Scream star Lillard heads up Edinburgh’s first Horror Con

Zombies in Edinburgh's Old Town
Zombies in Edinburgh's Old Town
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DARKNESS will fall across the land (well Morrison Street anyway), long before the midnight hour is close at hand, however, (on Saturday), a real thriller is set to come to town, the first ever Edinburgh Horror Con.

So, if you’re idea of fun is creeping through a room full of zombies, bumping into a grotesque slasher, or even dressing up as your favourite demon, well, then head to the EICC this weekend, where you can do all three.

The event is the brainchild of 51-year-old horror writer Vic Wright and custom cupcake maker Matt Blakey, and follows the success of similar events in Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, and London, over the past five years.

Vic explains, “Edinburgh Horror Con came from our desire to spread the fun we have had at our other shows.

“We both love Scotland and have traded there successfully, so it made sense to come to the Capital as it’s steeped in hauntings and history.

“Visitors to our other Horror Cons were coming from all across the UK and we saw a big influx of Scottish horror fans, so rather than make them travel to us all the time, we decided it was time to bring the show to them.”

Matthew Lillard

Matthew Lillard

Yes, it seems that ever since the flickering shadow of Nosferatu danced across silver screens nearly 100 years ago our cinematic love of things that go bump in the night has remained unsated.

“The attraction with horror movies is all about stepping out of your comfort zone,” says Vic.

“As with any movie, it’s about taking you somewhere else, just like a good book does. With horror, it’s also about playing with the mind.

“There are different types of horror too; psychological, slasher, serial killer and suspense. For me one of the great masters of horror was Alfred Hitchcock, Psycho, in my opinion, being the first great horror movie.”

Each style of horror is represented at the Edinburgh Horror Con, which has taken months of planning.

“The logistics are a nightmare at times,” admits Vic.

“We start with a venue and then create a local audience, after that it’s all about who is starring at the show and what else we can do to increase the atmosphere.

“You’d be surprised at how many people and businesses get involved.”

This weekend, as well as the promise of scares, frights and chills galore, attendees will have the opportunity to meet a host of film and TV stars linked to the genre, including Hollywood actor Matthew Lillard, perhaps best known as Chip, son of Katherine Turner’s Serial Mom in John Waters’ 1994 black comedy, and for Wes Craven’s 1996 slasher Scream. He also played Shaggy, in Scooby Doo.

Other guests include Jonathan Breck, who played the demonic Creeper in Jeepers Creepers, and Richard Brake, Doomhead from Devils Rejects and The Night King from Game of Thrones.

“Matthew Lillard, famous for his portrayal of Ghostface in Scream and assistant ghost catcher in Thirteen Ghosts, is making his first ever UK appearance,” reveals Vic.

“Jonathan Breck is also a first time signer in the UK. Then we have the amazing Richard Brake and Eileen Dietz and a host of other film celebrities.”

Those include Nicholas Vince, The Chatterer Cenobite in Hellraiser, Kevin Van Hentenryck, the nerdy Duane Bradley in Basket Case and Hammer Horror star Caroline Munro, who se credits feature Dracula AD 1972, Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter as well as The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and the Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me.

A highlight of the weekend, promises Matt, will be a live performance by G Tom Mac who wrote and sang Cry Little Sister, the theme song to film The Lost Boys, as will an appearance by Eileen Dietz who portrayed the demon Pazuzu, who possesses Regan in The Exorcist.

Vic adds, “Authors attending include Jonathan Melville [ex-Evening News film reviewer], who will give a talk on the popular cult film series Tremors, and Bryn Hammond who is launching The Complete History of The Howling.”

All guests will be meeting and greeting fans, posing for selfies and signing autographs.

There will also be interview panels, exhibits, props and a range of adventure rooms in which you can choose between creeping through a room full of zombies whilst undertaking a series of tasks, or dare you enter the ‘Deliverance From Evil 3’ (18+) room where, if you’re not careful, you could become Eli’s new plaything.

“It probably sounds like a cliché, but the highlight for us is seeing the look of enjoyment on people’s faces,” says Vic.

“We get lots of thanks for making people’s dreams come true when they meet their favourite personalities. That makes it all worthwhile.”

And if you’ve never been to a convention before, Matt and Vic have some advice...

“There’s only one way to do a Horror Con, come in and join in the fun.

“Dress up, make your face up, and act as creepy as you can... or at least marvel at those who do, above all, enjoy yourself.”

Edinburgh Horror Con, EICC, Morrison Street, Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 May, 11am, Adult £10/Student £8/OAP, Disabled(carers free) £8/Child 5+ £8/Family Ticket (2 adults 2 children) £30, Under 5 free/Weekend Passes £28/Early Bird entry (9am Entry) £15, www.edinburghhorrorcon.com