Fandomfest Survival Guide (July 26th – July 28th)

Tips for the Horror Fan Who Wants to Get the Most out of Fandomfest 2013!

Just like the “Scream” film series presents its characters with the rules best followed to successfully survive a horror film, there are rules to follow if you want to have the best experience possible at a mega convention like Fandomfest. Started eight years ago as “Fright Night Film Fest” in a little hotel in the South End, festival promoter, Ken Daniels, has expanded his convention to include science-fiction, fantasy, anime, literature and every realm of pop culture in between.

Last year, Fandomfest had outgrown its suburban roots and moved to the Galt House Hotel downtown. In that one year, attendance doubled to 16,000 people and this year the crowd is expected to top 25,000. In anticipation of the expected growth, and to accommodate the large number of A-list celebrities scheduled to appear this year, Fandomfest has expanded to also include the Kentucky International Convention Center a block down the street.

I have a degree of experience navigating this convention and a number of others, and I can offer some advice on how best to have a good experience over the weekend. I’m going to tailor my advice specifically to horror fans to include guests and events that they might be most interested in. For the basic information involving celebrity locations, expected autograph costs and various panels check the official website at

The first thing you’ll want to bring is your patience. It’s going to be crowded. There will be long lines. There is likely to be at least some confusion and the volunteer staff isn’t going to have all the answers or the authority to grant your wishes instantly. The good news is that Daniels and his staff have made some considerable improvements this year to help the flow. My understanding is that you will be able to buy passes and autograph tickets at both locations, the Galt House and the Convention Center, this year. That should cut the lines waiting to buying those tickets considerably. Here are some other things to remember.

CASH IS KING: While Fandomfest will likely be setup to take credit cards for daily and weekend passes, many of the celebrities will only be taking cash for autographs and photos at their table. Some celebrities will only be allowing photos to be taken at specific photo sessions, so be sure to check the website for those schedules. The biggest celebrities will require you to purchase autograph tickets from the Fandomfest ticket booths before going to their table to meet them, while some of the other celebrities will be taking cash at their own tables.

While there will likely be cash machines on site, you’re better off bringing plenty of cash with you and avoiding the extra charges added for the service. Be safe. There will be a lot of people carrying a lot of cash in shoulder to shoulder crowds, and pick pockets know this. Keep your money in a safe location and have small amounts set aside to pay for autographs, food and collectibles. Use the restrooms or somewhere private to organize your cash, and don’t let anyone see how much you’re carrying.

Advance ticket sales have ended. Day passes at the door are $30 and weekend passes are $60. Children 10 and under are FREE. Hours of the vendor halls are Friday evening from 4PM – 10PM, Saturday from 9AM – 6PM and Sunday from 10AM – 5PM.

PARKING: Parking at the Galt House is probably your most expensive option, especially if you plan on being there for a while, but at least it’s plentiful. Parking is FREE on the weekends on Main Street and on many of the side streets, but those spots will be tough to get. If you don’t mind walking a couple of blocks, there are plenty of parking garages in the $5 to $8 range.

THE WALKING DEAD: The cast of “The Walking Dead” has been the driving force for large crowds at many recent horror conventions. It’s important to note that “The Walking Dead” is currently in production for its fourth season and shooting schedules could change, causing any “living” character to have to cancel. Everyone at Fandomfest is a working professional, and may have to cancel for any reason, and there are no refunds. So it’s best to not attend with the goal of meeting only one celebrity. Chandler Riggs (Carl) Is ONLY APPEARING SATURDAY.

“The Walking Dead” cast have been split between the Galt House and the Convention center, so you’ll need to visit both locations to meet them all. Norman Reedus (Daryl), Chandler Riggs and Jon Bernthal (Shane) are scheduled to appear at the Convention Center all three days. Michael Rooker (Merle), Lew Temple (Axel), Iron E. Singleton (T-Dog) and Vincent Ward (Oscar) are scheduled to appear at the Galt House side all three days.

WHICH DAY SHOULD I GO? If you’re not planning to attend all three days, make sure the celebrities you want to meet are going to be there on the day you plan to go. The demon of KISS, Gene Simmons, will only be attending on SUNDAY. Currently on tour with KISS, Gene is playing London, Ontario on Saturday night and has another show in Montreal on Monday night. So he’s flying the KISS Jet into Louisville Sunday morning and probably leaving later Sunday evening. Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files”), on the other hand will only be appearing on Friday and Saturday.

For the sake of beating the crowds, the best day to attend any convention is always Sunday. The crowds tend to be much lighter, however in this case, Gene Simmons will only be appearing on Sunday and thousands of KISS fans will likely swarm the Galt House that day. That’s good news for everyone else, who will likely be easier to meet on Sunday. Gene is scheduled to appear at the Galt House side, thus Sunday would be a great day to visit the Convention Center side of the show.

The downside of visiting any convention on Sunday is that many dealers and sometimes even celebrities start packing up to leave early if the crowds aren’t as big. There’s also the chance that a lot of cool stuff in the dealer’s room and at the celebrity’s tables may be sold out by Sunday. Also, if you like the crowded atmosphere with lots people dressed up and wandering around in monster costumes and dressed as superheroes and sci-fi characters, there will likely be much more of this on Saturday than on Sunday. Keep in mind that these shows can be a draining experience for everyone involved, so expect everyone to be a little groggier on Sunday!

If you haven’t bought your tickets in advance, expect long lines on Friday evening, and especially on Saturday morning, to get in. Even if you have bought your tickets online, there will likely still be some wait to get your wristbands and badges. Sundays are usually pretty easy to stroll right in and get tickets.

WHO ARE THE HORROR GUESTS THIS YEAR?: Although William Shatner has a few great cult horror hits under his belt like “The Twilight Zone,” “Kingdom of the Spiders” and “The Devil’s Rain,” he’s better known to millions as Captain Kirk. You have my great respect, however, if you’re planning to get one of those DVDs signed by the Shat! Stan Lee is more known for co-creating some of Marvel’s greatest superheroes.

Readers of this blog are likely more interested in Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster), Deborah Foreman (“Waxwork,” “April Fool’s Day”), Zach Galligan (“Gremlins,” “Waxwork”), Fred Dekker (director of “Night of the Creeps” and “Monster Squad”), Jason Lively (“Night of the Creeps”) and Kane Hodder (everyone’s favorite Jason Voorhees!). Grant Wilson, formally of “Ghost Hunters,” will be there, as will cast members from SyFy’sFace-Off.”

There are also a couple of really cool comic artists in attendance. James O’Barr, creator of “The Crow,” and Arthur Suydam, cover artist of “Marvel Zombies” and the latest Misfits album will be at the show.

IMMORTAL’s NIGHT MASQUERADE BALL: There will be a “vampire ball” on Saturday night at 10PM in the Fountain Room of the Galt House. See for details.

HORROR HOUND PARTY: Stop by Horror Hound’s booth on Friday night or Saturday morning to pick up tickets for a PRIVATE party on Saturday night. Live music will include an acoustic concert from the horror-rock band, Harley Poe, and Horror Hound is teasing an exclusive announcement to be made at the end of the party.

FRIGHT NIGHT FILM FEST: The film fest still lives! The schedule for all three days and nights of independent horror films and shorts can be found on the website at The biggest World Premiere at the fest will be Brian Cunningham’s (“Overtime”) Louisville haunt documentary, “Monsters Wanted.” For all the details about the “Monsters Wanted” screening, see our article at


GEORGETOWN DRIVE-IN EVENT: “Child’s Play” with Chucky! On Saturday night, July 27th, the Georgetown Drive-In at 8200 State Road 64 in Georgetown, IN will be having a special screening of the original, “Child’s Play” (1988), at 9:30PM. Ed Gale, who played the evil doll in the Chucky suit, will be there to sign autographs. Gale also played one of the evil dwarves in “Phantasm II” as well as the title character in “Howard the Duck.” After “Child’s Play,” you can stay and watch the new “Wolverine” movie and “Grown Ups 2.”

PANELS: Most of the horror related panels are all taking place Saturday in the same room, the McCreary Room on the third floor of the Galt House. Beginning with a make-up seminar at Noon and continuing with a Chucky panel with Ed Gale at 3PM, a “Waxwork” Q&A at 4PM, a “Let’s Get Your Horror On Q&A at 5PM, a Horror Icons panel at 6PM, a “Monster Squadpanel at 7PM and a Classic Monsters in History Panel at 8PM.

LOUISVILLE HALLOWEEN (Shameless promotion!): We will also have a presence of some kind at the show, so look for our table. We’ll have a FREE photo opportunity a maybe even a giant vampire bat guarding our table, so BEWARE! Have fun!

The Phantom of The Ville

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