Reporting Kurtis Ming
They paid good money to immerse themselves in blood, guts, and gore.
The tickets alone weren’t cheap; they paid $178 for a convention that was supposed to happen last summer.
The film The Two Sisters is the award-winning screenplay by Sacramento filmmaker Terri Dawn Arnold.
She an independent but she’s used some of the same actors from the horror film franchise Friday the 13th.
So when Terri Dawn heard about a convention for the 30th anniversary of the film, she bought tickets.
A four day event in Dallas, Texas to be held last August, it got world-wide attention from film buffs like Tim Helmer.
“From the time I get up in the morning, to the time I go to work to the time I go home, I’m always finding new horror stuff” says Tim.
The convention is a no-brainer to the thousands of horror fans who flock there.
Terry Dawn says “I also go to these events to network, for my business. I’ve cast actors before by going to conventions and film festivals.”
Some would call what didn’t happen in north Texas on Friday the 13th last August a nightmare.
“I think what he did is fraud,” says Tim.
“He” is John Gray, a Texas man who’s hosted several other horror conventions in the past.
“They were successful,” says Tim.
But not this time.
First there was a sudden venue change, from a Lewisville, Texas, hotel to a nearby club called Sneaky Petes.
The manager tells our sister station in Dallas that calls came in from around the world.
“They wanted to make sure that if they were flying all the way out here that it was going to be here.”
But it didn’t happen; Gray postponed the August convention.
Terri Dawn, like many others, had already booked a flight and hotel.
“So much for your non-refundable airline ticket,” she says with a dejected look on her face.
Bloggers called Gray a “criminal” for taking their money.
But then he announced a new date, Friday, May 13, 2011 at the Crown Plaza in Addison, Texas.
Terri Dawn couldn’t make it on the new date.
But her credit card company wouldn’t refund her money because the convention wasn’t cancelled; it was only postponed.
But on May 13th, this is what our sister station found at the Crowne Plaza, the scariest site of all to the fans — no John Gray.
Our sister station in Dallas managed to find him.
“I don’t have their money. Their money is in an escrow account. Will they get their money back? The trustee is going to, as soon as we get everything finalized with the attorney, yes, everybody is getting their money back.”
Gray was a no-show for two follow-up interviews, leaving ticketholders in suspense about their money.
“I’m just really distressed about what happened because I did work hard for my money and wanted to go to that convention.”
Other Friday the 13th anniversary conferences are considering honoring the tickets for Gray’s Texas Frightfest; but there’s no word yet.
Terri Dawn says if she has one piece of advice it’s to not pay for anything that far in advance.
Meanwhile, the Texas ttorney general says it’s gotten just seven complaints about John Gray and his convention, but they won’t comment on whether they’ve opened an investigation.