BIRMINGHAM HORROR CON 4TH FEB 2017
Written by Daniel Benson
Edgbaston, if you're not aware (and if you're reading this outside the UK, you most likely won't be), is one of Englands most iconic cricket grounds. Perhaps an odd choice of venue for the first Birmingham Horror Con, but its convention centre certainly provided an adequate space for the assembled crowd of horror fans, cosplayers and dealers.
This brand new convention is the fledging venture of author, film producer and director Victor Wright who put the event together to give horror fans an alternative to the massive Midlands Comic Con that takes place twice each year. While Comic Con does touch on the horror elements, its main focus is more geek culture and less on the darker side of entertainment.
So what did a £10 wristband get you in terms of basking in horror's blood-red glow? Well, the content was remarkably similar to most specialist conventions, with the emphasis entirely on the horror genre; Lots of dealer tables, comic book publishers and artists, an author's alley and guests from the world of horror cinema. Among the headline guests were Tony Moran (Halloween), Jsu Garcia and Ken Sagoes (Nightmare on Elm Street and Dream Warriors, respectively), Anthony Illot (Wrong Turn 6) and darling of the Hammer era, Caroline Munro. If you need a fuller picture of the guest line-up check out the preview article I wrote in advance of the con.
Dealer tables were in abundance, offering everything from cupcakes and fudge to masks and collectables to cuddly toys and everything in between. You might think that cupcakes, fudge and cuddly toys have no place at a horror convention, but when the cupcake varieties include broken glass, brains and finger of fudge (a fudge flavoured cake topped with an edible finger), the fudge is adorned with classic horror characters and the cuddly toys have removable intestines - you know they're on point for this event.
Click images to enlarge.
One of the first stops for us was that of The Monster Charity Project. It's a charity that we're putting our full support behind this year in its aim to raise funds through the customisation of Frankenstein's monster busts by some of the top SPFX artists in the country. We'd been in touch online before Birmingham Horror Con, but it was great to finally meet the guys behind the project and get to know them better. If you want to find out more about the, read my article here.
But one of the most striking aspects of the convention, and one that didn't cost you a penny to experience, was the vast array of high-quality cosplayers in attendance. I've seen plenty of elaborate cosplays at other conventions, but never such a high concentration of horror. From iconic characters like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Pinhead and Sam from Trick 'r Treat to random zombies and characters from The Walking Dead, including possibly the best Negan cosplay you'll ever see.
Overall, it was a great day out. A smaller con than I've been used to, but totally focused on the genre. The size issue is one that is being dispensed with for the next iteration of the event, as the October 2017 convention promises double the floor space of this one. There will also be horror conventions in Swansea on the 1st/2nd July, Liverpool MEGA Horror Con on the 7th/8th October and the aforementioned Birmingham Halloween Horror Special on the 28th/29th October 2017. Birmingham has already announced two guests for its October line-up: Jeremy Palko (The Walking Dead, The Vampire Diaries, Bloodline) and in her first UK appearance, Ann Mahoney, better known as the gatekeeper to Alexandria's armoury, Olivia, in The Walking Dead.