Return of Scarefest: Lexington con is back with Scream Queen bowling, film festival

·5 min read

After taking a year off because of the COVID pandemic, owners and organizers of the Scarefest Horror and Paranormal Convention in Lexington knew they had to come up with a memorable resurrection.

Timing could make this weekend’s three-day event for all things horror, paranormal, creepy and macabre one of the biggest and best in the convention’s 12-year-history.

That’s something co-owners Brandon and Nicole Griffith said the horror community needs now, especially after they made the decision to cancel last year’s event.

“Horror fans, they’re one of a kind. They are a loyal group, they are a fun group and everybody knows each other,” Brandon said. “Seeing people face-to-face we haven’t seen in a long time and getting back to that connection is something I am looking forward to the most.”

That connection will take place in the bigger, newly renovated Central Bank Center and at a film festival across the street in a new state-of-the-art movie theater. Plus, the Griffiths coordinated the convention to end as Lexington’s downtown Halloween celebration gets going on Sunday night, highlighted by the Thriller Parade.

“You cannot possibly pack more Halloween in a weekend than this weekend. You cannot. Not in one location,” Nicole Griffith.

A giant model of Critter from the 1986 film “Critters” navigated the crowd at ScareFest. The 10th edition of The ScareFest in 2017.
A giant model of Critter from the 1986 film “Critters” navigated the crowd at ScareFest. The 10th edition of The ScareFest in 2017.

Scarefest film festival at LexLive!

Scarefest organizers connected with Cameron Jones, who plays Michael Jackson for the annual Thriller Parade downtown every October. Jones is also the marketing director for LexLive!, the city’s latest movie theater and entertainment complex located across the street from Rupp Arena and the convention area.

“Films are a big majority of what we deal with and we have always wanted to incorporate a film festival that actually takes place in a place where films are meant to be watched,” Nicole said. “It’s right across the street. It’s a no-brainer.”

Cameron Jones, right, the marketing director for LexLive! and Michael Jackson for the annual downtown Thriller Parade, helped bring Screfest’s film festival to the new movie theater.
Cameron Jones, right, the marketing director for LexLive! and Michael Jackson for the annual downtown Thriller Parade, helped bring Screfest’s film festival to the new movie theater.

For 2021, the two collaborated to not only move Scarefest to the same weekend as the Thriller Parade but also to allow the film festival portion of Scarefest to take place in the new movie theater. These will include independent films as well as screenings of horror movie classics like “Night of the Demons,” “Killer Clowns from Outer Space,” “Weird Science” and “The Toxic Avenger,” all of which will be introduced by cast members from each respective film.

Scarefest celebrity lineup

One of the big draws of Scarefest for horror and paranormal fans is the chance to meet their favorite person who played a supernatural being in a film or hunts for supernatural beings in real life.

This year’s festival of celebrity guests include an “Evil Dead” franchise reunion with appearances by Bruce Campbell (Ash), Kassie DePaiva (Bobby Joe) and “Ash vs. Evil Dead” director Ted Raimi.

Casi Benedict and Mercedez Varble of Owensboro-based Red Serial Films chatted with Bruce Thompson of Columbus, Ga., who was dressed as “Nightmare on Elm Street” villain Freddy Krueger during the 2017 Scarefest.
Casi Benedict and Mercedez Varble of Owensboro-based Red Serial Films chatted with Bruce Thompson of Columbus, Ga., who was dressed as “Nightmare on Elm Street” villain Freddy Krueger during the 2017 Scarefest.

There will also be various cast members from the films in director Rob Zombie’s Firefly Film Series (“House of 1000 Corpses,” “The Devil’s Rejects” and “3 From Hell”), reunions of actors from “Wishmaster,” “Weird Science” and “Killer Clowns from Outer Space,” and actors Vincent M. Ward (Oscar) and Lew Temple (Axel) from AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead” will also be in attendance.

Paranormal investigation fans also can meet and mingle with cast members from shows ranging from “Ghost Adventures,” “Destination Truth” and “Ghost Nation,” among other series.

For more enhanced fan experiences, Scarefest is bringing back their Throw Axes With Killers event at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22 at Battle Axes at 1170 Manchester St., Suite 160 in Lexington. Ticketholders can throw alongside slasher film actors like Scarefest favorites Kane Hodder (Jason from “Friday the 13th”) and R.A Mihailoff (Leatherface from “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) or the likes of William Forsythe (Sheriff Wydell from “The Devil’s Rejects”) or Vernon Wells (Lord General from “Weird Science”).

“It was kind of a test run and the celebrities who did it (back in 2019) came to me and said, ‘This was the most fun we have had at a convention event ever,’” Nicole said.

Now, thanks to Scarefest’s collaboration with LexLive!, the convention will be utilizing that complex’s bowling alley to give fans the opportunity to Bowl with Scream Queens, where you pay to bowl on a team with actresses from horror flicks and personalities from the paranormal TV world.

Ember Stull, 4, of Richmond high-fived Jerry Dewayne Lester, dressed as a character called Hockomock.
Ember Stull, 4, of Richmond high-fived Jerry Dewayne Lester, dressed as a character called Hockomock.

Kids Day and family fun at Scarefest

Just because it is a convention centered around horror and the paranormal, that doesn’t mean Scarefest wants the adults to have all of the fun.

This year, Scarefest is referring itself to “the sinister side of Comic Con” to “let them know the atmosphere is still the same, but we celebrate a different type of fandom,” Brandon said. While adults can go to various convention seminars and panels or have a great time at Scarefest’s annual VIP party, the whole family can get something out of the art, artifacts and oddities of the Haunted Bazaar.

Also, the last day of the convention is Kids Day. Children 12 and under are admitted free and it will feature a costume contest and vendor trick or treat, a Thriller Dance Class, horror trivia and a Scream Queen contest for the littlest screamers.

Scarefest Horror and Paranormal Convention

When: Events begin at 1 p.m. Oct. 22 and 23 and 11 a.m. Oct. 24

Where: Central Bank Center, 430 W. Vine St.

Tickets: $25 Friday and Sunday, $30 Saturday, $50 Saturday/Sunday Admission; $65 Three-Day Admission

Online: For full event and celebrity lineup and event details, thescarefest.com

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