12th, for the next couple of items on the list. We’ve tried to space things out enough to give you time to get from one to the next, but long lines are simply a fact of life at this show.

    2. 11:00-12:00 Twisted Twins: American Mary— Jen and Sylvia Soska (of Twisted Twins Productions and the makers of Dead Hooker in a Trunk) and Todd Masters (of MASTERSFX and make-up effects producer on True Blood) will discuss the use of prosthetics in horror. The Soskas will also address the challenges of working in a male-dominated genre. They will unveil a sizzle reel from their new film American Mary. Paula Lindberg (Ruby in American Mary) will also be on the panel, which is moderated by Beth Accomando (author of the KPBS blog Cinema Junkie). Room 5AB

    3. 2:00-3:00 Inside the Shadow Show: Ray Bradbury’s Lasting Impact on Literature, Comics, Film, and Beyond— Literary legend Margaret Atwood (The Handmaiden’s Tale) and acclaimed horror and fantasy writer Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) are joined by Sam Weller (The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury) and internationally acclaimed horror writer Mort Castle (The Strangers), the co-editors of Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradburyl to reflect on the deep and lasting impact of Bradbury on their work, literature, comics, cinema, and beyond. Moderated by Chris Ryall, CEO and editor-in-chief of IDW Comics. Room 5AB

    4. 3:45-4:45 Image: The Walking Dead— The bestselling, award-winning comic The Walking Dead has been a critical and commercial success — and its TV adaptation on AMC holds its own weight as a record-setting juggernaut. Join creator/writer Robert Kirkman and series artist Charlie Adlard for a rare sit-down, where they will discuss the past, present, and future of the decade’s most talked about zombie phenomenon. A Q&A will follow the conversation between the visionary collaborators. Room 6A

    5. 7:00-8:00 History of the Modern Zombie— Zombie Research Society hosts a panel of leading zombie experts moderated by ZRS founder Matt Mogk (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies). Panelists include Max Brooks (Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z), Scott Kenemore (Zen of Zombie, Zombie, Ohio), Aaron Sagers (CNN Geek Out, entertainment writer, TV host), Steven Schlozman, M.D. (zombie autopsies, Harvard Medical School), and Bradley Voytek, Ph.D. (University of California, San Francisco). Join them for a spirited discussion about the evolution and impact of the modern zombie, and get all your pressing questions answered before it’s too late! Room 7AB

    Friday the 13th is, of course, packed with horror goods, and one way to kick it off is with a double feature of “Cult” and “666 Park Avenue”, two promising new TV series that are running back-to-back in Room 6BCF.

    6. 11:30-12:30 Cult Pilot Screening and Q&A— There is television…and there is the world we live in. In the shadows where they meet, there is Cult. In this visceral thriller, a young reporter teams up with a television researcher to investigate a series of disturbing disappearances connected to a wildly popular new television show called…Cult. With everyone a suspect and no one to trust but each other, they follow an obscure trail of tantalizing clues deeper into the cult of Cult. Moving from the real world into the labyrinthine world of the series and its two characters-a detective and a charismatic cult leader-events inside the show begin to bleed into the outside world and vice versa as the certainty of what’s real and what’s illusion crumbles into dust. Be among the first to see a special pilot screening, followed by a Q&A with creator and executive producer Rockne S. O’Bannon (Farscape) and series stars Matt Davis (The Vampire Diaries), Jessica Lucas (Psych), Alona Tal (Supernatural), and Robert Knepper (Heroes). Cult will air midseason on The CW and is produced by Fake Empire and Rockne S. O’Bannon Television in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios. Room 6BCF

    12:45-1:45 666 Park Avenue Pilot Screening and Q&A— Spend Friday the 13th getting to know the residents of the historic-and otherworldly-Manhattan apartment building The Drake, during this special screening of 666 Park Avenue. Sexy, seductive, and inviting, The Drake maintains a dark hold over its residents, tempting them through their ambitions and desires, in this new drama that’s host to an epic struggle of good versus evil. Series stars Terry O’Quinn (Lost), Vanessa Williams (Desperate Housewives), Rachael Taylor (Charlie’s Angels), and Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters), along with executive producers Matthew Miller (Chuck) and David Wilcox (Fringe), will be on hand for a special Q&A following the screening. From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Alloy Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television, 666 Park Avenue will air Sundays at 10/9c on ABC this fall. Room 6BCF

    7. 3:00-4:00 Drawing on Your Nightmares: Horror in Comics— Throughout comics’ storied history, horror has been an important part of the medium. In the fall of 2012, Dark Horse unveils a whole slate of new titles guaranteed to have you running for the covers. Dark Horse horror line editor Scott Allie is joined by actor-turned-comics writer Lance Henrikson and creators Eric Powell (The Goon), Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre), Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), Paul Tobin (Colder), and others for an exciting look at this year’s most promising four-color thrills and chills! Room 23ABC

    8. 6:00-7:00 Girls Gone Genre— Listen to and talk with women who write, read, game, and perform in arenas that are statistically dominated by men. What happens when traditionally “male” genres are reinvented by female writers and embraced by female fans? Sex and the City (or for that matter, Girls), it ain’t. Meet the women who like to play with trucks and Barbies. And Wolverine action figures. And flux capacitors. Panelists: Marti Noxon (Buffy, Angel), Jane Espenson (Battlestar Galactica, Torchwood), Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body), Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood), Angela Robinson (True Blood) and Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead, The Terminator. Room 7AB

    9. 7:30-8:30 Resident Evil: Damnation Worldwide Trailer Premiere, 7-Minute Sneak Peek, and Filmmaker Q&A— The next action-packed installment in the Resident Evil franchise continues. Fans will have the opportunity to watch the worldwide 2D trailer premiere (in English) of Resident Evil: Damnation, the all-new, 3D sequel to the full-length CG animated feature Resident Evil: Degeneration, based on the Resident Evil (known in Japan as Biohazard) series of games. Fans will also get an exclusive look at the first 7 minutes of the Japanese theatrical version of the film, followed by a Q&A with Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Japanese producer of the Resident Evil franchise) and Makoto Kamiya (Resident Evil: Damnation director). Room 5AB

    10. 11:59 The Devil’s Carnival— Friday night it’s time to go off-site again for a special screening of director Darren Lynn Bousman and writer/performer Terrance Zdunich’s groundbreaking musical film fusion event The Devil’s Carnival. The show at Gaslamp Theatre (701 Fifth Avenue) will feature a live slideshow performance, a costume contest, never-before-seen footage of REPO! The Genetic Opera, and a Q&A with Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich. Attending cast will include Alexa Vega, Emilie Autumn, and Marc Senter. Tickets are now available by clicking here.

    Saturday, July 14th, provides the biggest challenges of the weekend with a ridiculous amount of horror TV shows battling for your attention. We suggest starting off with:

    11. 1:00-2:00 A Conversation with Bryan Fuller— Join acclaimed television writer/executive producer Bryan Fuller (Heroes), the creative force behind Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls, and Dead Like Me, for a Q&A with fans as he discusses two of his highly anticipated projects, Hannibal and Mockingbird Lane, both at NBC. In the midseason drama Hannibal, one of the most fascinating literary characters comes to life on television for the first time: psychiatrist-turned-serial-killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The recently shot pilot Mockingbird Lane is an imaginative reinvention of the 1960s comedy The Munsters. Room 7AB

    Saturday afternoon is so chock-full of competing options if the aforementioned dynamic duo of “The Vampire Diaries” and “True Blood” don’t float your boat, we’ll let three others vie for 12th place on our list:

    12. 3:00-4:00 Grimm Q&A/Season 2 Preview— Grimm, NBC’s police procedural with a supernatural mythology, returns to Comic-Con to kick off its second season packed with chills and revelations. Be among the first to get a glimpse of season 2 and participate in a Q&A session with the cast and producers: David Giuntoli (Turn the Beat Around), Russell Hornsby (Lincoln Heights), Bitsie Tulloch (The Artist), Silas Weir Mitchell (Prison Break), Reggie Lee (The Dark Knight Rises), Sasha Roiz (Caprica), Bree Turner (The Ugly Truth), and executive producers/writers Jim Kouf (Angel) and David Greenwalt (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), executive producer/director Norberto Barba (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), and executive producers Sean Hayes (Hot in Cleveland) and Todd Milliner (Hot In Cleveland). Produced by Universal Television and Hazy Mills, Grimm returns late summer on NBC and Grimm Season One will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 7. Room 6A

    3:00-4:00 Being Human— This panel is a beast. Stars Sam Witwer (Aidan), Meaghan Rath (Sally), and Sam Huntington (Josh) join executive producer Anna Fricke to discuss the forthcoming third season of Syfy’s hit series about a vampire, a ghost, and a werewolf-all just trying to be human. Moderated by Drusilla Moorhouse (Zap2It.com). Indigo Ballroom, Hilton San Diego Bayfront

    4:00-5:00 The Following Screening and Q&A— Don’t miss an exclusive pilot screening of The Following, the terrifying new thriller from creator/executive producer Kevin Williamson (Scream) and executive producer Marcos Siega (The Vampire Diaries). Series stars Kevin Bacon (Mystic River) and James Purefoy (Rome) will join the producers for a Q&A after the screening. This fast-paced drama follows Bacon’s character Ryan Hardy and the FBI as they are challenged with the ever-growing web of murder around them, masterminded by Purefoy’s devious Joe Carroll, who dreams of writing a dark novel with Hardy as his protagonist. From Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Outerbanks Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television, The Following premieres midseason on FOX. Room 6BCF

    Finally we come to Sunday, July 15th, home to what looks like it could one of the most exciting panels of the weekend depending on who the surprise guest(s) turn out to be:

    13. 2:15-3:15 Buffy Turns 20: Celebrating 20 Years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer— Once upon a time, Buffy Summers became the Slayer, the Chosen One who proved a young heroine could battle the forces of darkness instead of playing damsel in distress. Stars from the hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Nicholas Brendon, Clare Kramer) join forces with Dark Horse editor Scott Allie, writer/producer Jane Espenson, illustrator Georges Jentry, and the original Buffy herself (Kristy Swanson, star of the 1992 motion picture), not to mention a surprise guest or two, to celebrate 20 years of slayage. Room 6BCF

    And there you have it. Did we miss something you’re hoping to see next week? Chime in with your favorite panels below, and keep it here for more San Diego Comic-Con 2012 news as it comes.

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  • Debi Moore

    I'll see you on the other side...