Be Afraid; Be Very Afraid

Hey -- anybody got a pin?

Four major hurricanes in one summer. Elections. Al Qaeda. The flu. Terrified yet? If not, Pete Mongelli and Blaine Kimball, the kindhearted sickos at Spooky Empire Productions, have just the thing: Screamfest, the two-day horror convention/celebration that'll overrun the Holiday Inn Plantation Sawgrass this weekend. The plywood may be taken down and the ballots already cast, but there's more than enough time to get your fear fix before the incoming wave of Yuletide cheer.

Screamfest is the only event of its kind in South Florida and the largest horror con in the state. Mongelli and Kimball, horror enthusiasts and seasoned event producers, have pulled out the stops to give goth kids and fanboys alike a ghoulishly good time. "We design our events for the fans," Mongelli says. "You used to have to get on a plane to go to an event like ours; not anymore. The fans take their conventions seriously, and so do we." So seriously do they take it, in fact, that Mongelli spends most of his year romancing guests for Screamfest -- and this year, he's delivered.

Holding court as the guest of honor is Mr. Leather Apron and Meat Hooks himself -- British actor Doug Bradley, also known as Pinhead from the Hellraiser movies. Joining Bradley for a weekend's worth of signings and photo ops are nasty notables David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London), Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses), and Fort Lauderdale's own Godfather of Gore, filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis. Eye candy will be on hand in the shape of B-movie Scream Queen Linnea Quigley, and your art jones will be supplied by the likes of famed illustrator Basil Gogos. For literary types, horror scribes Gris Grimley and Alex Horley will sign books. In addition to the standard convention meet 'n' greet, attendees will have the opportunity to sit in on various panels, with guests discussing everything from horror's past to the dark nightmares on its horizon.


Screamfest 2004

Holiday Inn Plantation Sawgrass, 1711 N. University Dr., Plantation

Saturday, November 6, and Sunday, November 7. Tickets, priced at $15 (one-day pass) and $20 per person (two-day pass), can be purchased at the door or in advance. Call 954-565-6588, or visit

The weekend's schedule includes a multitude of movie screenings, with classic and independent horror flicks on the roster as well as the haunted morgue tour -- a multimedia theatrical element Mongelli promises will deliver the goods in the frights department. After a day in the dealer room, which will be chock full of vintage toys, collectibles, posters, and assorted psychotic tchotchkes, guests are encouraged to stay for the Saturday-night bash in the hotel bar. Featuring food, drink, giveaways, and the type of people your mom never wanted you to associate with, the party will give all you heathens a chance to bond over drinks while relaxing to the soothing sounds of DBY (Death Becomes You). There's nothing like a quiet weekend in the suburbs. -- Larry Carrino

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