Ginger Nuts of Horror
Can you remember what first triggered your love for the horror genre?
It started when I was very young in the early 70's - Hammer Horror films were a big part of early viewing and then I was obsessed with Horror Comics and build up plastic kits(Aurora glow in the Dark). Once the mid to late 70's hit there were so many good films on VHS that I couldn't help fall in love with horror.
Horror in all of its artistic forms is generally held in low regard by the population as a whole, what film, book and piece of art would you use to change someone's opinion on the genre.
I would say read a horror book that isn't just a blood bath. Most horror films and books centralise on being bloody - hence why some people may view it as just nasty. Books such as Joe Hill's - Heart Shaped Box are a good example as are the films Sinister (for modern fans) and The Exorcist (For the old boys like me). In my opinion too many writers focus on being overly gory and forget about story - mind you this can be said about almost all genres today.
And on the flip side of the previous question, what film, book, and a piece of art would you confine to room 101 for crimes against the genre?
Oh that's a hard one. I'm not a huge fan of remakes, but I'm also not opposed to them. Personally, I think the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street did nothing for the franchise other than make Freddy K out to be nothing more than a pedophile which in my opinion wasn't the major feeling from the first films.
This has been a terrible year for fans with regards to the deaths of some of the genres finest, not that anyone could replace the likes of Hooper or Romero, but who do you think are new directors that could step into their shoes?
Again it depends on which era your are from I guess as I'm a huge fan of both directors already mentioned - I'd however love to see more from Rob Zombie as his films are top notch!
How does one go from being a horror fan to a horror fan who also happens to run the biggest and most successful series of horror conventions in the UK?
Lol thanks for the very kind compliment. I'm one of those people who always wants to break new ground. What I learn from attending shows, I try to expand upon and deliver in a more exciting manner. When I went to my first couple of Horror Cons in the UK, I quickly realised that there was so much scope for improvement and hopefully that's showing in the events I'm now putting on.
Looking back at the first couple of conventions, how far have you evolved as a convention runner, and what are the main lessons you have learned from those conventions?
I've learnt so much it's incredible. I think the main thing to do is to listen to your audience and where possible give them what they want. It's nothing new and exciting just good business sense.
Do you still get a buzz when you open the doors for the first day of a convention?
Always - there's no feeling quite like it.
How much work goes into a convention, and how do you keep track of all the things that require attention?
There is a big team of people working on the conventions at any one time. Without them I'd be lost. The planning starts 12 months before any event and never stops till we close the doors at the end of the show.
Many conventions turn their noses up at the whole Cosplay scene, but yours always have embraced them, is there a reason for this?
Yes, the whole concept of going to a convention is to have a fun day out. I can't think of a better way of expressing yourself than by being someone else for a few hours and let's face it - everyone loves to be centre of attention for a few moments.
Out of all of the guests who have appeared over the years who have been your personal favourites?
Ah that's like asking me which of my kids do I prefer lol! I have a great relationship with all of my guests, but as I'm a fan of the Hammer films and the scream queens from them adorned my bedroom walls for many years, I'd have to go with the beautiful Caroline Munro. Not only is she gorgeous, but she's a wonderful woman too.
And how do you deal with a "difficult guest of honour"?
Lol, everyone wants to be number one don't they! We just make sure everyone is treated as number one!
And who is the one guest that you love to have but have never been able to secure?
There are a couple - it's not so much we can't secure them, it's cost against return. I won't mention names as we are in talks still. But for me one awesome guest would have been the late Christopher Lee.
Liverpool Horror Con is not far away now, how prepared are you for the event?
We're pretty much on top of it There's still lots to do but it's shaping up nicely.
At what point after the event, can you finally draw breath and relax?
Once all the doors shut on Sunday night.......not really. Once the traders are all set up and sorted I know things will go smooth from there on in.
What can attendees expect from this convention, who are some of the special guests you have lined up?
Fun! Excitement. Horror! Special guests - CJ Graham, Jamison Newlander, Sean Whalen, need I say more!
For those who have never been to one of your conventions, what would you say to convince them to come along?
If you are looking to attend a show that is genre specific then please check us out. We have guests, talks and panels, exhibits, traders, cosplay, films and more. It's not scary and it's not comic con - it's somewhere that you and likeminded horror fans can express your love for the world of the unknown.
Most of your conventions are based in England, do you have any plans to host one in Scotland? (Hint, hint, Edinburgh has some good convention halls).
Funnily enough I'm on my way up to view a premises in Edinburgh on 18th September!