Silver Screaming into the Black Void

October 4, 2023 — As I mentioned in a previous entry, I started preparing to do the OTIS Halloween Season Blog last year. I just never published the few articles I was able to write. I waffled for months, gauged my personal situation, discussed it with friends, therapists, and friends’ therapists. Eventually, I decided that I couldn’t do it because I would have to fake the experience, and moral lines aside, I didn’t have the energy to fake anything.

But one of the articles that I planned to post was about attending my first horror convention in like fifteen or twenty years: Silver Scream in Danvers, Massachusetts.


My oldest daughter really wanted to go and I knew a friend who was going and Danvers is close, so it seemed an ideal convention for me to dip back into the sea of black t-shirts that is horror fandom.

Unfortunately, the night before I received one (one!) of the most harrowing revelations of my marriage and I almost wasn’t physically able to go. Wasn’t physically able to do anything, really, but watch my life get compressed down into a gumwad of old matter, cherrypicked over, and tossed.


But my oldest really wanted to go, so the two of us did. I miiiiight have used her as a crutch just to get through the day. But I’m glad we went. It was a blast. We got photos taken with Zelebrities, bought a bunch of spooky stuff, posed with cosplayers, ran into some friends and some readers. As we walked out of the venue, my daughter told me it was the best day of her life. Which, whether it was or not, her saying that helped the burden of the day before being one of the worst of mine.

After that experience, I determined that no matter what horrors I was wading through in my personal life the next year, we were definitely returning to Silver Scream.

And we did. In September, I attended my second horror convention in like fifteen or twenty years…and the sea of black t-shirts was an ocean. Silver Scream had really taken off since the previous year.


While wandering the merch tables, we ran into some friends: James Lurgio, proprietor of Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery in Salem (he brough a couple of his exhibits with him, from Creepshow), Scott T. Goudsward and the good, demented folks of the New England Horror Writers group. My friend Zach. Another friend Darin, whom I knew through Fright Kingdom in Nashua.


And while seeing everybody was great, our main goal for the convention was to get a photo with Skeet “Billy Loomis” Ulrich. Honestly, he was probably the main reason my daughter wanted to go last year, but he cancelled. This year, he didn’t, and we got a photo with him, after which he stared deeply into my eyes and said, “I appreciate you.”

But my heart belonged to Joe Bob Briggs, who was also in attendance at the convention. His movie-hosting has been a presence in my life for decades, right back to the original days when I discovered horror movies. So that was a thrill. Got to discuss the industry with Adam Green, as well. And we talked to C. J. Graham, who played Jason in Friday 13th, Part VI. My daughter and I had recently finished a run-through of all twelve F13 movies and agreed that we liked Part VI the best, so it was cool to cap off that marathon with that Jason.

As to this Jason (W. Ocker), I don’t know why I’ve avoided conventions for so long. I have a drawer full of black t-shirts, after all.