On June 11 I made the long and tedious journey to Calgary to attend Horror-Con 2016, which was held at the Clarion Hotel Conference Center.
There were many cosplayers dressed up as horror icons such as Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger. I couldn’t tell the difference from the actual film due to the level of detail and intricate designs of their costumes.
It was an immersive experience; many played their roles perfectly and nailed the mannerisms of the terrifying characters, bringing them to life. Various vendors lined the lobby and bottom floor selling everything from weapons that were used in various horror films, like Jason’s infamous blood stained machete, to original artwork that was as macabre as it was intriguing.
Various stars made guest appearances like Tyler Mears, known for his acting roles in the films X-Men, Troy and Rob Zombie’s adaption Halloween where he took on the role of prolific serial killer Michael Myers. Many were scheduled to make an appearance throughout the two day event which started from eleven in the morning until seven in the evening.
It was a fun filled atmosphere with hundreds of people attending. Throughout the day, short Indie horror films were shown in the conference room to a receptive audience.
One film that particularly stood out for me was American Burger, a satirical Indie film about a cannibalistic eastern European butcher that made burgers out of, well, Americans. It struck every horror cliché on the head (no pun intended) throughout the film.
It made me ponder. What makes horror so appealing to people? Is it a morbid curiosity into the darker side of human nature as we safely observe it from the comfort of our homes? Horrifying stories are shown on a daily basis that is covered by mainstream media. Perhaps it is acknowledging the basest human instinct of “fight or flight” which is bio-mechanically wired into our brains. Fear is an emotion that triggers endorphins in the brain to flee and when cornered, fight.
The horror genre taps into that fear and various phobias and turns them into entertainment, for that thrill, that natural high. In the back of our minds we know that it;s only fiction, and it isn’t real. Our brains, however, don’t distinguish this when watching a horror film. To the brain it is real and the feelings that the film invokes are just as real as the various protagonists and antagonists suffering gruelling experiences depicted in the films.
In any case, I came out unscathed. From the comfort of my theatre chair I’m ready to take on the bad guys again next year.