February 13, 2014

Critical Capsule: Fantasm - A Look Inside Horror Conventions

So, I just watched a documentary called Fantasm and I have to say that I really quite enjoyed it. Now, this is not so much a review as it is some comments on said film and a request that you check it out. It is free to watch online through 2/28/14 at nuhofilmfest.com. It is a quick watch, clocking in at about 55-minutes, so you should be able to squeeze it in. Why should you watch it? Simply put, it takes a look at the attraction of the horror convention. If you know me, you know that I love going to conventions, this will help you understand why I do. It is not always easy to explain my fascination to those on the outside.

Fantasm was directed by Kyle Kuchta and chronicles his adventure through 6 conventions between September 2012 and March 2013. This journey leads to encounters with all manner of folks, included are interviews with celebrities, vendors, and fans alike. You may recognize a few folks like Tom Atkins (Halloween III), Heather Lankenkamp (A Nightmare on Elm Street), and Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2), among others. He also gets to talk with some of the vendors, most notable Ben Scrivens and Kristy Jett from Fright Rags, and if you like horror, you likely know these two.

Over the course of the film Kyle examines the allure of the convention, the concept of the convention family, and tells the tale of what got him interested in and involved in conventions. It is a great look at convention-going through the eyes of a fan. His story is probably familiar to a lot of people, and a lot of others may see something that sparks interest in convention going.

Going to horror conventions is like stepping into another world. I discovered them pretty recently, I wish I had started younger, but it is what it is. Going to a convention is leaving the real world behind for three days and spending time with celebrities, vendors, and thousands of other like minded people. I have made friends at these shows, people I look forward to seeing each time out. The celebrities are he big draw, the vendors are great to explore, but it is about the people, the experience, the fun. There are not many times I get to talk about these movies the way I really want to and this offers that opportunity and so much more.

This film sparked some nostalgia for me, mainly because two of the cons he filmed at, I was at as well. Those being Monster Mania 23 in Hunt Valley, MD, and Monster Mania 24 in Cherry Hill, NJ. I kept looking for myself, I saw people I recognize, but not me. Still, this is plenty of fun and helps give a glimpse inside the horror convention world. Give it a watch.

Head over to NuHo and watch the trailer, if interested, click Watch Now and check it out. Again, it is available until 2/28/14.

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