Days of the Dead - Charlotte, NC - 2018

CON REVIEW: Days of the Dead – Charlotte, NC – 2018

For the first time, the Days of the Dead convention invaded Charlotte, NC this past weekend. They brought in a big lineup that included horror and rock icons. Some of those names are Heather Langenkamp, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Linda Blair, Tony Todd, Dee Snider, and Vinnie Vincent.

Friday night was night 1 of the event and at the end of the night was a Hall of Fame Induction. Days of the Dead honors a popular guest who has helped evolve the show and also an Indie Film Maker. The Charlotte show’s inductees were Heather Langenkamp and Tommy Faircloth. Langenkamp, of course, is known for her work in the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. Faircloth is a Carolina native who has made films for years including Family Possessions. He is working on a new project called Nun’s Curse, which he has a crowdfunding campaign going. So congratulations to both Heather and Tommy!

 

This con was similar to most cons as there were panels, photo ops and chances to meet and get signatures from popular horror icons. The panel I found the most interesting was the Friday The 13th Part 6 panel. There were five cast members (CJ Graham, Thom Mathews, Darcy DeMoss, Tom Fridley, and Kerry Noonan) along with writer/director Tom McLoughlin. This had been the first convention appearance for Noonan, so this group has not been together since filming ended 32 years ago.

Now having traveled to several conventions just in this calendar year, I have seen a lot of great and some not so stellar moments. I have seen some things happen at shows that angered a lot of fans. Days of the Dead did not seem to have those issues this past weekend. Let me qualify this by saying that yes, I was a volunteer at this show. I have volunteered at several shows though. Does that mean that Days of the Dead has mastered how to put on a show? Not exactly.

They have put on 26 shows now in the last decade, so after a while, you learn what can and cannot work. I will also say they did have an advantage that some of the other conventions did not have. Timing. Days of the Dead came after some other shows that had problems. A lot of volunteers do work more than one show, and they post on social media about their experiences. Thus, the staff at Days of the Dead were able to see what problems other conventions experienced and had time to make sure they would not happen at their show. Again, this was their 26th show, and they have run in at least six states. They also hosted an open forum for fans to voice their ideas, issues, suggestions, complaints, etc. They wanted to ensure the fans knew they had a voice.

Let’s talk attendance. The attendance was not nearly what other shows have done. This has caused some people to say the show was unsuccessful. There have been shows in other cities where the crowds were so massive that the fire marshals were called. It’s a double-edged sword. Is there a perfect amount of people that is just right if this was too small and others were too big? I don’t have the answer to that.

What made this show work was that they secured a hotel big enough for fans to spread out. There was also a rhyme and reason for the celebrity layout. The celebrities all seemed to have a great time, including Kerry Noonan, who was often seen having fun with the fans.

What made this show seem to flow smoothly (at least from the perspective that I saw) was that Days of the Dead used a wash, rinse, repeat method. They booked a lot of celebrities that they have used at other shows, and they mixed them with some first-timers. They also used the same core volunteers and staff members that work most of, if not all of their shows.

Were there some hiccups? Sure. Tony Todd had an unexpected family issue come up and was not available for the show on Sunday. I was assured everything is okay, but it had to be taken care of. Life happens, and these celebrities are just like us. Were there some issues with the hotel? Yes. Was the crowd smaller than expected? Yes. But this was the first show Days of the Dead has run in North Carolina, and there are growing pains when you are dealing with a brand new venue and city.

There were some very creative fans that put their cosplay skills to use. There was an entertaining band called Elzig (a cross between Elvis and Danzig) that played the afterparty.

So final analysis. Was this a perfect show? Of course not. Has Days of the Dead found a formula that works for them? Yes. Were there things that could have gone better? I am sure that there are. Most of the fans that I spoke with were extremely happy and excited. Some fans voiced that there was not clear signage of where the panels were being held, but they were happy that team members on the floor were able to guide them in the right direction. Are there changes Days of the Dead can do make improve before their next show? Yes. That will always be the answer, though. This was overall a very successful show, especially for their first run in a new city.

Overall Grade: A


Posted by Crypt Keeper Clint

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