This weekend, I did something that I usually would not do as invited press to a Horror-convention: I went as a regular patron with my wife and 1 year old daughter. Here in New Jersey, we have Monster Mania and Chiller, both conventions going strong after so many years but this time Director Ryan Scott Weber (Pretty Fine Things, Mary Horror Trilogy and Zombies Inc.) sprung as a contender, bringing horror back to the fans. From celebrity guests such as Barry Bostwick (Rocky Horror Picture Show) Diane Franklin (Better Off Dead, The Last American Virgin) to the cast of the original Night of The Demons to The Goonies reunion all the way to a rare, live performance by Crispin Glover, but the fun didn’t end there. We had a film festival, Q&As, cosplayers, and vendors stacked wall to wall. Some of the vendors included were LLoyd Kaufman and the Troma team and Joel Robinson (The artist behind so many Scream Factory’s cover art)
I had the pleasure in meeting up with fan favorites of The Horror Syndicate, Justin Seaman (Director of The Barn) Director, Loren W Lepre and Steven Carino ( The Dark Military). Both The Barn and The Dark Military were featured at NJ Horror Con with wonderful reviews. Talking to the Director of The Barn, Justin Seaman explained to me the initial reaction of his movie from the patrons at the convention. Seaman told me that people didn’t know what to expect the first day before The Barn was featured followed by a Q&A. ‘People walked by, they asked me what my movie was about and told me that they wanted to check it that night before purchasing a copy” Seaman than told me that The Barn had a rough start with only a few audience in the room but after a half hour the room began to fill. After The Barn was over people were speechless and it wasn’t until Linnea Quigley urged the crowd to ask questions about the movie. Linnea broke the ice and almost everyone raised their hand to ask Seaman questions the Q&A ran a half hour overtime and were asked by hotel staff to wrap it up. While my wife and I went to go purchase our Barn merchandise the next day, Robert Bruce (AMC’s Comic Book Men) walked by and told me that The Barn was incredible and I need to own a copy. Justin Seaman opened up about the struggles of financing his movie and ducking from major distributors. Seaman told me that he took a chance with the retro-horror look and the Synth-Wave score (during the time of production, synth-wave just started to make its way into popularity) knowing that he believed in his work as well as his wife, cast and crew and everyone stuck together to make sure that The Barn was finished.
The Dark Military is a favorite of mine, so I went the the screening to see the reactions of the audience. What works so well for The Dark Military is Loren W. Lepre’s passion to make an intense action but come out as different than what everyone would expect. Loren W. Lepre and Steven Carino’s biggest concern was asking the audience how they felt after watching The Dark Military. They wanted to hear people say that it was different, and yes it truly is different than your typical hunt or be hunted film. The action and suspense didn’t hold back and you could tell that the audience were engaged enough to wait for The Dark Military’s final message!
After the screener, my wife, daughter and I went onto the vendors for some shopping and photo ops with some of the guests. We met Linnea Quigley and Barry Bostwick (both were phenomenal and extremely hospitable) in fact, you really could tell the all of the guest wanted to be there as well as the fans. We ran into our cosplay favorites Father Evil, Grin and Karnage who were totally engaged with the crowd creating memorable moments with each and individual guest that wizzed by!
Ryan Scott Weber did one hell of a job with his second NJ Horror Con of 2017 and The Horror Syndicate looks forward to the future with more NJ Horror Cons.