Yesterday, a few friends and myself headed to Scardiff, Cardiff’s first horror expo. And, you know what? It was awesome.
Started the day grabbing a few freebies by the door, including a copy of Tales from the Crypt and The Walking Dead. Wandered around for a bit, glancing over various products on offer including comics, books and other items, including creepy dolls and bears (dolls are terrifying as they are, they don’t need to be made more so), small vials of strange potions and trinkets on offer. None of us wanted to spend our cash until we’d had a proper look around, and I was glad I held back. There was just so much, and part of me wanted to throw my money at everyone.
Luckily. we grabbed a fair few leaflets and cards and the like, so when I get my own flat, I can hopefully decorate it with some cool, creepy stuff, including crystal skulls, dragon heads, and jars and vials of…well, more creepy stuff. As it is, even if I had the money I wouldn’t have anywhere to store any of the stuff I saw.
We headed for a panel, which I was quite excited about as I haven’t had the chance to do the whole panel thing before. Cardiff Comic Con talks got filled up really quickly, and panels…I dunno, I’ve always liked the idea of them. Anyway. We listened to the guys discussing the tropes of horror, and what makes vampires, werewolves, ghosts and zombies so long-lasting. Personally, I think it’s because they can be reinvented, constantly, to fit in with every new generation. They did cover that, and then went into why we keep reinventing them and returning to them. Which, to be honest, I could talk about, but it would take a whole blog post of its own.
Back inside the main room, we looked around a little more before I started buying stuff. Look out for reviews on these whenever I get the chance to go through them. I grabbed a copy an anthology of stories and comics, the first two issues of Stiffs, a zombie comic set in the South Wales valleys. Picked up three films – Dead Snow (because who doesn’t like zombie Nazis?), a Zombie double feature for 50p, including Night of the Living Dead and Revenge of the Zombies, and lastly, Terror of Dracula, which I got signed by the film’s star. He did ask if I was interested in the old films, and seemed quite pleased when I said I liked the 1933 version of Dracula. Terror of Dracula is apparently a throwback to the old films such as Hammer Horror, and as I do love the novel, I thought I’d give it a shot. Look out for my review on here whenever I get a chance to watch it.
One of the things I really do love is talking to the people behind the stalls. And they’re always willing to chat, artists talking about their work (when they’re not busy drawing), authors talking about – and trying to sell – their books, others just looking on with smiles as we gushed over the things they’d made. Most of the time, my comments were along the lines of “If I only had more money!” There were some beautiful (in a dark way) decorative items for sale, including small vials of potions, dragon skulls, crystal skulls and more. I picked up leaflets for the majority of vendors, hoping I can actually buy stuff from their websites, eventually.
One memorable stall was the zombie stall, selling DVDs, books, board games and other zombie-related stuff. From there, I got Dead Snow and an anthology of zombie stories. And, because I was buying direct from the authors or publishers, most of the books went into my bag cheaper than the RRP. So, I have a lot to read, enough to keep me going for a long while. And, again, look out for the reviews. The books themselves are a mix of horror and dark fantasy, some the sort of stuff I wouldn’t have picked up on my own. Safe to say, I’m very excited about diving into them.
We went to one more panel before leaving, this one about the next big thing in horror. There was something about this panel that struck me as particularly interesting. There were two guys who made low-budget horror movies, young guys, and, joining later on (running late), was a guy who had been in the business for a fair few years, worked commercially and made low-budget horrors in his spare time. When asked if they thought the next big thing would come from the low-budget, grass-roots or the commercial side (Hollywood), the younger guys said grass-roots. And I think they were right. They expanded on it, using the obvious examples. After all, Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was low-budget, made with a few friends, and look what it sparked off. Blair Witch Project created mass interest in the subgenre, the found footage film, and we’re still seeing that used a lot today.
The commercial guy, however, stated that he believed the next big thing would come from Hollywood, and mentioned that they are making a number of creature features, so obviously that’s the next big thing, right?
Well, no. Just because Hollywood makes it doesn’t mean it’s going to be popular. It might flop. It might make nothing and mean Hollywood won’t touch it again until they run out of ideas and go back to the barrel to scrape up some more. I’m not saying that is going to happen, creature features might well be popular in the next few years, but the real fans will look beyond Hollywood and towards what the ‘smaller’ guys are doing. And the internet, the ease of access for almost anything, means that if a film is well made, word of mouth, blogs, forums, etc. will get a decent film out there. Even if the film itself isn’t massively successful, if it gains enough momentum through the fans then Hollywood might look towards what the smaller guys are doing and do more stuff like it.
That’s my take on it, anyway.
But yeah, overall a brilliant day, and I have my fingers crossed that it’s done again.