Once January ends convention season begins with Days of the Dead Atlanta.
By Adam Holtzapfel
Anyone that knows me knows Days of the Dead is one thing I look forward to once convention season starts. I've been to their Chicago and Indianapolis shows, but never to Atlanta until this past weekend.
This show has everything for all types of horror fans. Celebrities from the likes of Heather Langenkamp to Phil Anslemo of Pantera, Down, Arson Anthem, and Superjoint Ritual. Vendors as far as the eyes can see, events that go above and beyond previous shows, panels hosted by knowledgeable people in the horror community, and a 48 hour film fest that would make any other fest look like amateur hour.
If autographs are your thing this show had headliners Elvira and Tobin Bell, fan favorites PJ Soles, Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, and Kane Hodder as well as Erin Brown, Camille Keaton, Ted Raimi, Ric Flair, Billie Dee Williams, and Phil Anselmo just to name a few.
If you're not into autographs there's panels hosted by East Coast Horror Group's Michael Exler, Nathan "Son of Celluloid" Hamilton, and Brad Thacker. There's the Chaostume Showdown hosted by Larry Lutze, That Damn Tattoo Contest hosted by Scott Medjesky, Scaryoke hosted by Harry Bean, F/X Make Up Contest hosted by Chris Blair, and the Carnage after party hosted by DJ Tre.
The film fest hosted by Jason Hoover of Jabb Pictures and the addition of Gateway Film Center for all of Days of the Dead's 2016 shows makes this even more of a juggernaut than it was before. Friday kicked off with a short films block, followed by World of Death which featured films from 200 filmmakers and 25 countries around the world. The film fest also included Jessica Cameron's Mania, Bloody Billy Pon's Circus of the Dead, a double feature of American Guinea Pig Bouquet of Guts and Gore and American Guinea Pig Bloodshock. The film fest also saw newcomers A Buck Short Productions Once Upon a Nightmare.
The highlights of the show for me were the Indie Filmmakers panel on Friday featuring Stephen Biro, Bobby Easley, Jessica Cameron, James Bickert, Jill Gevargizian, Corey and Haley Norman, and Billy Pon. The panel dropped a lot of knowledge on what it is like to make art on your own terms. Also, the Phil Anselmo panel on Saturday was jaw dropping. After showing up at Scaryoke Friday night, Phil had a panel on Saturday with Brad Thacker and Nathan Hamilton. They talked everything from him once being an owner and haunt worker at House of Shock to his favorite horror movies. It put him on the same level as everyone in the room, there to share a passion.
It was amazing to see the film room full for most of the showings and seeing a blanket fort set up for cartoons on Saturday morning. Also seeing the events like the F/X Make Up competition and Chaostume Showdown being standing room only. And of course Carnage being a packed house for a wild after party. With each show the audience grows and make Days of the Dead a household name.
For information on upcoming Days of the Dead shows check out http://www.daysofthedead.net/