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Annual horror expo brings thrills, chills to Tempe

TEMPE, Ariz. — Halloween has come early to Tempe this year.

The second annual Rapture Horror Expo has taken up residence at the DoubleTree Hotel, and this year, the convention has gotten even bigger.

The expo focuses on both horror and supernatural media and includes makeup workshops, costume contests, a fashion show, movie screenings, a late-night dance party and even a “Scream Queen” contest.

Celebrities are the biggest draw, and Rapture Horror Expo has drawn some of the most iconic names in horror.

The guest highlights of this year’s horror convention include Linda Blair from “The Exorcist,” “The Original Ladies of the Living Dead,” featuring Judith O’Dea and Judith Ridley from George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” and actor Sid Haig from “House of 1,000 Corpses,” which will also be screened at midnight tonight, in honor of its 10th anniversary.

Other featured guests include Danielle Harris from the “Halloween” franchise, John Dugan from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” John Kassir, voice of “The Crypt Keeper,” Fred Williamson from “From Dusk Till Dawn” and Theodus Crane from “The Walking Dead.”

In addition to celebrity guests and artists, the lobby of the hotel is dedicated to local acts and charities, such as the Arizona Hive of the Umbrella Corporation, made popular by the “Resident Evil” franchise.

“The Arizona Hive is a non-profit cosplay (costume play) for charity group and all our proceeds go to the Arizona Animal Welfare League,” explained Angus Schultz, 26, of Mesa.

And what would a horror convention be without lots of blood? The expo is also holding a blood drive on site, benefiting United Blood Services.

The expo runs until 7 p.m. Sunday.