The annual April event will last three days, Paul Sorvino and Drea de Matteo will join rock legend Alice Cooper and the cast of Weird Science.
By Jacob Engels
Pete Mongelli, who founded the extremely popular horror convention, talks with the East Orlando Post about how it all started.
Purchase your tickets to this weekends event, lasting April 1st to 3rd, by clicking here.
Check out our interview with Mongelli below.
For those that don’t know… tell us how Spooky Empire was conceived and what fuels its success each year? What is your background… what motivated your interest in horror?
When we started this 14 years ago, there were no events of this nature. At that time, all we had were “toy shows.” It was basically a room full of toy and collectible vendors, like a flea market and maybe 3-4 celebrity guests.
We decided we wanted to take it up a notch and make it more of an event. A place where likeminded fans could gather and find a place they belonged. Horror was not something that was focused on at the shows. They were usually based around comic books and science fiction.
We wanted to focus on something that had more of a rock and roll feel. Horror and rock and roll just seemed like a perfect fit. Keep in mind though, that horror isn’t all we have to offer! For example, this year, we’ll have the cast of Weird Science joining us and we even have a ton of cosplay happening.
What makes Orlando the best place to host Spooky Empire?
It’s centrally located, so there is a lot going on in the area that an attendee can make a vacation out of their trip for Spooky Empire events.
Explain to us the process of planning the event… budgeting, organizing, finding vendors, staffing, etc.
We plan this event all year long. It’s a 24-hour job! We usually start the next convention by booking celebrity guests and then create a bit of a theme around it. We’re constantly searching for new and unique ideas as well as events and guests. Our main goal is to keep the convention fresh and new. We never want the same old convention every year.
We’re known for being one of the most organized conventions around, and we’re very proud of that reputation. Our volunteer staff is top notch, extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Without them, this event would never run as well as it does. Finding new, unique vendors is also important to us. We want our exhibitor & vendor room to be an event in itself.
Your April gathering features Alice Cooper, Drea de Matteo, and the cast of Weird Science. What else is going on?
Besides some other amazing celebrity guests like Paul Sorvino, The Dream Warriors, cast of Day of the Dead, we have an amazing vendor room, Q&A’s, after hours events, VIP party, a tattoo festival with more than 40 artists, artists, authors, collectibles, seminars, plus a massive zombie walk that kicks off at UNO Pizzeria across the street from the Wyndham.
The weekend ends with our costume and cosplay contest, with $1000 in prizes. If you love the horror genre, obviously SE is going to be fun and interesting for you.
For those that are casual fans or appreciate horror but aren’t hardcore fans… what does SE offer for them?
Spooky Empire offers something different for even the not so hardcore fans. Just the vendor room alone is a great experience, lots of sights to see, great costumes, friendly fans, a great place to people watch! We have a lot of families in attendance, always something for everyone. We even have a kids costume contest on Sunday.
How can people stay in touch with the event and upcoming plans for SE?
Visit our website www.spookyempire.com or follow us on social media for more up to date news. Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/YouTube @spookyempire.
The East Orlando Post will be attending this weekend’s event, stay tuned for our coverage during and after the event.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org