Texas Frightmakers: Interview with Loyd Cryer
I was inspired to do this series of monthly interviews while attending last year's Texas Frightmare Weekend convention. They had a series of panels called "Texas Frightmakers", and I lifted the title as it seemed like a fantastic idea. As such, it's only right to interview the founder and bossman behind the con, Loyd Cryer.
Horror fans everywhere adore conventions. The worldwide "horror family" is tight-knit, and both horror folks and horror fans are, in my opinion, the single kindest and gregarious section of fandom out there. Texas Frightmare Weekend is headed into its seventh year with a new space and a ton of amazing guests. Loyd Cryer founded the con in 2006, and it continues to grow under his charge. By adhering to a policy of "what the fans want", it continues to shine as one of the finest places for horror fans to celebrate their bloody love for the genre.
Mr. Dark: Tell us how you got started with Texas Frightmare Weekend.
Loyd Cryer: We never had a horror convention in this area. So I was talking to my wife one day and stated that I thought we should start a horror convention. Why should everyone else have the fun and leave Texas out? My wife got behind me on the idea wholeheartedly and really encouraged me to go for it.
MD: This upcoming year is full of changes, including a massive new venue. Let us in on the details surrounding those changes and what we can look forward to in 2012 from TFW.
LC: The biggest thing, as you mentioned, is the venue change. The event space is three times the size of our last venue. Plus they have almost three times the hotel rooms. So we'll have room to breathe! We've outgrown four venues in six years.
Otherwise, we plan to keep things basically the same. We always strive to make the experience better for attendees, though. Through a yearly survey we ask them what they would like to see change. We'll implement a few of those changes, but the basic core of what people love about the show will stay the same.
MD: TFW struck me as very different (and, frankly, better) than many of the cons I've been to, even some of the massive cons thrown on the West Coast. In your opinion, what makes the difference between a good con and a great con?
LC: Well, thanks for saying so! That's really flattering to hear. Honestly, I haven't attended any other horror conventions other than one a few years ago. As a horror fan I simply try to present what I would like to see at a horror convention. That has always been my viewpoint: Don't worry about the competition; just do the event that I would like to attend.
MD: TFW has a variety of activities for attendees unlike many cons. Hearse shows, zombie walks, red carpet events for the guests, "scaryoke"...what inspired you to diversify from the traditional guests/panels/vending routine usually found at cons, and what ideas do you have for the future?
LC: Most every event we have done has been suggested by attendees. When we get these suggestions, we run them up the flagpole and decide if they will work or not. The hearse show, zombie walk, red carpet and scaryoke were all suggestions that we ran with. We want to add even more events this year. Attendees have always asked for more parties and events in the evening after the vendor and guest rooms close so we plan to ramp that up this year. This year we're planning a "prom" that horror fans will die for.
MD: You've had some great guests over the years. Who's your dream guest that you have never been able to land? Who would you love to land in 2012 that continues to elude you?
LC: Anyone that the fans overwhelmingly request like Rob and Sheri Zombie, Kurt Russell, folks like that. We're always open to suggestions, and the more we get for a particular guest, the more we go after them.
MD: The name says it all: Texas Frightmare Weekend. Why Texas, and what makes Texas such a magnet for horror?
LC: I'm a native Texan and can't imagine doing it anywhere else. The fans here are like no other fans on the planet. The same thing goes for why Texas is a "magnet" for horror. The fans make it that way!
MD: What's your personal favorite TFW moment?
LC: Yoshihiro Nishimura and Dieter Laser at the pool. Hands down, the craziest party ever! The video speaks for itself. (Mr. Dark Note: This mash-up featuring the star of The Human Centipede and the director of Tokyo Gore Police is a must-see, but rather NSFW unless a bunch of weirdoes wearing Japanese bathing garments that display their backsides is okay with your job. That said, you have to see this. No, really. Show it to your mom, especially if she's a fan of Dieter Laser. If she isn't, show her Human Centipede. I suggest saving it for her birthday. Right after the whole family blows out the candles.)
MD: My traditional last question: What's your favorite horror movie?
LC: The Exorcist
We'd like to thank Loyd for taking the time to speak with us and for continuing to listen to the fans to make TFW better year after year. As mentioned in the interview, TFW 2012 is in the works for May 4th, 5th, and 6th with a ton of amazing guests and events already scheduled. A They Live reunion, a Carrie reunion, and legendary Italian directors Ruggero Deodato and Mario Bava are the current highlights with more names being added all the time along with cool one-of-a-kind events like an actual "Prom Night" to coincide with the con's Carrie reunion. Keep watching Dread Central for more coverage of Texas Frightmare Weekend, and come back next month for another Texas Frightmaker!
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