Fright Exclusive Interview with DAYS OF THE DEAD Promoter Adolfo Dorta!!

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There’s a certain kind of magic within going to horror conventions. What better way to celebrate your love for the genre and the people who work in that genre, than to make the trek to whatever event hits town and to meet those people? I grew up going to Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors, and when that unfortunately went away, horror fans were lucky enough to get MONSTERPALOOZA, a convention that happily carries the torch that WOH left behind. While that’s awesome on its own, California residents are now getting another addition to the horror convention family, in the form of DAYS OF THE DEAD.

Already established in Chicago, Atlanta and Indianapolis, the Days of the Dead convention is bringing its epic as hell lineups to California, and judging even from the initial release of who they’re bringing, it looks like this con will rival even the heydays of Weekend of Horrors. Awesome movie reunions like that of HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES, the Ladies of THE EVIL DEAD, and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS, to guests such as Dee Wallace, Traci Lords, Dick Miller and Roddy Piper, the con isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to bringing something and someone for every horror/genre fan.
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We were recently lucky enough to chat for a bit with one of the creators/promoters of the event, Adolfo Dorta, where he told us about why they chose to come to California this year and what the convention will bring. Read on!

So this is the first L.A. date for Days of the Dead, what made you guys want to add California to your roster?

One of the partners of Days of the Dead, Bill. It’s basically three of us: myself, my close friend Ric Lara and Bill Philputt, who runs Re-Evolution Management. Bill has a resume in the convention business and he’s one of the guys who helped start the Horror Hound convention in the midwest, he’s from Los Angeles. We most recently extended to Chicago, where we’re from, Ric and I, so the next logical step was to do one in Bill’s hometown. Not only that, but most of the actors and actresses that we would be working with are from the area, so it was kind of our opportunity to do a BIG show, and grab a couple of people that wouldn’t normally travel out. It would afford us the opportunity of doing a few reunions and get a couple people together that would be harder to do when you have to deal with travel and put other expenses into the equation.

What goes into planning a Days of the Dead convention? Do you pay attention to the dozen of fan requests that people send you?

With every show, we kind of have an idea of who we want to go with. I’ve been going to conventions in one capacity or another since I was ten, so I have about twenty years of going to comic book/sci-fi & horror shows. I kind of have an idea of what people would want, because it’s sort of the same as what I would want. We get together, and sort of shoot ideas off of each other. We try to bring in maybe a couple guests for fans’ requests, or some folks that haven’t been around the circuit in a while, maybe an interesting reunion or two, and just go from there. A lot of it is dictated by the availability of the people, so you kind of get one or two of the main pieces of a reunion, like our last show in Chicago, we really wanted to do a FRIGHT NIGHT thing because it’s one of our favorite movies, so you go and lock down Chris Sarandon, then you lock down Amanda Bearse..then the other get interested and you go from there. It’s kind of like the same conversations that fans have after the show at the bar or something, like “wouldn’t it be cool if next year we got..” and so on. We do the same thing, so we approach it the same way.

As a promoter and also as a fan, is there a particular person that you’re really excited to bring to the L.A. show that you haven’t gotten to bring to a previous show that you’ve done?

You know, for the L.A. show, there isn’t one particular guest that I’ve just always wanted to get, but there are several that we’ve been trying to get since we first started doing the shows in 2011. Just off the top of my head, I’ve always wanted to bring Andrew Divoff from WISHMASTER, I’ve always wanted to do a PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS thing , that’s one of my personal favorite movies. I’ve got a little mini-reunion for that on that Friday. I’ve always wanted to do a show with Adam Green (director of HATCHET, FROZEN), I’m a big fan of his as well. So yeah, there are quite a few guests that we’ve always wanted to get for a previous show but couldn’t for one reason or another, and it’s cool to knock a few of those out. Fred Williamson (FROM DUSK TO DAWN, BLACK CAESAR) is another one, we just announced him recently. As a fan, I’ve wanted to meet that guy for almost a decade, so I was just so excited to add him to the show.

Yeah, I had at least three of four people text me about Fred Williamson being added to the show, people are stoked to see that guy. Are there any special events that are going to be at the L.A. con that you haven’t done thus far?

We are going to do the Days of the Dead Awards, which will be on Saturday night. That’s going to be hosted by comedian Dana Gould, and providing the entertainment will be Twiggy Ramirez, from Marilyn Manson, he’s going to DJ it. We’re trying to get this idea off of the ground and do this kind of horror themed awards show, and we’re splitting it up between the L.A. show and our next Indianapolis show in July. We’re going to be giving out lifetime achievement awards and give horror fans a glimpse of what it would be like almost if there was a horror Oscars kind of show. It’d be like honoring past and present things, not just focusing on what’s trendy now. We’re talking to people about maybe expanding that into like a full blown thing with maybe a panel of people, so we’re going to try to do like a sneak preview trail run, almost like a pilot if you were talking about a TV show. So we’re going to try that and have a few celebrity presenters that you wouldn’t necessarily see at a convention stopping in, and on Friday, we’re partnering with the sCARE Foundation for a charity ball. They’re going to bring in some people, they’ve done it before, they bring in celebrities from the horror genre, and have a party and costume contest. Last year, they gave Jamie Lee Curtis a humanitarian award. They’re going to do something similar to that, at the convention, which is something really cool for fans to do, other than to just go around and get autographs the whole time.

Right on. Are you guys planning on making the L.A. show an annual event?

You know, I’m really hoping so. It’s been well received so far, and up to now, that would definitely warrant an annual event. The first show in a new city that we do, L.A. being the fourth area we’ve done, we kind of feel out how it goes and if it makes sense, we’ll come back. On a business end, it’s definitely done well enough to warrant bringing it back, but yeah I’d love to have an annual L.A. show.

Right on man, well, I’m definitely looking forward to the convention, and thanks a lot for talking to us.

Most definitely man, thank you for your time!

The Days of the Dead L.A. convention runs from April 5th-7th and you can easily pick up tickets for the whole weekend or if you are only able to attend one day, you can buy tickets for individual days as well HERE.

Also, The Days of the Dead team were nice enough to partner up with us at ICONS OF FRIGHT to giveaway a few tickets to the Sunday date of the convention (April 7th). All you have to do is send me an e-mail to Jerry with:

SUBJECT: Days of the Dead tickets
Your name, and why you should get tickets. That easy folks.

See you all at the convention!!