This year’s New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival rocked the Showboat Hotel on the Atlantic City Boardwalk from Friday March 29th – Sunday March 31st. Over the three days, the festival saw record crowds pouring in to meet celebrities, take photos, watch horror films, get autographs, cosplay, and buy tons of merch. Saturday specifically was the highest selling day in NJ Horror Con history. So what is it that separates the NJ Horror Con from other small fan conventions? Co-founder Ryan Scott Weber and his crew put together all sorts of crazy experiences that turn the volume up to 11 for horror fans and gorehounds.
First off were the reunions and specialized photo-ops. You didn’t only have a chance to meet Lea Thompson and Tom Wilson from Back to the Future, but you could get a photo with them alongside the Delorean. Meeting Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters is awesome. But getting a photo op with him in uniform standing next to the Ecto-1… that is special. A week before the new Pet Sematary film opened in theaters, NJ Horror Con had four cast members from the original 1989 film, based on the Stephen King novel, and they were also doing a special set-photo op.
Next up were the panel discussions and Q&As. Moderator Chris Stiles does a great job asking thought-provoking questions and opening things up to the fans to participate as well. Saturday alone featured Q&As with Zach Galligan and Frances Lee McCain from Gremlins, and a Back to the Future panel with Thompson, Wilson, and James Tolkan featuring Tom Wilson playing ukulele. We also got Q&As with Joe Bob Briggs from Shudder’s The Last Drive-In, Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Creepshow), and Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp). Both Friday and Saturday, Mick Garris (The Stand, Masters of Horror) conducted a special panel discussion and did free meet and greets after each.
Saturday night featured Scaryoke in the hotel bar/lounge hosted by the Crypt-Keeper himself, John Kassir. You have not lived till you see Richard Grieco sing “Turn the Page” while being cheered on by Harvey Stephens (Damian in The Omen). Just down the hallway, Ari Lehman from the original Friday the 13th was performing live with his band First Jason. I’ve never been to a convention with more fan involvement and more fan interaction with the celebrity guests. If you are a horror fan, you need to attend the next NJ Horror Con.
Lucky for us, the New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival is returning again to the Showboat Hotel this October 11th – 13th. Already signed to be there are Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary, See No Evil 2) and Tristan “Little Miss” Risk (American Mary, Frankenstein Created Bikers). Go to the official site for all the news and info.
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