Film and TV

The Texas Frightmare Weekend Was a Horror Film Fan's Dream Come True

Ever since I can remember, I've been into horror films and scary things. I was kind of a loner as a young child, and watching old monster movies was a constant activity for me when I was a kid. As I got a little older, I was fortunate to be around during a golden age of horror films, when directors like John Carpenter, George Romero, and Tobe Hooper were busy creating some of the best fright films ever made. I had no real interest in sports or other things that most of my peers seemed to get into as we got older, but I became well educated on the people who made my favorite horror films come to life.

Horror conventions have been around for awhile now, but I had never been able to attend one until relatively recently, when I helped a friend and his crew film the Housecore Horror Film Festival late last year in Austin. After meeting the cast of the original "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", who were guests at that festival, I decided I was going to try to attend more horror conventions in the future.

When I found out that the Texas Frightmare Weekend would be happening May 1 - 3  in Dallas, I decided that I would make the long journey to attend on Saturday, and I'm glad I did.

The convention was held at a Hyatt Regency in the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, and driving around its maze like roads made me long for the comparably simple design of Bush or Hobby Airport in Houston. Once inside the hotel, I was impressed with how nice the place was, and also immediately shocked at the sheer number of people attending the convention. Folks wearing impressive costumes were everywhere, as thousands of horror fans milled about. I accidentally brushed against Reggie Bannister, a famous actor from the Phantasm movies, as he quickly walked past me. A moment later, a person in an impressive demon costume posed while people took photos, and I tried to get my bearings as best I could.

As I left the main entry area and found one of the huge halls where celebrities would be signing autographs, my close friend, and local Houston club and concert promoter Robert Ehlinger found me, and led me to the end of a long line to meet Malcolm McDowell. Robert was staying for the whole weekend, and I decided that next year I would do the same. Robert was clearly having a blast, and when I asked him what his favorite part of the Frightmare Weekend had been he answered, "Getting to meet C. Thomas Howell. I've always been a huge fan of "Tank" and "Red Dawn" since childhood, and I let him know that."

In a festival with so many stars attending, Robert met several others that had impressed him over the weekend.

"Meeting Neve Campbell, Malcolm McDowell, and Elvira also put me on cloud nine, and this year I finally got to walk around in costume. I learned how many people want to take photos of you while suited up."

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Chris Lane is a contributing writer who enjoys covering art, music, pop culture, and social issues.