ScareFest Convention Report

The Phantom of the Ville Spent the Weekend of Friday the 13th at one of the Biggest Paranormal & Horror Conventions in the Country in Lexington, KY!

I arrived at the Lexington Convention Center at exactly 3:13 PM on Friday, September 13, and despite the date I considered myself lucky to be working our Louisville Halloween booth at ScareFest.

Now in its sixth year, ScareFest had an A-list roster of paranormal investigators and classic horror stars on the guest list this year including Malcom McDowell (“A Clockwork Orange,” Rob Zombie’sHalloween”), a gaggle of “True Blood” stars, a number of folks from the “Friday the 13th,” “Halloween” and “Texas Chainsaw” franchises as well as the “Ghost Adventures” guys, most of the “Ghost Hunters” guys, Josh Gates (“Destination Truth”), John Zaffis (“Haunted Collector”) and Chip Coffey (“Paranormal State”). It was a vortex of the weird and the unusual all congregated in Lexington, KY with me right in the middle.

I found our Louisville Halloween table was also smack in the middle of the huge convention floor which had been expanded to include a new area for the celebrities in the back, making the show floor about a third bigger than last year.

I unpacked our gear, set up our table with vintage Beistle Halloween decorations, hung our Featured Attractions banner and prepared for a wild weekend as throngs of early attendees started filing in. After a couple of hours of greeting folks from all over the region, I decided to take a few minutes to check out some of the other dealers and the celebrity area before things got crazy.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised considering the date was Friday the 13th, but the longest autograph line in the room was waiting to get Kane Hodder’s (Jason in “Friday the 13th” Parts VII-X”) autograph. The fans really, really love Kane and I can’t blame them. He brought something special to the character of Jason Voorhees in his unique physical performance and body language. Even though Kane didn’t originate the character, he played him more than any other actor and he embraced both the character and the fans with equal integrity and passion. I like to compare his Jason to Glenn Strange’s version of the Frankenstein Monster. Strange didn’t create the Monster on screen first either, but his physical presence as the Monster sure is a joy to behold.

Almost as popular on Friday night were Sean Cunningham (original “Friday the 13th” director and series producer), Ted White (Jason in “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”), Adrienne King (“Friday the 13th”) and Amy Steel (“Friday the 13th Part II”). The night belonged to the stars of the unluckiest day in screen history, and you could almost hear the strains of Harry Manfredini’s “Ki ki ki Ma ma” theme echoing through the room.

Saturday morning before the doors opened, I was able to catch up with our old friend, John Dugan, Louisville’s favorite son from the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” series. John recently made the Guinness World Records for reprising the exact same role in a film series with a 39 year gap! He played Grandpa in the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in 1974 and then this year played the same part in “Texas Chainsaw 3D.” Amazingly, even after almost 40 years, John is still technically too young for the role.

I also stopped to chat with one of my favorite character actors, Charles Cyphers (“Halloween,” “The Fog” and even the Bigfoot episodes of “The Six Million Dollar Man”!), who is one of the coolest and smartest guys I’ve ever gotten to know working at shows like ScareFest.

I waved hello to Danielle Harris (“Halloween 4,” “Hatchet III”) and Ken Foree (“Dawn of the Dead”) and headed over to “the Further” where all the paranormal guests were signing autographs and meeting fans. The biggest lines by far were those for “Ghost Adventures” stars Zak Bagans and Aaron Goodwin. Strangely, their tables were on opposite sides of the room and Goodwin was selling an amazing amount of merchandise from his new fashion line. One of the biggest topics of conversation among fans was the color of Zak Bagans skin, which was a nice Halloween shade of orange from an apparent spray tanning incident.

Then things got weird. Saturday night brought us a spooky performance from Dead Dick Hammer in the large entry room outside of the convention floor, and much drinking ensued. One of artists at the bar, in a drunken gag, decided to introduce one of her friends as “The Paranormal Gardener.” This enterprising gentlemen decided to play along and started telling everyone in earshot how he could psychically communicate with plants and by the next morning he was at her booth signing autographs as “The Paranormal Gardner.” I wouldn’t be surprised if this psychic vegetable rockstar didn’t have a new show on the SyFy Channel by next fall.

I got the chance to meet some folks not far from us in Elizabethtown who have a haunted house I was unaware of called The Stitch Factory on 226 College Street in Elizabethtown, KY. Time permitting this Halloween, I plan on checking out their haunt. Check them out on their Facebook page at

I want to thank my friend, Lee Kirkland, who is both the Scarefest Programming Director and Head of Security (that means he knows his horror trivia and he can kick your ass) for welcoming Louisville Halloween to ScareFest this year. I had an amazing weekend and look forward to next year.

Can’t get enough “Friday the 13th” in just one weekend? Stay tuned. I’ll be back shortly with an interview with “Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th” documentary director, Daniel Farrands, and producer, Thommy Hutson. I’ll also be reviewing the entire 420 minute film which has just been released on a special Blu-ray/DVD combo package.

Come see us next weekend (Friday, Sept. 20 – Sunday, Sept. 22) at the Gaslight Festival in historic J-town!

The Phantom of The Ville

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