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Courtesy Paramount Pictures

Horror Con set to give fans of all horror genres a good fright

By Rachel Woodward, June 9 2016 —

Dan Doherty is an unapologetic consumer of all subgenres of horror. When he started Calgary Horror Con in 2010, his main goal was to cater to horror lovers in a culture moving away from the genre.

The sixth annual convention will take place at the Clarion Hotel from June 11–12. Horror Con will feature film screenings, workshops, panels and a costume competition.

“Every year I take a piece of the business and try to improve it. This year I wanted to have a stronger film line-up, so I extended my submission time and I took in pretty much double the films I did last year — 816 films — and narrowed it down to 50 selections,” Doherty says. “I wouldn’t say bigger is better, but I do want to jam in as much as I can for the horror fan on the weekend.”

This year’s guest list includes cult favourites alongside more widely-known faces like Amy Steel from Friday the 13th Part Two and Dick Warlock from Halloween II and The Thing. Doherty says he brought in guests that won’t just appeal to the masses, but are horror-specific favourites.

“I’m a horror fan, obviously. For the most part, I’m turning away people that I’m fans of every year,” he says. “I’ve seen the Calgary Expo move away from representing horror completely. There seems to be a direction that everybody is trying to appeal to large audiences. I’m not going to bring in a Backstreet Boy — I’m going to bring in scream queens, monsters  and guys that I grew up watching in horror films.”

Feature-length horror films will play alongside shorts, which Doherty hopes will cater to a variety of fans.

“I always want to have a strong representation of different subgenres. I have some comedy horror, sci-fi horror, exploitation, disturbing cinema. Whatever comes in, I try to get representation from,” he says. “They don’t have to be perfect. What’s most important to me is a good story and to be able to sell that story.”

Doherty believes there is a growing stigma around horror fans, so he values the Horror Con’s ability to normalize the fanbase. He says horror fans will be able to immerse themselves in a space with like-minded individuals free of judgement.

“None of us are living a horrific lifestyle. I have two daughters, I go to work everyday, I like horror films. It’s one of those things where you could draw a line right down the middle,” Doherty says. “It’s not for everyone. I think it’s that diversity in the world that we need.”

Tickets for the 2016 Calgary Horror Con are available online through Brown Paper Tickets and at various locations around the city.

For more information, visit horror-con.ca

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