It’s not even October, but Massachusetts is already being spoiled with horror events. A mere week after Silver Scream Con took place in Danvers, Terror Con slashed into the Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlborough on September 15-17.
Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund, had the longest lines throughout the weekend. He was joined by several other A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise alumni: Part 1’s Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, and Ronee Blakeley; Part 2’s Mark Patton and Kim Myers; Part 4’s Lisa Wilcox and Nicholas Mele; Part 5’s Erika Anderson, Whit Hertford, and Beatrice Boepple; and Freddy vs. Jason‘s Monica Keena.
Other big draws included Lance Henriksen (Aliens), Edward Furlong (Terminator 2), pro wrestling legend Mick Foley, The Walking Dead‘s Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Chandler Riggs, Emily Kinney, and Katelyn Nacon, Danielle Harris (Halloween), Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks), John Kassir (Tales from the Crypt), and a Fright Night reunion with Chris Sarandon, William Ragsdale, Amanda Bearse, Stephen Geoffreys, and Jonathan Stark.
The stacked guest list continued with the likes of Derek Mears (Friday the 13th), Cerina Vincent (Cabin Fever), Melinda Clarke (Return of the Living Dead 3), Danny Lloyd (The Shining), Courtland Mead (The Shining), Ginger Lynn (The Devil’s Rejects), Carl Toop (Aliens), Sean Patrick Flanery (The Boondock Saints), Alaina Huffman (Supernatural), and Courage the Cowardly Dog voice actor Marty Grabstein, among others.
Sandy Johnson, who played Judith Myers in the original Halloween, only recently started doing the convention circuit — but she’s keen to do more after Terror Con. “Horror conventions are the happiest family gatherings of any type!” she enthused.
The massive selection of vendors was equally impressive, ranging from homemade goods, artwork, and apparel to collectibles both modern and vintage. Terror Con hosted adult and kids costume contests on Sunday, although cosplayers — from Resident Evil Village‘s Lady Dimitrescu on stilts to several different incarnations of iconic characters like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Captain Spaulding — were out in full force all three days.
My only gripe came from the panels. I didn’t mind the quarter-mile walk or sporadic shuttle ride required to get to the Best Western hotel next door where they took place, and I’m willing to overlook the tenuous panel subjects — opting to combine actors who didn’t know one another rather than utilizing the several cast reunions in attendance — but the podcaster that hosted most of the panels was ill-fitted for the job. Beyond not knowing the names of his interview subjects on more than one occasion, he constantly interjected awkward attempts at humor and personal anecdotes, often cutting off guests and usurping audience Q&A time.
Thankfully, all the participants were good-natured. It was amusing to watch Land of the Dead‘s Eugene Clark learn in real time that fellow panelist Craig David Dowsett played a demonic version of the beloved children’s character in Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey. “I love coming out to do these conventions,” Dowsett later told me. “I love meeting the fans and talking about the film with them. It’s good for getting feedback as well. I also enjoy general chit-chat with them. It’s really cool!”
No stranger to one-man shows, Mick Foley had audiences rolling with his stories from the wrestling industry, complete with a spot-on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin impression. John Kassir effortlessly slipped into his unmistakable Cryptkeeper voice, much to the audience’s delight, as he shared his unlikely career trajectory. Danielle Harris detailed an unmade project she wants to direct called Pussy Posse that would unite several notable horror actresses. Robert Englund’s panel was a highlight of the weekend; the 45-minute session flew by as he regaled the standing-room-only crowd with tales from his storied career.
2023 marked the first Terror Con since the show debuted in 2017 as a genre-centric off-shoot of Rhode Island Comic Con. (A planned comeback in 2020 was cancelled due to the pandemic.) I hope it assumes its rightful place as an annual event, as this year’s success proves that horror fans can’t get enough.