Contamination: A Convention Story (2012)


Contamination poster

I don’t watch nearly enough horror documentaries!! Whenever I watch one I always end up learning so much about a facet of the horror genre I didn’t previously know. Take the documentary, CONTAMINATION: A CONVENTION STORY. Directed by Corey Logsdon, CONTAMINATION focuses on the Contamination convention in St. Louis (a horror-scifi-pop culture convention), but the themes Logsdon explores in this film are pretty universal for most conventions.

Contamination dave dyerCONTAMINATION explores the titular convention through interviews with convention attendees, celebrities, artists of various kinds who rent booths, and the founder of the convention, Dave Dyer. Logsdon divides his documentary into several chapters. One chapter explores the celebrities who go to conventions, another the artists, and another the people who attend them. One thing becomes clear from the get-go, and anyone who’s ever attended a horror or sci-fi convention will all ready know this: Genre fans and celebrities are the best people around!! I don’t mean to be hyperbolic but if you’ve ever attended a horror convention you know just how down-to-earth the celebrities are. The year I met Clive Barker at the Texas Frightmare Weekend I couldn’t believe how humble and genuinely happy Barker was to be there. He’d recently had surgery and you could see his discomfort but he sat and signed posters, books, comics, and whatever fans put in front of him for hours at a time. He even talked with every fan as they went by. I had about a seven to eight minute conversation with him about his novel IMAJICA.

Contamination bill

This is precisely one of the themes in CONTAMINATION. Logsdon interviews such celebrities as Bill Johnson, Eric Stanze, Tony Todd, and Kane Hodder (to name but a few) and each one in their own way details how surprised they are when they go to a horror-scifi convention. They are blown away by the community they find, a community made up of hundreds of strangers who all share a love of the genre. As Bill Johnson (Leatherface from THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2) says:

“Everybody is just really awesome! It’s a great vibe. Everybody is friendly and happy.”

Contamination hodder

Kane Hodder mirrors this sentiment. When talking about the fans Hodder says:

“[T]hey’re fantastic. They’re the most loyal fans in the world. They will support you in all your projects.”

CONTAMINATION shows just how cool the celebrities are that attend and then focuses on the people who pay to attend. There’s nothing more beautiful and surreal and fun than putting a bunch of diehard fans together in one big room full of genre celebrities, memorabilia, and art. It’s like watching hundreds of little kids on Christmas morning. I should know being that I attend TFW every year. Bill Johnson has one of the best lines as he talks about the fans:

“It’s just fascinating to be in an airplane hanger-sized room full of obsession.”

Contamination DotD

I could go on and on talking about the community you find and experience at conventions but CONTAMINATION explores it so much better. I also learned a lot of really cool facts about the convention. The Contamination convention was the first convention to have a reunion of the cast of DAY OF THE DEAD. This was also the convention to screen the 1994 film, THE FANTASTIC FOUR and have the entire cast and director in attendance. This is the version that was made by the studio for the sole reason of keeping the rights to the property. The cast and crew had no idea that the studio was never intending on releasing the film.

Contamination tony

I really loved this documentary. CONTAMINATION: A CONVENTION STORY is a love letter to conventions, the fans, and the celebrities that make it all so awesome. With a short sixty minute run time the only thing I hated here was that it wasn’t longer. I could’ve literally watched it for hours!! Don’t miss this one.

Contamination stanzeMy Summary:

Director: Corey Logsdon

Plot: 5 out of 5 stars

Gore: 0 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem: 1 out of 5 brains (there were some zombies but they weren’t threatening)

Reviewed by Scott Shoyer

Stay Bloody!!!

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  1. […] 3.12.15  (5 out of 5 stars) “CONTAMINATION shows just how cool the celebrities are that attend and then […]


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