Blood Over Texas connects horror community through local events

Rachel Rascoe

At Sunday’s “Horror for the Holidays” market, shoppers can swap out their typical photo with jolly old Saint Nick at the mall for a sentimental snapshot on evil Santa's lap.

The art and gift bazaar is hosted by Blood Over Texas, a horror social group located in Austin. The organization connects their 740 members through hosting and co-sponsoring horror-related community events, as well as providing a “horror hub” of news on their website.

Bunny Voodoo, a local artist and lifelong horror enthusiast, founded B.O.T. in 2011. While performing with her horror-based dance troupe, Voodoo found there was no easy way to reach out to her audience of horror enthusiasts. She said she hoped for B.O.T. to bring together the diverse horror community.

“There’s a huge horror community in Austin, but everyone’s kind of spread out,” Voodoo said. “Some people just like ‘True Blood,’ and there are others that really like ‘Cannibal Holocaust.’ I wanted to find a way to join all those people together.”

Membership to B.O.T. is free and includes discounts at local horror-related businesses such as I Luv Video and Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds, as well as a monthly email newsletter. B.O.T. curates a calendar of “horror happenings” throughout Texas on their website.

The organization hosts four different events a year including the annual Horror for the Holidays Art & Gift Bazaar and a member appreciation party. Past events include movie screenings, “Zombie Skate” and “Killers in Austin.” For “Killers,” members dressed up as classic horror movie characters, such as Jason Voorhees, Leatherface and Michael Myers, and visited popular Austin tourist spots.

This year’s second annual “Horror for the Holidays” event will feature the work of about 20 local artists selling products including housewares, jewelry and memorabilia. The art, bound by gothic, monster and horror themes, will be sold Sunday at Spider House Ballroom.

Artist Leah Lehmann, owner of Bombshell Kitty Boutique, will sell her handmade jewelry and accessories at the event. She said the bazaar will allow her to showcase her love of ’80s horror movies, whereas shoppers at other local market events aren’t always interested in horror-related products like Krampus tree ornaments.

“It’s important that [B.O.T.] brings people together over a common interest,” Lehmann said. “At events like this, you start seeing the same faces and recognizing other artists’ work. Texas is a big scary place, so it needs its own horror community.”

UT alumna Shelly Dread, who joined B.O.T. in 2014, helps Voodoo with event planning and the monthly podcast, “Blood Over Texas Radio.” The podcast features local guests, horror-themed music and a “Hammered Horror” segment during which Dread drunkenly reviews a film.

Dread said B.O.T. is important to the community because of the many horror movies that take place in Texas such as “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

“[Voodoo] provides entertainment that’s very much lacking in Central Texas,” Dread said. “It’s pretty much known for being a very scary place, but there’s never been a conjoined group of people who actually promote horror.”

One of Dread’s favorite B.O.T. events was this year’s screening of the Australian zombie film “Wyrmwood.” The screening was followed by a performance from local metal band The Blood Royale,and a “zombie” was set on fire in a surprise street performance.

The B.O.T. staff is planning more horror-themed events for the upcoming year and wants to continue expanding event coverage outside of Austin. Voodoo said she hopes the organization’s events bring people together who would otherwise be isolated in their love of horror.

“A lot of people into horror are introverts, so they’re at home a lot,” Voodoo said. “That’s my goal — to bring people out of their homes and into the community. Then they’ll get to meet other people and experience something that’s really different.”

Horror for the Holidays Art & Gift Bazaar

  • When: Sunday, Nov. 29 12–7 p.m.
  • Where: Spider House Cafe and Ballroom
  • Admission: Free