By: Heather Seebach
Recently, John Squires (of Freddy in Space) wrote this fantastic article for FearNet explaining the nine things every horror fan must do before they die. I love this idea, and I could not agree more with his choices. So I wanted to write this piece of share my personal experiences with those items I have already crossed off my "bucket list" and hopefully encourage you to do them, too (if you haven't already). Plus, at the end, I'll tell you some others activities I think every horror fan must do. But first, John's list...
1) Go to a Horror Convention!
The photo above of me and Evil Dead FX guru Tom Sullivan was from my very first horror convention - Horrorfind Weekend in Hunt Valley, MD, back in 2005. I have been hooked ever since. I attend at least 2-3 horror conventions a year now, and would do more if I could! You can typically expect celebrity meet-and-greets, merchandise vendors, artists and crafts, Q&As, movie screenings, costume contents, and sometimes "scaryoke!" If and when you go, I specifically recommend staying a weekend! In addition to all the awesome celebrities I have met (John Carpenter, George Romero, Bruce Campbell, Ted Raimi, Barbara Crampton, Brad Dourif, Jeffrey Combs, Michael Biehn, Greg Nicotero, Linnea Quigley, Malcolm McDowell, John Landis, and countless more) and amazing stuff I have purchased, I have had some GREAT times just hanging with friends (human and liquid) in the hotel room.
|Horror Convention Drunken Shenanigans|
2) Get Choked by Kane Hodder!
One of the many actors I have met at a horror con was Kane Hodder. As anyone who has met him knows, his signature photograph pose is the choke. But he doesn't just pretend to choke you for the shot, oh no, he squeezes the fuck out of your throat! What I didn't know (til I met him in 2010) was I guess he doesn't default to "the choke" for ladies, rather he puts an arm around you like most people do. But rest assured, he still squeezes REALLY FUCKING HARD. I felt the life being squeezed out of me by Jason! It was great. Side note: Kane told my boyfriend I touched his ass. I didn't, but I'm in no rush to deny it :P
3) Visit a Filming Location From Your Favorite Movie!
I have not been fortunate enough to visit the Tennessee filming location of Evil Dead yet, but in June of 2008 I had the pleasure of seeing Monroeville Mall where Romero's Dawn of the Dead was filmed. Much of the mall has changed, naturally, but a few memorable spots remained, including the JCPenney (now gone), the famous hallway, the fountain, and the escalator. It was fun to walk around and recognize spots based on memory. Making the experience even better, I got to watch the film right inside the mall on an inflatable screen! Right next to the escalator, and with some of the cast in attendance, no less! I sat right next to the Hare Krishna zombie (Mike Christopher) during the film!
4) Watch Every Installment of Every Franchise!
This is one experience that I definitely haven't done, nor do I plan to. Honestly, it's not a big bucket list item for me. Yes, yes, as a horror fan, I feel guilty not watching EVERY sequel of EVERYthing, but I also barely have time to watch films as it is, and I'd rather spend that time watching legit classics or new titles. Every now and then I'll work in a sequel, but it's not a priority for me. Except Evil Dead films, of course. Sam Raimi could make 30 more and I'd watch them all on repeat.
5) See Your Favorite Film on the Big Screen!
Happy to say I have done this with all the aforementioned Evil Dead films. I even drove 2 hours to the Winchester Alamo Drafthouse in West Virginia (aka: bumfuck nowhere) just to see The Evil Dead on the big screen (and stuff my face simultaneously). I've seen many other films in the theater decades after their original release too - it's not a waste of money, it's an essential experience for any film fan. Many arthouse cinemas and local Landmark theaters do midnight screenings of old films, or special retrospectives. I'm fortunate enough to have at least 3 great venues locally that do this, plus small bar events that screen films. If you live near a city, get out there and see some classics!
6) Take Part in a Zombie Walk!
My October's are always so busy that I have only had the time and pleasure of attending one zombie walk, but it was such a blast. And I did it when I was deathly ill. And I did zombie makeup on 4 people, no less. The Silver Spring Zombie Walk I attended was comprised of hundreds of zombies with different costumes and personalities. There were even anti-zombie forces with "guns" and cricket bats, and the occasional zombie rights protesters with picket signs. One of my favorite things was passing a bus stop with bloody hand prints all over the glass. So we all shambled to the AFI Silver where we watched Shaun of the Dead. Seeing that film with a crowd full of moaning zombies (the occasional "brains..." could be heard during the film) was great. There was even some brain-football going on, and our zombies stayed in character well (even groaning whenever a zombie died on-screen). A fun experience all-around and I cannot recommend it enough!
|Me (far right) and my fellow zombies|
I also had the pleasure of attending a zombie run. It was Run For Your Lives' very first event in Darlington, MD in October 2011 (the first event of its kind). I was among 10,000 runners in the 5k obstacle course. It was grueling! I didn't take it very seriously or prepare, so it kicked my ass. Especially the 6-foot lake (that was supposed to be 2-foot) where my lungs froze instantly. That particular obstacle was actually shut down for being too harsh on the runners. All my flags were taken by zombies and my finish time sucked, but I had a blast anyway!
7) Attend Halloween Horror Nights!
I have not been lucky enough to attend one of these...yet. Fortunately, I decided 2013 is my year and already booked a trip to Halloween Horror Nights 23! Good timing, too, because I get to experience both the Cabin in the Woods and Evil Dead mazes! October cannot come soon enough!
8) Spend a Night at the Stanley Hotel!
Colorado is already on my bucket list, and when I finally do go, you can bet I'm gonna stay here! I love the fact that they have a channel that plays The Shining on a continuous loop in this hotel that inspired the book (and thus film). In true horror nerd fashion, I'll make sure I get room 217 (which was Stephen King's inspiration for room 237). I wonder how many people have left "redrum" written on the bathroom mirrors with anti-fog solution (or even lipstick)?
9) Contribute to the Genre!
I think my biggest contribution to the genre (in terms of time put into it) is this very website. I try to write what other fans will enjoy, and spread news I know they will love. It's all about community, and doing this has introduced me to countless horror-loving friends. Let's see, what else - I have contributed to my fair share of Kickstarter projects (including local Lovecraft production Call Girl of Cthulhu and the FX-throwback Harbinger Down). I have also done makeup FX on a few low-budget horror projects, but I hope to make my own horror film someday!
|Me, bloodying up an actress for a horror trailer.|
More experiences I suggest any horror fan must add to their bucket list:
1) Meet your heroes.
I know the old saying is "Don't meet your heroes" but I say do it anyway. It could be at a convention, a film set, a festival, a seminar, a book signing, or even on the street (within reason). I knew no convention would ever get my personal idol, Sam Raimi, so I set out to meet him myself. It took 3 failed trips to NYC, 1 failed trip to Cleveland, a lot of physical endurance, and even more courage to make it happen, but it did, and it was one of the best days of my life.
2) Buy Something You Shouldn't
I know this isn't feasible for everyone, and I'm sure most people have more common sense (and restraint) than me, but if you're willing to live a little, buy something crazy. Even just once. Some of you may do this all the time (horror fans are prone to it), and that's great. I typically cut off my convention budget after $300 (oy) but sometimes...just sometimes...I buy something like this:
3) Go To a Horror-Themed Bar or Restaurant!
There are horror-themed venues across the entire world, from the Slaughtered Lamb (inspired by An American Werewolf in London) in NYC to the H.R. Giger (Alien) bar in Switzerland. These are too cool to miss out on. Check out my list of the best ones here:
4) Collect Something!
This is kinda related to the second item, as most fans spend a LOT of money collecting items, but I wanted to emphasize it. This probably comes naturally to a horror fan (or movie fans, in general) but building and maintaining a collection is fun, and who knows, may someday be financially rewarding. Whether you collect items from a specific film or franchise, or a certain type of memorabilia (autographs, posters, etc.), it's all part of being a fan. My personal collection - the one I can't help but blow money on - is, you guessed it, Evil Dead stuff.
5) Make As Many Horror Friends As You Can!
Whether it's at a con, a Meetup event, or just via Facebook, do it! I love my fiance and my friends who are "meh" on horror, but I think every type of nerd needs friends with those same strong passions. Fandoms are better when you have people to share them with. With social networking, it's easier to even to find like-minded people so even if you're an introvert (like me), you should have no problem finding pages, communities, and forums online crawling with people just like you! You could even start your own! The internet is full of a lot of trolls and hate, but it can also bring people together and forge lasting friendships.
Any other experiences you think are essential for a horror fan's bucket list?