Event Report: Crypticon 2011
This past Memorial Day, members of The Night Crew podcast were invited to act as panelists and moderators for the annual horror media convention known as Crypticon Seattle.
Held in the SeaTac Hilton and lasting three days, this multi-media event has always delivered the goods as far as vendors, guests, and programming is concerned and this year was no exception. What follows is a day-by-day, hour-by-hour diary of sorts of the events… at least the ones I was involved in.
The day is an atypically warm one in Seattle as I arrived at the convention with my crew. We check into the hotel and immediately head out to get our badges. Walking into the exhibition hall, there is already a line of ticket-holders waiting to get in, dressed in the usual horror convention attire of jeans, horror-themed tee-shirts, and costume. We get our badges and I meet up with my Night Crew compatriots, Sean “The Butcher” Smithson (Fangoria, Twitchfilm) and renowned horror writer and journalist Phillip Nutman (Fangoria, and the novel, Wet Work). This is my first time meeting Phillip face-to-face (I’d only spoken with him over the phone, in email, or via Skype) and I immediately like him. He’s smart, funny, and just acerbic enough to make me feel right at home.
Checking my watch, I excuse myself and head out to my first panel: “We Love Them, We Hate Them, But What Horror Films are the Best?” I arrived at the conference room and find Rotten comic writer, Mark Rahner, already there. There’s a good crowd gathered, considering that it’s late Friday afternoon and many attendees are still making their way here from work. The conversation runs the gamut, first defining what “best” means and how that might run up against “favorite.” Mark and I rattle off a list of favorite films in each sub-genre and I notice more than a few people taking notes.
As soon as the panel ends, I run off to my next scheduled talk. My assistant and I look over my schedule and she shows me a spreadsheet of what lays ahead for the weekend. Sure enough, the next few days are packed with either discussion groups or celebrity interviews with only an hour here and there unspoken for. I do a quick count and end up something like twenty panels in three days. Yup… this is going to be fun.
I enter the room for the panel and notice that it’s already full. My Night Crew partner, Smithson, is already there. We talk for a bit and I notice a beautiful, dark-haired woman come into the room. Immediately, I recognize her as Suspiria’s Barbara Magnolfi.
Introductions are made and the three of us take the stage along with 19 Nocturn Boulevard podcast host, Julie Hoverson. I brought along a bottle of J&B scotch which, as anyone who knows gaillos knows, is a staple of the genre. I put it on the table and threats of actually opening it get bandied about (we don’t). The panel begins with some general talk about the Italian sub-genre and its influence on such things as Poliziotteschi and slasher films, but given that Ms. Magnolfi is here, the direction of the panel soon shifts to focus on her, her career, and what she has planned for the future. Barbara is funny, insightful and delivers some great stories about working with the likes of Dario Argento, Sergio Martino, and Ruggero Deodato.
As the hour winds down, she drops two bombs on the crowd. One is that she is planning a singing career. The other is that she once screen-tested for a role as Vampirella. Sean and I completely geek out at this and the crowd eats it up.
Photos with Barbara are taken and I quickly run off to my next talk, the subject of which is fiction writing and where ideas come from. I meet the other panelists – newcomer Crystal Connor and longtime gaming/fiction guru, SatyrPhil Brucato – and we get started. It’s good to see SatyrPhil, having met him months earlier at a show in Seattle. I liked him then… and like him even more now that we’ve had a chance to actually talk without music thumping overhead. The panel is scheduled for two hours, but there’s enough ground to cover and we manage to keep the audience interested.
Next is our final panel of the day. I meet up with Sean and we make our way to the conference room. The hour is scheduled to be a “Roundtable discussion on horror,” but with Phil having to beg off of the talk, Sean and I decide to just chat with the crowd and talk movies. I remember the J&B bottle and pull it from my bag. Without hesitating, Sean breaks the seal and the drinking commences. A fun and somehow fitting end to our first day at Crypticon.