By MIKE CHAIKEN
Horror fans of Connecticut will unite in Waterbury this Saturday for Connecticut HorrorFest.
The fest is marking its first year, said Rob Caprilozzi, the co-owner of Horror News Network, which has organized the bash.
Caprilozzi said that under the umbrella of Horror News Network (which he describes as a CNN for horror fanatics), he’s been covering horror conventions for years. But despite all the conventions he has attended, Caprilozzi said there has never been one in Connecticut.
And this wasn’t due to a lack of demand for all things horror, he explained.
“There are so many fans in Connecticut,” said Caprilozzi. And he often would run into them at conventions held in other states.
So, along with his wife, HNN co-owner Christine Bucci-Caprilozzi, he decided to give the Nutmeg State its own convention. And they dubbed it Connecticut HorrorFest.
Caprilozzi said it makes sense for Connecticut to have its own horror convention. “There’s a rich horror tradition (here).”
Caprilozzi noted that Linda Blair, the star of “The Exorcist” (and one of the festival’s guests), was from Connecticut. He said paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren are from Connecticut. Gary Howard Klar (another guest at the festival) of “Dawn of the Dead” is from Connecticut. And Tyler Green, who recently was runner-up in the special FX make-up reality show, “Face Off,” on SyFy Network is from Connecticut. In addition, there is a strong community of independent horror film production companies that call Connecticut home as well.
Currently, pop culture is rife with horror franchises. There is the juggernaut known “The Walking Dead.” “American Gothic” has shown staying power. Vampires are all over the pop culture landscape from the “Twilight” in the movies to “True Blood” on television. “Face Off,” the special effects competition on SyFy is going six seasons strong. And there are dozens of other examples of horror hitting the big time.
“It just has to do with zombies,” explained Caprilozzi when asked why horror seems to be everywhere.
And why zombies? “Zombies are easy to make,” said Caprilozzi.
Also, Caprilozzi said horror is doing big business because many of the franchises have such strong writing. He cited “Hannibal,” and “Dexter” as examples of shows where writing is key to their success.
Writing also is one of the reasons “The Walking Dead” has drawn so many casual fans, said Capirolozzi. And “The Walking Dead” is the kind of show that serves as a gateway into other horror franchise.
Although Horror News Network covers horror in all of its flavors, Caprilozzi was asked if he had any particular style of horror he favored. He said he is a huge fan of the slasher genre, best exemplified “Halloween.” He said he has met the actor Tony Moran who portrayed Michael Myers in the original installment of “Halloween” (who also is a guest Saturday). “He’s a really cool guy.”
As for the guests coming to the festival, Caprilozzi was asked who, as a fan, he was looking forward to meeting.
“You can’t beat Linda Blair,” said Caprilozzi of the star of “The Exorcist.” “She’s in horror’s top tier,” he said. “Even if you’re not a horror fan you know ‘The Exorcist.’”
And, even though Blair has met millions of fans through the years, Caprilozzi said she is excited about meeting fans from own home state.
At many comic book conventions, patrons will dress up as their favorite characters, which is known as cosplay. Although this isn’t a comic book convention (or ComicCon), Caprizolli said he was approached by two fans who asked if it would be okay if they came to Connecticut HorrorFest dressed as Jason from the “Friday the 13th” movie and as Pinhead from the “Hellraiser” series. He told them go for it.
Although it’s not a must for Connecticut HorrorFest, said Caprilozzi, he think it would be cool if the other patrons did dress up as their favorite characters when they attend on Saturday. And he said he would even encourage them to do so.
“We’re really excited for the show,” said Caprilozzi. “We hope Connecticut fans come out and represent.”
Among the stars coming to Connecticut HorrorFest this Saturday are:
•Linda Blair, best known as the star of “The Exorcist.”
•IronE Singleton, who plays “T-Dog” on “The Walking Dead.”
•Moses J. Moseley and Theshay West, who are among the most recognizable walkers on “The Walking Dead.”
•Tony Moran, who played Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic, “Halloween.”
•Ari Lehman, who played Jason in “Friday the 13th.”
•Micah Sloat, from “Paranormal Activity.”
•Naomi Grossman, who is best known for her portrayal of “Pepper” in “American Horror Story: Asylum.”
•Jennifer Lynn Warren, who stars as Borquita LaLaurie on “American Horror Story.”
•Gary Klar, who starred in the George Romero classic, “Day of the Dead.”
•Tyler Green, the Connecticut resident who was a finalist on Season 6 of Syfy’s “FaceOff.”
•Ox Baker, a Connecticut resident and a professional wrestler, who starred in “Escape from New York.”
For a more complete list of guests at Connecticut Horrorfest, go to HorrorNewsNetwork.com
In addition, The Haunted Graveyard of Lake Compounce Amusement Park in Bristol will hold a casting call for the upcoming season.
Connecticut HorrorFest will be held Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Courtyard by Marriott, 63 Grand St., Waterbury.
Tickets are $20, cash only, at the door.
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver.com.