Ah, fall. The thermostat starts to dip, the leaves change, and you can almost catch a whiff of pumpkin pies cooling on a windowsill out yonder. OK, reality check. This is Florida, people. Leaves don't change, it's miserably hot, and it's still hurricane season, for God's sake. October means one thing: Halloween. And Halloween means the time has arrived to get your freak on but good. And if it's freaks you seek, then look no further than the Screamfest horror convention.
Since it oozed its way into South Florida in 2003, this bloody bacchanalia has become a cult fixture on our annual calendar, drawing devoted horror fiends and miscreants for three days geared toward the type of folks who line up for photo-ops with Pinhead and can name the actor who played Jason in Friday the 13th Part 3. Produced by two such people, Pete Mongelli and Blaine Kimball, this year's event has moved north from its former Plantation digs to the Coral Springs Marriott Hotel and Convention Center -- a necessary leap, according to Mongelli. "The event just got too big, and we needed more space," he says with the type of manic glee one often sees before a workplace shooting. "Moving it has allowed us to add more exhibitors and bring in even more guests."
Coral Springs Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, 11775 Heron Bay Blvd., Coral Springs
Friday, October 14, through Sunday, October 16. A weekend pass costs $20. Visit www.spookyempire.com.
Those guests are a cornucopia of the best, er, worst that horror has to offer. Topping the list, in an effort to show that Emily Rose bitch how it's done old-school style, is Linda Blair of The Exorcist. Sure, she hosts a TV show and is way into charity work, but she'll always be the girl who puked pea soup. And we love her for that. Competing for the limelight will be the guy who kicked Kiefer Sutherland's ass before 24 -- Corey Feldman of The Surreal Life and, more important, of 1987's Lost Boys. Other guests feeding your hunger for horror include acclaimed FX guru-cum-actor Tom Savini (From Dusk 'Til Dawn, Dawn of the Dead), actor Dick Warlock (Halloween II's Michael Myers), Ricou Browning (Creature from the Black Lagoon), and filmmaker Herschell Gordon Lewis, among others. Putting the ho in horror are special guests Jasmin St. Claire (adult film actress and star of the upcoming horror flick Swamp Zombies), fetish model Syn Devil, and self-described "glampire" Darvela.
Beyond meet and greets with the above, Screamfest will feature panel discussions and seminars; a horror film festival; an exhibitors' room jam-packed with memorabilia, collectibles, and toys not found at the local Toys "R" Us; an on-site horror tattoo parlor; and live music by bands with cheerful names like Children of the Plague. The convention will conclude with what Mongelli promises to be a true showstopper -- an actual wedding conducted by Sid Haig, Capt. Spaulding of Rob Zombie's The Devil Rejects. As if marriage weren't horrible enough.