The UK’s first ever Horror Convention returned for its second year running on the 9th and 10th July 2016.
The bloodthirsty fans were lined up for a phenomenal weekend at Magna Science and Adventure Centre in Rotheram near Sheffield. Horror Con 2015 was an incredible event but this year they truly exceeded themselves with the breadth of special guests, cosplayers and stalls ranging from custom made jewellery to scary teddy bears to horror cakes plus much, much more!
The weekend was bloody fun for all the family attracting fans of all ages from tiny babies to gory grandparents! Showcasing an extensive range of horror, the event has something on offer for everyone. The main attraction this year was the opportunity to meet and greet with some of the horror genre’s biggest icons.
Part One of my write-up will focus on two remarkable gentlemen of the genre, Mr Kane Hodder and Mr David Naughton.
Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees- Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood, Jason Takes Manhattan, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, Jason X and Hatchet I, II & III) took part in a two-parter Q&A conducted by horror critic Darrell Buxton which discussed his initial career as a stuntman before being offered the role of one of horror’s greatest slasher monsters.
Kane divulged that he’s been fortunate to play Victor Crowley in Adam Green’s gore-fuelled Hatchet franchise, he had the opportunity to wear Freddy Kruger’s trademark glove in Jason Goes to Hell (1993) and did stunt work as Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990). However, there is one role he would absolutely adore to play and that is Michael Myers. Brilliantly, at this point in the Q&A, a Michael Myers cosplayer stalked his way into the auditorium to surprise Mr Hodder. If another Halloween film is ever made it would be a crime not to cast Kane in this role, allowing him to put his own terrifying spin on the silent killer.
While working in stunts for almost forty years Kane has never broken a bone in his body but did speak about an unfortunate burn accident he suffered on set. As Jason and Victor Crowley he has been set on fire (and come back from it!!) which has become somewhat of a meta trademark. His Jason Voorhees days are far from over, he has recently performed stunt work on the upcoming Friday the 13th video game acting as a visual model for Voorhees. He did state that he had to perform stunts for incarnations of Jason that he didn’t play in the movies, for example Friday the 13th: Part III’s version that was played by the late, great Richard Brooker. It provided Kane with the opportunity to play Jason in a way that he’s never played him before as Part III’s Jason chases after his victims whereas Kane’s interpretation has him slowly stalking them. He explained that Jason catches up with his victims without running because they are Jason’s woods and he knows all the shortcuts! This was a fun fact that fans have wondered for years.
A delicate subject for Kane and his long-time fans was him losing out on playing Jason Voorhees in the then eagerly-anticipated Freddy Vs. Jason (2003). Kane spoke about not really knowing why he wasn’t able to take on the role but he was devastated as Robert Englund is a long time, close friend and they would have relished working together in the ultimate crossover.
Kane was then presented with an amazing opportunity in the mid-noughties by an unknown director, as he was back then, Adam Green. Like many of us at Horror Con, Adam was a pure fan of Kane and couldn’t wait to get the chance to meet him, many, many years before the idea of Hatchet was even conceived. Along with Gunnar Hansen, Kane would attend an event at a theme park known as Spooky World to meet and greet with his fans. He relayed a story about how Adam had waited in line for two hours and when his time came to come face to face with his horror hero, Kane was whisked away by his PR company leaving Adam crushed.
Kane displayed an admiration for Adam’s work especially in regards to his writing. He spoke fondly of how Adam cleverly but also cockily expanded the story of Hatchet and stretched it to three films, not revealing every single detail of the story in the first one even before he knew whether or not he had a success on his hands. He praised Adam for his careful storytelling, not revealing everything in one go and having plenty of remaining ideas for future instalments unlike other franchises where writers are pushed to dream up crazy scenarios to keep the story going, he then slid in a cheeky nod to Jason X! Kane revealed that he would love to play Victor Crowley again and teased a potential fourth instalment.
Noted for committing some of the most brutal on-screen kills in horror, Darrell Buxton went on to ask him about the gore-ific kill in the first Hatchet film where he literally rips a woman’s face in half and the clever mechanics on how that scene was orchestrated. It’s the moment where the audience (and victims!) know that Crowley means business and takes no prisoners! Kane explained that there is a hidden edit between shots of the real actress and the prosthetic head as the camera does a 360 turn. The technical skill that went into that moment is extremely impressive.
It’s not every day fans have this opportunity to experience an intimate Q&A with horror’s greatest legends and Buxton’s Q&A was informative and layered with interesting details about Kane’s career as a whole. It didn’t feel like any stone was left unturned.
Genuine, honest and a self-confessed funny motherf****r, Kane Hodder is a striking presence that truly appreciates his fans and made Horror Con 2016 incredibly special.
“Beware the Moon” were the wise words David Naughton said to me as I spoke to him at his singing desk, the ultimate fan moment!
An American Werewolf in London is a true horror classic and one of the best films of all time to emerge from the genre. It’s so much more than a horror film, it’s unsettling, hilarious, romantic and features some of the most incredible special effects in the decade it was made. Thirty-Five years later, David Naughton (David Kessler) still speaks highly and fondly of his experience working on the John Landis masterpiece.
The film was shot over a brief period in early 1981 ready for a summer release in August that year. This was partly down to competing with The Howling, which had a similar release date. In a quirky and interesting Q&A conducted by renowned genre journalist Tony Earnshaw, David enlightened his fans on the moments he was locked in a cage in the London Zoo with real life wolves who had luckily already eaten before he was required to bravely go in to shoot the scene! He was also required to run around naked through London Zoo, naively believing the people there were just hired extras and much to his surprise they were actually tourists visiting the Zoo!
He then went on to discuss the less glamourous aspects of shooting the famous shower love scene with a number of crew members surrounding him and his leading lady Jenny Agutter. The boom operators would take it in turns to look over the shower at them! He said the water would run between hot and cold too frequently making the moment far less romantic than it appears on screen!
David told an interesting story about how he came across Jenny Agutter prior to starring as love interests in the film together. An avid theatre-goer and performer himself, David was incredibly taken with the play Equus and viewed it a number of times on the West-End. In a strange coincidence Agutter was playing the female lead in the performances David attended and he recalled having a crush on her after seeing her in the play.
Of course the moment all fans wanted to know about was filming the iconic transformation scene which is the principal reason the film is so timeless. It’s impossible to think of a scene in recent horror cinema that matches it. David explained that it took a six-day period to complete shooting the scene. He was required to perform with the prosthetics to create what appears on screen as harrowing and painful situation as the man becomes the wolf. David provided such a powerful and memorable performance. The Wolf itself was of course an animatronic but the magic of cinema makes him seems truly monstrous.
David Naughton was charming, funny and pleased to talk about the film that made him a star.
In the next Instalment of Hayley at Horror Con 2016, I talk Doug Bradley, Lienna Quigley and everything else that the demonic day had to offer!
Check out The Ghostface Girls Horror Con Hauls, Part One and Two Featured Below: