Conventions are back people! This past weekend, April 9-11 at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Ohare Hotel, the dead came back to Chicago – Days of the Dead horror convention that is. This intrepid journalist is back attending cons for the first time in well over a year, and boy did I miss it! Keep reading to get all the details of my day among the many like-minded fans and celebrities at the con that I consider my dysfunctional and distant family members from many other mothers.
First and foremost, I would like to sincerely thank Days Of The Dead for setting me up with my press pass for the day, I truly appreciate it! I would’ve attended for the entire weekend, but I had to settle for only Saturday due to the fact that $25 bucks a day to park is too rich for this reporter’s blood.
I’ve been to a lot of cons in my day and I have to say, the people who run DOTD con are some of the best in the business. Even in the midst of a pandemic, they put on one hell of a show. I applaud their precautions and protocols for keeping people safe in this pandemic. The organizers have always been the nicest people I’ve run across in the biz.
You may be asking what goes on at one of these conventions if you’ve never been to one before. Due to the Covid pandemic, some things just aren’t feasible at this time due to concerns. Normally, you could expect some film screenings throughout the weekend. As movie theaters are not fully opened yet, you can understand that screenings would have to be cut out at this time. But that still leaves plenty to keep one occupied during the event.
Most people come to the cons to meet their favorite horror celebrities. This weekend featured a bevy of great celebs to visit with. The list included Joe Bob Briggs (Monstervision, The Last Drive In) and his henchwoman Darcy the mail girl, Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Dave Sheridan (Doofy, Scary Movie), Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 & 5, RZ’s Halloween), Linnea Quigley (Return of the Living Dead, Night of the Demons), Amelia Kinkade (Night of the Demons 1,2,and 3), William Forsythe (RZ’s Halloween, The Devil’s Rejects), Charlie Benante (Anthrax drummer), Carla Harvey (Artist and singer for Butcher Babies), C.J. Graham (Jason from Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives), Tony Todd (Candyman, Night of the Living Dead), Lisa Loring (Wednesday from the original Addams Family), Thom Matthews (Return of the Living Dead, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives), Susan Backlinie (Chrissy from Jaws), Tony Moran (Original Michael Myers from Halloween), Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor, Heat), David Naughton (Jack in American Werewolf In London), Noah Hathaway (Battlestar Galactica, The Never Ending Story).
Each celebrity has their own separate table where fans can interact, purchase pictures, and other assorted merch from the celebrity. Celebrities are at their respective table most of the day except for maybe exclusive signings or panel appearances or meal breaks.
It is important to note that each celebrity does charge for almost everything during a convention. This is how they earn money when not making films or TV shows. I will say that the celebrity charges has gotten completely out of hand, but I won’t go into that rant here, it’s for another editorial entirely, and that has nothing to do with Days of the Dead convention.
For those who don’t want to spend money at the celebrity tables, fans can attend for free the celebrity panels. Each celebrity has their own one-hour panel during the con where they speak about their films and take questions from the fans in attendance. These panels are a really fun way to get close to your favorite celeb and hear them speak about whatever films they are known most for. You can hear anecdotes about films they were in and you get a chance to ask whatever question you want to know the answer to. The celebs are very gracious about taking questions and interacting with the fans.
On the Saturday I was there, I sat in on every panel of the day. I recorded each panel, which you can watch down below.
The first panel I sat in on was with Felissa Rose. She spoke mainly about her role in the classic horror film, Sleepaway Camp. She also talked about her producer role for the last 3 Slayer videos and she spoke about a few of her upcoming film projects. I’ve seen Felissa Rose several times at cons in the past and she is always a fan favorite. She’s very nice to the fans and very accomodating as well.
The next panel I attended was for actor Tony Moran. Most people don’t really know his name or his face. He is very singular in the horror genre as portraying the man behind the mask in the original John Carpenter Halloween from 1978. The notoriety of his first job playing Michael Myers in that film has gotten him bit parts in several other films and TV shows over the years, but he is primarily known for being the first Michael Myers. You can watch the video of his panel below.
The final panel of the day I attended was with Linnea Quigley and Amelia Kinkade for a special Night of the Demons reunion panel. During this panel, the two spoke about NOTD and the fun they had filming it. Each also spoke about separate projects they’re known for. You can see for yourself in the video of the panel below.
Watch my video interview with David Naughton from American Werewolf In London below!
Finally, one of the best parts of these cons is the huge dealer rooms they have. If you’re a collector of horror or sci-fi memorabilia, it’s a gold mine. I always feel like a kid in a candy store at these things. Even if I had a wealth of disposable income (which I don’t) I could never have enough money for stuff to buy. We’re talking everything from T-shirts, models, figures, posters, jewelry, lobby cards, masks, and almost anything else you can think of is there for sale.
Days Of The Dead will be back in Chicago again this November. So if you have kids that are fans of monsters or movies, or even if you’re a monster kid yourself, make a point to attend when they come back in November. The prices are reasonable, the people are great, and it really is a great time to be had by people of all ages.
You can check out my gallery of pictures from the convention down below and remember you can always click on each pic to enlarge: