Seattle’s Crypticon Horror Convention has been an event that I’ve been trying to attend for years now. It seems that each year it happens on a weekend where I just cannot steal away from previous responsibilities. Thankfully, my calendar was free May 5th through the 7th and I was able to spend a good amount of time at the show.
Crypticon is a smaller convention, taking place in the Doubletree Hotel right by the Seatac Airport. With dozens of panels, a decently sized room of vendors, and a handful of cool celebrity guests, there was plenty to keep one busy for the most part. There were even some after parties and late night gaming sessions.
My first delve into the con was Friday evening at around 7PM (having a day job is really a pain in the ass). Apart from a full parking lot, there were no obstacles getting into the show and scouting out the area. The place was fairly busy, but not crowded. The main crowds (not surprisingly) showed in full force on Saturday and Sunday.
Even in the full swing of things on midday Saturday, the vendor room and surrounding hallways never got uncomfortably packed. In fact, apart from the occasional large cosplay outfit, there was consistently plenty of room to breath and booths were seldom packed to the point where you couldn’t step in and have a conversation with the seller.
The vendor room consisted of several aisles of booths consisting of a wide range of horror and fantasy themed offerings. The gamut included local artists, indie comic artist and authors, leatherworkers, doll makers, Blu-ray distributors (more on those to come), and even a booth pumping out Britney Spears music and selling prop movie blood. The celebrity guests were also in this room, all hanging out at their own booths, perfectly willing to sell pictures or signatures, or just to talk to their fans.
While nothing in the vendor room was a surprise, what did catch my attention was just how approachable the booth operators were and how friendly the entire crowd seemed to be. Based on my past experiences with larger cons (Emerald City Comicon, Sakuracon, and PAX Prime), I would expect some level of disinterest and/or hollow sales pitches. Instead, each booth offered a friendly conversation and a passionate shared interest. This is one of the strongest points to Crypticon from what I’ve seen, and is 100% the reason that I’ll be coming back – the people are just damn cool. Everyone is there because they love horror and want to celebrate the macabre.
I do want to call out a handful of the booths here; the ones that made an impression on me specifically:
- When the Dead Books — a local publishing outfit run by an incredibly friendly set of twin ladies who have envisioned a zombie apocalypse taking place in the north Seattle area. I picked up the first book and will likely be reviewing it shortly. You can find more on their website.
- Winter’s Edge Leathercraft — These guys are making quite possibly the most badass leather masks that I’ve seen. They have a slick black leather coloring with led eyes. They are a bit out of my price range but if I had the scratch you bet your ass I’d be wearing one of their masks to every event possible. Check out their work on their Etsy page.
- Craig Muckler — Having worked on Microwave Massacre and Malibu High, Craig Muckler is having a bit of a resurgence thanks to some newer high profile Blu-ray releases. He was not only a really nice guy, he also was kind enough to sign a couple movies for me and shared a few stories of producing lower budget horror back in the day.
- Matt Lillard — I didn’t spend any money with Matt, because I am a cheap asshole. But he was more than happy to spend a couple minutes talking to me while I gushed about how awesome he was in Scream and 13 Ghosts (don’t judge me, I love that movie). He even complimented me on my tattoo. Matt, if you read this, you’re fucking awesome man.
- Last, but not least, Print Ritual was there with some really unique and awesome shirts and gear. Props for them letting me use a photo of their booth (see above). They have a cool style and I dig what they are up to. Check out their website for more.
And of course, if you know a thing about me or this site, you know we’ll want to spend some time talking about:
Severin and Vinegar Syndrome
Easily my favorite two booths (and for obvious reasons), Severin and Vinegar Syndrome both were present at Crypticon for their first time this year. Each had a table set up with ~30 or so titles, including releases that hadn’t come out quite yet (Malibu High and The Hearse for VinSyn, and Blackenstein for Severin).
After spending a good deal of time talking to each of the distributors, I gathered that Seattle may be a bit of an untapped market for their releases. There were certainly some fans in attendance, but both companies were very excited at the number of people finding out about their labels for the first time. In speaking to each of them at the end of the con, it sounds like they both plan to attend again next year, which is a good sign.
Talking to these two distributors was easily the best part of my weekend, and I learned a great deal about the industry. If you find yourself in attendance of a con with either of these companies, stop by and have a chat!
The vendor room is awesome, but the real draw to the con for most people are the panels. This year there was a huge variety, with some notable topics including: Extreme Underground Horror Films, Return of Vestron Video, Erotic Horror, Believable Bad Guys, Introducing Kids to Horror, and many, many more topics.
From sitting in on a handful of the panels, I can say that even though the panelists aren’t big stars like you see in other cons, they make up for it by being very passionate and the smaller crowd size means there is more participation in the conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed their setup, and will be attending several more panels in the future.
Crypticon isn’t a giant con by any means, but it makes up for it’s smaller size by gathering the regions most friendly and passionate horror fans together and providing a real sense of community for the weekend. I came out of this show with more friends and connections than I’ve ever met from bigger shows. I wholeheartedly recommend attending next year, if you are within driving distance. If not, find a similar show closer by and try it out!
I want to give a big shout out to ICandy Photography for letting me use their photo for our featured image. Check out more of their work on their Facebook Page!