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One of the brightest sides of being a horror fanatic is just how close knit our genre’s community tends to be. With the possible exceptions of sci-fi and fantasy – which sometimes overlap with horror anyway – no other type of popular entertainment breeds the type of welcoming camaraderie generally shared by the horror faithful. Perhaps the best place to get your horror geek on is at a genre convention. From meeting big screen icons, to buying rare movies and merchandise, to getting priceless photos that will last a lifetime, horror cons are truly the place to be for any discerning horror fan.

Tickets and VIP Packages can be purchased here.

Spooky Empire

Which brings us to the next big horror gathering on the horizon, Spooky Empire’s MayHem in Orlando, FL from May 15th-17th. While MayHem is usually a tad smaller scale when compared to Spooky Empire’s annual Ultimate Horror Weekend in October, there are still tons of great opportunities for fun to be had. For those making the trip to MayHem, iHorror has all the info you need to know about what’s in store, starting with…

The Guests

The bread and butter of any horror con is the guests, whether they be actors, directors, authors, musicians, etc. After all, meeting one’s heroes in person is a lure that’s hard to resist. Arguably the biggest name headed to Spooky Empire this May is Brad Dourif, who is best known as the voice of serial killing doll Chucky in the Child’s Play films. This marks his first appearance at a Spooky event, and he’s long been requested by the convention’s faithful.

Brad Dourif- Chucky

Of course, to only mention Chucky would be a disservice to Dourif, who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and also gave terrific performances in The Lord of the Rings, The Exorcist III and the Beyond the Sea episode of The X-Files.

Another huge name headed to Orlando is Ernie Hudson, best known for his iconic work as Winston Zeddemore in the Ghostbusters franchise. If you’re a horror fan, and you don’t want to meet a Ghostbuster, you should probably question your priorities.

Ghostbusters - Winston

Also visiting Mayhem for the first time is Tom Skerritt, a Hollywood veteran probably best known to horror fans for playing Captain Dallas in the classic 1979 sci-fi horror film Alien. Stephen King fans may also know him from David Cronenberg’s excellent adaptation of The Dead Zone, and fans of the Poltergeist series may remember him as Carol Anne’s uncle in the much-maligned Poltergeist III.

Tom Skerritt - Alien

For fans of the recently aired FX series American Horror Story: Freak Show, Spooky Empire has successfully booked almost the entire supporting cast of misunderstood monstrosities, including Twisty the Clown actor John Carroll Lynch. Ever wanted to meet the world’s smallest woman in person? Now you can!

AHS - Twisty

Some additional guests include director/special effects legend Robert Kurtzman, Once Upon a Time’s Lana Parilla, Hocus Pocus star Kathy Najimy, The Walking Dead’s Seth Gilliam, Saw’s Costas Mandylor, and The Devil’s Rejects lawman William Forsythe.

The Events

Spooky Empire events have traditionally opened with a gigantic zombie walk, but this year MayHem will commence via a party themed around the Mexican holiday of Dia De Los Muertoes, or Day of the Dead. Visitors are welcome to attend in costume, and makeup artists will be standing by for those willing to shell out a few bucks to look like corpses. The festivities start at 12pm on Friday, May 15th, several hours before the convention proper opens.

Halloween Extreme

Along with the usual costume contest – complete with cash prizes – and performances by local entertainers, Spooky has also once-again partnered up with Halloween Extreme, which is nearly a convention in its own right. Taking place right alongside Spooky, Halloween Extreme offers seminars and exhibits related to creating the grotesque holiday haunts we all love, and this year will even offer behind the scenes bus tours to area attractions.

Attendees should also expect that most (if not quite) all of the guests will be taking part in Q&A sessions, although the exact scheduling of those happenings has yet to be finalized.

The Brass Tacks

While we don’t always like to think about it, a big part of horror con life is spending money.  Tickets for the entire weekend will run you $65 each, while tickets for individual event days are slightly less. All in all, the weekend pass is easily the best value. Autograph and photo prices are up to the individual guests, and don’t come with admission. Most celebrities will happily take a photo with you at their table, although a select few are “photo op” only, meaning that you have to purchase those pictures in advance and show up at a certain time.

Spooky Empire May 2015

The Bottom Line

If you’re a horror fan, and can make it Orlando for Spooky Empire’s MayHem, then do it. If you don’t, you’ll regret it. There’s no clearer way to put things. Tickets and VIP Packages can be purchased here.