'Stranger Things' kids coming to Days of the Dead convention in Atlanta Feb. 4

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

This was posted by Friday, January 6, 2016 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Fan conventions are all the rage nowadays. In Atlanta, we have the grand-daddy of them all DragonCon on Labor Day weekend. Since 2013, the Walker Stalker convention has drawn "Walking Dead" fans in late October. Last year, Atlanta also hosted conventions targeting "Vampire Diaries" and "Star Trek" fans.

For the past five years, Atlanta has also hosted one tied to horror flicks called Days of the Dead. This year, it's being held February 3 to 5 at the downtown Sheraton. The marquee names: four of the kid actors from the hot Netflix drama "Stranger Things," shot in Atlanta.

Although the most acclaimed of the kids Millie Bobby Brown ("Eleven") won't be there, the four young guys will be there Saturday, Feburary 4: Finn Wolfhard (who plays Mike Wheeler), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair) and Noah Schnapp (Will Byers).

The three-day convention will also include Linda Blair ("The Exorcist") and actors from film series such as "Friday the 13th," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "A Nightmare of Elm Street."

Adolfo Dorta, an organizer for the convention, said they have done 21 conventions in five different cities since 2011, starting in Indianapolis. This will be the organization's sixth event in Atlanta. "It's gone very well for us and we have enjoyed the southern hospitality," he wrote.

The thematic, he said, is to "celebrate the worlds of horror, music and other entertainment that we grew to have a deep love for growing up, while throwing a bit of the contemporary. Most of our focus is in horror films from the 1980s and 1990s, along with a spattering of wrestling and heavy metal music from those same eras. Where a lot of conventions these days look to highlight the latest flavor of the week, we stake our claim in paying homage to what influence our impressionable young minds at an earlier age."

"Stranger Things" fits in since the Netflix series is set in the 1980s. The managers for the "Stranger Things" kids were familiar with the Days of the Dead conventions so there was great synergy, he said.

Dorta said past conventions have drawn a broad array of fans, not just the Gen Xer types who grew up with these films. He said there are 20-somethings with full tattoo sleeves and heavy metal shirts walking alongside white collar professionals.

"We put a lot of focus into event programming," Dorta wrote, "striving to be more than just a show where fans come to buy autographs, walk around for an hour or two and then go home." He packs his conventions with film screenings, panels, live entertainment and after-hour parties. "Most horror conventions," he added, "don't place a great emphasis on the social gathering aspect, though for us, it's what we are known for in our scene."


"Days of the Dead" horror convention

Friday, February 3 through Sunday, February 5

Door costs: $60 weekend pass, $25 one day passes on Friday and Sunday, $30 on Saturday. (Higher costs at the door.)

Atlanta Sheraton

165 Courtland St., NE Atlanta

Buy tickets here at www.daysofthedead.net