The weekend before Labor Day, I was lucky enough to attend KillerCon in Austin, Texas. KillerCon is an intimate event for writers and fans of extreme horror and splatterpunk. Attendance is limited to a few hundred people, so you really get a chance to rub elbows and clink glasses with some of your favorite authors.
I got into Austin around 2pm local time and immediately headed for a brewery. Pinthouse Pizza had some good reviews and was en route to my hotel in Round Rock, and I’m really glad I stopped there. The Electric Jellyfish IPA hit the spot, the Pizza Rolls were delicious, and they had a Donkey Kong machine. Super cool people, too.
Next up was Austin Beerworks. They had a pretty neat outdoor area which I eschewed in favor of the air conditioned main tap room. San Diego has ruined me—I’m not built for temperatures above or below 70 degrees. The Teripax Belinerweisse was pretty tasty, but my favorite was the hilariously-named Gal-Lager Watermelon Lager. Perfect.
After Austin Beerworks I headed back to the hotel, where the front desk got me mixed up with Brian Keene (I’ll take “People I Don’t Mind Being Mistaken For” for $1,000, Alex). Then I went down to the bar, where Ed Lee and Christine Morgan were hanging out. A veritable deluge of awesome authors followed, including Mary Sangiovanni, the aforementioned Brian Keene, Kelli Owen and Patrick Freivald. I’m not saying all this to name drop, but to promote KillerCon—it’s really that kind of convention where you can just bullshit with the guests of honor all night.
The next morning, I hit the convention proper. Wrath James White was personally checking people in and had a badass coffin full of absolutely ridiculous donuts. Plus coffee. Bless you. Most of the dealers were still setting up, but I had a whirlwind thirty minutes of meeting a bunch of people I’m friends with on the Internet but hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting in real life before—Max Booth, Lori Michelle, Bob Pastorella, Rose O’Keefe, Jeff Burk, Lucy Taylor, Leza Cantoral, Christoph Paul, Joe and Kacey Lansdale, Sam Richard, Carlton Mellick III, Jarod Barbee, Patrick Harrison, Michael Louis Dixon, shit, I feel like I’m forgetting a bunch of people—sorry, you know who you are! Almost everyone I met I’d either had some interactions with online or read their stuff or even taken a class with, so the whole con very much felt like a family reunion.
Later that morning, I was lucky enough to join Wrath James White on a panel moderated by Stephen Kozeniewski on religion and horror. We discussed whether there are still more stories to tell about religion (there are) and discovered that zombie narratives are really Buddhist horror stories. Good times, and I couldn’t have asked for a better crowd.
The rest of the weekend was awesome, highlights included watching Ed Lee read, the Deadite Press Gross-Out Contest (special congrats to Stephen Kozeniewski for taking home the grand prize) complete with Mandy DeSandra guest appearance, the small press/indie publishing panel, the first annual Splatterpunk Awards (watching Ed Lee win the first awards of his career AND accepting an award for Jack Ketchum was amazing), the Clash Books reading, Max Booth’s new Hulu series, and Christoph Paul’s Blacula song.
And finally the LOST FILMS reading.
Bob Pastorella read his incredible story, and then I performed a shortened version of mine since the original would have taken too long to read. Max Booth joined me onstage as my hype man, and while I can’t disclose what actually transpired during those thirty minutes, I can confidently state that KillerCon has not experienced anything quite like that before.
By the end of the weekend, I was pretty exhausted and a little stressed as to how I was going to get all the fucking books I bought back to San Diego, but also completely stoked at how great the con was. Fantastic programming and a truly great (and damn good-looking) crowd. Special thanks to Wrath and the rest of the volunteers who made this event happen. If you get a chance next year, check it out—you won’t be disappointed.