An interview with Wendy Bell of HorrorCon UK

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 11.46.16Hello HorrorCon! As big fans of horror movies we are extremely excited to be trading at HorrorCon 2015. We thought it would be cool to talk to you and get some further insight into your event and the passion that drives it.

Please tell us your name and your involvement in HorrorCon.
My name is Wendy Bell and I’m the Creative Director of HorrorCon Ltd.

What made you want to organise a convention?
Having visited a variety of Comic-cons, I thought I would look for a horror convention to attend, and discovered that there wasn’t one! Loads of Horror Film festivals, and there’s Scarecon but that’s for the scare industry, so nothing comparable to the comic-con scene.

My sister Gill who is now my fellow HorrorCon Director, had management experience and with my experience and love of horror we make a great team and rather foolishly decided to bite the silver bullet and run one! HorrorCon UK 2015 is our first event although we are already working on the 2016 event too!

Why did you decide to host it in Yorkshire?
We are from Sheffield, and Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham is on our doorstep and seemed like the perfect venue for HorrorCon 2015. It’s a massive place, very atmospheric and rumoured to be haunted! Having met the staff at Magna we’ve been impressed with their experience and professionalism so we know we’re in good hands!

Who would be your dream special guest to appear at HorrorCon?
There are so many people but I would love to meet Christopher Lee that would be the dream!

You have some great guests lined up for the event! Give us a quick run down of who will be appearing and do you have any more up your sleeve?
Gunnar Hansen the original Leatherface, Ken Foree who played swat team officer Peter Washington in zombie classic Dawn of the Dead, The Zombie Institute for Theoretical Studies (ZITS!), Dacre Stoker great grand nephew of Bram Stoker, Mike Peel SPFX make up artist, Hammer studio Scream Queen’s Caroline Munro and Martine Beswick. AtmosFEAR! GNG Entertainment & Terror attractions, Project Reveal Paranormal Investigators, Authors Sam Stone, David J. Howe, Paul Kane* & Marie O’Regan* (Sunday only) EVILution Events. Yes we do have some more guests lined up, but we can’t tell you who they are yet! Sorry!

I’m a big fan of The Abominable Dr Phibes, Slaughter High and Maniac so I’m really looking forward to meeting Caroline Munro. Who are you looking forward to most?
I’m looking forward to meeting each and every one of the guests!

Besides the convention, do you have any other involvement in horror? (Are you filmmakers etc.)
Not at the minute, watch this space!

Tell us a bit more about what we can expect from the convention overall and which event are you looking forward to most?
We have the whole of Magna booked, so it will not be open to the public, which means there will be tons of space & rooms to explore! There will be a horror themed market place with some fantastic traders like you! There will be Q&A’s and signings with our Special Guests, Lectures in Zombie Science, a presentation by Dacre Stoker on The Mysteries behind the writing of Dracula, Project Reveal will be showing a short film and holding a Q&A, AtmosFEAR! GNG Entertainment & Terror attractions will be talking about “Scaring Europe!”, Mike Peel SPFX make-up artist will be giving demo’s and showing his props, EVILution Events will be telling us about the psychology of scare acting, and PUP Events will bring a special scare attraction for those with a strong stomach! Plus a variety of monsters wandering around the place!! I don’t think I will get the opportunity to see much of anything! But I would really like to see Dacre’s presentation about Bram Stoker.

Obviously you started the event because you are huge fans of horror movies. So let’s discuss your fascination with the macabre.

Which film / character started your horror passion?
I never wanted to watch any scary films ever! I was duped into seeing the Omen at a weird friend’s house when I was about 8 or 9 and that upset me for a few months! I thought the devil was going to get me! Then I was exposed to The Fog whilst at my brothers when I was about 9, which also traumatised me! I kept expecting a knock on my bedroom door by Blake at any minute! But it wasn’t until I was about 11 or 12 that my dad got me to sit down and watch An American Werewolf in London with him that I stopped being so scared, the tone of the film is quite light and comedic and the opening score of Blue Moon sang by Bobby Vinton just gently eased me in! My dad just explained throughout that it wasn’t real and just special effects and that just cured me of my fear and turned me into a fan. So American Werewolf was where it began for me.

Are they still your favourite now or have you grown to like another movie / character more?
I would say so, I can watch AWIL over and over again and I will never get bored of it! There will always be a special place in my little black heart for David Kessler!

Who is your favorite director?
Alfred Hitchcock.

Which genres of horror do you like the most? Gore, Psychological, Slasher, Monster, Paranormal etc.
I like all sorts of horror but overall I think I enjoy psychological horror the most, I think it is the scariest, films like Irreversible, Rosemary’s Baby, Funny Games, Possession, The Orphanage, Martyrs, L’interior and The Shining are terrifying, they stay with you long after the film has ended.

Which country do you think makes the best horror films?
There have been some really great horror films from the likes of Spain, France, Italy, Australia, South Korea, Japan etc. But I think the UK and the US are responsible for the majority of my all time favourites; for the films I will watch over and over again.

What do you think of the modern remake trend and do you prefer any of them to the original?
I honestly don’t mind it, I know a lot of horror fans hate remakes and who can blame them when the majority are so inferior to the original, but I think in many cases it brings about an awareness to the original film that it may not have got otherwise. Yes it would be great if we all went and watched the original film, but there are just so many horror films out there that the average film fan might miss out on if not for the remake. I enjoyed the remakes of Dawn of the Dead, The Grudge, 13 Sins, I Spit on your Grave, Evil Dead, The Hills have Eyes and The Last House on the Left, and I actually preferred The Last House on the Left remake.

Which film, if any, would you like to see remade and who by?
Cripes! Feel like I’m putting my neck on the chopping block here. I love the 70’s film The Mephisto Waltz. Alan Alda plays an upcoming classical pianist who makes friends with an older renowned player (Carl Jurgens) who is dying. Unbeknownst to Alda and his wife (Jacqueline Bisset), he is a Satanist! And is conspiring with his lover (Barbara Parkins) to have their souls swap places at his death, so that he can be young once more and carry on playing the piano! It’s such a great horror story, and in the hands of someone like Guillermo Del Torro could be an excellent remake.

Thanks for sharing this with us. Roll on the 11th & 12th July when we will immerse ourselves in a veritable pit of blood and gore @ MAGNA: Sheffield Road, Rotherham, Yorkshire, S60 1DX.

Tickets from £15
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