The London Horror Con Disaster
London is bustling and vibrant city that hosts many different types of events, but one genre is sadly missing is the Horror Con. Imagine the excitement for many horror fans when an event called The London Horror Con was announced earlier this year. Set to run in June, the show promised guest such as Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Tyler Mane (Halloween), Alex Vincent (Child’s Play) , Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects) and Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects) all under one roof complete with photoshoots and autograph sessions. But like many of the horror films in which these star have featured, this story does not have a happy ending.
The main promoter of the show is Victor Wright, who has run some of the biggest and most successful series of horror conventions in the UK, with his latest endeavour being the Mega Liverpool Horror Con and Birmingham Horror Con both in October of last year (2017). With great guests booking in advance and vendors eager to attend with their wares, something went wrong. And a lot of fingers are pointing at the Victor for his lack of management and transparency over the last 6 months.
So, The London Horror Con was going ahead, a venue was booked, guest confirmed and vendors had paid for their spaces. Money from ticket sales from coming in, as horror fans from all over the UK started to book tickets and photo-shoots for their favourite horror stars. But then something bizarre happened, and the news came in the most unlikely fashion. Usually, if there’s a real major issues or changes to a show, patrons, vendors and guest would receive contact via email and phone to inform them. But Victor failed to do this, when he decided to announce on Facebook that the show was being rescheduled for September 2018. An email , with the same wording as the Facebook post, eventually went out awhile later, but guest, vendors and attendees all heard about if first through social media.
People were pissed, including many of the guest that were booked in for the show. Alex Vincent who played Andy form the Child’s Play films (1, 2, Curse and Cult), took to facebook to vent his anger on how badly he felt he had been treated by Victor. Alex had failed to get much correspondence from Victor about the new arrangements, and when he did, Victor was just plain rude to him.
“He said… quote..”so to make money we need many more people buying into you”. After, he had already agreed to 50% of photo ops, and had been selling tickets and photo ops with my face and name on the website for 6 months. Basically, he tried to make it sound like it was my fault that ticket sales were low, or that he didn’t promote properly, or faced attendance problems due to his irresponsible postponement!”
Despite this type of treatment, Alex tried desperately to sort the mess out, to little avail.
“On Monday, he responded to my many emails with one sentence, “you are on my list of things to sort out this week”. Well, it has been a week.. and I’ve not heard why we don’t have an agreement. It’s been over a month since the postponement, and he doesn’t find it prudent enough to confirm the appearance for a guest that he has been selling tickets to fans for 6 months to meet! So, I am sick of the disrespect, and you should be also! I seriously don’t think this con will happen.. and I think they already know that!”
Guest were not the only people getting a hard time. The London Horror Con had promised to refund any attendee that asked within 14 days. But when the money was not returned, people took to social media to vent their anger. Where was their money? Why were their emails being ignored? A thin vale of hate began to hang over the whole show and Victor was doing nothing to prevent the building tension and hatred towards the show and himself. To make matter worse, booked guest were begging to drop out.
— Bill Moseley (@choptopmoseley) 11 July 2018
On the 11th of July 2018, a Facebook post appeared announced that the show was cancelled, and that the company behind the show was going to cease trading. The money was gone, no refunds were going out and everyone that had invested into The London Horror Con was no severely out of pocket. The message read thus…
“For this delay in correspondence we apologise, but we needed to fully realise what could be done or could not be done. It may have seemed like we were ignoring people, but we hope you understand that was not the case at all. We needed to gather all of the facts.
I want to start off by saying this has by far been the toughest thing I’ve had to deal with – the choices made, were done so in the belief that they were right at the time. But, when people start to threaten your family and yourself, post photos of you and your address in a malicious way – you know it’s time to take drastic action.”
Victor had made himself a big target for all the anger and things had got out of control, for the man once named Horror Convention Extraordinaire. However, to make matters worse, Victor filled in the missing blanks. Where was the money? It had gone to fund the Edinburgh show, that had failed to make any money.
“Edinburgh was a costly show for us – a great show none the less, but it lost us a lot of money and this no doubt was going to have an effect on other shows.”
Yep, the company was in dept and The London Horror Con was beginning to look like nothing more than a way of building back up funds. It looked like the show was never going to be fully funded, with half the funds going to pay off the depts of the previous event. It seems the postponement of the Horror Con was a desperate act to increase ticket sales, giving them a bigger window to pick up tickets sales. But it backfired miserably.
“ When the refunds started to come in over the first two weeks it was manageable. However, the posts on social media from us seemed to have a negative effect and the situation worsened. So we refrained from doing so – thinking this would help.”
Yep, they withheld refunds from people, Which just made matters worse.
“Then the hate posts started. This avalanched the issue into a dire situation and so refunding ground to a halt, because the monies going out far exceeded the monies coming in. The posts spread all kinds of statements that simply were not true. With each post came more and more issues and eventually the situation became irretrievable.”
Things were getting bad, and the good ship ‘London Horror Con’ was already way under water.
“But the final decision is that after seeking professional advice the business is to cease trading. All shows are cancelled and the company will cease to exist. Because the business is not in a position to appoint a liquidator it will have to be struck off instead. An email to all creditors will be issued to this effect shortly.
There are no other options or solution”
More shocking, is that the website, including sales of tickets for the show, were still active for many hours after this announcement.
The entire thing was a horrible nasty mess, and it looked like Victor was just going to walk away from it all. Sadly for him, this is not the end of the road. A company CANNOT apply for voluntary strike off by the Registrar of Companies if it has creditors, and the hundreds of people left out of pocket indeed count as creditors. So if the lawsuits start to come in, it looks like things will unravel for the entrepreneur who dreamed of a better con….and ended up making a HUGE mess!
For the many Horror Fans, vendors and guest stuck in this awful mess, we are so sorry and we would love to hear from you in the comments below or on social media. As a community, we are a great bunch of people just sharing a love of a genre. We never expect to be treated so poorly by the people that we put so much faith in. To unfairly lose money is a hard kick in the teeth none of us want to bare, and one we should not have to.