By Terry Sherwood
The first Dead By Con Horror Festival took place February 16 – 17, 2019 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in grand style. Organizers Cris Arrau, Jon Pettipas and a host of others put on a well-organized fan extravaganza. The show featured guests Felissa Rose of Sleepaway Camp, and Tony Moran whose credits include the Shape from the original Halloween. Camille Keaton, of the original I Spit On Your Grave,premiered her new home invasion thriller Cry for the Badman.
Dead By Con Horror Festival also featured a Canadian appearance by David Howard Thornton, better known as “Art the Clown,” from Terrifier. Photo ops with all the guests and other fans were plentiful.
The weekend featured screenings of pictures such as the James Saito production of Herschel Gordon Lewis’s final film Bloodmania, and Matt Frame’s cult film Camp Death 3 in 2 D. Most of the film makers were in attendance to connect with the audience and offer insights in well attended and often lively Q&A sessions.
Short films are a mainstay at festivals which allow film makers to get their work seen. Dead By Con featured many of these over the two days. Making the screen drip with blood was Tales of the Campfireby Tim Bell, a curse of the briefcase thriller Lobisomfrom Director Juan de Dios Garduno, the post-apocalyptic Escape From Planet Zerodirected by Walton Zed, ghost hunting Mr. Dark Field of Screams by Jesse James Hennessy, and Rick Danforth’s blood ritual Mirror Mirror. Wipedfrom director Rohit Govardhanam, Popcorn and Bloodby Fabio Soares, James Caddens’s Five Course Meal, and Oscar's Bellfrom director Chris Conin, Noctambulusby Romén Rivero and Paralysisfrom director Tom Sajewski were also screened.
Two dealers’ rooms featured vintage posters, photos, and unusual items such as a stitched together Hellraiserbox by Stitchen Bitch. Attendees were able to move freely and pick up something for all ages.
A nearby local watering hole offered up evening libations, food and entertainment along with a surprise appearance a full-size shuttle bus with “Camp Arawak” on the side. One could ride the replica Sleepaway Campbus with Felissa Rose and others to and from the venue free of charge.
Dead By Con Horror Festival climaxed with a cos play event hosted by as in-house “Mortician of Ceremonies,” Valkyrie Smith of Deadly Dollz!
The vibe, the organization and the talent really came to the surface like a restless corpse bent on revenge with people braving the elements outside to enjoy themselves in all things Horror for a few hours. The Dead By Con Horror Festival in Edmonton will be something for all to attend in the future as it grows. Many will find that Horror fans of all ages are not frozen in Canada: we are merely waiting, watching, and ready to pounce.