My attendance for this year's May-hem was limited to only a late Saturday afternoon visit. I can say that the show seems to be growing, adding more features and guests to its busy schedule. Of course there were vendors selling all sorts of horror-related items and memorabilia (to put the size of the event into perspective, there are typically over 200 vendors / artists making sales at each of Spooky's events), but there was so much more.
This year's list of celebrities added a different line-up to its list of celebrity media guests to include 3 Hall of Fame professional wrestlers who established their popularity in the early 80's -- Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake who was popularly associated with his hedge-trimming shears and would cut off a lock of his opponent's hair after consequently rendering his victims unconscious; Rowdy Roddy Piper who I fondly remembered as the kilt-wearing 'heel (bad guy)'; and Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka who would seemingly defy gravity as he would leap from high atop the ropes of the ring to swoop down onto his challengers below him. We had multiple characters from the hit TV series 'Once Upon a Time', whose presence actually garnered its followers their own VIP party Saturday night in the host hotel's main courtyard. We had musical rocksters in the way of Lita Ford, Cherie Curry, Marky Ramone, and The Misfits. Freddy Krueger himself -- Robert Englund -- was there, oftentimes engaging a swarm of attendees who clung to the horror icon's every word. Numerous cast members from the Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street series were present. The scare-mobile, 'Christine' made its presence known as attendees could pay to take a photo of the 1958 Plymouth Belvedere running over them. 2 Japanese horror icons -- Akira Takarada and Haruo Nakajima -- whose screen roles in the 1950's - 1970's Godzilla movie series -- had 100s of people at a time waiting in line with the hopes of taking a photo with them. In the distance if you listened closely, you could hear the eerie laugh of Ursula, the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid, as Pat Carroll would share a fond moment with a fan of hers and let out the exact same bellow that she made from fathoms below in her cartoonized form.
This year featured a new 'tattoo' room in which guests could get a permanent keepsake from this weekend's festivities, inked into their skin. A zombie walk, celebrity poker tournament, VIP parties, pool parties, creepy car shows, a film festival, a few scary clowns, and a whole lot of creepy-looking cosplayers helped to round out the rest of the weekend.
Spooky has a loyal following of attendees with guests travelling from all over. This year physically encompassed more floor space at the hotel occupying more banquet halls than in years past, and yet it seemed to be a little cramped at times. The event is getting bigger and bigger, so if anything the show's administration may need to strongly consider moving the event to a larger venue.
There was some confusion regarding the parking as well with some sources stating that neighboring resorts would accommodate the shuttling of overflow visitors who parked at other resorts, with others firmly stating that the vehicles would likely be towed. Personally, I was told by the valet attendant that I could ‘take my chances of parking at one of the nearby restaurants who may / may not have been towing’, which didn't leave me with a very confident feeling that my car would be there at the end of the night. Aside from that though, the event promoters / talent managers are doing well to remain relevant by inviting the popular Once Upon a Time cast, and to widen its appeal by targeting horror classic throwbacks appealing to the Japanese cult-followers of the Godzilla series and also working the interesting wrestling angle. Very curious to see what this organization has planned for October. --Bailey Guinigundo