"This is definitely the biggest May-Hem we have ever done," said Petey Mongelli, Executive Producer and founder of Spooky Empire in regards to this past weekend's horror convention. "The numbers on Sunday were Saturday numbers." Given the large number of people seen waiting to get in to the convention center at the DoubleTree by Hilton at Universal Studios that is not surprising to learn.
A big reason Sunday was successful was a big chance Spooky Empire took this year. The first May-Hem that took place in 2011 featured cast members from "The Walking Dead." You may think that is not a big deal since LOTS of horror conventions bring in those people as guests. What you might not know is that Spooky Empire was the very first venue to book them. This year, Spooky Empire has done another first by bringing in cast members from "Once Upon a Time." Lana Parrilla and Rebecca Mader were some of the more popular ones there and the Q&A that took place was standing room only. Petey credits his wife, Gina, for inviting them to the show and it was certainly a chance that paid off big. You can be sure word of this success will get out and other conventions will start booking other cast members, but it will once again be Spooky Empire that thought of something new and original to do.
The "Once Upon a Time" people were hardly the only media guest attraction of the weekend. The original cast members from "Halloween" were there along with the movie's creator, John Carpenter. 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of "A Nightmare on Elm Street" so Spooky Empire put together a cast reunion for that too, including Freddy Kruger himself, Robert Englund. This year also marks the 60th anniversary of "Godzilla" and in a rare treat both Akira Takarada and Haruo Nakajime, who played the famed monster were on hand this weekend. All of these people had long autograph lines and fantastic Q&A sessions. One young kid, who shared he has already started making short films, asked John Carpenter, at one of his panels, how he got started in the business. The Master of Horror shared that he started the same way as the kid, by making short films and then he told the kid he expects him to be just as big a filmmaker one day. What a thrill for that young man.
Something else that separates Spooky Empire from so many other horror conventions is not just the big things they do, but also the smaller ones. The nightly pool party is always a blast and May-Hem 2014 was no exception. On Friday night those at the party may have come across a magic show taking place nearby. Remy Connor was doing his magic, mentalist and escape artist show to the delight to those who caught it. Other guests this weekend included rockers Lita Ford and Cherie Currie who broke out into a impromptu rendition of "Cherry Bomb" over the weekend. Another cool feature was an 8mm monster movie fest and the Mucklebones Museum returned with not one, but two exhibits this year. These extra additions to the weekend may not be what grabs a headline when talking about Spooky Empire, but they are what helps the horror convention continually be one of the best ones out there.
May-Hem was originally supposed to be a one time deal, but this past weekend marked the fourth edition of the show. The first three had taken place over Memorial Day Weekend, but this year marks the first time that has not happened and in doing so the last day of the show ended up being June1. That will not be happening again for May-Hem V as the dates have been set for May 15-17. Before that happens, there is October to look forward to and Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend happens October 24-26, once again at the DoubleTree. There is already early buzz about the show as fans learned who the first guest will be, Jigsaw himself, Tobin Bell! People are still talking about May-Hem 2014 right now, but it won't be long before the next show is upon Orlando.