Of course, the past year has had its share of real-life horrors. For the COFOH, the spread of COVID-19 meant the demise of what should have been its launch. “It was a huge disappointment in 2020 that the pandemic forced us to postpone our show that we had been planning since 2018,” says co-founder Bret Smith, who adds that he “picked a hell of a time to try to start a new convention.”
But Smith and his fellow fright fans, who’ve been working for years to spark life in the COFOH, are committed to creating a safe and entertaining space for the like-minded.
Frightening fun will abound, including a “Death Dealers Room” hosting a menagerie of artists and vendors selling creepy wares; renowned horror comic book writers and artists; engrossing horror actors with autographs, selfies, merchandise, Q&As and film screenings; delightfully fiendish panels, workshops and interactive audience events; and the faint-inducing Gore Galore Costume Extravaganza contest. There will even be after-hours activities for haunting fun like Jigsaw’s Horror Trivia and a Drawn in Blood art competition. Outworld Brewing has provided a custom brew called Elixir Immortus that will be available at the con.
As with all fan conventions, the headlining guests are a major draw.
“I’m super excited to meet ’80s horror icon and 'Scream Queen' Brinke Stevens!” says Smith. “She has well over 200 IMDb credits, which all began with the classic Slumber Party Massacre in 1982 and has continued to this day.” Stevens has a long history with fan conventions, winning the first 1973 San Diego Comic Con Masquerade as Vampirella, and going on to run that contest for years to follow. She also served as the model for “Betty” in her onetime husband Dave Stevens’s classic Rocketeer comic. “This will be her first-ever Colorado appearance,” Smith adds with a true fan’s excitement.
Smith says having an extra year has helped the organizers prepare to make it a safer event. “We have additional costs — masks, hand sanitizer, plexiglass, etc. — and additional time to stay completely on top of all state and local COVID-19 guidelines. We want to keep all of our guests, volunteers, leads, everyone, as safe as possible.”
“Thankfully,” Smith says, “Colorado is better equipped for an in-person event than many other states due to a higher vaccination rate.”
While VIP passes for the three-day event are already sold out, regular weekend passes and single-day tickets are still available at the COFOH website. Tickets are available at the door for a higher price; kids under ten get in free with a paid adult.
“We’re doing everything we can to make the inaugural Colorado Festival of Horror a frightful and wonderful experience for our horror fan community,” says Smith. “It’s the start of something that I think will be very important for the Denver area for years to come. Don’t miss out on all the horror goodness coming your way!”
The inaugural Colorado Festival of Horror takes place over the weekend of September 10 to 12 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Denver Central Park. For tickets and more information, see the COFOH website.