By midlandsmovies, Jun 23 2019 02:02PM
Leicester Horror Con 2019
Ghouls, demons and creatures of the night descended upon Leicester on Saturday 22nd June 2019 for the launch of the first ever Leicester Horror Con.
Hosted by Nathan Leverton, who previously organised Leicester Comic Con, the convention took place over a number of venues. The Dark Market, a bazaar of the bizarre, was hosted at The Guildhall Museum, a notoriously haunted venue that’s ironically located a stone’s throw from the Cathedral, where ghouls fear to tread.
Vendors lined the halls, selling all manner of curios and treasures. T-shirts, collectables, more schlock and exploitation films than you can shake a severed arm at – that’s the just the tip of the bloody iceberg.
There were a number of hand-crafted products too, from gory Zombears to deliciously macabre resin sculptures of horror icons like Freddy, Jason and, er, Mr. Bean. Pins, badges, stickers, posters, even cushions – there was such a range on offer that I wish I could have bought one of everything!
The Guildhall also played host to a number of special guests, including Jared Blanchard (the best of Stephen King’s psychotic high school bullies, Henry Bowers in the original ‘IT’ miniseries), Madeline Smith (Scream Queen and Hammer Horror veteran) and the guest I was most excited to meet, Hugo Myatt. He’s only bloody Tregard from Knightmare! My inner child was jumping up and down with joy when he kindly obliged me with a couple of ‘oooh nasty!’s.
The guests weren’t the only horror legends roaming the grounds, though. Thanks to the wonderful efforts of cosplaying attendees, such luminaries as Jason Vorhees, a Maniac Cop, The Walking Dead’s Negan and even child-stealing Krampus himself stalked the grounds. It must have been extremely hot in that heavy goaty costume, I do hope they kept hydrated! There was also a delightful puppet named Barry The Bat Beaver and a trio of masked home invader straight out of You’re Next.
Firebug Bar also got in on the fun, offering themed cocktails and hosting screenings and guest talks in their upstairs rooms. They showed a wonderfully creepy short ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ about a child who meets a grisly playmate in the woods, directed by talented movie-poster-designer Thomas Hodge.
Then came a screening of House of the Gorgon, which is a love letter to Hammer Horror by low-budget auteur Joshua Kennedy – luckily they screen some (lots of) trailers for his other movies so we would be prepared for quite how tongue-in-cheek this was meant to be.
Mind you, he nailed the tone, so while it was extremely silly it was definitely entertaining, and he managed to cast legends like Caroline Munro and Christopher Neame to give it an extra ring of authenticity. Definitely go check it out! Unfortunately a sudden migraine meant I couldn’t stay for the screening of Drag Me to Hell, but I’m sure it went down a treat with everyone there as you can’t go wrong with a bit of Sam Raimi.
In all, this was an excellent event. It was managed smoothly, and the crowds were well-handled. I was concerned on the way there that this might be a re-run of EM-Con’s inaugural event in Nottingham, where there were too many people for the venue, and it all went a little pear-shaped. I needn’t have worried; the organisers clearly knew what they were doing and the event was in very capable hands.
Splitting between two venues (with special offers on horror boardgames at Bean Gaming Café) was clearly a wise choice as it ensured neither venue was overrun on the day.
Here’s hoping that next year goes just as smoothly and that the con goes from strength to strength, with even better guests (can we have Jeffrey Combs next year, please?).
I’ll certainly be rising from the grave to go back!