The Connecticut Horrorfest was on August 27th this year and I, your ever faithful informant was there to make sure all you horror fans who couldn’t go got to at least feel like you were sort of there. The Horrorfest, which is put on each year by Rob Caprilozzi, and his Wife, Christine Caprilozzi, along with all of their awesome Volunteers in their “Horrorfest and Horror News Network family.” One of which this year was The Blood-Shed’s own Jay Kay. I really have to hand it to Jay, even if I am totally jealous of the gig he had, for nine hours he was working side by side with George Romero, making sure he was safe, comfortable and that the line for his signature didn’t turn into, in his words a “Zombie horde.” Despite being on his feet all day and keeping things nice and calm, he was also handy with a camera for autograph goers and somehow kept the same cool and pleasant demeanor we all know and love him for.
Jay’s job was to prevent this in a line that only got longer, never shorter.
I also spent an amazing nine hours there but they weren’t all spent hanging with Mr. Romero, though I did wait in line for a good amount of time so I could get his John Hancock. I’m going to tell you about the Horrorfest in the order from which it was laid out, so, without further babbling may I present to you, The CT Horrorfest!
The Legends of Fear.
Upon entering the Matrix Conference Center in Danbury Connecticut the first thing you encounter are these guys. They’re just some of the actors you will encounter should you decide to attend one of their haunted trail walks or hayrides. Legends of fear is located in Shelton Connecticut, at the Fairview Tree Farm. I had the opportunity to speak with Brad Wells, the now owner of the family owned farm and discovered it has a very rich heritage. Starting out in 1842 as a saw mill and dairy farm, the Fairview Tree Farm did well enough to start growing Christmas trees, after that in 1997 they transitioned to also include a haunted hayride. Fast forward to 2016 and the Fairview Tree Farm now hosts its own cast of characters which started out at thirty-five and has blown up to 150 paid actors all of which are trying to scare the crud out of you. I was given some inside information about this years newest attraction but I was also asked to keep it hush-hush, if you are curious and brave enough to venture out and discover the newest attraction, or why these guys are some of the best haunters out there you can get all the information you need here.
Next, and right around the corner is “The Chamber.” Co-owned by David Belas and Robert Besaw, The Chamber is a unique, mobile, escape room with haunted elements making it a hybrid haunted puzzle. By the time I caught up with these guys half of the day had gone by, I asked them about their attraction and any future plans they have for it. David told me “We’ve been making attractions for ten years, in January 2016 we decided to go into business for ourselves and create The Chamber. We pride ourselves on making people face their fears by creating high stress situations in which to solve the puzzles.” I asked how many people had successfully solved the puzzle to which David said with a chuckle “None, one group got within seconds of figuring it out but failed.” I asked about how The Chamber worked in regards to groups and entering, and while they were both in agreement it was Robert who fielded the question, “If you wanna go in, the smallest we want a group to be is four and six for the largest. If you don’t have a group, you can just sign up and we will group you up with others without a group.” Despite only having two actors, The Chamber promises thrills and chills inside the surreal “Kill room.” If you think you’re smart enough and brave enough to solve The Chamber, you can catch Evidence of Evil and their chamber at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport Connecticut on October twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth, or you can check them out here.
The People of Horrorfest.
Before I jump into the Celebrities and panels I think I need to take a minute to appreciate the people of Horrorfest. Without their continued support, we might not have conventions like these. The CT Horrorfest had both a children’s and an adult’s costume contest, but let’s be honest, these guys would have dressed up anyways. The following pictures are just some of the people I was able to get shots of, so here are some of the coolest, sexiest, and scariest people of the Horrorfest.
These guys were so cool, too bad my camera sucks…
The Father of Evil.
Have you guys ever heard of or met Father Evil? This guy is amazing, he started out as just another fan, but through the dark powers that be, he awakened something evil and is starting to become a horror icon. Whether it’s taking pictures, selling the scent of sin to his flock, or teaching them how to make “Un-holy water” Father Evil has a presence about him that is as chilling as it is oddly comforting. He is definitely someone I’d recommend saying hello to the next time you’re at a convention. If you can’t get to a convention worry not sinners, he has a web site where you can learn all about him and his products here.
Even though I was only going to write about the three panels, I was able to get a quick Q&A with Mr. Dash, and while it was a brief conversation I got a feel for the guys personality. He’s real cool and professional in a literal sense. Despite being the first Jason Voorhees, Mr. Dash saw it as only a job. He does however acknowledge that he broke the ground on a franchise that nobody really expected to blow up until it did.
Q. What was it like to be Jason?
A. It was a stuntman job and I was a stuntman.
Q. What was it like in costume?
A. It was tough, The costume only had the one eye, so they made me wear an eye patch, during shoots I had no peripheral vision.
Q. How long were you in and out of costume?
A. We would shoot for a few hours, take a few hours off, ya know typical movie stuff.
Q. If given the chance would you do it again?
A. Sure, as long as its paying money, why not?
So while being Jason Voorhees was just a job, Steve would do it again if given the chance, which confirms what we already all knew, being Jason Voorhees is awesome. If you were wondering what Steve is up to these days, he has a new reality show coming called Taxi Wars.
Images property of Horror News Network and CT Horrorfest.
While time restrictions prevented me from talking to all of the horror celebs I will say that the line up of autograph signers was impressive and definitely worth the trip. I also, unfortunately did not manage to attend all of the panels however I did catch Ricou Browning, The Ladies of the Evil Dead, and George Romero. Since I was unable to attend all the panels I’ve decided to keep it short and sweet and only mention a few highlights. However once Horror News Network posts the videos you will be able to watch them for yourself here.
First Panel – Ricou Browning.
Ricou Browning is a living legend, the last living Universal monster and a really great guy. He was very pleasant to talk to in person and had a great sense of humor. When I first approached his booth I pulled a rookie mistake and forgot how to english. After stuttering the word “uh” for what felt like an eternity but was less than a minute, I managed to gather myself enough to get an autograph. At the Panel, Rob Caprilozzi asked Ricou some great questions.
Rob – How did you first become involved with The Creature?
Ricou – I was attending college and a friend of mine called me and asked me if I would take his California friends down to where he wanted to shoot the water scenes. They asked me if I would swim on camera and so I did. A week later I was contacted by the director who said “I like the way you swim, how would you like to be an under-water monster?” And I said, why not.
Rob – Was the water temperature harsh on you?
Ricou – Oh, yeah. The water was about seventy but we shot in the winter so the air was only about forty,some of the cast and crew would feel bad for me and give me a shot of brandy, then a crew member who didn’t know the first gave me a shot would give me a shot and after about five shots, the monster couldn’t swim so well.
Rob – How was the vision in the suit?
Ricou – The vision was very poor because I think the face mask goggles, when they filled with water there was no way to get the water out. So I went with the naked eye, and the suits eye sat about an inch away from my eye, so it was like looking with blurred vision through a key-hole.
Rob – There were rumors you could hold your breath for four minutes is that true?
Ricou – Well that depends, if you’re not swimming and not moving, just holding very still you can hold your breath for a long time, but if you were swimming or fighting and using a lot of oxygen you couldn’t hold your breath very long.
The Panel continued in this fashion for a good eighteen minutes, a good portion having the questions handed over to the audience, and some of their questions were great.
Audience – Who would win in a fight The Wolfman or The Creature?
Ricou – The Creature of course!
Audience – Did The creature have any groupies or fans?
Ricou – Well sure, just look around.
The panel ended on that note to an uproarious standing ovation for this amazing man. Keep an eye on Horror News Network for video coverage of the full panel.
Second Panel – Ladies of the Evil Dead.
The Ladies of the Evil Dead are three of the greatest gals to come across in the horror world. Each one has their own war stories to share and all of them were great. Christine Caprilozzi sat down with the trio for a lovely chat, but these ladies turned the tables when they started asking the audience questions.
Christine – what was your first impression when you read the script?
Thresa – My first impression was “I’m gonna make a movie!” The truth is everything that was in the script was so different than what we actually shot. The script was maybe thirty-four pages, it was really short and our lines were in it but there was nothing else, there was no explanation. The whole scene with Cheryl was um, Cheryl gets attacked by the woods, so we know what that was about but no the script really was very minimal.
Betsy – Yeah I remember when we got together for the script reading it was short and it was very ambiguous and it’d say “They’re going to go into the woods and a demon would appear.” And we’d look at him and say “So, that’s all there is..?” And he’d say “Don’t, don’t worry about it Betsy we’re gonna fill it in”
These ladies were absolutely great, their answer were all very colorful and while I would love to transcribe the entire event my phone ran out of memory and so alas all I had was a few brief notes. However as with all the panels, Horror News Network will be posting them on their youtube.
Final Panel – George Romero.
After some frantic app removal and life evaluation because why did I even have those apps? My name is Shawn and I am addicted to freemium gaming. I was ready for the final panel, the God-Father of the Dead, George Romero. If you like zombies, or horror or cult classics you already know everything there is to say about this guy. Like Ricou, George A. Romero is a living legend and is loved by many. Horror News Network’s Larry Dwyer sat down with Mr. Romero and got some fantastic answers to some great questions.
While I would go into greater depth on this one, I could write for hours, the truth is for the sake of not making this article longer than it already is, I will say that Mr. Romero commented that Day of the dead is his favorite film, working with Stephen King was great and also that Stephen was a ham and loved the camera, he also mentions being pissed off at The Walking Dead for making zombie films too expensive as well as how he tried to go back to his roots with Diary of the dead. I wish I could write it all down, the vendors, all the celebs, and all the costumes but there was just too much Horrorfest for one article. Rob and Christine really pulled off an awesome fest and here’s hoping to many more. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go count my autographs.
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