The rapture returns to the Valley this year -- just in time for Halloween.
The second annual Rapture Horror Expo descends on Tempe at the Double Tree Resort at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 5 and Sunday, October 6, for a spook-tacular weekend of workshops, film screenings, and all things indie horror.
Last year's inaugural event drew 3,000 people, an impressive crowd considering the group planned everything from celebrity meet-and-greets to fashion shows in less than four months.
That all should change this fall, as Kris Blackburn and the rest of the creative team at WTF Events have been on a one-track horror kick to broaden the niche event since last October 31.
The reason? Simple: there isn't anything like it in Arizona, says Blackburn. "I want to prove that Phoenix loves horror and sci-fi," he adds.
And not just your average, "cookie-cutter," slasher-flick horror. This year's convention gathers celebrities from all kinds of cult classics, including actresses Judith O'Dea and Judith Ridley of 1968's Night of the Living Dead and actor Sid Haig, who's known for Rob Zombie films The Devil's Rejects and House of 1000 Corpses, and his appearances in many a Quentin Tarantino motion picture.
In conjunction with its celebrity guests, the convention offers $100 "experience" packages, featuring an event fast-pass and photo-op with either actress Danielle Harris, Haig, or the ladies of the Living Dead.
For those who want to experience all the expo has to offer without the fanboy fare, single-day and weekend passes are available for $30 to $45 in advance, or for an extra $10 charge at the door. Tickets include admission to the film fest, arguably this year's biggest draw.
Among the 13 film screenings are two Arizona productions: Night of the Sea Monkey and The Frankenstein Syndrome. Saturday night also plays host to the Southwest premier of The Hospital, starring John Dugan of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre series, while Sunday features a 10-year anniversary screening of House of 1000 Corpses.
Though the film festival is certainly the highlight of this year's expo, it's far from the only aspect. Both days feature workshops and panels on everything from the paranormal to surviving the zombie apocalypse to tips on creating scream-inducing make-up. United Blood Services will be on-site to take your blood during the expo's second annual blood drive, and high-pitched men and women alike can stretch their vocal chords during a Scream Queen contest where the winner receives cash and prizes.
For those who prefer to play a corpse to the damsel in distress (or just want to see their name in lights), Sunday's main event is an open casting call for an independent horror film. The parts up for grabs haven't been announced yet, but Blackburn expects directors and producers to be scouring the event all weekend, so feel free to come dressed in your gore-y best.
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But, if you can't find anything to wear, there will also be two fashion shows sure to provide plenty of inspiration. One is a costume fashion show, catering to the Halloween theme that plagues every October, and the other a counter-culture couture fashion show with pieces from local designers Torture Couture and Modified Minds.
For more information and a complete schedule, check out www.rapturehorrorexpo.com.