Event Report: 2011 Texas Frightmare Weekend

The Texas Frightmare Weekend ran this past April 29th-May 1st in Dallas, and as Dread Central's only North Texas operative, it fell to me to bring you everything I could from the con. Unfortunately, for the past month I was held captive by an illicit donkey show south of the Border that's also a front for a Satanic drug cult. Just the other day I managed to escape and file this report. Yes, I'm fine now -- but please, don't anyone call me 'Sniffles' or I might suffer a serious relapse.

Texas Frightmare Weekend is one of the biggest horror conventions in Texas; yet, somehow I'd managed to miss it every year I've lived here. This year I wasn't going to let that happen, and my coverage started with live tweets all weekend long so feel free to add me at MrDarkDC on Twitter and read back to see what you missed! (Those tweets feature photos and content that will NOT be included here in the main coverage.)

The 2011 Texas Frightmare weekend kicked off on Thursday night, April 28th, with the Texas premiere of Lucky McKee's controversial new film, The Woman. After a screening of Offspring, the film that comes before it in the series based on Jack Ketchum's books of cannibals in the US Northeast, a brief red carpet was held for the filmmakers and stars of the film. Once things settled down, a packed house was treated to McKee's comedy short "Blue Like You", which stars The Woman co-star Carlee Baker. "Blue" and an amusingly disturbing short involving a talking burro cleansed our mental palates for the intensity that was to come.

Following the film was a Q&A with McKee and his troupe. This, combined with a short interview I was able to conduct with McKee at the con, will be posted at a later date here on Dread Central so stay tuned!

The con kicked off properly on Friday, April 29th. Early in the day I managed to get an interview with the legendary Sid Haig, which turned into what I feel is the most unique and compelling interview with the man in his 50th year of show business. Look for it soon right here on DC!

Friday afternoon the con officially opened with a red carpet parade of the guests through the lobby of the Sheraton Grand, the hotel hosting the show. Here, press and attendees were able to see the stars and take photos as they made their way down the press line doing interviews. I've never seen this done before at a con, and it really served to set the mood. The lobby was packed, the mood was intense, and the excitement was palpable. Con favorites like Robert Englund and Doug Bradley held court with the press while Human Centipede madmen Tom Six and Dieter Laser impressed everyone with their general insanity. I'm not exaggerating. Laser showed up to the red carpet in full costume from the film. Lab coat, sunglasses, the works. I overheard him telling one member of the press corps, "Laser is my name, and it is what I am! I AM A LASER BEAM!!!"

Shortly after the exhibition and guest signing ballrooms opened, the con kicked off with a screening of the amazing Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (review here), followed by the Southwest US premiere of Helldriver (review here). Director Yoshihiro Nishimura and co-star Eihi Shiina were at the con signing on behalf of Japanese relief charities all weekend so they presented the screenings of Nishimura-san's films.

It was Nishimura's first con in the US, and Shiina's first trip to the US, period! When introducing Helldriver, Miss Shiina said she had no idea her performance in Audition was so popular and well-known in the United States. The flood of people wanting her to sign Audition merchandise surprised her. Nishimura was asked how he came up with his bizarre creatures. He said he goes to his favorite bar and starts drinking. Eventually, he starts drawing. Then drinks some more. And repeat. (If you've seen a Nishimura film, this makes perfect sense.)

After the Helldriver screening, many attendees retired to the Helldriver Scaryoke event, which is just what it sounds like: karaoke at a horror convention with a bunch of drunken, festive fans, media, and guests belting out their favorite songs. I had an early morning the next day so only stayed for a few tunes and skipped the screening of Sharktopus that ended the night. Yes, I heard later that was a mistake, but that's what DVD is for, right?