On February 17th and 18th, 2012, the London-Laurel Optimist Complex in small town, London, Kentucky, became a weekend getaway for rabid horror fans. Playing host to some truly legendary names of the horror and paranormal world, guests arrived in anticipation for the first ever Dead Winter Convention. Put together by Brian Sizemore and his wife Samantha Sizemore, Dead Winter Convention quickly became an unforgettable experience for all of those who made the trip.
Accompanied by close friend and Liberal Dead hype man Robert “Tater” Gutheridege, we made the two and half hour drive and arrived in London a day early. Being from small town eastern Kentucky, London felt just like home, only a lot friendlier. The next morning it was time to make our way to the London-Laurel Optimist Complex, we were not in the parking lot even ten minutes, when we had our first horror icon sighting. Parked directly across from us, was the infamous Jim O’Rear (Day of The Dead, The Deepening), and I knew instantly it was going to be a day full of nerd moments, where I would turn into a giggling schoolgirl.
Many horror icons attended including Alex Vincent (Childs Play 1&2), Victor Miller (Friday the 13th), Ari Lehman (Friday the 13th, First Jason), John Dugan (Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Tony Moran (Halloween), Daniel Emery Taylor (Return of Swamp Thing), Rodney Hall and Jeremy Ambler from The Walking Dead television series, and as mentioned above Jim O’Rear. Also in attendance from the world of the Paranormal were Flatline Paranormal, Dead People See Me, Crossover Paranormal, and an array of other investigators, whom each night of the convention also lead investigations of a local haunt.
Guest Mike Holman of Jackass fame had me laughing my ass off every time we passed his table. Always quick to start up a conversation, and insight some laughs in true Jackass fashion, Mike ended up being one of the coolest people we met at the convention. Could you imagine a Jackass convention? You’d have to sign a waiver at the door and wear a cup.
We were also able to finally catch up with the masterminds behind Girl Number Three, a film we here at The Liberal Dead really enjoyed by Nathan Thomas Milliner, and Herschel Zahnd. It was very interesting to hear Nathan talk about how him and Herschel first met, leading to the creation of Girl Number Three in movie form, and how originally the flick was to be filmed at Waverly Hills Sanitarium. They were also nice enough to slip us a copy of their newest short film “The Trimmer” which will be reviewed on The Liberal Dead very soon.
For a first year con, Dead Winter, truly had something for everyone, gaming tournaments, live music including two sets from Ari Lehman’s band First Jason, movie screenings, various seminars, ghost hunts, and escape performances from Aron Houdini, a man who brings great honor to the legendary name sake. Not to mention the chance for fans to come face to face and talk with their favorite celebrities.
Brian Sizemore, could be seen during the convention zipping around, meeting and greeting fans, making each and every person, who came through the doors feel as if they were walking into the home of an old friend. You can really tell the difference between conventions built on dreams of profit, and conventions built by those who authentically love the genre, and want to contribute to its legacy.
Each guest seemed hand picked based on friendly reputations, no matter which table you walked passed, those sitting behind it would go out of their way to make you feel welcomed. This made the entire experience, that much more unforgettable, and personal feeling. Honestly, it felt more like a family reunion, than a convention.
Overall, it was a great time, and Dead Winter Convention proved it is worthy of becoming a reoccurring event. Dead Winter gave fans exactly what they wanted and then some. I would like to take this time to thank Brian Sizemore for all the hard work and time he put into the event, for having The Liberal Dead, and for showing, that Kentucky loves its horror.
Also, I want to give some shout outs to Missy Gordon (Scares That Care), Bertena Varney (The Search for the Lure of the Vampire), The Little Shop of Horrors, Inspired Expressions, Troll and Toad, and of course the completely insane Circus Envy. I look forward to Dead Winter Con 2013, and highly recommend those who did not make it this year to make the trek, you will be presented with a very friendly atmosphere, chalk full of good old southern hospitality.