One of the biggest Cons of the year is set to descend on San Diego in a matter of hours and we couldn’t be more excited if actual blood was still pumping through our veins! Although San Diego Comic-Con International is at heart a comic convention, in recent years it has exploded in popularity with movie and television studios, becoming an annual destination for anyone with a passion for sci-fi, fantasy, and horror (and an extraordinarily high tolerance for crowds). With tickets notoriously difficult to come by, the hundred-or-so-thousand lucky badge-holders are easily eclipsed by the half a million fans who attempted to navigate the tricky SDCC ticketing system and were left wanting. Luckily, the overabundance of events is more than one convention center can handle, so there is a plethora of events throughout the weekend outside of SDCC open to badge-holders and non-badge-holders alike. In Part One of our TYoH special Horror Lover’s Guide to San Diego Comic-Con, we’ve tracked down the thirteen best bets happening outside of SDCC for horror fans this weekend. Happy haunting!
1. The Mobile Zombie Apocalypse Store makes its annual pilgrimage from Las Vegas to sell a staggering variety of gear to zombie survival enthusiasts. Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 10pm. 424 Market St.
2. The 27th Annual Comic-Con Blood Drive: Donate blood to be entered into multiple free drawings and receive a swag bag that includes a True Blood t-shirt, as well as True Blood bandages, water bottles, and band aids for participants. Walk in or make an appointment. Thursday – Sunday, 9am – 3:30pm at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
3. Showtime’s Penny Dreadful Party: Creator John Logan and the show cast, plus cocktails and appetizers. Invitation only. Thursday, 7-10 pm, U.S. Grant Hotel, Palm Court, 326 Broadway.
4. Sleepy Hollow Virtual Reality Bridge Escape: Located in the parking lot beside Petco Park, this free event gives fans an Oculus Rift virtual reality Sleepy Hollow experience complete with Headless Horseman. Cast and crew of the show may make appearances as well. Open Thursday-Sunday from 9am-6pm daily.
5. Witches of East End Party: Join cast and creators at The Tipsy Crow. RSVP required. Thursday, 8pm – midnight, 770 Fifth Ave.
6. The Walking Dead Escape: A unique zombie experience (which we’ve covered previously here on TYoH) where runners climb, crawl, hide and slide through an obstacle course while being pursued by zombies created by Greg Nicotero’s KNB EFX makeup team. Participants can choose to be runners or zombies. Friday and Saturday.
7. Special Opening of The Haunted Hotel: Named as one of the top 13 haunted houses in America by Haunt World Magazine, San Diego’s Haunted Hotel is doing a special two-day-only summer opening. $3 discount with Comic Con badge. Friday and Saturday, 7pm – 11pm. 424 Market St.
8. Bates Motel Party: Presented by Playboy and A&E, the party will feature cast, creators, and special guests Paul Wesley, Pedro Pascal, Brittany Snow, Chris Daughtry, Dan Weiss, David Benioff, Evan Peters, Ian Somerhalder, Nelsan Ellis. Friday, 8pm – 12pm, 7th Avenue between Island and Market. Invitation only.
9. Sharknado 2 Party: Syfy festivities plus Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. Friday, 9pm – 1am, LoungeSix at Hotel Solamar, 435 Sixth Ave. RSVP required.
10. Ghostbuster’s Fan Event: Free to attend and open to all at the newly opened Werewolf bar, 627 4th Ave. Find more details on the event’s Facebook page. Friday, 7:30pm.
11. Danny Elfman’s Music From the Films of Tim Burton: The San Diego Symphony brings Danny Elfman’s film scores to life while projecting original art by Tim Burton, including film sketches, drawings and story boards. Highlights include Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, and Corpse Bride. Tickets are ($28-$90), but you can walk along the Embarcadero (on the water directly behind the Convention Center) and listen for free. Friday, 8:00pm, Embarcadero Marina Park South.
12. The Strain Fan Event:The Reading Cinemas Gaslamp 15 theater will hold a screening of the first two episodes of FX’s new vampire series co-created by Guillermo del Toro with an exclusive fan event including food, drinks, swag and special appearances. Saturday, 6:30pm VIP/7:30pm general admission, 701 5th Ave.
13. 8th Annual San Diego Zombiewalk: This free fan event has become a San Diego Comic Con mainstay as participants in all manner of gruesome zombie looks through the streets of the Gaslamp District. Zombiefication artists will be on-hand all day at the mobile Zombie Apocalypse Store at 424 Market St (or try these easy DIY zombie costume and makeup tutorials). Meetup time is 5pm at Children’s Park (corner of Island & 1st Ave) and the walk begins at 5:15pm.
For more events outside the official Con, check out Outside Comic Con, The Hollywood Reporter ComicCon Party Guide, and Comic Con Guide’s What’s Free At Comic Con. For my non-horror-loving Cosplay fans, plan to visit Adam Savage’s free Friday night Cosplay event. Stay tuned to TYoH this week for our run-down of horror events for Comic-Con badge holders in Part Two of The Horror Lover’s Guide to San Diego Comic-Con!