Written by Elyssa
Mad Monster is back in Arizona! This horror, sci-fi, and fantasy themed convention is a cool escape in the blaring summer heat of Arizona. From Costume Contests, to Celebrity Q&A’s, this is the perfect spot for any fan of the genre. Not only will you have the opportunity to meet well known celebrities, you’ll also see them enjoying the convention themselves.
The convention was a blast! This was my first time attending, but the overall vibe was extremely positive. The things that made the convention so great were the people, especially the guests and the vendors. Every guest I interacted with was an absolute sweetheart. The vendors that were there all had quality products, and were genuinely interested in talking to each and every person that approached their table. Last, but certainly not least, the folks walking the floor were exactly who I’d love to hang with on the weekends and binge horror movies with.
For such a small, newer convention, they really pull together a five star guest list. Everyone from classics such as the boy in The Shining (Danny Lloyd) to modern horror hit The Curse Of La Llorona with La Llorona herself (Marisol Ramirez) making her convention debut. Matthew Lillard was an absolute sweetheart, and interacted with as many people as he could. There was a lull in his photo / autograph line and he joked with me as I walked by about how I looked like someone who would take photos with Elvira. Danny Lloyd was another kind soul. He had a lull in his line while I was looking at a vendor booth next to his. He was interacting with my Daughter, and we got to chatting. I showed him a meme from The Shining, and he asked me to send it to him on Twitter. You only get these kinds of moments at smaller cons like this.
This year the full list of absolutely phenomenal guests included: Adrienne Barbeau, Doug Jones, Elvira, James Jude Courtney, Kane Hodder, Miko Hughes, Ray Wise, Robert Patrick, Sid Haig, and good old Tom Atkins.
The sold out floor space was packed wall to wall with quality vendors. Just like the outstanding celebrities brought in, the organizers are extremely good at vetting vendors, and it was hard not to spend money at each and every table. A lot of well-known creators in the horror community made it out to the convention from all over the country. The longest line was for Love, Pain, and Stiches, based out of California, who continually bring the crowds wherever they go.
I had time to chat with tons of talented folks. As soon as I walked into the building I was happy to see our local people, Allied Phoenix, had brought an Annabelle doll. Artist Abe was there with all of his clever art. Attic Flood with his sweet merch. Bloodbath with bath related horror goodies. Demonic Pinfestation is of course, mainly original horror pins. Forever Midnight a great podcast cast with absolute sweethearts behind it had a solid merch table. Little Spooky Studio was packed with little spooky goodies. Lively Ghosts bringing the pins and coffin pin boards. Love, Pain, and Stitches the spooky handmade bag game killers. Monster Posse had a fantastic showing of pins, stickers, tshirts and more. Monster Tease (say it out loud) bringing the monster tees. Pallbearer Press another one stop shop for all things horror. Shirts N Things is another local haunt filled with everything from accessories to home décor. Vamp/Best Fiends Forever was the sweetest and we enjoy reading her book every night.
Besides the boothed vendors, I ran into a lot of rad local creators. First off I ran into Sarah and Mat of Geeks Who Eat, a food blog where they combine original food recipes and pop culture. I’m dying to try everything they create! They even have some tasty horror themed recipes. Then I ran into Mat and Dustin of The Final Boys, a horror podcast that will make you wanting to be best friends with these two rad dudes. Mat and Dustin have an episode up on their summary of the convention, which you should go listen to on Stitcher or wherever you enjoy listening to podcast! I also ran into Kim, aka z0mbyte, a Twitch content creator that is an awesome gamer, talented cosplayer, and overall sweet lady. Check out her stream if you’re into Dead By Daylight and cosplay!
The people running the show and the staff were all welcoming, warming, and beyond helpful as well. One of the main organizers was walking the convention floor all three days, and every time he saw my Daughter and me he went out of his way to thank us for coming. The organizers take every single comment/question/concern seriously, and work to make the convention better not only each day, but take feedback into how to grow the convention each year. The location and size of the venue were less than ideal, and I’m happy to report that they are moving the convention next year.
There are way too many favorite moments to choose from. I love the intimate size and feel of the convention. The accessibility of the guests, but also the respect from attendees was something I had never seen before. My Daughter participating in the costume contest was high up on my entire weekend experience. Everyone was completely encouraging of one another, and made sure she felt that love too.
Single Day: Friday or Sunday, $35. Saturday, $45. All 3 days, $80. RIP, $200.
Buying tickets months in advance lands you some spooky good deals. I opted for the Shriekend Pass, and was glad I did so! Kids 12 and under are free with paying adult, which is fantastic. I would go all three days again in a heartbeat. My rough plan of attack is Friday, get a feel, Saturday, enjoy, Sunday, buy all of the things I wanted.
Space: Small and crowded.
They’ve grown so much in the couple of years they’ve been organizing this, and they’ve outgrown the current space. The halls were hot and at times it was hard to enjoy booths because the aisles were so packed. The easy accessibility of drinking water and cups was impressive. We brought our own reusable water bottles and just filled them up throughout the day. In the middle of an Arizona summer, this small act does not go unnoticed.
Overall: If you’re into horror and/or sci-fi, I definitely recommend checking this convention out. If price point is a factor, check their Facebook page for discount codes about 6 months before the convention date. If you’re sad you missed out on this one, fear not! They shall be back to Arizona next year, and with an even bigger space. If you just can’t wait, be sure to check out Midsummer Scream happening August 3&4 in Long Beach.
This article, as well as photos, were by Elyssa.