Days of the Dead returned to where it all began for their 19th show this past weekend. What transpired was an amazing weekend of family, fun and debauchery.
Written by James Orrell
Days of the Dead is quite the phenomenon on the convention scene. No where else will you see such loyalty to the show, it's promoters or the various fans that have all become one incredible family. Every con has its own pros and cons, but from my experience nothing comes close to what happens at Days of the Dead. In particular, Days of the Dead Indianapolis turns the insanity up a few notches from every show. This is because Naptown is ground zero for Days of the Dead. It all began here, so it has become home for us. Due to this, they bring the best here every summer. Due to that, we bring the levels of debauchery to whole new levels every year.
It truly is the party of the summer. Nothing else even comes close.
Starting with what everyone notices first, the celebrity guests. Days of the Dead came out swinging haymakers with the announcements of Phil Anselmo and the Heartbreak Kid himself, Shawn Michaels. They may not be traditional horror guests, but Days of the Dead isn't your traditional horror convention. Both had incredibly long lines. Michaels particularly had perhaps the longest line in the history of Days of the Dead. It was far and away the longest that I've ever seen.
Both of those guests were incredible and were amazing with the fans, however they were far from the only ones there. Shawnee Smith was amazing with her first Midwest appearance. Scout Taylor Compton, Tyler Mane and Daeg Faerch all were great as well and seemed to truly love hanging with their fans. Kirsty Swanson, the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer was simply stunning. She hasn't seemed to age a day and not a single fan I spoke with had anything but great things to say about her. The additions of Mene Gene Okerlund and Marty Jannetty helped round out the wrestling crowd and both were great additions I'd love to see show up at future shows.
The Days of the Dead regulars such as PJ Soles, Felissa Rose, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Doug Bradley and Derek Mears always have big lines and there is a great reason for that. They simply love their fans and love Days of the Dead. They never disappoint. As a fan from the very first show until now, I will continue to spend money on them simply because of the amazing relationship they have with us fans.
The panels were incredible as always. Your's truly had the pleasure of moderating the Indie Filmmakers Panel this year, which is always the kickoff event for the show. I cannot express just how amazing it is to shoot the shit with such amazing up and coming filmmakers as Brian Williams, Jason Koch and Bobby Easley. And when you throw the great Stephen Biro into the mix everything gets turned up to eleven, Spinal Tap style! I always enjoys talking with all of these guys because they are just fun guys that really love their art. To do so in front of a crowd was even better. They opened up freely about their various films and all the hard work that goes into them which was incredibly informative. When Biro starts talking about writing with God and the Devil while on LSD, you know shit is going well.
I was in and out of the various panels, but knowing that the East Coast Horror Group were handling them should tell you all you need to know. They know their shit and always help make the panels all the more interesting. You should take any chance you get to see one of their panels. You will learn something you never knew before, I promise.
That Damn Tattoo Contest is one of the most iconic events at Days of the Dead and at this show, they managed to turn it up to a new level. The artwork entered into the contest were some of the best I have seen yet at the event. The prizes they handed out to the crowd were hands down the best yet. And when Harry Bean started drinking the "orange juice," holy shit. Harry and Scott Medjesky have this shit locked down. When they get hammered, it makes it even better.
The Chaostume Contest hosted by the great Larry Lutze always stands out. It's great seeing the creativity that all of the fans bring to the event. Congratulations to everyone that showed up and showed us what you got! I honestly cannot wait to see what everyone comes up with next.
Chris Blair's SFX Showdown has quickly become one of my favorite events. The magic people create out of his big box of fuckery never fails to astound me. You honestly haven't lived until you see someone make a facehugger out of paper plates! I am truly glad I am not one of the judges for that event because I am always impressed by everyone. And this year it was harder than ever to pick which was the best. You need to see this event for yourself to get the whole feel of the event. What they can create out of what Blair gives you is on a whole other level.
Jason Hoover's 48 hour film fest is always one of the highlights of the show and this one was no different. A triple feature of Unearthed Films(AGP: Bloodshock, Atroz, Francesca II) was an amazing block designed to test your limits. It more than did it's job. Films from all over the spectrum of horror were featured that included some of my favorite films of the past year. All Sinner's Night, Pig Pen, Dane Granger, She Was So Pretty and Harvest Lake all on the same bill? You are getting some of the best in independent horror free with the price of a ticket to Days of the Dead!
That also happened to include the incredible Etheria Film Night once again this year. For those that aren't aware, Etheria Film Night features incredible films and short films from some of the most talented women today. I loved all of them on the bill this year, but hands down The Stylist stole the show for me. Jill Gevargizian. See The Stylist and every other short on the bill this year as soon as possible. It's not just a great showcase for women in the genre we love. It's a great showcase for the genre we love. Period.
All of this was amazing, however it wouldn't be Days of the Dead without swimming pools of alcohol and general debauchery. I believe we set the standard this year last weekend. I have no clue who's bright idea it was to book a soccer mom convention the same weekend as Days of the Dead, especially since Days has been booked for YEARS, but it worked out pretty much how you'd imagine. Kudos to the staff of the Wyndham who while only doing their jobs, defended our crew of misfits from these obnoxious and condescending women.
We never let it get us down(although we did have to lower our volume several times to avoid the cops being called on us). The amount of alcohol consumed would have made Lemmy smile. Unlike other gatherings where so much liquor is consumed, we take care of each other. We may mess with people a little bit, hell I've been on that side of things MANY times, but never maliciously. We look out for each other in a way that can only be described as family.
That is what Days of the Dead is all about. We are a family. Days of the Dead has always been our home as well. Particularly Indianapolis. Should you decide to come out and party with us, you are family as well. And I can promise you this. You will have a great time. If you find yourself bored, you just need to look to your left or right. There's always some sort of shenanigans to partake in.