The old saying is to strike early, and strike often. Well, Filmmaker/Producer Ryan Scott Weber and Comic Book Men Producer/Pop Culturist Rob Bruce have done exactly that with their passion project known as the New Jersey Horror Con & Film Festival. Come together just one year ago, the convention has already hosted three impressive events – first in March of 2017, then in September of 2017, and most recently the weekend of March 2nd through 4th in 2018. To the average consumer, not much thought goes into it, they more than likely think, “Cool, another convention, more fun checking out vendors, films, and meeting my favorite Horror film stars.” Well, the amount of planning, time, and finances it takes to organize these highly involved events is not as easy as 1,2,3. No, it takes a great deal of dedication to put them together, and do it right. Fortunately for New Jersey Horror Con & Film Festival, their first two events went off without a hitch, but can they keep pace as they move forward?
It is a logical question considering the mass amount of competition out there and what seems like a new genre-themed convention popping up every day. That in mind, for their third overall convention, which took place Friday, March 2nd through Sunday March 4th at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Edison, New Jersey they delivered what could very well been their best yet! The first two conventions had fantastic guest lists, a slew of compelling vendors, and inspiring Indie films to check out. This time around, they upped the ante with a guest list of Horror film stars that would have any fan salivating.
A top heavy list including legendary, original KISS Drummer Peter Criss, the other stars on hand included former WWE Wrestler Mike Foley; Horror Queen Danielle Harris; Film Director Adam Green; 2009’s Jason Voorhees, Derek Mears; 1968’s Night of the Living Dead Author John Russo; The Wishmaster himself, Andrew Divoff; the beautiful Tawny Kitaen; the talented Toni Hudson; the exotic Bai Ling; the wonderful PJ Soles; and Married With Children star Amanda Bearse; but do we need to go on? Ok… how about also a return appearance from Night of the Demon’s star Amelia Kinkade; rare Northeast appearances from 1981’s American Werewolf in London star David Naughton; 1991’s Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead star Keith Coogan; members of the Hatchet series cast including Tiffany Shepis, Laura Ortiz, Parry Shen; 1996’s The Craft star Rachel True, and much, much more!
First and foremost, this is a list of guests that the diehard and passionate fans of the Horror genre would smile ear to ear for. They are talent of many fans’ favorite films from the past and present. Carefully spread out with guests in the main area, before walking into the autograph room, and the into the vendor room, there were someone to meet at every turn. Even better, each guest genuinely appeared happy to be there. These are the attributes that make for a great meet and greet experience.
Beyond the stellar guest list, there was plenty of things to see and do including a block of Horror short and feature film viewings upstairs at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel. A great place for astute film viewers to catch up-and-coming talent and help support Indie filmmakers, it was a great break from the hustle and bustle of the very busy convention on the lower level. There was also panels including one for Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead, as well as John Russo eager to speak about his new project, My Uncle John is a Zombie.
A list of events to keep convention goers busy for hours, one of the biggest draw of the weekend was the friendly, welcoming nature of the staff. Each and every staff member was accommodating, pleasant, and personable. This is very important because those who attend these sort of events regularly know a rude staff can often put a damper on your weekend. Moreover, everyone involved – staff, vendors, and guests included – were kid friendly. They were aware some little ones may be standoffish about creepy costumes and rather than go for a scare, nurtured them, ensuring it is all in good fun. Heck, they even handed out candy to the kiddies, of course with their parents’ permission.
When it was all said and done, New Jersey Horror Con & Film Festival is proving itself to be a top contender for one of the best Horror-themed conventions in the Northeast, and it is only a year old! They even booked their event the weekend prior to the massive Monster Mania Convention down in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Bold, right? Not to worry, because the move did not affect attendance in the least. In fact, it was an extremely busy weekend at the convention proving they are building a fanbase all their own. Keep up the good work New Jersey Horror Con & Film Festival, the base of support is growing, and eager to see what is coming up next.