South Charleston: Beware. Hordes of aliens, monsters, zombies and even a few vampires are expected to invade the Mound Saturday as the first-ever ShockaCon Horror/Sci-fi Convention kicks off. Although a Monster Parade may be enough to inspire pop culture enthusiasts to make it out, the event promises much more than that.
Starting at 10 a.m., the all-day convention includes activities like a scream contest, comedic and musical acts on the Mound Stage, homegrown horror films and appearances by Hollywood figures from both sides of the camera.
While the "ShockaCon" moniker may suggest a horror slant, organizers have cast a net to include science-fiction fans in the fun. Organizer Marc Adams says there are multiple reasons to include both genres.
"A lot of us on the committee are sci-fi fans along with being horror fans," Adams said. "We wanted to open it up to both camps - make it appealing to a broader spectrum of folk. In the parade, if you want to dress up as Luke Skywalker, you are welcome. If you want to dress up like a vampire, you're welcome."
Adams heads Rocket Science Marketing Labs, a company specializing in advertising and video production, with fellow ShockaCon organizer Carrie Stollings. The two are joined by photographer Mike Winland and his wife, Rose, custom hearse designer Dave Rose, and mascot-maker/artist Dale Morton to comprise the event's committee.
ShockaCon's inception can be traced back to a series of conversations between group members.
"It's somewhat evolved as we've talked to other people," Stollings said, adding that offerings like the video game tent for tournaments came as they reached out for convention ideas. "At the beginning, it was a struggle. Now it seems to be snowballing. People are approaching us."
South Charleston may be no stranger to conventions and events, but sights like parading monsters and horror makeup stations are rare. According to Adams, little representation for these kinds of events was one reason to create it.
"There isn't anything like that here," Adams said. "Yet, there's a large fan base out there that are into these different things. So we have something here that one, those people can attend, and two, people that like horror movies but the rest they aren't sure about (can attend) - and people who love Halloween. We're hoping we will get a broad spectrum of people."
Adams and Stollings maintain that part of their success in putting on the event came from the city of South Charleston's willingness.