Sunday, August 23, 2015

Horror convention gives father and son a ghoul time

Recently I went to a horror convention, which I want to assure my male readers is not, in fact, shorthand for a baby shower.

Baby showers are certainly horror enough for a man, even it it's your baby. If it's not yours, and the hosts are teetotalers, this veers beyond horror into cruelty. All those tiny, asexual yellow onesies are enough to make a man eat a fireplace poker.

But this was an actual horror expo at the Pasadena Convention Center. The only babies in evidence were props being dragged behind a woman dressed as La Llorona, the famously sad ghost mom.

There were quite a few attendees in costume, although less cleavage on display than your average Renaissance Fair. More giant, bloody mutant rabbits walking upright, though. I don't know what movie/comic book they were from. I don't really keep up with horror, unless you count politics.

I was there because my son is a fan of those horror mazes that amusement parks build in October, and there were discussion panels headed by the creative directors behind them. They were sharing spoilers about this Halloween's plans and getting cheers like the Dodgers used to get.

Who knew there were superfans of horror mazes, who follow news tidbits about upcoming designs the way baseball fans peruse disabled lists? There is a subculture for everything, it appears.

The convention was called "Scare L.A." and this was its third year. Aside from the panels, it consisted of 150 or so vendor booths (typical name: "Dapper Cadaver") selling stuff to scare trick-or-treaters off your lawn. Or spice up your love life. Depends on how you roll.

I enjoyed the exhibit hall the most, with vendors competing to emit the spookiest fog and sell the latexiest ghoul mask. (Horror knows no adjectival limits.)

You could buy a huge, four-foot wide clown face complete with light-up nose. Forget the lawn; that would clear your entire block.

They had severed limbs. Bloody axes. Not those cheap ones you see in the temporary Halloween stores. The good stuff, which appeared as if it had been used on actual screenwriters.

There were booths like "BoogerVampire" and "Brainfarto" and "Toxic Toons." My son is 14. He had the glazed-over look I get when an old Adrienne Barbeau movie comes on. Undiluted bliss.

It was a bonding thing too. You never forget looking at rubber torn-out throats with your old dad. Ah, they grow up so fast.