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Sunday, May 1, 2011

TEXAS FRIGHTMARE WEEKEND 2011

TEXAS FRIGHTMARE WEEKEND is the southwest's premiere horror convention for the last six years! I have been an attendee of TFW since 2007. This year's TFW was held again at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Irving, TX and this year's show is the biggest yet! Although I was somewhat disappointed with last years convention since I didn't get to meet the main guest: John Carpenter, I did however meet and get autographs from Lance Henriksen and Meg Foster! This year's special guests included: Clive Barker, Robert Englund, Malcom McDowell, Doug Bradley, Roger Corman, Angus Scrimm, and the cast of Human Centipede and Saw! Like most conventions the big draw is to get autographs from celebrities which has grown into somewhat of a hobby for me as I have collected many signatures over the years. Unfortunately these kind of conventions can be very expensive, not only is there the price of admission, but also the guests often charge anywhere from $20 to $50 just for an autograph and/or photo, then there's the dealers room where you can buy all kinds of merchandise and collectibles. My main objective this year was to obtain an autograph (and/or photo) from Clive Barker and possibly Robert Englund or Malcom McDowell. I found the cost of the entire weekend to be too much ($75) so I only purchased a Saturday ticket online at $30.
Killer Costumes!
TFW 2011 started off Friday night with screenings of Offspring and The Woman. On Saturday morning, Moxley Manor sponsored the annual Zombie Walk which I caught the last of. I arrived at the Sheraton Grand Hotel around 10:30 am and picked up my pre-registered Saturday ticket by the pool. I quickly made my way through the lobby and got in line for Clive Barker's signing. Although I waited in line for almost 2 and 1/2 hours I ran into a few people I knew and saw Norman Reedus and Malcolm McDowell pass by! Finally, I was taken into another room where Clive Barker was seated. They provided many photos, posters, books and DVDs ready to sign and charged $30 - $75, the most expensive being a personalized sketch from him. I had planned on getting my 1st ed. hardback copy of "Cabal" and my 20th Anniversary DVD of Hellraiser signed. I noticed several people brought models of the Hellraiser puzzle box and even the new Blu-ray boxed to get signed. I knew Clive had recently been suffering from throat polyps (although apparently not cancerous, he recently gave up cigars) and found out he had recently recovered from surgery. I must admit it is very disturbing to see him in the condition he was as his health has been declining over several years. Particularly because of his throat problems his once angelic/boyish voice has now been reduced to a gravelly whisper but he seemed in good spirits and was very talkative despite his health. I was very impressed when Doug Bradley (Pinhead) came in the room with a young boy in a homemade Pinhead costume and got autographs and photographed with both Barker and Bradley despite TFW's notice that there was no photography allowed for Barker.
Malcolm McDowell
After Barker, I made my way through the very crowded dealer's room and main lobby where there where several celebrities signing including Sid Haig (The Devil's Rejects), Dieter Laser (Human Centipede), cast of The Boondock Saints, even Japanese horror celebrities Eihi Shiina (Audition) and Yoshihiro Nishimura (Mutant Girls Squad) and of course Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)! Later I was also very pleased to get autographs from Ashley Laurence (Hellraiser, also NO photographs allowed!?) and Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) who was extremely nice and approachable. Unfortunately I was unable to get Robert Englund's autograph as TFW has instated a new for of organization. As last years convention was overly crowded the lines being  extremely long TFW instated a new ticket policy, giving out free tickets to signings earlier in the day but for several celebrity signing, ran out of tickets VERY quicly (i.e. Englund and Roger Corman) Other TFW events during the day Q&A sessions with Angus Scrimm (Phantasm), Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street) and Roger Corman (Sharktopus). Although due to Englund's Q&A running long and Corman's scheduled signing, Corman's session was disappointingly cut short. Later that night TFW sponsored screenings of Mutant Girls Squad, Doll Boy and Human Centipede at midnight, with live commentary from Director Tom Six and Dr. Heiter himself: Dieter Laser, which is quite possibly the sickest, most disturbing horror movie ever!
Despite a few minor disappointments and an incredibly crowded (and very hot!) venue, Texas Frightmare Weekend 2011 was a great success and very fun! Although I did not attend Friday or Sunday's events (I missed the Q&A w/ Malvcolm McDowell), Saturday is usually the best and biggest day to go (although the busiest!). I look forward to next year's TFW and as the convention has grown so much, next year's TFW will be held at Hyatt Regency Hotel inside the DFW Airport,m which is a significantly larger venue. I can't wait to hear what special guests will be there next year! I'm hoping for maybe Wes Craven? See ya'll next year!