Silver Scream Con 2023 Event Report – Sometimes the Sequel Is Even Better Than the Original

Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, Silver Scream Con returned to the Doubletree Boston North Shore in Danvers, Massachusetts on September 8-10 — ’cause let’s face it, baby, these days you gotta have a sequel!

Created by horror-inspired metalcore band Ice Nine Kills, Silver Scream Con has quickly established itself as a top-tier horror convention among celebrity guests and attendees alike. “Everybody’s been really nice, and I’m enjoying myself immensely,” said Tommy Lee Wallace, who created Michael Myers’ iconic mask for the original Halloween before going on to direct Halloween III: Season of the Witch. “I hope everyone gets the shit scared out of them!”

Not even severe thunderstorm alerts could stop the rabid fans, who traveled not just from all over North America but as far as Finland, Scotland, and England to attend. Ticket sales reportedly doubled from the previous year’s already-commendable showing, putting the event on the verge of outgrowing the venue already.

Ice Nine Kills mastermind Spencer Charnas was consistently in-demand all weekend, along with the likes of Skeet Ulrich (Scream), Tony Todd (Candyman), wrestling icon Chris Jericho, “The Last Drive-In” hosts Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl, filmmakers Adam Green (Hatchet) and Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2: Dead End), and special effects artist Christopher Nelson (David Gordon Green’s Halloween trilogy).

The impressive guest list also boasted Dick Warlock (Halloween II), Don Shanks (Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers), Tom Morga (Friday the 13th: A New Beginning), C.J. Graham (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives), Judie Aronson (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter), Terry Kiser (Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood), Alex Vincent (Child’s Play), Christine Elise (Child’s Play 2), Jenna Kanell (Terrifier), Catherine Corcoran (Terrifier), Leah Voysey (Terrifier 2), Robert Brian Wilson (Silent Night, Deadly Night), Eric Freeman (Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2), and William Forsythe (The Devil’s Rejects), among others.

Curmudgeons may be quick to dismiss YouTubers, but the eager, younger-skewing fans waiting to meet Dead Meat’s James A. Janisse and Chelsea Rebecca often eclipsed the lines for decorated actors. Much like Ice Nine Kills, the couple provides an easily accessible gateway to the genre for the next generation.

“Everyone feels so young and so full of hope,” chuckled Janisse. “It’s very nice!”

Down a labyrinthine series of hallways that could be mistaken for a liminal horror movie, former MTV News correspondent Ryan J. Downey hosted panels all weekend. His dexterous interviews covered the basics in addition to digging into more uncharted topics, all while leaving time for audience participation. “Ryan had great questions and led an incredible conversation. My favorite panel I’ve done,” Voysey later remarked to me. “I would do Silver Scream again in a heartbeat!”

Ulrich started his panel with a heartfelt expression of gratitude to the fans for bringing him joy and supporting him. He then requested a wireless microphone so he could go into the crowd and answer questions face-to-face. Todd called Silver Scream Con “one of the most phenomenal second year cons that I’ve ever experienced” and divulged that he’s working on an autobiography. Briggs, in between genuine rapport with Darcy, revealed that his article on the making of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has been optioned by HBO Max to be turned into a series.

A Jason Voorhees panel with Morga and Graham, a Michael Myers panel with Warlock and Shanks, and a killer Santa panel with Wilson and Freeman each demonstrated the camaraderie and kinship among actors who have played horror icons. “These people here are wonderful,” Wilson enthused. “The horror fans are definitely the best fans on the planet, and it’s a real pleasure to be here at Silver Scream Con. I appreciate you guys!”

Kanell, Corcoran, and Voysey proved that they don’t need the Terrifier boys to draw a crowd. As interesting as it was to hear them talk about Art the Clown, Downey also gave them the platform to discuss causes that are important to them, like inclusivity and representation. “We’re all weirdos. It’s nice to be among other weirdos,” Kanell deadpanned. Corcoran added, “I think, honestly, this crowd has been my favorite of the horror conventions that we’ve done. It’s just so welcoming and inspiring, and the vibes are so friggin’ spooky! This one feels like a real party.”

This year’s event had live recordings for two of horror’s most popular podcasts. Fangoria’s The Kingcast co-hosts Eric Vespe and Scott Wampler were joined by Nelson and Horror’s Hallowed Grounds’ Sean Clark (to replace Tom Savini, who had to cancel at the last minute). Wampler warned the audience that he was learning, in real time, that our legal edibles were much stronger than Texas’ “bootleg edibles.” The hosts facetiously chided Nelson for working on an adaptation of Dean Koontz’s Phantoms before celebrating his King credits: The Stand and The Shining miniseries, The Dark Half, and reshoots on the recent It. Nelson expressed that he approaches working on King properties as a fan, just as he did with the Halloween and The Exorcist franchises.

The Movie Crypt’s session kicked off with highlight reels for Green and Lynch: the former’s gory montage was set to AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It),” while the latter earned a laugh for the juxtaposition of Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” In lieu of the standard guest discussion, this episode found the hosts going rogue. Green announced that his 25th annual Halloween short film is still happening despite the strike and hinted that, although there are no immediate plans, a fifth Hatchet film is likely to come to fruition in the future. Lynch shared a sneak preview of his upcoming film Suitable Flesh — a “horny” adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Thing on the Doorstep” that was originally conceived as Stuart Gordon’s final film — which looks like a blast. You’ll be able to see it in theaters and VOD on October 27 and on Blu-ray and Shudder in January.

“This is easily one of the best conventions on an administrative level, on an organization level, and on a fan level,” Lynch told me. “It reminds me of the halcyon days of Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors or Chiller. Seeing how Spencer and all the organizers have found a formula to bring metal and horror together — not just the music, but the scene, the people — it gives me hope that both genres will never die, because you have so many people who are all fans. We’re all here together, and no one feels like there’s a separation between the fans and the artists. When you can put all that together in a bouillabaisse of genre, if you will, it gives me hope for the culture, the community, and for the genre itself.”

Silver Scream Con also offered 20+ vendors, a museum of Ice Nine Kills props and memorabilia, cosplay contests for kids and adults, professional photo ops (including several with guests in costume), a karaoke party, and an Ice Nine Kills concert at the nearby Lynn Memorial Auditorium. Stay tuned for full coverage of the concert.

Sunday afternoon attendance at any convention is typically sparse, but that was not the case for Silver Scream; the Ice Nine Kills panel that concluded the weekend was standing room only. It was positioned as an in-character conversation between Charnas (accompanied by attorney Eric German) and journalist Roy Merkin to discuss their new “true crime” book, The Silver Scream. It could have been corny, but they were clearly having a blast riffing off one another, and the audience was fully engaged. Charnas was later joined by his bandmates to take questions from fans.

Downey wrapped up the event by asking the question on everyone’s mind: will there be another Silver Scream convention and/or album? Charnas coyly deflected by asking the capacity crowd, “Who wants both?” Based on the deafening reaction, it’s safe to assume Silver Scream will soon become a trilogy.

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