Calgary Horror Con: the vendors

Every good convention has vendors. And those vendors have some of their wares available for you to buy and take home that day. Which is good for the vendor, potentially not good for your wallet.
Calgary Horror Con was no different. There were a lot of different vendors there, and while I didn’t talk to every single one of them, I did talk to quite a few.
Some of the most interesting booths had to do with survival — by survival I mean surviving the zombie apocalypse (because there’s no other kind of apocalypse, especially at a horror convention).
First, I stopped to talk to The Forge Western Martial Arts about their Fite the Bite Zombie Survival Workshop (link here). In their workshop, you learn the basics of sword fighting, knife fighting, and hand-to-hand combat (well, among other things). Oh, and you get to beat the snot out of a zombie mannequin.
And really, swords + zombie = fun.
I also talked to the man behind Zombie Survival Escape Resist and Eliminate (ZSERE). His website,, isn’t up yet, but it’s presented by Spiritwalker Survival School in Calgary. The ZSERE course is a three day course that runs over a weekend, and the focus is urban tactical training. You get to practice with airsoft guns before going out to a gun range to use the real thing. The course also covers basic survival skills, including what to pack in your survival kit, what you do if the apocalypse hits while you’re at work, and a whole lot of other stuff.
This course had me at “gun range.” (Also, the instructor was carrying a crossbow and was in full camo. Which was also full of awesome.)
Also at the con was the Zombie Apocalypse Response Team. Which is pretty self-explanatory, yes? Heh. (Link is here.)
As for tangible goodies, there were a lot of books, a lot of DVDs, and a lot of illustrations/comics there. There were also some neat items I didn’t expect to see at a horror convention.
For example:

ouija board
Gothic-style Ouija board

skull and eyeball earrings
Handmade skull and eyeball earrings from Animus Origin.

vampire smurf
Vampire Smurf

zombie star trek: the next generation crew
Print of an original work–zombified Star Trek: The Next Generation crew (signed by artist) (also, sorry for the crappy photo)

Note: I did get permission from the vendors of the top two photos to take pictures of their table. I bought the bottom two items.
Also note: There’s a possibility I will be giving away the vampire Smurf and the print at a later date. I haven’t decided yet, though, since our last giveaway was a little slow. So tell me if you’d like to give a little, non-sparkly vampire and/or a zombie print a new home…

Calgary Horror Con: the presentations

If you were following my tweets on Twitter this weekend, you’ll know I was at Calgary Horror Con. If you didn’t know I was at Horror Con, then you probably weren’t reading my tweets; in which case…why not? (Kidding!)
Anyway. So yes, I was Horror Con. Hubby thought I’d gone a little nuts (and was acting geekier than normal) for wanting to cover the con for ICoS. But hey, horror = zombies, right? So there you go.
Horror Con was a two-day event, with the same group of presentations running both days at different times. I spent Saturday wandering through the vendor tables, chatting with vendors and looking at their wares. (And buying some of their wares. Ahem.) On Sunday, I attended a couple of the presentations and watched a short film.
Presentation 1: The Alberta Paranormal Investigators Society (TAPIS)
So Alberta’s haunted. Well, okay, not all of it, but some of it for sure. Some of it is still undetermined. And if you live in Alberta and think your house may be haunted, TAPIS can investigate it for you. Who knows, you might have Casper the Friendly Ghost living in your basement. Or it might faulty wiring messing with the electromagnetic fields in your house. But either way, you’ll know, right?
Two TAPIS members showed a film that talked about different investigations that the society had conducted (that, unfortunately, all ended up in the “undetermined” pile). The film showed clips from the investigation videos, as well as audio clips. At the end, there was a Q&A session that ended up being a discussion between one of the TAPIS members and one of the audience members, because the audience member really wanted to join TAPIS (or so it seemed) and she kept saying that she “wanted to know more” and that she loved all things paranormal. Which wasn’t what I expected from a Q&A, but what can you do.
TAPIS had brought along some of their equipment, and it was interesting for me to see. Why? Well, because for the most part, they use things that you or I could use on a day to day basis. For example, they had noise-cancelling headphones (handy for tuning out screaming children, but I didn’t say that, no I didn’t); a handheld digital camcorder; a digital audio recorder; and a laser pointer (albeit one that points in a giant grid, and I totally wanted it because a grid!). They did have an EMF detector that was a bit more specialized than the other pieces of equipment. At least, it seemed more specialized–I don’t know anyone who’d have that in their basements, but maybe I just don’t know the right people.
Admittedly, ghosts and hauntings have nothing to do with the apocalypse, but the presentation was interesting nonetheless. If they didn’t have to do eight hour stakeouts for two or three days each for their investigations, I might consider joining. Alberta’s got more haunted places than I thought!
Presentation 2: AM Makeup, special effects makeup workshop
Note: This company’s website is extremely hard to find, so if you’d like to check out their site please use the link above.
This workshop was more of a presentation than a workshop, but it was interesting nonetheless. Two guys were being turned into normal human males into a werewolf and a vampire (because of course they were). The makeup process had been started before the  before the presentation began, because the entire process would take too long for the amount of time the company had for their presentation.
The process was quite interesting to watch. The makeup artists used cream-based makeup for both models, and the werewolf had crepe hair put on his face by using an easy-to-remove adhesive you can get from specialty makeup or Halloween stores. The vampire wore dark contacts. Both of them got “mouth blood,” which apparently tastes minty. (I’ll take their word for it, because I ain’t trying that stuff, heh.)
The CEO/head makeup artist, Ashley, also talked about makeup for zombies, burn victims, and the like. She uses bits of silicone that can be sculpted and painted over for things like burns, but also uses gelatin molds that are sculpted before being put on the silicone for things like wounds. And other stuff that needs molded gelatin on silicone. You know.
Seriously, it was fascinating. AM Makeup also offers local makeup workshops if you want to learn how to do wound makeup, burn makeup, zombie makeup, and other special effects makeup. (That zombie makeup workshop would be pretty fun to do.)
The special effects arm of AM Makeup, AMFX, did the makeup for the locally-filmed movie The Dead Mile, which had its world premiere at Horror Con.
Movie: Deadwalkers (short film)
IMDB page: Dead Walkers
Deadwalkers is a short, 13 minute film I classify as a “spaghetti zombie western” (not a technical term). Set in a dusty town somewhere in the West back in the days when the west was wild, a bounty hunter takes his bandit bounty into a town to find it quiet and seemingly abandoned. Except for one woman sitting on the front stoop of a building, who turns out to be a zombie waiting for her dinner to walk up to her and introduce itself. One of the criminals gets bitten and turned pretty quickly, and the remaining criminal has to team up with bounty hunter Jack, widowed-by-zombie Beth, and First Nations woman Sepe to survive. [SPOILER ALERT, HIGHLIGHT TO READ] Only…they don’t. Well, except for Sepe.
This movie was woefully short, and I thought, suffered because of it. It felt rushed, a little cliched, and, I have to say, a little over the top at times. Watching this movie immediately after the AM Makeup presentation highlighted the zombie makeup in the movie…and I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that AMFX did not do the makeup on this film. (Which was…unfortunate.)
On the other hand, the exploding heads was very well-done. Priorities, right? Heh.
Overall, though, it was a zombiliciously campy film. I mean, it had zombies. In the Wild Freaking West.
Interested? Lucky you! It’s on iTunes here (Canada/US) and here (UK).