By Bret Laurie
On Saturday, October 17, my siblings and I went to the Rock and Shock horror film convention, held at the DCU Center in Worcester. I consider myself a die-hard horror fan, having grown up on a healthy dose of films like “The Evil Dead,” “Halloween,” and “The Lost Boys.” Despite this, I had never been to a horror film convention, and have always craved the opportunity to attend one. When I found out that Rock and Shock was held so close to home, I knew I had to seize the opportunity.
The convention part (the “Shock”) took place at the DCU Friday through Sunday, October 16-18, while the concerts (the “Rock”) were held at the Worcester Palladium. I was more interested in attending the convention, so I purchased convention-only tickets through Ticketmaster.
After finding a spot in the parking garage, we walked across the street to the line that had formed for the convention’s opening (11 a.m.). Most people were dressed from head-to-toe in gear depicting their favorite horror film or metal band, while others, like my siblings and I, had decided not to. Then there were those who went completely all-out, disguised as their favorite movie monster – detailed prosthetic makeup included. One male’s Freddy Krueger resemblance was eerily uncanny, burn scars and all.
Inside the convention, I was unbelievably overwhelmed by the sight of it all: vendor after vendor of collectors, authors, booksellers, crafters, tattooists, and more – all dedicated to their love of the horror genre. I honestly didn’t know where to begin, but I soon became fixated on the vendors selling various horror movies on Blu-ray and DVD. I managed to pick up some creepy Italian horror: “The Beyond,” and “The Sentinel,” as well as a contemporary horror flick, “May.” From another vendor selling a variety of books and memorabilia, I purchased a large reference book titled, “Essential Horror,” highlighting some of the best in the horror genre from the black-and-white silent era, to now.
Other vendors included the “Halloween Asylum” booth – an online retailer selling masks, costumes, props, horror figurines, toys, and other collectibles, “Alexandra’s Steampunk Jewelry and Accessories,” “Wicked Face Painting,” and several artists, graphic novelists, and special effects studios, including Black Bird SPFX. Each booth had something interesting (and often gruesome) to bring to the table. All of these vendors were there with a common interest – their love of horror – yet they demonstrated such a unique love and dedication to their chosen mediums, representing the genre in so many ways.
Perhaps the craziest, busiest parts of the convention were the photo-op/meet-and-greet booths, where you could meet some of the actors and actresses from your favorite horror films! George Romero (THE George Romero, king of all zombie movies – Night of the Living Dead included), Tobin Bell (Jigsaw, from the Saw films), Naomi Grossman (Pepper, from American Horror Story: Asylum and Freakshow), Rachel True (Rochelle, from The Craft), and Bill Moseley and William Forsythe (Rob Zombie films), among others, were there to take pictures and meet with their fans. My siblings and I were able to meet and talk with Naomi Grossman, who plays the pinhead “freak” Pepper in one of our favorite shows, American Horror Story. It was a wonderful, fresh experience meeting such a talented actress in person, and I will never forget that.
If you’re a fan of the creepy, obscene, horrific and weird, I recommend going to a horror convention at some point in your life; it is an experience like no other.