Back in 2016, when I heard that my friend, filmmaker Ryan Scott Weber (Mary Horror, Pretty Fine Things, Zombies Incorporated) was starting his own horror convention and film festival, I admit that I was a little surprised. He was having it right here in New Jersey, which was already the home of two large, well known conventions. so it was bound to raise a few eyebrows. However, I had known Ryan for quite some time and he's a true horror fan at heart, so I knew that it was a good bet that he was not taking it lightly, and they he knew that starting a new horror con right here in NJ was going to be a challenge. He also announced Robert Bruce, of AMC's "Comic Book Men" as a partner in this endeavor, so that was also a sign that this was something that was well thought out.
I had no idea what to expect as far as the size and scope of the convention to come, but over time, Ryan kept announcing more and more celebrity guests. Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3), Alex Vincent (Child's Play), Matthew Lillard (Scooby Doo), and many other well-known names. The list just kept growing and growing, and I couldn't help but wonder how Ryan and his team were going to pull this off. When John Waters was announced as the special VIP guest, it was a huge deal, as John doesn't do a lot of shows. It was shaping up to be a much bigger convention than I had anticipated.
The show itself was well organized and laid out. Some of the vendor spaces were a little tight, but this was related more to the layout of the hotel than to anything having to do with the convention itself. For a first time convention, things went very well in my opinion. If I wanted to, I could certainly find things to nitpick. For example, there was one vendor room that was at the end of a hallway that was a bit hard to find if you didn't know it was there, but this was a minor issue, and even long running, established conventions have their issues.
The celebrity signing room was well laid out, again given the size of the hotel I could tell that Ryan and crew had some challenges when it came to laying out the room, but I never really had any problems moving around or seeing and of the celebrity guests. Again, I would like to mention that it was a great mix of guests from Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) to Lynn Lowry (The Crazies, The Super), to The Amazing Kreskin, there was someone to keep every fan interested.
In addition to the great lineup of guests, there was also a wide variety of vendors offering a fantastic array of merchandise. There was definitely something for everyone.
Overall, it was a fun time and again, for a first time convention, it was extremely well run and I have to re-iterate that Ryan, Robert and their entire crew did a great job. Yes, there were some minor issues, which I am sure will be corrected next time......
....Speaking of which!!!
The Horror Nerd is really looking forward to the second edition of the NJ Horror Con and film festival! It's very hard to get a convention off the ground successfully in a time when there seems to be some kind of fan convention or event every weekend. Ryan Scott Weber, Robert Bruce and their convention team seem to be well on their way. I hope that this second show is a success, and leads to many more to come. Be sure to attend the show the weekend of September 22-24, 2017. The Horror Nerd will see you there!!
Click the image to go to the NJ Horror Con and Film Festival Website!!