Son of CreepIECon! “CreepIE Aftermath” returns to bedevil the Inland Empire a second time this year……

Son of CreepIECon…

Debuting in February of 2022 and returning in February of this year, the Inland Empire’s current biggest and steadiest horror convention gains more notice and attendees with each outing. I’ve covered the previous two CreepIECons for this site, and I was more than happy to do so again for an unexpected second time this year when I read the announcement for “CreepIE Aftermath.” Aftermath is a ‘Son of CreepIECon’ (in horror sequel parlance) that is being held a bit closer to Halloween this time around, but not too close to cause a scheduling conflict with my personal favorite holiday.  Whew!  Very considerate of the organizers to think of me and my fellow Halloween-heads.

Returning to sunny SoCal a bit closer to Halloween is CreepIE Aftermath; the ‘Son of’ CreepIECon 2023, which was held in February of this year, but feels a bit more natural closer to Halloween…

Based at the convention center in Ontario, California (not too far from Ontario International  Airport), CreepIE Aftermath returned with a bang this September, with a lineup that included no less than the legendary Tim Curry (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” 1990’s “It”), two of the “Halliwell Sisters” from the original “Charmed” (Holly Marie Combs and Rose McGowan), Tony Todd (“Candyman” 1990’s “Night of the Living Dead”) and the star of Netflix’s “Daredevil” TV series, Charlie Cox.  Also on hand were Noah Hathaway (“Battlestar Galactica”) and Alan Oppenheimer (“The Six Million Dollar Man”), two stars of the 1984 cult classic, “The NeverEnding Story,” which had a significant presence at the event. 

CreepIECon returns to add some much-needed color and horror appreciation-energy to the Inland Empire.

While I regret not meeting Tim Curry (the actor suffered a stroke in recent years, and was only appearing for Photo Op ticket holders), there were plenty of other haunted goings-on in the colorful Dealer Hall and elsewhere—including all-day movie screenings upstairs (on actual 16mm film; served with popcorn, no less) as well as 1980s arcade games and horror Photo Ops. 

Let’s begin…

The Deadly Dealer Hall

Though not quite as packed with people as the prior CreepIECon this past February, CreepIE Aftermath’s Dealer Hall still had a healthy share of vendors and photo ops for the brave of heart.  Among my personal favorites items seen on the floor were the “Elvira” silicon gel mouse pads (for ‘hands-on’ computing), a custom-made Pinhead/Baby Yoda doll, lots of rare soundtracks and movies, as well as photo ops inspired by the Universal Monster Movies, 2017’s “It,” 2018’s indie-flick “Death Toilet” (don’t ask), and a disturbing setup inspired by the mutant toys of ‘Sid’ from Pixar-Disney 1995 classic “Toy Story.” Kids and adults alike were eating it up. 

Panoramic view of about half of the Dealer Hall at CreepIECon Aftermath 2023.
A photo op booth commemorating the Universal Monsters, including “The Wolf-Man” (1941) and “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935). The Universal monster movies were staples of my warped childhood, and I loved them all.
Clockwise from Top Left: “Elvira: Mistress of the Dark” (Cassandra Petersen) silicon gel mouse pad. Tiny “Regan” action figure from 1973’s “The Exorcist,”; if I were still collecting action figures, I’d have grabbed it. And lastly, a Pinhead-Baby Yoda mashup (The Mandalorian,” “Hellraiser”).
Free photo ops with a couple pairs of dismembered legs and a gruesome zombie baby. Okay, step right up… anyone??
A Halloween photo op attraction partially inspired by the bizarre mutant toys of the evil toy-abusing child “Sid” from Disney/Pixar’s “Toy Story” (1995).
The actual prop from 2018’s small indie horror movie, “Death Toilet”; loved the golden plunger and toilet paper lining the booth partitions. The movie is playing on November 11th 2023 at the Gardena Cinema. And yes, they were offering photo ops on the actual toilet, but if I want to sit on a grotesque toilet, I’ve already got two at my house, thanks…
An unexpected scare came in the form of a brief power failure (!). Power was restored soon afterward, thank goodness.
This was a first for me, in the 22 years or so I’ve been attending events like these…

An unexpected (though thematically appropriate) surprise came on Saturday afternoon when a brief blackout plunged the convention center into near-total darkness!  Luckily, power was quickly restored and the convention creeping continued…

Paranormal Activities

Across from the Dealer Hall in the conference rooms there was “CreepIE Arcade”; a gaming room themed in 1980s/1990s nostalgia, which included authentic arcade machines and photo ops from “The NeverEnding Story,” “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Scream.” There was also a magazine stand filled with vintage 1980s/1990s VHS tapes, and yes, I overheard more than one conversation from people much younger than myself who waxed nostalgic for the (gratefully) dead video format. As a former laserdisc aficionado in those days, I miss clunky unreliable VHS tapes about as much as humanity misses smallpox.  Though arcade gaming machines were a lot of fun.

Top: A 1980s-1990s nostalgia-themed game room, with various arcade games, and other retro items. Bottom Left: The Luck Dragon photo op from “The NeverEnding Story” (1984). Bottom Middle: “Bill & Ted”‘s time-traveling phone booth and “Ghostface” from the “Scream” movies. Bottom Far Right: A collection of vintage 1980s-1990s VHS tapes rounds it all out.
Next door to the game room was a conference room filled with horror photo ops, including a a collection of Michael Myers’ sanitarium-made masks from 2007’s “Halloween” reboot (the first reboot, there’ve been so many), as well as the haunted porches from 2017’s “It” and the original 1978 “Halloween ” (above).

Next to the gaming room was also another conference room filled with horror-themed photo ops, including mock porch fronts from 1978’s “Halloween” and 2017’s “It.” More of these photo ops are available on my Flickr page (link at the bottom of the column).

Theatrical Screamings

The good folks from The Frida Cinema (a local nonprofit arthouse theater) provided actual 16mm print screenings of movies all weekend for “CreepIE Cinema”; which took place in a large meeting room in the upper deck of the convention center.  Screenings of everything from 1996’s “Scream” to the 1984 children’s fantasy “NeverEnding Story” were being shown on actual film, complete with manual reel changes! Outside the ad-hoc ‘theater,’ there was free popcorn and even a one-sheet program listing for the Frida Cinema that included a poster for “The Exorcist” on its flip-side.  

CreepIECon upper level had the “CreepIE Cinema” which showed horror/fantasy movies from actual 16mm film prints all weekend. Just for attending a few minutes of 1984’s “The NeverEnding Story” (a movie I’ve not yet seen in full), I received a free poster of “The Exorcist” along with the month-long schedule of movies playing at the non-profit cinema house “The Frida Cinema,” which shows authentic movies on real film, not just digital projection; visit their site here:

I was only able to watch about an half hour of “The NeverEnding Story” (a movie I’ve never seen in its entirety to this day), but there was something warm and wonderful about hearing the steady purr of an old film-based movie projector once again.  Even in my childhood, most of the films I watched in school were projected in the dark from 8mm and 16mm films, before home video exploded during my high school years.  Seeing and hearing the familiar scratches and occasional pops of film was almost like listening to music on a warm, vinyl LP as opposed to a digital download.

My Terror Treasures

While I only took home a bag of Ethiopian coffee from last February’s event, I managed to come away with a few more items this year, including some Halloween decorations and a few BluRay/DVDs, including one that’s very hard to find.  Best of all was a free poster of “The Exorcist” (my all-time favorite horror film) which came on the flip side of a one-sheet movie program list from the good folks at The Frida Cinema.

Top Left: I bought a few used DVDs/BluRays, including 2019’s “Ma” (starring Octavia Spencer), a Shelly Winters double-feature including 1972’s “Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?” (a horror movie I liked as a kid) and a BluRay of 1976’s “Logan’s Run” (I had a shabby old DVD copy that needed an an upgrading). Bottom Left: I also bought a collection of Universal Monster Halloween decorations for $12, including “Phantom of the Opera,” “Creature from the Black Lagoon” “The Wolf-Man,” “The Mummy” and “The Invisible Man.” Right: And finally, there’s my free poster of “The Exorcist” from the good folks “CreepIE Cinema” upstairs! I bought a plastic sleeve for the poster for the princely sum of $1.

My total expense for the three used DVD/BluRays, Halloween decorations and single poster sleeve came to about $30. At my age, I’m a lot less about collecting than I used to be (from even a decade ago) but there are still those occasional little items for Halloween I just can’t live without…

Stage Frights

As I mentioned earlier, CreepIE Aftermath managed to book Tim Curry (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” “Legend” 1990’s “It”), as well as a reunion of the 1998-2006 TV series “Charmed” (Holly Marie Combs and Rose McGowan), the inimitable Tony Todd (“Candyman” 1990’s “Night of the Living Dead”) and the star of Netflix’s “Daredevil” TV series, Charlie Cox.  Also on hand were Noah Hathaway (“Battlestar Galactica”) and Alan Oppenheimer (“The Six Million Dollar Man,” 1973’s “Westworld”), two stars of the 1984 cult classic, “The NeverEnding Story,” which had a surprisingly significant presence at the event. I managed to spend a bit of quality time with the latter two as well, though I regret not being able to meet Tim Curry.

Part of the Autograph and Photo Op room at CreepIECon Aftermath; actor Tim Curry (“Rocky Horror Picture Show” 1990’s “It”) was present for paid Photo Ops only, and was kept behind partitions. In 2011, Curry suffered a life-altering stroke, which left him unable to sign autographs. While I didn’t see Curry at this convention, I find it deeply commendable that he was up for taking photos with his fans, especially out in the Inland Empire of SoCal.
Me, finally having my “Oppenheimer” moment, with actor Alan Oppenheimer, who played so many scientists in the movies and TV shows I loved as a kid. Oppenheimer costarred in the first two seasons of “The Six Million Dollar Man” (1973-1978) as “Dr. Rudy Wells.” He also played the chief supervising scientist in 1973’s “Westworld” and the famed voice of “Skeletor” in “He-Man” (1983-1985). I also learned he voiced the Luck Dragon in “The NeverEnding Story” (1984). In his 90s, but still strong in spirit and voice, meeting Alan Oppenheimer was a unique pleasure.
Finally met actor Noah Hathaway (1978’s “Battlestar Galactica,” 1984’s “The NeverEnding Story”). We had an interesting chat about motorcycles (I’m an ex-rider), and his costar Maren Jensen, who played “Athena” on “Battlestar Galactica” who (wisely) married a billionaire and quit show business. Hathaway also talked about learning to cry on camera for “Battlestar…”, having just auditioned for 1979’s “The Champ” that same year, but losing out to actor Ricky Schroder, who could spontaneously cry on cue. As Hathaway said “tears just flew from (Ricky’s) face.” Hathaway autographed my 44-year old copy of “Encyclopedia Galactica”; a book I’ve somehow managed to hold onto since I was 12 years old (!), and has been signed by several of Hathaway’s costars over the years.
Actress Jenna Elfman (“Dharma and Greg” “Fear the Walking Dead”); I’ve never watched any of her shows, but my friend is a fan of hers, so I used my camera’s zoom to get this candid pic for her. I also saw Elfman in person at WonderCon 2023.
Actor Jack Quaid (“Star Trek: Lower Decks” 2022’s “Scream”); Quaid is the son of actor Dennis Quaid and actress Meg Ryan. In person, he looks a lot like his old man in his younger days.
Saw actor Tony Todd (“Candyman” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” 1990’s “Night of the Living Dead” remake, “The Rock” and “The Man From Earth”); I first met Tony Todd at the “Darkside In Riverside” horror convention and he was just amazing.
Left to Right (Top and Bottom): Actress Holly Marie Combs (“Charmed” “Born on the 4th of July”); Combs was signing next to her “Charmed” costar Rose McGowan (“Charmed,” “Planet Terror,” “Scream,” “Jawbreaker”). While I admit I’m not a big fan of “Charmed,” I took these pics for a friend of mine who couldn’t make the convention, and is a fan of the show (1998-2006). I did appreciate Combs’ short role in “Born on the 4th of July” as a teenager being hit on by Tom Cruise’s disillusioned US Marine, Ron Kovic.  I also liked Rose McGowan’s role as the one-legged shotgunner from the “Grindhouse” double-feature “Planet of Terror.” 
Left: A fan dressed as “Regan” from “The Exorcist” (1977), having just came out from meeting Linda Blair, and whom I was lucky enough to photograph! Right: The real “Regan”, actress Linda Blair (“The Exorcist” “Exorcist II: The Heretic”) who now devotes herself exclusively to the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation. I’d met Blair on two prior occasions, so I just took a candid photo this time. Blair’s animal charity’s web address is :

Creepy Cosplay!

Now, onto my favorite part of sci-fi/fantasy or horror conventions; the cosplayers. Cosplayers are the heart and soul of any sci-fi/fantasy/horror convention, and while there weren’t as many cosplayers visible at Aftermath, there were still a good number of them. This event gives local and out-of-town horror fan attendees the chance to wear their creepy-best. I try to catch as many cosplaying attendees as I can, and I hope readers will enjoy the ones I present to you here.

Left: Right after we got inside the Ontario Convention Center, we were greeted by a “Mars Attacks” Martian, as well as “The Munsters” (2022) fails to reanimate…The Munsters” (Herman & Lily). Right: Two great “Scream” cosplayers; it took me a moment to realize the one on the right was playing Drew Barrymore’s “Casey,” who’s killed in the opener of the 1996 film (which I first saw on a midnight showing in early 1997 and wasn’t terribly impressed to be honest, but the cosplayers are great!).
Left: “Freddy vs. Jason(s)” as the immortal slasher movie foes make nice for a photo op! Right: A more fabulous “Friday the 13th” Jason Voorhees cosplay. The cosplayer said it took two days to make that bejeweled hockey mask. Love it!
Left: One of the “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” (1988) and “The Keeper” from “The Evil Within” (2017). Right: “The Predator” phones home, à la “E.T”…
Left: A really TALL (and terrifying) Pennywise the Clown from the 2017 remake of “It.” Right: On the subject of “It,” the ill-fated child “Georgie” stands in front of a “Mr. Floats” meat truck in this photo op inspired by the same 2017 remake of “It”

My wife and I didn’t cosplay, but we did wear his-and-her “JAWS” t-shirts and I did carry my “JAWS” swag bag as well.  I know I’ve said repeatedly on this site and on other platforms that “JAWS” isn’t a horror film, but it does have some horror elements to it, and it’s one of our mutual favorite movies, so close enough.

Dig Deeper

All 85 of my photos from the weekend are on my Flickr account here: Son of CreepIECon: CreepIECon Aftermath, Sept. 23-24th, 2023.

Summing It Up

I honestly don’t know if CreepIECon will morph into a permanent bi-annual event, or shift its normal February slot to September/October, but I’m up for either. I’m a big believer in supporting local conventions whenever I can, because their success ensures bigger and better conventions down the road, as I’ve seen both with this convention and Comic Con Revolution, which takes place at the same venue.  They’ve both grown in leaps and bounds.

A mannequin of a Cylon Centurion (“Battlestar Galactica”) guards the upper level of the Ontario Convention Center!

My wife and I both attended CreepIE Aftermath on Saturday, though I returned solo on Sunday (my non-horror fan wife had other plans). Tickets for a standard weekend package (Saturday and Sunday) were $55 each, which is quite a bargain for most conventions these days.  Even if you don’t buy a lot of merchandise or collect celebrity autographs, the people-watching (cosplay) at these events is simply extraordinary, and worth the price of admission alone.  

Day One of the two-day event was a bit more crowded. No doubt much of that was for the prized Tim Curry photo ops and the chance to meet Linda Blair; both of those attendees were there for Saturday only.

There’s also the big CreepIECon after party on Saturday night, though my wife and I don’t usually stay for that (we’re a couple of old homebodies, I’m afraid). For grabbing a bite (to eat, not drink blood), there’s a fleet of food trucks parked outside, as well as an indoor snack bar (with food for picky vegetarians, like myself).  There was even a live rock band performing outside, too. Perhaps the only nit for some is the $15 all-day parking, which was in a dirt lot, and which would seem a bit steep if you stay less than a few hours.  However, the longer you stay at the event, the parking fee becomes trifling.

Here’s hoping to see CreepIECon grow and push its current venue to the limit…

Taking everything into account? CreepIE Aftermath was a true conventioneering bargain.  I also appreciated that this CreepIECon event was held a bit closer to Halloween, which just feels right; a horror homecoming.  Like a monster from an old Bert I. Gordon flick, I look forward to seeing this convention grow

All Images/Collages by author, except for “Charmed,” “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” photos (CBS and Paramount+ respectively) and “The Amazing Colossal Man” (American International Pictures).

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