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Monday, May 27, 2024

HorrorCon 2024

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HorrorCon is one of the UK’s largest conventions celebrating horror.  Held every year near Sheffield, it has become a regular event for fans of horror and things that go bump in the night.

The event is held in the industrial-gothic edifice of the Magna science museum.  The choice of venues is inspired, as the colossal former steelworks makes for a wonderfully atmospheric location.

Those claiming that horror is dying have not been to HorrorCon , as the event was filled with fans of all ages. It was so busy that – on the Saturday – cars were being turned away from the car park.  Fortunately, the surrounding roads were quiet, on-street parking was free and the weather was distinctly pleasant, which made the short walk no hardship.

This year’s special guests featured icons from the world of horror, including David Morrisey, Britt Eckland, Griffin Dunne, Mira Sorvino and Kane Hodder.  There seemed to be a nostalgic slant to the selection of guests, as the focus seemed to be on what was, rather than what is.

A late addition to HorrorCon was Mira Sorvino, the star of Mimic and Replacement Killers, but her presence was not widely publicised.  It was especially disappointing that Sorvino was not interviewed on the stage.

Much of HorrorCon took place in the main hall, which was dedicated to guest signings and trader stalls.  Rooms in Magna were also set aside for guest interviews and as a theatre for screening short horror films.

The interviews were very good overall and hosted by an interviewer who asked some excellent questions and clearly knew his subjects well.  However, the interviews felt too short, with the guests having to rush off at the end.

There were a lot of traders; so many that they were spread into the surrounding corridors and smaller rooms, which meant some traders were only found after exploring the event.  There was also a lot of variety of what was on offer, from taxidermy to tattooists, as well as RPGs, authors and artists.  A greater presence from horror authors, plus interviews with them about writing horror fiction, would have added a lot to the event.

HorrorCon took over Magna, but navigating the building felt like exploring a maze.  There were signposts indicating where everything was, but it could be quite easy to miss where things were happening.  There were maps in the event programmes, but they were not effectively distributed.

As the afterparty at the Showcase cinema in Sheffield was on the Saturday night, and the guest interviews were same on both days, returning on Sunday did not feel necessary.  It is probably for this reason that Sunday was much quieter.  The only other variation between the two days was the screenings, which included a special screening of the documentary Children of the Wickerman on the Saturday and a Q&A with Cult Screenings (makers of the RoboDoc documentary) on the Sunday.

Everyone, from attendees to traders, was incredibly friendly.  There was a genuine sense of coming together to celebrate a shared passion.  However, there was little in the way of a communal gathering space.  The food hall soon filled up and had long queues.  The bar was in the main hall next to the traders, which only added to the crowding.  Thankfully, due to the glorious weather that weekend, attendees migrated outside to get away from the crowds.

Overall; HorrorCon was a fun day out.  With greater consideration and focusing on more than just film and television, it could have been excellent and offer a satisfyingly rounded event that celebrated all aspects of horror.

Peter Ray Allison
Peter Ray Allisonhttp://www.peterallison.net
Science Fiction: the final frontier. These are the articles of the freelance journalist Peter Ray Allison. His continuing mission: to explore strange new realms of fiction, to seek out new genres and new visions of the future, to boldly geek where no one has geeked before.

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HorrorCon is a fun day out, but with greater consideration and focusing on more than just film and television, it could have been so much more.HorrorCon 2024