Sure, we have conventions in Atlanta for nerds, geeks, dorks, and the lot, but never one as horrifyingly as Days of the Dead II: The Dead Walk in Atlanta. Days of the Dead II (DOTD) was held in Peachtree City, Georgia, on March 9-11 at the Wyndham Peachtree Conference Center. The drive down was long and the winding Peachtree City roads seemed longer, but the golf cart paths and yuppie-ness of the town only added to the bizarre fun to be had over the weekend. With that being said, here’s my lucky list of 13 reasons why Georgia’s first horror convention rocked my world.

1. Horror fans have the best sense of humor.
The convention center parking lot was full so we had to park in a neighboring lot about a mile down the road. The ensuing van ride was full of DOTD con goers making memories on video, howling off jokes faster than a werewolf change at a full moon, and laughing when the bus driver passed up picking up a male con goer to opt to stop for a hotter female one several feet away. At another point during the con, we got to talk to Dear God, No! Director & Writer James Bickert and cast member Nik Morgan about their film and its upcoming sequel, critics, the crappiness of dudes named Todd and the possibility of drinking with the Jawa (from Star Wars). I gotta wonder if they ever had that drink with the Jawa and what the Jawa stole during that time – beer, barstools, and anything else…?

Dear God, No! Director & Writer James Bickert, Laura, and actor Nik Morgan

2. Celebrity jerks do not fail to live up to bad reputations in real life.
So if the shoe fits, then I guess you wear it everywhere until it becomes your only shoe or that’s how a certain celeb came off to me. I mean, really dude – checking out a tween’s ass and making a grab under skirt for a friend’s booty? Just more proof that you’re never too old to be a creeper. Eek!

3. Jake Busey is hilarious!
When we walked up to Jake Busey, he was signing the bill of a hat – or so I thought. Jake then put the hat on, pointed to it, smiled real big, and said that he was writing a reminder to himself for later. Too rad!

Jake Busey pictured with The Backstage Beat Mini Mag

4. NEVER EVER mess with anyone who’s a horror actor.
Being that this was my first horror convention, I didn’t really consider the size of horror actors. Note to self and others – never mess with Tyler Mane, Brian Steele, or Sid Haig – those guys are at least 6’5” and muscly like no one’s business. Do NOT mess with horror actors EVER under any circumstance – your chances of survival are slim.


5. Sid’s crazy eyes.
A highlight of the convention was meeting Sid Haig and watching his eyes bug out and grimace around fans.

Sid Haig with Laura Jorgensen and the TBB Mini

6. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper!!!
Hey, hey! What can I say – “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was one of the best meet and greets ever. The man has a great sense of humor and women drove from as far as Southern Florida to meet and gush over him. The man’s still buff and mugs like the champ that he is!

Rowdy Roddy Piper with The Backstage Beat Mini Mag

7. The Walking Dead zombies….mmmm, BRAAAAAINS!
It’s always great to see local actors getting their due. Congrats to the awesomeness of The Walking Dead zombies – Rodney Hall, Ashleigh Jo Sizemore, Charles Casey, Keisha Tillis, Larry Mainland, Melissa Cowan, Michael Koske, and Sonya Thompson – for representing horror in Atlanta.

Rodney Hall and Michael Koske holding the TBB Mini Mag


8. Horror merch & memories for sale.
Whether you were into collectibles, celeb photos & signatures, jewelry, knives, steampunk, masks and other horror props, posters, and art – there was something you wanted to buy! Zombie coloring books, animal skull jewelry, and decapitated dolls were some of the more bizarre merch items that were there (not to mention the steampunk booths that seemed completely out of place!).

9. Zombies, Werewolves, Vampires and Wrestlers – Oh, My!
Gotta love a man in uniform and a horror movie homage uniform is the sexiest! Of course, there were zombies, vampires, werewolves, wrestlers, and many, many, many other awesome ones, varying from gory to sexy to just plain bizarre and macabre.

10. Girls, Girls, Girls!
It should be a pretty well-known fact by now that hot girls flock to cons. Whether they were really into horror or just wanted a little attention from guys – there were gory girls everywhere at this con. But if you were a guy at the con – who cares what reason the girls were there for – because they were totally there! AND if you couldn’t find the horror chick or wannabe of your dreams, then they had plenty of calendars, magazines, and photos of hot girls available for purchase. (Who knew there was a magazine called Girls & Corpses?)

11. A Horrorific Schedule!
The full schedule had lots of horror movie screenings with cast and crew presentations, including Mondo Schlocko; Beverly Lane; Dear God, No!; Scalene; The Collective Vol. 3; Human Centipede 2; and Potrait of Hell. Panels included, “Men Behind the Mask” featuring Derek Mears (Friday the 13th, Predators, The Hills Have Eyes II), Nick Principe (Laid to Rest I & II), Tyler Mane (Rob Zombie’s Halloween I & II, X-Men), and Brian Steele (Hellboy I & II, Predators, Terminator: Salvation); and the “Scream Queens” panel with Barbara Crampton (From Beyond, Re-Animator, Trancers I & II), PJ Soles (Halloween, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School), Linnea Quigley (Night of the Demons I & II, The Return of the Living Dead), and honorary scream queen Mark Patton (Nightmare on Elm Street II). There were also ample opportunities to discuss films and the horror industry with indie film makers and other con attendees. The con provided plenty of eye candy at the Tattoo Contest, Wickedbeard’s Costume Contest, Hell on Wheels Hearse Contest, Girls and Corpses: Miss Dead Beauty Pageant; and the Zombie Best in Show. For full schedule and pre-event info, check out our Days of the Dead II: The Dead Walk in Atlanta promo.

12. Friends, Zombie Walking, and Fangs – A Personal Epic Moment.
What’s better than a horror convention? Attending a horror convention with a guy who makes my teeth sweat, seeing great friends, filming a zombie walk, and being told that I was going to be quoted in Fangoria magazine – that’s what! The combination of awesomeness, hilarity, and gore made for the perfect weekend! And, of course, not to forget to mention seeing our local Atlanta horror crews on the scene – The Silverscream Spook Show with Professor Morte, Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse, Chamber of Horrors, Gorehound Productions, Splatter Cinema, and The Buried Alive Film Fest crew.

13. Days of the Dead will be coming back to Atlanta in 2013!
I CANNOT wait for next year’s Days of the Dead in Atlanta. Mark your calendars now for March 1-3, 2013 when the Days of the Dead will descend upon Atlanta at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel (in downtown Atlanta)! I look forward to seeing bigger and better things from this con in 2013.

All photos by Geoff Millwood