Things to Do

Your Guide to Mad Monster Party Arizona: Tickets, Guests, Schedule, and More

Benjamin Leatherman
It's always a bloody good time at Mad Monster Arizona.
According to our calculations, at least 125 days remain until Halloween rolls around, which might seem like an eternity to some folks. Then again, if you're the organizers of Mad Monster Party Arizona – the annual weekend-long convention celebrating horror fandom – probably every day is Halloween.

Ditto for any of the horror fanatics, gothy types, and spooky-looking cosplayers that will flock to the three-day event, which will invade the We-Ko-Pa Resort in Scottsdale from Friday, June 28, to Sunday, June 30.

A bloody good time will await them, especially if they're interested in meeting the actors and actresses that starred in some notable films from the horror genre, as well as some sci-fi and fantasy favorites.

This year’s Mad Monster event will feature appearances by such famed character actors and actresses as Ray Wise, Adrienne Barbeau, and Tom Atkins, all of whom co-starred in the ‘80s horror film Creepshow. Other guests include Terminator 2’s Robert Patrick, Doug Jones from The Shape of Water, and Marisol Ramirez from The Curse of La Llorona.

The actors behind a couple of iconic slasher villains from the horror world will also be at Mad Monster Party  Arizona 2019, including Kane Hodder (who played Jason Voorhees in a few different Friday the 13th movies) and James Jude Courtney (who donned the costume of Michael Myers in last year’s Halloween remake).

And unlike other conventions, patrons of Mad Monster Arizona won’t be rushed when they interact with these guests. According to Mad Monster Party founder Eben McGarr, their event, which also takes place in other U.S. cities throughout the year, is smaller and more laid-back than most conventions.

“It’s really a far more intimate experience than your average comic con,” McGarr says. “You go to your standard autograph-signing event and it’s usually like a Wal-Mart experience. You stand in a line and then some handler rushes you through so you can get your impersonal autograph. Here, we allow fans to take a little longer to interact with celebs. And the celebs can stop and admire their costumes or the rare memorabilia they're signing.”

They also attempt to create a different sort of atmosphere.

“As the name says, we try to foster a party environment and make it as fun for the celebs, and the vendors, and the attendees,” McGarr says. “Here, the fans tend to stay at the same resort as the celebrities, so you might run into them when they're going back to their rooms or you might be sitting across from them while you're having a drink or a meal. There really is no event like Mad Monster Party.”

Besides all the celebrity appearances, Mad Monster will also offer after-hours events each evening, including a costume contest, "scaraoke" sessions, and parties.

What else awaits you at Mad Monster Party Arizona 2019 this weekend? Check out our extensive guide to the event for full details, if you dare.

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Spotted in the Vendor Hall at last year's Mad Monster Party Arizona.
Benjamin Leatherman
When and where is it? Mad Monster Party Arizona 2019 takes over the We-Ko-Pa Resort and Conference Center, 10438 North Fort McDowell Road in Scottsdale, from Friday, June 28, to Sunday, June 30.

What are the event hours? The vendor hall will be open from 6 to 11 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. After-hours programming and events will take place starting at 11 p.m. on Friday and after 6 p.m. on Saturday.

How much are tickets? Single-day general admission is $35 at the door on Friday and Sunday, $45 at the door on Saturday, and a three-day "shriekend" pass is $80 at the door. Kids 12 and under can get in free if they're accompanied by a paid adult. According to the Mad Monster website, tickets can only be purchased with cash.

If you're interested in getting a picture with one of the special guests, photo ops range from $60 to $200 and depend on the celebrity involved.

Are their age limits? No, Mad Monster Arizona is an all-ages event. That said, it is a horror event and will feature plenty of scary subject matter that might be too much for younger attendees. The after-hours programming is only open to those and 18 and over.

How do you get there? We-Ko-Pa Resort is on the northeast end of Valley just outside of Fort McDowell. Depending on where you're coming from, it's a 15 to 45 minute drive. The easiest way to get there is to take the Loop 202 freeway to Country Club Drive in Mesa. Exit and then head north on Country Club, which will turn into Arizona State Route 87 (a.k.a. the Beeline Highway), and drive for 15 miles. When you get to Fort McDowell Road, turn left and follow the signs to the resort.

Where can I park? The resort offers tons of free parking. Get there early, since the good spots tend to go fast. In other words, the later you get to the event, the farther out you'll have to park.

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Terminator 2 actor Robert Patrick.
Gage Skimore/via Flickr

Which celebrities will be at Mad Monster Arizona? This year’s event will feature appearances by 13 different actors and actresses from several notable horror, sci-fi, and fantasy films. To wit: Terminator 2’s Robert Patrick, Doug Jones from The Shape of Water, Friday the 13th’s Kane Hodder, and Marisol Ramirez from The Curse of La Llorona will be some of the most notable names at the event.

Other guests include Adrienne Barbeau (Creepshow, Swamp Thing), Tom Atkins (Halloween III), Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, Robocop), James Jude Courtney (Halloween), Sid Haig (House of 1,000 Corpses), Matthew Lillard (Scream, Scooby Doo), Miko Hughes (Pet Sematary), and Danny Lloyd (The Shining). Actress Cassandra Peterson, better known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark will also appear at the event, both as herself and as her legendary alter ego.

Will there be vendors? Of course. More than 80 different vendors from Arizona will be set up inside the resort’s 15,000-square-foot main ballroom and will offer a variety of geeky and horror-themed items and services. The lineup will range from the ink-slingers of Love and Hate Tattoo to publishers like Blood Bound Books and Pallbearer Press. There will also be a variety of artists, apparel companies, toy shops, boutiques, and prop-makers, as well as local haunted attraction Sanctum of Horror. (A full list of vendors is available here.)

What should I bring? Comfortable walking shoes are always a good idea, especially if you have to run in terror from some serial killer or demonic beast. You'll want to bring a bag or backpack to carry your stuff, a fully charged cellphone, an ID, and a certain amount of actual money on hand (since admission is cash only and it's generally quicker than using plastic). And if you'd like to dress up as a character from a horror cinema, that's totally cool with Mad Monster's organizers. On that subject …

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Creepy costumes are in abundance at Mad Monster Party Arizona.
Benjamin Leatherman
Are costumes allowed? Absolutely. In fact, they're going to be everywhere at Mad Monster Arizona 2019, and organizers encourage attendees to wear any sort of getup inspired by horror films, slasher flicks, or television shows like The Walking Dead or Stranger Things. A costume contest is scheduled to take place on Saturday night at 7 p.m. and will offer $500 in cash prizes. Cosplayers can also get a free professional green-screen photo of themselves on Sunday.

Keep in mind, however, that Mad Monster is considered to be a family-friendly event and no dangerous-looking costumes, gear, or weaponry will be allowed. Same goes for anything that involves nudity. Consider yourself warned, mortals.

Will there be programming? Yes. Q&A sessions featuring many of Mad Monster Arizona celebrity guests will happen throughout the weekend, some of which will focus on particular movies of franchises. To wit: Adrienne Barbeau and Tom Atkins will appear at a panel on Saturday afternoon to discuss starring together in such films as 1980’s The Fog and 1982’s Swamp Thing. Other celebrities that will appear at panels include Danny Lloyd, Robert Patrick, Matthew Lillard, Marison Ramirez, Sid Haig, James Jude Courtney, and Mike Hughes.

Other activities throughout the weekend include “Scares That Care” charity auction on Saturday at 6 p.m. and the Madame Monster pageant at 10 p.m. on Saturday. There will also be “Scaraoke” sessions at 11 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday night.

What's the schedule like? Mad Monster Arizona 2019 kicks off on Friday evening and goes until early Sunday evening. Here’s a full rundown of what’s going down each day.

Friday, June 28

6 p.m. – Vendor hall opens
7 p.m. – Kane Hodder photo ops in Jason costume
7:30 p.m. – Adrienne Barbeau and Tom Atkins Q&A panel; Matthew Lillard photo ops
7:45 p.m. – Marisol Ramirez photo ops
8 p.m. – Cassandra Peterson as Elvira photo ops
8:30 p.m. – Ray Wise Q&A panel
9 p.m. – Miko Hughes photo ops
9:15 p.m. – James Jude Courtney photo ops
9:30 p.m. – Danny Lloyd Q&A panel
9:45 p.m. – Robert Patrick photo ops
10:15 p.m. – Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise, and Tom Atkins photo ops
10:30 p.m. – Danny Lloyd photo ops
11 p.m. – Scaraoke; Vendor Hall closes

Saturday, June 29:

11 a.m. – Doug Jones photo ops, Vendor Hall opens
11:45 a.m. – Miko Hughes photo ops
Noon – Robert Patrick Q&A panel
1 p.m. – Robert Patrick photo ops
1:30 p.m. – Matthew Lillard Q&A panel
2 p.m. – Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise, and Tom Atkins photo ops
2:30 p.m. – Matthew Lillard photo ops
2:30 p.m. – Doug Jones Q&A panel
3 p.m. – James Jude Courtney photo ops
3:30 p.m. – Marisol Ramirez Q&A panel
4:30 p.m. – Marisol Ramirez photo ops; Sid Haig Q&A panel
5 p.m. – Danny Lloyd photo ops
6 p.m. – Scares That Care charity auction
7 p.m. – Costume Contest; Vendor Hall closes
9 p.m. – Party for “R.I.P.” attendees
10 p.m. – Madame Monster pageant
11 p.m. – Scaraoke

Sunday, June 30:

10 a.m. – Sid Haig as Captain Spaulding photo ops
11 a.m. – Doug Jones photo ops, Vendor Hall opens
11:30 a.m. – James Jude Courtney photo ops
Noon – Robert Patrick photo op
12:15 p.m. – James Jude Courtney Q&A panel
1:15 p.m. – Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Wise, and Tom Atkins photo ops, Kane Hodder Q&A panel
1:45 p.m. – Marisol Ramirez photo ops
2 p.m. – Danny Lloyd photo ops
2:30 p.m. – Matthew Lillard photo ops, Miko Hughes Q&A panel
5 p.m. – Vendor hall closes