A Horror-Filled Weekend In Orlando
This past weekend in Orlando was Spooky Empire’s 3rd annual May-Hem. Spooky Empire who is best known for their yearly horror convention started their May-Hem show to bring in more of the pop-culture & non-horror guests. For the first time ever Spooky partnered up with Transworld Halloween & Attractions Show & Netherworld Haunted House for Halloween Extreme. Halloween Extreme wasn’t the only first this weekend, it was also Spooky Empire’s first time at the Rosen Centre Hotel.
There was a little controversy when headlining guest Norman Reedus cancelled his appearance nearly a week before the show. Reedus or no Reedus the show still had to go on and as far as i’m concerned it went extremely well.
While May-Hem’s guest list suffered Reeduslessness and the cancellation of C. Thomas Howell, they still managed to bring in some brand new faces and some unexpected ones. The weekend featured a Warriors reunion with Michael Beck, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, David Harris, Terry Michos, Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler & Thomas Waites.
A big draw on Saturday was the cast of Holliston (Adam Greene, Joe Lynch, Laura Ortiz & GWAR’s Oderus Urungus). Who not only took pictures with the fans for free but also signed for free.
Even without Norman Reedus, there was still a lot of minor Walking Dead guests like Nick Gomez, Theodus Crane, Daniel Thomas May, Tyler Chase & Triston Johnson.
Other popular guests this weekend were American Horror Story’s Naomi Grossman, Gremlins Zach Galligan and the Little Mermaid’s Pat Caroll (who had lines most of the weekend).
The most surprising guest of the weekend had to be Dennis Rodman who was at the show Saturday to sign his children’s book. Dennis Rodman’s children’s book? Yep, you can’t make this stuff up.
Halloween Extreme also brought industry guests of their own including stars from Syfy’s Face Off and LA Ink’s Amy Nicoletto.
While Mayhem has less events than their October show, there was still plenty to do. The show kicked off on Friday with a Zombie Walk hosted by the Deadite Empire.
There was a handful of Q&A’s throughout the weekend along with the larger Tattoo Festival.
The show also featured a return of their Celebrity Poker Tournament with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. This year’s charity being Compassionate Hands and Hearts Breast Cancer Outreach.
Event-wise, what May-Hem lacked in events, Halloween Extreme more than made up for. Halloween Extreme featured a full weekend of seminars for everything from lighting & set design, prop making & pumpkin carving and a halloween museum showing off the scariest props from both atendees and vendors.
There were also special events like a behind the scenes of Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream and competitions in events like pumpkin carving & prop displays.
There was even a trick or treating and a costume contest for the kids. Along with an inflatable haunted house that was also fun for the adults. Seriously, it’s hilarious watching those (including myself) try to get out of it.
Halloween Extreme was also nice enough to let those attending only Spooky check out their show on Sunday at no additional cost.
The new location featured a much larger vendor room with remaining vendors spilling into the guest area and hallways. It made for a much welcomed less-cramped space to shop.
While there was all sorts of different vendors, i’d say the majority were selling either artwork or clothing. Some of the vendors were no strangers to the Florida convention circuit like Convention Exclusive (action figures), Kitsch & Crossbones (accessories), The Fine Print Shoppe (t-shirts printed on site), Cemetery Prints (horror photography) & Myrcury’s Toybox (art & more).
Also in attendance were the folks from Legends: A Haunting at Old Town promoting their upcoming year round haunted house.
Unless I wasn’t paying enough attention, it appeared there was not as many costumed attendees as there usually was. Possibly because there was only the Halloween Extreme hall contest?
There were your usual costumes like Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Walking Dead characters with random zombies.
Some great returning costumes such as The Evil Dead’s Ash, Edgar Allen Poe, bunnies galore with Dogwitch & Blue Bell and the Evil Bunny Death Squad.
Some new costumes this year were the Twisted Wizard of Oz Dorothy and the femme-Beetlejuice.
Orlando’s Rosen Centre Hotel, the convention’s new location. I don’t think I can say enough good things about this place, it’s probably the best convention hotel I’ve ever been to. The rooms were nice (especially when you figure out where the fridge is) and the low rate of $85 was even nicer.
The space itself for the convention was wide-open but everything was in the same area so you didn’t have to travel far.
Speaking of travel, with all the amenities the Rosen Centre offered there was no reason to leave all weekend. My group didn’t anyways.
Don’t even get me started on how awesome the hotel food was. The first night we hit the hotel buffet (discounted for the con) and almost a week later we’re still talking about the cheese selection and the cake bar. The majority of our meals were from Red’s Deli which served breakfast, lunch & dinner. It was pretty nice picking up pizza and nachos to take back to the room when it was nearly midnight on Saturday.
Needless to say, I hope Spooky returns to the Rosen in the future and makes it their permanent home.
It wouldn’t be Spooky without the active nightlife and late-night partying.
As usual everyone seemed to converge on the hotel’s pool once it became dark. Luckily the convention embraced the attendees and extended their hours and didn’t close the pool until 2 AM. DJ’s playing industrial and metal music while you hangout with your friends in a relaxed setting, it was pretty nice.
Solving the problem of the pool closing early we found a pretty awesome spot overlooking it. Lovingly dubbed “the Crow’s nest” the hotel didn’t mind that us partying until 4 or 5 in the morning on Friday and Saturday nights.
A big thanks to the Rosen Centre for embracing Spooky’s party atmosphere unlike the previous location…
If you were able to get past the guest list complaints, I hope you had a great weekend. I know I sure did. This was a fun show in a laid-back atmosphere that was more about hanging out with friends instead of rushing from one panel to the next.
Spooky’s next convention will be their Ultimate Horror Weekend October 25-27 at yet another new location, the Doubletree at Universal Studios.
We’ll see y’all again in October!