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Day 3 was the last day of San Antonio’s first ever Terror Expo and my first time at any type of convention ever. As a convention virgin, Terror Expo was a perfect introduction to the world of horror and sci-fi fandom for veterans and newbies alike. From the incredible cosplays to the panels to watching parents force their crying children to take pictures with men in scary costumes, I would have to say that I’ve been bitten by the con bug and can’t wait to attend another one.
Videos shot and edited by Patrick Nye
While we did visit venders and lurked around the celebrity section, we spent most of our day attending the “Cobra Kai” panel, the Elvira panel, and the incredibly popular “American Horror Story” panel.
“Cobra Kai” panel
Admittedly I’ve never seen “The Karate Kid,” but it was fascinating to see some of the biggest bad guys from the 1980s reminisce on such an iconic movie. The pride that William Zabka (Johnny) and Martin Kove (John Kreese) had for the movie that defined their careers was a major theme in the panel. Even decades after the film first premiered, there was a deep sense of love for the film from both Zabka and Kove, and they both insisted that they still stay in touch with the rest of the cast. The cultural impact of the movie couldn’t be missed with Zabka taking pride in the fact that “The Karate Kid” “gave birth to karate in a brand new way” and led kids from all around the world to take up an interest in karate.
My favorite moment had to be when a fan asked the duo about the band No More King’s “Sweep the Leg” music video, one inspired by the famous quote from the film “Sweep the Leg Johnny”. Most of “The Karate Kid” cast appeared in the video, and Zabka revealed that he had major creative control in the video’s storyline and directed the video himself. When they started to play the video on the screen, Zabka and Kove stood up and watched it from the stage. They even urged the moderator to let it play to the end after he tried to move on, again showing that their love for “The Karate Kid” was still strong after all of these years.
This panel had to be my favorite panel of the day. From the moment we walked into the expo, it was very evident that Cassandra Peterson, famous for her role as Elvira, was still incredibly popular among the attendees, with posters and fanart of Elvira appearing in almost every vendor booth. Decades after she first donned the famous low-cut dress and in her words “helped a lot of boys through puberty” in Elvira’s movie “Macabre,” her panel still resulted in long lines of anxious men waiting for the chance to ask her questions.
While I’ve never seen her show or her famous cult film, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, I was impressed on how she just oozed charm as she answered everyones’ questions in a brash and honest way. One of her most interesting answers came after a fan asked her whether she felt that the role of Elvira kept her back as an actress and she responded with a firm “hell no!” She went on to explain that she was one of the few people along with other actors with lifelong characters like Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) to actually own the rights to her character. It was refreshing to hear that she saw her legendary character as a gift rather than a curse. She was also chock-full of interesting stories including one on how Elvis Presley saved her life when she was the youngest showgirl in Las Vegas by inspiring her leave and find another career. She joked that if it wasn’t for him that she would now be “the oldest showgirl in Vegas”. As a the queen of cult horror and a veteran of panels, she knew exactly how to work the audience and let them know that she loved Elvira just as much they did.
“American Horror Story” panel
The American Horror Story panel featured Denis O’Hare, who has starred in multiple seasons of American Horror Story, his most recent role being Liz Taylor in “American Horror Story: Hotel,” and Naomi Grossman whose role as Pepper has appeared in both “American Horror Story: Asylum” and “American Horror Story: Freakshow.” Right off the bat, the moderator addressed the giant elephant in the room and asked them their thoughts on what the new theme of season 6 will be. Both actors kept mum on what was next for “American Horror Story” sighting that showrunner Ryan Murphy “doesn’t let them know anything” even while filming episodes. Grossman even pointed out that she didn’t even get full scripts during filming until she started working on “American Horror Story: Freakshow.”
Much of the panel focused on the sense of kinship between the cast of “American Horror Story” with O’Hare describing the set as a “playground” and with Grossman going so far as to allude to a rather wild night when the cast of “American Horror Story: Freakshow” went nude swimming. This along with the fact that they mentioned many celebrities are wanting to try their hand at “American Horror Story,” makes this show seem like one of the coolest shows to be on on television. While I didn’t walk away knowing anything more about season 6 than I did before, I’m still excited for what’s next..
My first con was a success filled with killer cosplays, cool vendors, and panels that were to die for. While Terror Expo was small and Shuffle Online did deal with some press issues that are explained in the Saturday recap, I had a bloody good time. I hope that Terror Expo grows into a bigger and even better convention next year.