Indie horror festival DEAD by CON set to kick off in Edmonton with coronavirus prevention measures

The Edmonton DEAD by CON is set to take place in the city March 14-15, 2020. Courtesy: MNK Photography

UPDATE: The festival organizers have now postponed the festival due to COVID-19 concerns. 

An indie festival celebrating cult horror classics is set to take place this weekend in Edmonton, with some extra safety measures in place against the spread of COVID-19.

The Edmonton DEAD by CON Horror Festival aims to bring the city’s horror fans together to meet actors from B-movie classics, buy collectibles and mingle with those who share a love of all things spooky.

This is the second year for the indie event, which kicked off last year when some like-minded fans decided Edmonton deserved its own horror convention.

“Every major city has their horror festivals… Calgary’s got a huge one, there’s a big one in Toronto… Edmonton needs one,” said Nino Barton, chief of operations for DEAD by CON.

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“[Edmonton is] one of those little markets where there’s so many people who love horror, and [we want to] make it easier for people to get the same experience so they don’t have to travel for it.”

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This year, the event — which sold out of vendor space — is celebrating women in horror, which Barton said is a major aspect of the genre’s history.

“A big concept in especially 80s horror movies is ‘the final girl,'” said Barton. “There [are] so many times where the killer or the monster or something is just kind of outsmarted and survived by one person… There’s always the one girl left.

“It’s kind of a nod to empowerment. If you look at our demographics on Facebook, our biggest following, the most people reacting to our stuff, they’re all women.”

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Some of the guests this year include several major “scream queens:” Linnea Quigley, known for her appearances in The Return of the Living Dead (1985) and Night of the Demons (1988), and Amelia Kinkade, who was inducted into the horror movie Hall of Fame in San Antonio, TX., for being the first female monster in movie history for her role in the Night of the Demons trilogy.

The festival is not-for-profit and donates all its proceeds to Extra Life.

COVID-19 measures added to festival

The festival has added some measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Organizers said the group is working with management at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre to increase prevention methods and cleaning during the event.

“We have extra hand sanitizers. We will have them on every single table for every single guest, for everything,” Barton said.

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It has also cancelled the popcorn sales at movie screenings during the event. Barton added hotel staff will be working to clean contact surfaces at the event throughout the day.

“The hotel is working with us and they’re going to be making sure that all the soap dispensers in the washrooms are all going to be filled, and there’s plenty of places to go to wash your hands.

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“It’s definitely something we had to look into and ensure we were prepared for,” Barton said.

The festival takes place March 14 and 15. Tickets are available online.

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