Wouldn’t it be cool to go back in time and visit a horror convention from 30 years ago?
Well… you can!
The landscape of the horror genre was of course way different back in 1986 than it is today. At that time, there were only two Nightmare on Elm Street films out there in the world, and we hadn’t even met beloved villains like Chucky, Pinhead and Predator. Oh and Michael Myers was, back in 1986, presumed to be dead – it wasn’t until 1988 that Myers truly became a franchise icon.
A whole lot has changed in the past 30+ years. But at the same time, so much has stayed the same. And you need only revisit Fangoria’s 1986 Weekend of Horrors to see what I mean.
That year’s event was turned into a 60-minute documentary by directors Kerry O’Quinn and Mike Hadley, which was released onto VHS by Media Home Entertainment. The doc, which has to date never been released on any format other than VHS, serves as a fascinating time capsule of the horror genre in the late ’80s; and you might be surprised, looking back, how little has changed.
I’ve been to countless horror cons in the past 10 years – I most recently attended New Jersey’s Chiller Theatre just this past weekend – and it’s kind of wild how little the scene has changed over the years. The guests, costumes and spotlighted films mostly remain the same, so much so that this virtual visit back to 1986 feels, for the most part, like it could’ve been filmed yesterday.
The doc features interviews with Wes Craven, Robert Englund, Rick Baker, Elvira, Tobe Hooper and Tom Savini, many of whom you can still meet at your local horror convention to this day. It also includes various chats with fans either dressed up as characters such as the Ghostbusters and Freddy Krueger or wearing shirts for films like Alien and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
So what has really changed in the past three decades? For horror fans like ourselves, not that much at all. And I don’t know about you, but I take a whole lot of comfort in that.