By Angie Medina
Fans had a chance to meet some of the most recognizable faces in the horror scene at Inland Empire’s largest horror and pop culture convention.
Creep I.E. Con took place at the Ontario Convention Center on Sept. 23 and 24.
The organizers work behind closed doors to connect with and bring in some recognizable faces in the horror scene. A handful of celebrity guest appearances were among the attendees: Tony Todd from “Candyman” Linda Blair from “The Exorcist” and Tim Curry from Stephen King’s “IT”.
While this is Creep I.E. Con’s third overall event, it is the first “Aftermath.” Unlike the usual Creep I.E. Con, Creep I.E. Con: Aftermath had a few more perks such as an after-party after regular convention hours with live bands, more movie showings and outdoor concessions.
Actor Ryan Hurst has been invited as a celebrity guest for all three conventions. Most notably for his character Beta on “The Walking Dead”.
“I feel like when the Whisperers came back into the show, the show got scary again. It was a lot of fun,” Hurst said. “The actual act of shooting it was very hard. We were shooting in Georgia in the summer and I was wearing four layers of leather and a latex mask.”
Hurst said he enjoys being a part of the events.
“It’s great,” he said. “I’m a Californian native, I love everybody here.”
Spencer Charnas, frontman of Ice Nine Kills, a heavy metal band heavily inspired by horror was invited to sign autographs and take photos with fans.
Charnas previously participated in the convention as a vendor for his clothing line “Kleaver Klothing”.
This is Charnas’ first celebrity guest appearance with Creep I.E. Con.
“It’s a great place to meet new victims,” he said. “And I love spending time with some of my friends here like James and Chelsea from Dead Meat.”
Charnas was also promoting “The Silver Scream” the recently released true-crime novel that allegedly links the singer to some gruesome murders. The book piggybacks off the band’s 2018 album under the same name.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” he said of his experience working on the novel. “Up until now, fans have only had music and music videos so I think it’ll be cool to give them a different piece of media.”
This horror convention catches the eye of many for its local proximity and community environment.
“I attend a bunch of conventions so having something that is close by and not taking me several hours to get to where I have to book a hotel room for several days definitely helps the wallet,” said Stanley Cammack, a cosplaying attendee.
Cammack and his friend Brenden Sterret regularly attend many conventions including two Creep I.E. Cons.
“I think it’s a lot better than driving out,” Sterrett said. “I like the other events, but it just makes it a lot easier to be able to come here rather than driving all the way out to Long Beach.”
The event is open for all ages. Kids dressed up in costumes were interacting with the monsters roaming around.
“(The convention) is very family-friendly, the monsters are very friendly toward (the kids) as well,” said attendee Crystal Felix. “With kids, it’s hard to travel so the closer the better, I think it brings a lot of families together.”
The convention center’s main room was filled with vendors who sold horror-inspired oddities from taxidermy pieces to bags and purses with iconic scenes from horror movies painted on them.
The event hosted cinema and arcade rooms, cosplay contests and horror-themed vendors.
Trent Wagoner from Coffin Croozers handcrafts custom coffin-shaped skateboards.
“We started with a coffin template and it got more popular over time,” Wagoner said. “Customers started asking for customizations, so we got an engraver and it just blew up from there.”
After he graduated from high school, Wagoner took over the family company from his dad. His mom handles the website and social media.
According to Wagoner, a single board typically takes up to four hours to make. Each board is carefully cut, colored and gripped.
Coffin Croozers is grateful to have been a vendor for all three events hosted by Creep I.E. Con.
“It gives us more exposure,” he said. “It gives us more followers, and that’s always good for a company like us.”
Third Eye Alley Cat is owned by Alex Dixon with the help of his friend Jose Oceguera. The duo combined their skills to offer ethically sourced taxidermy art and psychic readings.
The pair have been vendors with Creep I.E. Con twice and have enjoyed every part of it.
“We’ve made a lot of friends along the way, we have fun any time we go to any event,” Oceguera said.
Creep I.E. Con has received recognition from both the California State Legislature and the United States Congress for helping local businesses, artists and the community by bringing its brand to the Inland Empire.
The horrors are set to return to the Ontario Convention Center in 2024 on Feb. 2 – 4.