Events & Attractions

The Fear Faire Shows Promise for Region in Need of More Halloween and Horror Events

The Fear Faire photo op

Over the weekend, The Fear Faire took over the National Orange Show Event Center in San Bernardino for its second annual event, the first of which took place in 2022 at the Rio in Las Vegas. Plagued by inclement weather, screening room technical difficulties, and light attendance, many might have seen the event as a flop compared to some of the Halloween and horror events we’re used to seeing in Southern California. Still, through it all, I saw promise in the event that came to a region that could use more Halloween and horror fun.

The Fear Faire positioned itself as a Renaissance Faire for horror, and I think, in spirit, they really did try to create that. The event filled two buildings at the National Orange Show Event Center and was filled with a diverse mix of family-friendly horror fun. Folks could partake in a small haunt walkthrough, enjoy an escape room experience, catch a live band, shop the vendor floor, interact with an array of cosplayers, watch a series of short films, partake in photo ops, and plenty more. They even had a craft area for the kids.

The Midnight Daggers perform live on day two of The Fear Faire.

The music festival aspect of The Fear Faire was perhaps the one thing that made it most unique compared to some other horror events in So Cal. The performance lineup featured an array of entertainers from young budding artists born of Inland Empire chapters of Rock Stars of Tomorrow to more established acts like Midnight Daggers or the Green Day cover band that headlined night two of the event, Green Today. I found the live music as a backdrop to the event was a pleasant addition and added to the vibe of the overall event. While usually, the show floor soundtrack is just the hustle and bustle of horror and Halloween fans purchasing spooky wares, the live music added a bit of atmosphere as you made your way from booth to booth. The only downside to this was, at times, the music performances drowned out the vendors, which made transactions or questions about a product a bit tricky.

One of the draws for me to the event was The Fear Faire Film Festival, which featured 77 films, including three feature-length films that played throughout the weekend. The films were meant to play across three screens in a single room with silent disco headsets that let you switch the audio from screen to screen based on what movie you wanted to watch. We dedicated much of our Saturday to the Film Festival, catching the “Rec”-like feature “Live Escape” that morning and hanging around for several of the shorts that followed. Technical difficulties plagued the start of the second day of films, which resulted in a late start and for the time we were present, only two screens were working.

Additionally, the projection of the film only took up about 1/4 of the inflatable screens used for the event, which meant if someone sat in front of you, your viewing would be obstructed. Additionally, the production company for the film “Phoenix Incident” had a significant presence in the back of the room, complete with lights and video screens, creating light pollution that washed out many of the darker-lit films.

That said, the setup and silent disco headsets made checking out the different films we wanted to see easier without worrying about moving to another theater. Additionally, if we found we weren’t enjoying a particular movie, we could easily switch to the audio of another. While we didn’t get the opportunity to catch all of the films, we did see a large chunk of the films offered, and while not every pick was a hit, it did have a good mix of films from around the globe.

Some of the cosplayers that attended The Fear Faire pose for a group photo in front of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre display from Art’s Sideshow.

While the event offered plenty for horror fans to do, attendance to the first two days of the event was light due to the torrential rains that hammered the area on both days. So much so that the event honored all tickets on Sunday and offered a two-for-one ticket deal to help bring in the crowds.

Despite its issues, The Fear Faire was an enjoyable event and I appreciate the folks behind the event inviting us out. I’ll chalk many of the negatives up to the growing pangs of moving the event to San Bernardino and a larger venue. In an interview with The Fear Faire Event Curator Denise Griffin before the event, she shared that if the event was successful, the hope is to make The Fear Faire an event that alternates between Las Vegas and San Bernardino. I would love to see that happen.

While Southern California is spoiled when it comes to large-scale horror and Halloween events, they tend to take place in Los Angeles or Orange County. In the Inland Empire, we really only have the upcoming Creep I.E. Con and small pop-up events that take place throughout the year. There is a huge horror and Halloween base here in the inland area, and I would love to see a large-scale event like The Fear Faire find a home here and grow the way some of the other events have grown across So Cal.

Did you attend The Fear Faire this year? Hit me up on social media and let me know what you thought!

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