Event Coverage: HorrorCon UK 2017

As any horror fan worth his/her salt will tell you, over in England we’ve been spoiled because in theory we have had two HorrorCons in one year. The 2016 edition, which presented us with the likes of Kane Hodder, Doug Bradley, David McNaughton and Linnea Quigley, rolled around last July; and this, the third edition of England’s premier horror event, was held earlier this month in Sheffield, England.

Wendy, Gill and her team of horror fiends (which is an ironic title since they couldn’t have been any friendlier) outdid themselves once again with a host of some of the most famous and iconic horror stars from the present and yesteryear. All eyes of course were on a veteran actor, the one and only Sid Haig, reanimated of sorts by the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Rob Zombie this past decade. Haig was incredibly down to earth and very cool; we knew he would be, but seeing him in the flesh just confirmed that. Haig even mentioned a certain Uncle Creepy and to give our regards to him!

All Photos: David Bronstein

The queue for Haig’s autograph complete with a chat was huge, but he remained animated telling each and every fan a small snippet from his incredible career. Later in the Q&A panel Haig was asked firstly about his exploitation movies with the great director Jack Hill and the many movies that he has starred in with 70’s star Pam Grier. Topic of conversation quickly turned to his Captain Spaulding role in Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and then its sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. Haig reminded the audience that he wasn’t Captain Spaulding, meaning there was much more to him than the famed clown character; however, he did appreciate that his role had become, even after little more than a decade, an iconic horror villain. When a fan asked if he would ever revive the role – for instance, if Zombie decided to do a prequel, he confirmed that he would jump at the chance.

Haig was amusing throughout, and okay, even though he didn’t blurt out the lines ”tasty fried chicken” or ”What’s the matter? Don’t you think clowns are funny?,” he did something that was terrifically classy. Before he started his talk, he looked at the audience face to face and said, “Remember… I am only here because you are sitting there.”  It was 10 words that instantly filled your heart with even more gratitude for the man. In his photoshoot later on a fan actually came in with a Captain Spaulding 18-inch figure. “Look! It’s mini you,” said the fan. “So it is,” replied Haig.

The event organizers gave us a special introduction to the one and only Heather Langenkamp, whom the folks at HorrorCon UK had tried to get for a few years. Here she was in all her radiant glory. Langenkamp will of course always be remembered as Freddy Krueger’s nemesis in the classic A Nightmare on Elm Street where she played Nancy Thompson. Langenkamp was happy to talk about her own nightmares and the two movie sequels she appeared in, the fan favorite A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, where she revealed that she was happy to be killed off, especially in such shocking fashion when Freddy pretends to be her recently deceased father. And then of course she had positive words for the much missed Wes Craven and his underrated return to the franchise with New Nightmare, which Langenkamp agreed was still one of the scariest roles she had been in.

The beautiful Elvira, aka Cassandra Peterson (sadly, with no makeup on) was another guest, and she made up for the Elvira no-show with her warmth and gratitude towards the event. Plus there were plenty of Elvira fans present; let’s just say this reporter had to know when to duck and dive. Peterson talked about how her show as horror host in the classic “Movie Macabre” elevated her to stardom which culminated into the classic 1986 movie Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. But would you know that one of her very first roles on television was in “Happy Days”? Well there you go.

Thom Mathews was a late fill-in guest for David Warner, who unfortunately had to cancel due to commitments on the new Mary Poppins film, but Mathews was an inspired choice to have in the lineup. For one he arguably starred in one of the best horror movies of the 80’s in The Return of the Living Dead; his character died in that, but Mathews was presumed to be so cool that they just let him star again in the sequel. Sandwiched in between these movies he starred as Tommy Jarvis in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, which has a lot of love here at Dread Central and in the horror community. So to get the chance to be in Mathews’ presence was pretty special, and he mentioned that even more cuts were made to Jason Lives than the work print suggests.

Linda Hayden, most famous for her roles in Hammer Horror’s Dracula franchise, was also here. Stunning for her age, she signed autographs, posed for fans and reminisced about one of horror’s biggest icons, Christopher Lee.

And if that wasn’t enough, a certain Aussie was here, Mr. Mick Taylor, aka John Jarratt, and thank God Jarratt is one of the friendliest people you could ever wish to meet. (Note to self: That’s why he’s such a great actor.) For his Q&A Jarratt broke with tradition of sitting down to answer fans questions and stood up and walked around with the microphone. It was a very refreshing idea, and if horror ever deserts him, Jarratt certainly has a career as stand-up comedian. You read that here first!

Apart from the star-studded guests were the masses of stalls selling everything from model kits, masks, cushions, t-shirts, you name it… it was here. Then of course there were the fans dressed up as their favorite fiends from Freddy Krueger to Jason Voorhees. Kavity the Clown was back again from last year, and one fan went to a lot of trouble to dress up as the deceased character Nathan Grantham from Creepshow, “I want my cake!” One word: Wow!

HorrorCon UK will surely be returning next year, and we already want to know who the special guests will be! The event has outdone itself each passing year, and so the anticipation will be nail-biting. Until then, ghouls, you’ll have to catch up with all your classic horror movies and guess who’ll be coming to dinner in 2018.

You can find out even more information on this year’s event and be the first to know about HorrorCon UK 2018 by clicking here.

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David Bronstein

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