When you notice ranks of pimped-out hearses in the Hilton Seattle Airport parking lot, you know something unusual is afoot. Enter the convention center with a crowd of goths and an impressive Hellboy, and you’ve arrived at Crypticon Seattle 2012.
You sidle past Nick the Hat’s creeptastic Crypticon posters and walls plastered with mocking fliers by “the people’s villain” Rex Velvet, posted in anticipation of superhero Phoenix Jones’ evening panel. A couple of zombie children patter by, and you think they’re cute until you reflect that they may actually be dangerous. You duck into the massive vendors hall, where stalls of elegant top hats and Cthulhu art prints border the tables of celebrity guests such as Dee Wallace (“Cujo”), Ricou Browning (“Creature From the Black Lagoon”) and Richard Kiel (Jaws from the James Bond films). J. LaRose from the “Saw” films is wandering around chatting with fans and mugging for the cameras, while Doug Bradley (“Hellraiser”) slinks by, oddly not a pin in sight. Turning in to the Author’s Alley, you browse the Permuted Press and Strange Aeons Magazine tables, when you hear muted screams from behind the nearby meeting room doors. The film festival, you wonder, or zombie tag? Or something darker?
Crypticon, the Pacific Northwest’s largest horror-themed fan convention, took place May 25-27 and surpassed itself with spooktacular programming. Now in its fifth year, the convention is a thriving Seattle institution. This year, it inspired a zombie invasion of the light rail and hosted a vampire wedding, and it has now added a full-fledged film festival to its repertoire, along with its ever-growing slate of celebrity actors, directors, writers, artists and performers.
Still, some of the convention’s most popular events showcase the talents of newcomers.
This year, A. Maire Dinsmore nabbed first place in Crypticon’s annual writing contest, sponsored by Blysster Press and heavy-metal opera company Ara’Kus.
In a two-hour flurry of artistic creation, Dutch Bihary transformed his petite model into a tufted, fantastical feline for the Crypticon Seattle FX Makeup Competition sponsored by New Image College of Fine Arts and volunteer haunted house Nightmare at Beaver Lake, edging out his rivals to win a $15,000 scholarship to New Image, a special-effects school based in Vancouver, BC. Kat Morris won second place with a rose-bedecked zombie, and Lily Yang took third with a gruesome zombie of her own.
Missed Crypticon Seattle in 2012? You can get your next horror fix at the upcoming Red, White & Dead Zombie Walk on July 7 in Fremont. And this time next year, if you see zombies riding the light rail, you may want to follow them to their destination.