Halloween season is here! Wait, no it’s not. It’s not even summer yet. But that didn’t stop the Deadites at Spooky Empire from putting on a ghoulishly good time with their first May-Hem event, which took place May 27-29, 2011 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort on International Drive. With hundreds of guests pouring in to Spooky Empire’s Ultimate Horror Weekend each year, it was decided to branch out and offer horror aficionados a chance to get together outside October.
And May-Hem certainly delivered. Over three days and nights, attendees walked the convention halls by day, meeting celebrities and browsing macabre merchandise, and partied by night, with undead dancing and lively entertainment. Throughout it all, our roaming cameras captured much of the excitement in video and hundreds of photos. So enough with the words. Let’s get on with the picture show.
First up, take at video trip around the May-Hem show floor and celebrity meet-and-greet area, stopping to chat with special guests Alex Winter (Bill S. Preston Esq. from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) and the ladies from Evil Dead, amongst others:
For three days and nights, our intrepid cameraman Michael Gavin lived, ate, and slept May-Hem, snapping photos all the while. The result is nearly 400 photos capturing the merchandise, celebrities, exhibits, presentations, VIP parties, and attendees. (So if you were there, you just might see yourself here!) But I know 400 pictures is a lot to sift through, hoping to find that one great shot of Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell using a chainsaw to cut a themed cake (yeah, that happened) or bikini-clad zombie girls lounging around a pool (yep, that happened too). So I’m going to make your life easier.
Before we get to the complete slide show of all our May-Hem photos, I share with you a few highlights that give a good sense of what the event was all about. Then you can decide if you belong with Spooky Empire or if this crowd’s just not your thing. Horror fans are definitely a specific breed with similar tastes in clothing, entertainment, and music, each of which often revolves around massive amounts of fake blood. So if you’re squeamish, you may not want to press on. Consider yourself warned.
And there’s a special reward for those of you who make it to the bottom. Get your red/blue anaglyph glasses out (or a Nintendo 3DS) and keep on scrollin’ to find some fun 3D photos from within the May-Hem halls.
Highlights from Spooky Empire’s May-Hem 2011:
Horror legend Bruce Campbell ready to meet fans at Spooky Empire's May-Hem in Orlando.
A Bruce Campbell doppelganger arrives.
Bruce's voice will be featured in Disney's upcoming Cars 2!
Nearby, Ted Raimi is... well, he's just Ted Raimi.
The ladies of Evil Dead are more than happy to tell tales of excessive gore.
And if The Evil Dead isn't enough, how about The Walking Dead too? Here's star Jon Bernthal pointing menacingly. The girl too.
Zombies come in all ages. Addy Miller is one of the show's youngest stars.
But Bill Hinzman is a much older zombie. Zombie #1, in fact, from Night of the Living Dead.
Alex Winter knows a bit about zombies himself, after rising from the dead in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. Death sucks at Twister.
Anthony Michael Hall played opposite Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands. I suppose that's close enough to a zombie.
It's all part of Chris Kiszka's incredible Jaws collection.
Elsewhere on the May-Hem show floor, attendees can take a virtual ride to a funeral inside a closed coffin. If this doesn't scream Spooky Empire, I don't know what does.
It helps to be dead (or undead) when riding...
...but even young Deadites enjoy the trip.
Merchandise aplenty on the show floor.
Plenty of action figures to buy. Mostly Michael Myers.
Several makeup artists lend their skills to those wanting to be zombified...
...like this guy! Oh wait, he's only a model.
The May-Hem vendor room had no shortage of grim artwork and photography.
Friend of Inside the Magic and Halloween Horror Nights designer Ray Keim shows off his definitely-not-the-Psycho-house paper model. It's available for cutting and folding in the new Mad Monster magazine.
But Spooky Empire would be nothing without the fun and unique people that make it come alive, figuratively speaking.
And there were quite a wide variety of people who showed up to May-Hem. You've got the gory undead.
And the attractive undead.
The wacky undead.
The video game undead.
The tall undead.
And the short undead.
How about a little Spooky Empire May-Hem riddle? What do you get when you add a pretty face...
...to a not-so-pretty face?
Something in between. Scary? Check. Still somehow pretty? Check. Such is Spooky Empire.
But when it gets out of hand, you call in the exorcists. I don't think that's pea soup...
Or... maybe you call the Ghostbusters?
Vote time! Female Ash 1?
Or Female Ash 2? (We'll let the real Ash, Bruce Campbell, pick the winner below...)
After the sun sets, the party moves to the pool and Spooky Empire mastermind Petey Mongelli reveals the secret behind his show's success.
Celebrities party with the rest of 'em...
...and it should be obvious why.
At the VIP party, a themed Evil Dead cake stands tall, awaiting destruction.
Chef Eric Woller puts finishing touches on his creation.
Attendees marvel at its glory.
Even Bruce Campbell is impressed.
Bruce thanks Eric for his hard work on the cake...
...then tears into it with a chainsaw. Ash is back!
Bruce has some good aim with that icing.
The rest of the Evil Dead cast joins in to sample.
And Bruce is thrilled.
Remember the female Ash vote above? I think Bruce has chosen his winner, as he admires her... chainsaw.
Then the rest of the zombie dancers hop on stage to boogie with Bruce.
And the May-Hem concludes with a night of dancing and partying. And zombie pole dancing. That's Spooky Empire.
Spooky Empire’s May-Hem 2011 - in 3D!
I promised a bonus for those who made it all the way down here, so here are a few 3D photos from Spooky Empire May-Hem! If you have a Nintendo 3DS, you can download them all in MPO format here in a ZIP file. (Need help? Click here for instructions on how to load the files onto your 3DS.) If you don’t have a 3DS, take out the red/blue anaglyph glasses you got when you bought Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare on DVD and enjoy:
DO doo doo DO doo doo DO do DO do DO doo...
One, two, Freddy girl's coming for you...
Ch ch ch, ah ah ah...
Suddenly Female Ash 1 looks like the winner.
This is Steven Yeun from The Walking Dead's idea of a cheap 3D trick.
But I can't leave you with that. So instead we finish with 3D undead babes. You're welcome.
The first-ever May-Hem event from Spooky Empire appeared to be a big success. It may have been a smaller scale than the annual Ultimate Horror Weekend in October, but the different time of year afforded a chance to draw different celebrities they haven’t been able to book. And what horror fan doesn’t appreciate a little spooky fun months before the Halloween season kicks into gear? Even with the grim genre, there were smiles to be found everywhere throughout the May-Hem weekend, with surprises and laughter accompanying all the screams and gore. While not for everyone, May-Hem is just the right mixture of frights and fun for a ghastly good time.
More photos from Spooky Empire’s May-Hem 2011: (Photos by Michael Gavin. 3D photos by Ricky Brigante.)
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