Convention Review for Days of the Dead: Culture Shock
Days of the Dead is a specialty horror convention that came on the scene in 2011 and has marketed it’s style as a “For the Fans” style of convention; focusing on getting the guests the fans truly what they want to see. The show runs in 3 markets currently (Indianapolis, Chicago & Atlanta) with a scheduled 4th market coming soon (Los Angeles). The creators of this convention are fans just like the attendees and have focused the Culture Shock event in Indianapolis as being more a pop culture show compared to a horror or Sci-fi specific event. For this event we attended as VIP guests to allow us access to as many panels and events as possible.
Days of the Dead: Culture Shock headlined a reunion by the cast of the original Dawn of the Dead cast as well as Director George Romero, Malcom McDowell, John Waters and Roddy Piper. The hype for this convention continued as additional celebrities including Traci Lords (Zach and Miri Make a Porno), Brian O’Halloran (Clerks II), and Dee Wallace (ET) were announced over the lead up to the convention start date. The convention took place at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel near the Indianapolis International Airport and away from the traffic congestion that can occur in the downtown areas.
The convention took place in the back area of the hotel where the conference rooms and ballrooms were situated, a VIP room was also available on the 2nd floor for those who had VIP tickets and the will call booth to pick up convention tickets, photo op tickets and merchandise was in the main corridor before going toward the speaking panel rooms. The initial first glance at the layout caused some concerns as some vendors were setup in the hallways outside ballrooms. This caused some congestion areas especially for those with disability needs as it was difficult to move a walker, scooter or wheelchair though the area without brushing up against someone.
Professional Photos with the guests were scheduled throughout the 3 days allowing for everyone to get a chance at photos while not missing some of the big panels going on. Initially they had a George Romero Photo Op occurring during the Dawn of the Dead reunion panel but this was rescheduled to allow visitors to have the opportunity to get to attend both after some concerns were voiced by attending visitors when the event schedule was released. The organizers quickly noticed the concern and made a correction in a prompt statement on their communication pages.
The Panels for the convention left a bit of a sour taste in our mouths as the presenting hosts from Easy Coast Horror Group tended to ask a pre-set list of questions they had and left little to no questions from the attending visitors. This caused a bit of disappointment when Malcom McDowell’s panel was going as the majority of the questions were in regards to his work in A Clockwork Orange which have all been asked by previous conventions, can be found as special segments attached with the DVD of the movie or are found on YouTube. The lack of allowing the visitors to ask questions or only allowing 1 of 2 questions at the end made the panels feel really sloppy and almost more of a performance. The restriction of video cameras was understandable for certain panels like John Waters as well as for Tom Savini who requested no video due to the stories they were telling but for others such as Brian O’Halloran & The Star Wars Bounty Hunter panel we found the camera was turned off or not present at all to cover which made it seem they were less important panels to the filming group.
The vendors for this convention were plentiful with them spread out between 2 rooms and the corridors between them. The only concern was the setup as they mixed the celebrities with the vendors in 1 room and had vendors occupy tables in the main corridor that lead back into the celebrity area. The corridors became packed with the people moving both ways, the people browsing the vendors and the line for photo ops all in the same hallway. The opinion here is there could have been a better use of the space available but for a first run of this convention it is understandable to have some items to work on.
The Vendor Highlight of this convention belongs to 3 that we really believe can be even greater over time with their wears, art and items. We look forward to following them and seeing them at other conventions throughout the coming years.
PescEffects – The Art of Jerry Pesce (http://www.pesceffects.com)
Jerry Pesce specializes in art of his own unique vision and design. His booth is designed to draw you over with his artwork on steel plates that shimmer and glow drawing your eyes and making you want to buy from him. Jerry has done his renditions of characters and scenes from all sorts of genres including horror, sci-fi, cartoons and animation. All of his artwork has a style and flair that screams for you to buy 1 if not 3. While your eyes get drawn to the steel prints, don’t forget to check out the wall behind his booth for the paper prints he has also. We walked away from his booth with 3 Steel Prints and 2 Paper Prints that we absolutely loved. He signs all his prints and his steel prints are numbered with a stamp of authenticity on the back so you know you’re getting something special. All the steel print artwork has a limited run of 50 so if you see something you like you better get your order in quick. Jerry does commission pieces also so long as he feels that it will sell as a steel print also. If you get a commission piece you are going to get the 1st made steel print of that artwork and he will confirm his work with you so you can see what you will be getting before it ships to you. Great vendor, reasonable prices and works of art to decorate your home, bedroom, office or desk.
Geeky Endeavors - (http://www.facebook.com/GeekyEndeavors/)
The Team behind Geeky Endeavors have created a specialized group of wearables and trinkets that will catch your eye. They have items ranging from custom charms, chain/scale mail wearables, necklaces, bracelets and much more. A few of the items that caught our eye were the custom charm necklace/bracelets that you can make, the scale mail bras, the D20 chain mail necklace and the chain mail hand gloves. The items they make are truly special and unique and we made it a point to stop by their booth time and time again to check if there was anything we missed. If you are a RPG player, you shouldn’t go without the D20 necklace they have. It’s a chain mail style necklace that has a special holder at the bottom with a D20 dice in it. The holder for the dice opens up to allow you to remove the dice for that all important tie breaker of a decision or to get that critical hit to save your party. One of the designs they showed off was the Harley Quinn diamond style of chain mail glove that a few of the people looked at with desire. These 2 have something for everyone at their booth and we suggest if you ever see them to go over and say hello and browse the booth. You are almost guaranteed to find something you like.
The Shadow Farm - (https://www.etsy.com/shop/theshadowfarm)
The Team at The Shadow Farm create characters with their own little flair of emotion that have that special way of tugging at you to come closer. These characters have that edgy feel to them like a spiritual companion full of stories to tell. You will notice their gaze at you as you walk by, all of them calling you over to ask even the simplest question of “Who are you?” only to get no answer but a stare full of emotion. The details put into these characters are astounding and they sit guard at the table wondering who will come next to pick them up and examine their tag. These are all handmade and we give a lot of credit to the team at The Shadow farm as they sure make your imagination work as you try and give them a name of your own. If you do decide to get one, you may feel the need to get a 2nd just so they can have a buddy to be with on that shelf or desk. If you still have that imagination and kid at heart feeling then these little ones will be good friends with you in your journey ahead. They may look a bit creepy but believe me, they are the good guys.