Updated: Nov 15, 2019
A couple of weeks ago, I, your intrepid host had the pleasure of attending For The Love of Horror. For those not in the know, FTLOH is a horror convention that takes place at The Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester. Spanning the course of a weekend, the convention incorporates traders' stalls, attractions, such as a Scare Maze, special guests and an after-show party.
I hopped into the Reelhorrorshow Mobile and headed on up for the Saturday while also brandishing a ticket for the Mad Monster Afterparty. Arriving nice and early, I hoped to secure myself a place as close to the front of the queue as possible. Being a regular convention attendee, I know only too well how emotional the entrance queue can get, which brings me to my first piece of positive criticism (and trust me, this review will be full of them). I have never been to a convention where the queue has been so deftly managed. People where shepherded beautifully, and this impressed me tremendously. Especially considering that it involved a bag search before entrance was permitted. I will admit, I hate queueing. It’s the work of the devil and many conventions make a total shambles it.
Earlier in the year, I attended London Film and Comic-Con and their queueing system was a joke. Anyway, that’s enough about queueing or this review will come across like when you ask your grandparents how their holiday was and they fixate on whining about the food.
So, once inside the venue, I ventured to the signing area as I had my sights set on meeting the one and only Mr Bill Moseley. Now usually at a convention, only the photo ops are available to book in advance, never the autographs and to my detriment, I hadn’t looked into how they work. My fault I know. Approaching the line for Bill’s autograph I was informed by a member of staff that if I hadn’t acquired my autograph ticket beforehand I was required to go find someone to buy a ticket from and that I wouldn’t be able to get my signing done until after 12 noon. Bit odd but okay…
Unable to find anywhere to buy a ticket, I dropped by the information desk whereby I was further informed that the information I had received had been incorrect and that, while it was true that I couldn’t get my autograph signed before 12, I could pay cash at the signing table (as is the norm at most Con’s). This is my only real gripe of the day, and to be fair, it’s a fairly minor issue. It seems strange that the lady running the queue didn’t have the right info but Sè la vie.
Generally, I like to get my autographs out of the way first, but in the face of adversity, I went to check out the trading area. First, let me start by saying, “Wow!” The trading area was huge and I could feel the sting of the beating my wallet would take throughout the day. Was I a rich man I would have needed a rent-a-van to transport all my purchases home. I have a rule, where I like to work my way around the trading area of a convention, at least twice before making a purchase. This has bitten me on the arse a few times as I have either forgotten where I saw something that I wanted to buy or it's been sold by the time I’ve returned to buy it. My reason behind this sometimes bad decision is because I don’t want to spend my funds on something as an impulse, only to find something cooler further round and not have the cash left to procure it. There is a degree of method in my madness.
Having done the rounds at the trading tables, I sauntered to the Q&A area in time for the talk with the original Losers Club from Stephen King’s It (1990). In attendance for the interview were Emily Perkins, Brandon Crane, Adam Faraizl, Ben Heller, Marlon Taylor and Jarred Blancard. I missed the start of the Q&A as I was in consumer heaven and wasn’t paying any attention to the time, but what I caught of it was interesting. I’m not a huge fan of the 1990s version of It, but I have been a fan of Emily Perkins since I first saw here in Ginger Snaps so I was pleased I caught some of it.
My time had come to go and meet Bill and I arrived at his table to find that there were about three people in the queue which made me a very happy chappie. I chatted with Bill a little about how much I had enjoyed 3 From Hell and whether there was any intention of making a fourth movie. I had recently reviewed 3 From Hell for this site, which Bill’s wife, Lucinda Jenney, who played Nebraska in the movie, remembered reading, which was all kinds of awesome. So as an added bonus, I acquired her autograph as well. I had my selfie with Bill and then trotted away with the smile of a thousand nerdgasms plastered across my stupid face. I can happily state that Bill Moseley is an all-round nice guy, and if you ever get the chance to meet him won’t be disappointed.
My wife had decided that she wanted to go try out the Scare Maze so this became our next destination. Anyone who’s ever attended a Halloween Scare Attraction knows what to expect. You stumble around in the dark waiting for something to jump out and frighten the shit out of you until you tumble out at the end feeling a mixture of happy, scared and idiotic. It was exactly that, and we had a thoroughly good laugh. I struggle a little with attractions like this,having to reign in my baser instinct to punch, anything that jumps out at me in the face. I got through it, and more importantly, so did they.
By now my tummy was all manner of rumbly and I needed a food and caffeine fix so we headed outside to sample the delights of some of the many catering vans dotted around. The organisers had laid on a fairground so that, between exploring inside the event and grabbing a bite to eat, patrons of the convention could ride a carousel or various other rides. I decided that eating and then spinning didn’t bode well for me so I gave it a miss.
Once refuelled, I headed back inside to do some serious damage to my bank account. I perused the many trade tables and came away having spent far more than I should have but hey, you can’t take it with you, right?
We also met and chatted with an author who had set up shop to sell her book and it turned out that she originated from the same, crappy, backwater town that we sadly inhabit. It's a small world. Her name is Gemma Amor. She has books available on Amazon so go buy them.
The next Q&A I wanted to catch was Bill Moseley’s, so we headed to the talk area and took a seat. Before Bill took to the stage, a minute's silence was observed to honour the memory of Sid Haig who should have been attending the weekend but had sadly passed away a few weeks prior. It was beautiful and emotional and as footage of Sid’s work, accompanied by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Freebird played on the big screen, I defy anyone not to have been tearing up a little.
Then Bill took to the stage and his Q&A was brilliant. A personal highlight was when he acted out the differences between playing Otis and Chop Top. I never dreamed that I would witness Bill Moseley quoting Chop Top’s line, “lick my plate you Dog dick” in person.
As the event ended, we hung around, ready to attend the Mad Monster Afterparty. I should point out that the afterparty ran until midnight. Sadly, we are getting old and only made it until 10 pm.
The first act to grace the stage that evening was Famous Monsters. Now I’m a huge fan of the band the Misfits so I really enjoyed Famous Monsters. They did a nice combination of newer Misfits and early, Danzig era stuff and I loved every minute.
Next up was G Tom Mac, he of Cry Little Sister (The Lost Boys Soundtrack) fame. Turns out Mr Mac has written a Lost Boys musical and if I’m completely honest, musicals are not my thing (unless you count that Buffy episode), so I was only really there for his signature song and it did not disappoint. I think everyone in attendance was belting out the ‘thou shall not’ harmonies.
That was it for me. It was way passed this old man’s bedtime and the allure of a cup of tea and a biscuit in bed had taken hold. I climbed into a taxi and headed back to the hotel a very satisfied fella.
I have attended a great many conventions over the years and as far as organisation goes, FTLOH has to be one of the best. Their handling of queues (I’m obsessed. How very British), the layout of the venue, the sheer bulk of things to do once inside the con. It was fantastic. Monopoly Events who run the convention had worked tirelessly to ensure that anyone attending had the best time possible. I only attended for the one day and this wasn’t nearly enough time to sample everything they offered. I can happily guarantee that I shall attend again.
A convention as ambitious and packed as this was can’t be an easy thing to achieve and given that Monopoly runs many events throughout the year, I think they deserve major credit. I’m sure, as, with all conventions, there will be those who find something to moan about. If that’s the case, those people need to have a serious word with themselves. I personally had a wonderful time and I can’t wait until next year.
To check out our short video of the day head to our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xe0C040tVk&t=66s
To see G Tom Mac perform Cry Little Sister Live head to our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZI13_cM6-8
To see Famous Monsters perform Dig Up Her Bones Live head to our YouTube channel here: