In March of 2012, at the Monster Mania Convention in New Jersey, we were made aware of a new horror con. Who told us? Kane Hodder. Where was it? Virginia Beach — just a short hour drive from us! Needless to say, we were stoked. The line-up looked awesome — a few show repeats (Norman Reedus, Tony Todd, Ernie Hudson), but also a few horror staples we had yet to meet (i.e. Debbie Rochon, Tiffany Shepis, Felissa Rose). The show was to be in April — so we bought weekend passes and eagerly awaited this backyard convention.
Long story short… the 1st Blood at the Beach (then titled Blood on the Beach) was a bit of a mess. In its first attempt, it was overwhelming, crowded and just a bit of a clusterfuck. They probably booked too many guests, sold too many tickets — both of which are not exactly bad problems — but they weren’t prepared for the outcome. Parking was a nightmare. Some guests didn’t even have tables — so, makeshift tables were set up. There was a line to get into the guest room (a problem I had never faced at a previous convention). And we witnessed Cannibal Holocaust director, Ruggero Deodato, being denied entrance to the autograph room — until he frustratingly had to show his GUEST BADGE.
I understand running a large event like that is crazy stressful, so I applaud the organizer’s efforts (and continuing efforts). I had a great time meeting the guests; however, the overall experience just left a bad taste in my mouth. They held Blood at the Beach II at a different hotel that November. It had its moments; but all in all, it was better show. Blood at the Beach III was originally supposed to be at the BATBII hotel — but things happen and it was rescheduled to take place at the 1st hotel. UGH.
This past Saturday, May 11, we made a day trip to the show — something to which I was not entirely looking forward. With all that said, it was a pretty easy-breezy day. Not bad. Not bad at all. Parking was good. Instead of having to park at a satellite location, we could park at the hotel (woo hoo). The show didn’t feel cramped or crowded. The longest line we waited in was for Doug Bradley (about 5 – 10 min). So… all was great. But here’s the thing. I’d be extremely curious to see attendance compared to the first two shows. It was great for us — but I hope it worked out well for the organizer, too. I want these shows to stay in my backyard. Check out the Blood at the Beach Facebook group for photos, candid conversations and upcoming announcements. It’s a touch more reliable than the official website.
There will not be a fall show (like there was last year); however, the same organizer is putting on a pop culture show in August. With Steve Sanders and Debbie Gibson signed up, I think we’ll be there.
Update (July 17, 2013): The Pop Culture Con was canceled. Seems the organizer is going through some legal issues. Ugh.
Check out who we met…