Conventions, conventions! Yes, I have thoughts on yet another con. Last month, Days of the Dead came to Atlanta. This particular convention is a celebration of all things horror. It was held at the Sheraton Atlanta downtown from Friday, February 3rd, to Sunday,
February 5th. Like so many of the conventions these days, Days of the Dead is held in multiple cities throughout the year: Indianapolis, Louisville, Chicago, LA, and my hometown – Atlanta. It makes sense to have a horror convention held in Atlanta, since so many horror films and tv shows are filmed here – though I don’t believe any were actually represented at the con other than Stranger Things. But to be honest, Stranger Things was my main reason for being interested, so that was fine.
Upon checking into the hotel, I found that DOTD had taken over the bottom floor of the Sheraton. My only real thoughts on the Sheraton were – that’s where I pick up my DragonCon badge, so I honestly hadn’t spent any real time in this particular hotel. The bottom floor is fine, but the smokers were right outside the sliding glass doors, so the entire event reeked of cigarettes. As you came off the elevators, to the right was the panel room and the film viewing room. To the left was the autograph room and dealers room.
As with any con, folks cosplayed. It was a horror con, so mainly horror cosplay – though one dude was the Swedish Chef and I really never understood the correlation – but the Muppets are cool so whatevs. There were lots of Michael Myers and Freddys. Various versions of Jason. One awesome Sam from Trick ‘r Treat. Some Five Nights at Freddy’s – which folks really need to stop classifying as horror – just a terrible jump scare boring game.
The dealer room was actually decent.
Much larger than I thought it would be. It was filled with artists, Pops, and vintage toys. Everything was pretty much focused on horror – Living Dead Dolls, skeleton jewelry, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho hand bags – with the exception of one lady selling jam…. still confused there.
My big purchase was from an artist I had actually seen at DragonCon, but had missed purchasing the print I had wanted. I grew up in Orlando. We always had Disney year round passes growing up. My favorite ride in the Magic Kingdom was The Haunted Mansion – surprise surprise. Dad always took me on the ride, and at the end of it, you came to the hitchhiking ghosts. With the use of extremely cool smoke and mirror technology – especially for the 80s – a different ghost each time was placed in your car. Well as a small child, I believed whichever one that had been put in our car that particular time, came home with us until the next time I rode the ride. Again – very young child. Seeing the print of the hitchhiking ghosts brought it all back to me and I had to have it. So now, all three are here with me on my wall in my home lol.
The panels were interesting. My favorite was Tom Savini. I absolutely love special effect makeup and how they do all that they do so realistically. I used to subscribe to Fangoria, and actually considered doing a special effects makeup intensive up in Philadelphia at one point in my life. So Tom Savini was incredibly interesting to me. He talked about Nicotero and in his opinion, how he cheats with his effects by using food. Tom didn’t take that easy rout with his effects in zombie films. He spoke of giving Quentin Tarantino one of his first major breaks – which actually made me like him less since I can’t stand Tarantino. But just listening to him talk about Romero and working on several of his films was really fascinating.
The Stranger Things panel was great. The four boys from the show were there and each one was extremely engaging. The contrast of Savini, who’s been in the industry for 40+ years, to these kids who are just beginning, was very interesting. Each told of their experience on the set. They were asked about playing life in the 80s – Eleven didn’t know what a record player was….I felt old. Though, they do still sell them in Target – but I digress. Dustin was my favorite, of course. Awesome personality, just like in the show. His father was their raising money for others suffering from cleidocranial dysplasia. Mike was the most talkative, and will always stand out in my mind for answering Trainspoting to the question, what is your favorite film. All four were awesome, and the really cool thing is that they really do get together and play DnD.
Overall, Days of the Dead was fun. I wouldn’t say there was really enough to do to keep your interest for three days. The films were pretty terrible quality “horror” films. The Slasher Prom was a bunch of folks standing in a room – not really dancing. There was a tattoo contest – which just didn’t interest me at all. Linda Blair was there, but didn’t hold a panel – just signed pictures – lame. The three faces of Jason panel wasn’t really of any interest – like I would have known if they were really behind the mask. It’s the equivalent of getting stuff signed from members of Slipknot. Could be the key grip with a mask on. But I still had fun. Conventions are always an escape from real life. You get away with other folks with common bizarre interests. Dress up if you want. Shop for things you don’t normally get to shop for. A nice diversion from the every day.
Rebecca Bozarth is an artist who lives in Atlanta. A graduate from SCAD Atlanta, she runs her own freelance business, Fotografia Film & Design, specializing in photography, film, social media, programing, and graphic and web design.
In her free time, you can find her exploring the city, at the park, reading, or playing on her PS4. She loves classic film, concerts, and geek culture, especially Star Wars, Nightmare Before Christmas, Marvel, TWD, and recently has fallen in love with the art of cosplay.