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).


3 thoughts on “Calgary Horror Con: the presentations

  1. The paranormal presentation was interesting, maybe you and I could use them in our basement – but do we have the knowledge to actually know what we are getting? I talked to the woman of the group – and she said that the places had paranormal happenings in them – but couldn’t say they were haunted. She was more interesting to talk to than the other guy – but didn’t he say he was a cop?

    I loved meeting the celebs – the kid from poltergeist was cool, Richard seemed like he didn’t want to be bothered.

    Has anyone gone to that zombie training camp? Might check into it.

    The movie was good, but it was hard to see on the screen, does anyone know why they were not in the theater this year?

    1. The guy from TAPIS is an ex-cop, I think. I can’t quite remember if he still is, though.

      I didn’t meet any of the celebs. I was too cheap to pay for an autograph, lol. I didn’t watch the full-length movie, either. Not sure why it wasn’t released in theatres. I know it premiered at the indie film theatre on the Friday night, but it didn’t get wide release or anything.

      Which zombie training camp? The workshop from The Forge Western Martial Arts? Or the ZSERE class (the urban tactical training one)?

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