The fourth annual edition of Horror-Rama, Toronto’s only all-horror convention, took place this weekend at the 918 Bathurst Culture, Arts, Media & Education Centre in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. The brainchild of Shock Till Your Drop editor Chris Alexander and Suspect Video owner Luis Ceriz, Horror-Rama is two days dedicated entirely to the horror genre.
This year saw Horror-Rama move to their third venue of 918 Bathurst, after previously being hosted at 99 Sudbury and Hyatt Regency Hotel. Located just a few blocks north of Bloor and Bathurst, 918 Bathurst is an event and education centre that is housed within a former Buddhist temple. As such, it does add a sense of irony that a horror convention is taking place within a former place of worship.
|Main Show Floor|
The main upstairs event space was used to house the main exhibitors and vendors of the convention. This included major sponsors Arrow Video and Raven Banner, the Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival, and Shock Stock, among others. In the basement of 918 Bathurst featured additional vendors, such as Vinegar Syndrome, Suspect Video, and the Toronto International Spring of Horror Film Festival.
|Celebrity Autograph Room|
This year’s edition of Horror-Rama also had an entire your dedicated to the convention’s celebrity guests. This year’s guest line-up included cult filmmaker Frank Henenlotter (Brain Damage, Frankenhooker), John Waters regular Mink Stole (Pink Flamingos), Australian actor Vernon Wells (The Road Warrior), and actress Ashley C. Williams (The Human Centipede).
|Mink Stole Q&A Panel|
Horror-Rama also had screenings and panels hosted classrooms situated in the basement. It is here where I offer some criticism of this year’s convention, since the panel rooms were way too small and poorly ventilated. Probably the biggest panel of the day I went to the convention was with Mink Stole, which I had to leave after twenty minutes, since the number of people jammed into the room caused the place to become unbearably hot. I definitely recommend Horror-Rama try to find a way to make their panels less crammed.
This was only my second year attending the Horror-Rama convention and my take-away is that it is an event still in its relative infancy. It is hard for an event like this to compete with a larger event like Fan Expo, even though the latter dropped the ball in recent years in terms of catering to the horror crowd. While Horror-Rama is not yet at that level, I would like to see it hosted one day at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where it can have the space to truly shine.