Late-April is horror's off-season. A solid six months' distance from Halloween, we're killing time until Killing Time. It's enough to make an spook enthusiast downright antsy. This weekend you can sate those evil desires and silence the chainless chain-saw brain buzz, because shit is going down, yo.
The celebration of undead masses is mostly sparked by HAuNTcon's visit. The annual event takes over a different city each year and for 2013, it's all us. HAuNTcon brings haunted house enthusiasts together so that they can explore the latest in haunting technology, which is a real thing. There's a trade show component, area haunted house tours (some only available to HAuNTconners, others open to the public), a formal ghoul prom and other ways to summon those October spirits now.
Here are six ways to embrace death this week.
1. Hangman's House of Horrors Opens -- Ah, it's springtime for bloodletting! Hangman's creaks the gates apart beginning Friday for Spring Scream, a four-day, two-weekend affair that I assume celebrates our seasonal wildflowers, fleeting mild climates and disembowelment, via meat hooks.
Adding an oddly upbeat component to the affair are the add-ons: "Food trucks! Live Bands! Free Karaoke!"
This Friday night you'll tour Hangman's and Cutting Edge through a joint tour ticket with HAuNTcon or a solo pass. On Saturday you'll join "flashlight night" where each group at Hangman's gets only one sad, probably-not-even-LED flashlight to guide them through.
2. Cutting Edge Opens -- Just down the road from Hangman's is Cutting Edge, our local Guinness World Record holder for Largest Walk-Through Haunted House. On Friday night you can buy a pass to this screamfest à la carte (they're billing it Date Night) or you can get both it and Hangman's as a package deal through HAuNTcon, complete with VIP bus rides.
3. Tyler Mane Has the A to your Q -- I don't know what you ask a guy who plays Michael Myers in the late series, Rob Zombie edition Halloween films. Maybe just about the audition process? Or if the mask is smelly? Or if he channels his previous career as a professional wrestler when he really needs to focus on the killing? Hmph. Dunno. If you come up with something, he'll be at Hangman's on Friday night, talking shop.
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He's also hyping a horror film called Compound Fracture, which screens at Texas Theatre on May 2. By the looks of the trailer, its moral is: Don't trust fellas dressed as the Unabomber who rock chain wallets. But you should know that already.
4. You Love Prom. And Fake Blood. -- Every little girl's dream becomes a nightmare on Saturday night at HAuNTcon's Texas Chainsaw Masquerade, where all are encouraged to wear their most horrific, goriest, show-offy ensembles, in the name of formal wear.
5. The Haunted House Trade Show -- The weekend's cornerstone event lets exhibitors show off the latest and greatest in haunting technologies, a must-do affair for any hauntrepreneur. See the craziest laser lights, pop-up monsters and glow-in-the-dark contact lenses on the market. If you're more of a digger, make your way to the haunted garage sale for secondhand scares.
6. Sunday's Hearse and Parade Car Show -- Um, awesome? It's a celebration of The Last Ride and promotional materials read like this: "All funeral cars are welcome: sprinkled with creepiness, ragged and rusty or spit-polished to perfection ... we dig 'em all." It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and easily excitable non-hearses are also encouraged to participate.