In Haunt

Special Convention Review, Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Stretford, Manchester.  

By Dr Sorcha Ní Fhlainn, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University; Photography by John Gilleese.  

October 22-23 was a brilliant weekend for horror fans in Manchester and the North West with the much-anticipated For the Love of Horror fan convention taking place. This year’s convention got underway with evident excitement for its many special guests, performances, and the addition of a cinema space to revisit classic films and relax. The line-up was a treat, with Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor playing at the Friday night opening concert and proving to be a runaway hit with fans all weekend. (The queue for his autograph table was something to behold!) Taylor’s presence at the convention was a great new addition to the excellent line-ups at Monopoly’s annual Horror event, and proved to be so popular that such artists will surely be featured again. 

For the love of horror 2022 stand

This year’s convention had a few thematic strands: Scream’s David Arquette and Roger L. Jackson (the chilling voice of Ghostface) went down a storm with fans, and Arquette seemed particularly eager to get involved with all of the fun, including a trip on the spooky ghost train outside the arena, some playful onstage slapping, and surprising Jackson with a terrifying Ghostface impression of his own! Onstage, Arquette spoke warmly about his experiences working with horror maven Wes Craven, whose passing has undoubtedly been felt in the horror film industry. Building on last year’s guest duo of the original ‘bad boys’ Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard, the Scream fandom has been well-served with Arquette and Jackson firmly getting into the playful spirit of it all. 

With the saxophone playing, the hardcore metal joy of Corey Taylor, the queues for autographs, and the cinema space, fans had much to entertain their every whim. It really would not be For the Love of Horror if the line-up did not include the (always wonderful) Tim Capello. Given that the convention this year coincides with the release of Halloween Ends, the last of the David Gordon Green Halloween set, Myers proved to be a trendy cos-play choice. Tim delighted the audience with his catchy and pitch-perfect rendition of ‘Tequila!’ before playing his epic track, ‘I Still Believe’ from the 1980s vampire soundtrack of The Lost Boys (1987). Described as its ‘mascot’, Capello is a darling of the convention since his first appearance at The Lost Boys reunion in 2019 and continues to perform and answer questions. This year, he also treated fans to an extended set featuring clips from an episode of the 1980s hit cop show Miami Vice, in which he co-starred as a bad boy criminal. Some fans were out in style in their ‘cos-play’ best: a frankly brilliant Lego version of Freddy Krueger wowed onlookers, and I witnessed, at one particular moment, no fewer than five versions of ‘Michael Myers’ (each one charting the visual evolution of the character onscreen). Other wonderful costumes included the return of Dani in her beautiful flower dress from Midsommar, and a truly (near-screen perfect) Creature from James Whale’s 1931 classic, Frankenstein, offering a flower to onlookers with an outstretched hand. Some of the sets featured were also impressive – the lab from The Thing, complete with a severed head, its grotesquery suitably amplified with protruding arachnid legs from the chest cavity of its victim, was superbly realised and featured to raise funds for charity. 

For the love of horror 2022 music

While conventions typically cater to those who collect photos/autographs and memorabilia, one special aspect of the For the Love of Horror convention (and its sister events under the ‘For the Love of …’ banner) is the hosted, insightful onstage special talks. These talks are open to all attendees and give the convention a sense of community beyond the typical convention space. Fans of 1980s films were treated to appearances by the Dream Warriors (From Nightmare on Elm Street 3), and Gremlins’ Zach Galligan, plus his furry pal Gizmo, who was keen to answer fan questions, which included confirming that he had a ‘blink-and-you’ll-miss-it’ part in Hellraiser III, and that even he was partial (on occasion) to eating after midnight (uh oh! – just don’t share it with Gizmo!). Other excellent panels included Terrifier 2 (currently storming the US box office) and the twentieth anniversary of Dog Soldiers, alongside a litany of special guests, including The Burns twins from The Shining, and Danielle Harris and Scout Taylor Compton (Halloween franchise) in costume. 

I also managed to peruse the vast trader’s hall filled with talented craftspeople from across the country, displaying their beautiful sculptures, rare posters, custom paintings, and special collectors’ items. I was delighted to secure some rare collectable Funko pops (a rare, masked Alex De Large from A Clockwork Orange, no less!), a few coveted t-shirts from Hell on Shirts, and a Stranger Things tote bag (in the style of Spielberg’s ‘moon shot’ from ET). Chroma Crystal’s clever creations included video membership cards from Clerks and commissioned horror doormats in their ingenious recreated handcrafted film props and tie-in creations. Leicester-based company Cult Locations Ink returned with new dark art prints based on famous screen locations. This year’s spectacular haul included Count Duckula’s Castle, Eric Draven’s loft from The Crow, and Eddie Munson on guitar in the Upside Down from Season Four of Stranger Things.  

for the love of horror 2022 panel

Indeed, horror edibles, vampire wine, and spooky sugared treats proved extremely popular. Wilsfords, masters of fudge in numerous delicious flavours, and bakers selling delicious cupcakes and brownies kept revellers (and this reviewer) fuelled with a much-needed sugar rush. Dean from Dean of the Dead had a full range of tantalising hot sauces (and For the Love of Horror-branded Killer Ketchup) to whet appetites, daring the brave to test their tastebuds with his tingly spicy delights. Alongside Dean on the main floor was the supremely talented ‘spooky’ tattoo artist and hardcore horror fan Kyle Williams (egg_ink), co-owner of Grindhouse tattoo studio in Macclesfield. Kyle’s stunning tattoos attracted the ink curious and the seasoned as he worked on Ghostface tattoos and other iconic monsters on punters and celebrities alike. It was simply brilliant to speak to (and buy so many collectable and fun items from) independent traders on the convention circuit this year, and long may it continue! 


It was brilliant to see Manchester host this special celebration of horror culture, and long may it continue to do so. Tickets for next year’s convention are already on sale, and guests are being announced regularly on For the Love of Horror’s social media channels (stay tuned), so you can be sure it will be very popular following this year’s extravaganza. We can’t wait to find out what they have in store for us next year. 

Get ready for the 5th year of For the Love of Horror scheduled for 11-12 November 2023. You can buy tickets (already in hot demand) here for next year. 




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