Monday, April 9, 2018

"NOTHIN' BUT A GHOUL TIME!" — Spooky Empire Horror Convention (April 6-8, 2018 / Orlando, FL)

Spooky Empire
Horror Convention
(April 6-8, 2018 / Orlando, FL)

After hearing all sorts of
hoo-ha for the last few
years, I felt compelled
to venture out this past
weekend and finally
experience the famed
horror event for myself.

Growing up in the Midwest during the '70s, I was riveted by late night horror movies. I possessed a particular passion for black and white classics starring such iconic actors as Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. My poor, sweet mother absolutely was riddled with concern over my unbridled pre-pube obsession with the afternoon T.V. show, Dark Shadows. And I won't even get into how much Count Chocula and Franken Berry I consumed back in those days. As a teenage rock music freak, I was mesmerized further by the likes of KISS and Alice Cooper. As a result of my insatiable adolescent ghoulish appetite, the Spooky Empire horror convention had been on my radar for quite a while.

Spooky Empire 2018 offered fans
a menagerie ghoulish goodies. 
A gloriously haunting celebration of all things frightening and creepy, the Central Florida-based event is billed as "The Dark Side of Comic Con." Produced biannually by the husband and wife team of Petey and Gina Mongelli, the spring 2018 edition of Spooky Empire played out at the fabulous Wyndham Orlando Resort on April 6-8. Over the course of three action-packed days and fun-filled nights, the all-ages extravaganza oozed WOW-factor — from an array of one-on-one celebrity meet-and-greet and Q&A sessions to near-endless groovy vendor booths to seemingly countless skilled master artists demonstrating their craft in the enormous tattoo area to the sea of amazing-looking, costumed characters roaming about the venue.

All dressed in the iconic circa 1983 garb of former
KISS guitarist, Vinnie Vincent, these kabuki-faced
characters were my personal Spooky Empire faves.
Based on our numerous chaotic personal past experiences with various other similar-type events over the years, my girlfriend, Diana, and I expected Spooky Empire to present us with yet another frustrating "cluster"-style scenario. We were wrong. In fact, the first thing we noticed upon entering the Wyndham Resort was how well-organized Spooky Empire was. Which says a lot, given what an unbelievably sprawling production it was. We also were impressed equally by the event and venue staff — professional and friendly, to be sure.

What's cooler than getting photo bombed

by the guys from Animal House?
As a talented artist and acknowledged superhero / comic book aficionado, Diana was fascinated by the incredible related artwork displayed throughout the event. As an admitted, drooling rock music fanboy, I was most thrilled about meeting the hosts of the wildly popular Three Sides of the Coin  KISS podcast, as well as attending the Q&A session featuring former KISS guitarist, Vinnie Vincent. In short, Diana and I both went home more than satisfied.

Three Sides of the Coin co-hosts Michael Brandvold,
Tommy Sommers and Mark Cicchini did a fantastic
job leading the spirited Vinnie Vincent Q&A session.
I actually wet myself at Spooky Empire when
meeting my superhero - Three Sides of the Coin
co-host, Michael Brandvold. TMI?
In a day when so many events promise so much and deliver so little, Spooky Empire succeeded in delivering "more bang for the buck." And I look forward to attending the 2018 Halloween edition of the convention at the Caribe Royale Orlando on October 26-28.

-Christopher Long
(April 2018)

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C'MON! -

(Coming April 7, 2019)

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