The annual horror festival Fear Fete returns to the Coast this weekend with zombie laser tag, Captain Spaulding, the original Jason Voorhees and tributes to the late Wes Craven.
It is the festival's third year on the Coast, and executive director Derek Morris has been continually raising the bar on it. This year, one addition is the Zombie Survival Experience, in which participants traverse a maze while shooting zombies in an adrenaline-filled game of laser tag. It is free with festival admission and will be offered daily at the Coast Coliseum. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Morris said Sid Haig (aka Captain Spaulding) tops a list of guests the fans had requested.
"He is by far the most requested guest since last year," Morris said. "Andrew Divoff is kind of a rare appearance, and (Robert) Kurtzman is just a legend in horror as far as effects and makeup."
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Divoff starred in Wes Craven's "Wishmaster" and Kurtzman directed the film. Both will provide commentary at a free screening of the film at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Kurtzman is best known for his makeup artistry on Freddy Krueger, and he will discuss the iconic character at noon Sunday. He also will offer his Master Makeup Workshop at 11 a.m. Saturday. It costs $25 in advance and is limited to 50 participants.
An additional memoriam to the "Nightmare on Elm Street" franchise will be "A Tribute to Wes Craven" by Alan Brown at 5 p.m. Saturday. Other workshops will include modeling, makeup and special effects.
Other special guests include the original Ari Lehman (Jason Voorhees), Alex Vincent, Jeremy London and Jason Vail. Fear Fete also will host seven stars from the film "Dollface," including the villain Crinoline Head.
Of course, there will be plenty of themed horror film blocks, including a block of creepy clown films. All are free with admission.
A costume contest for adults will be Saturday at 3:30 p.m. For kids, a contest will be Sunday at 3 p.m.
A Zombie Pub Crawl will begin Saturday night at Crooked Letter Brewing Co., 1805 Government St., Ocean Springs, and travel through downtown Ocean Springs. Registration is $10 at Crooked Letter from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. It includes a brewery tour, beer samples and a shuttle ride downtown for drink specials at participating bars. An after-party will be at The Juke Joint 1911 Government St, Ocean Springs.
Morris said about 300 people participated in the Zombie Pub Crawl last year, and he sees signs it will be even bigger this year.
"People generally like to dress up like zombies," he said.
Kicking off Fear Fete will be the Dead Carpet Awards Ceremony & Party at Kress Live in Biloxi from 7 to 11 tonight with $15 admission available at the door.
Festival tickets are $25 and $35 in advance; $30 and $45 at the door. VIP passes are $75, advance only, and include early entry, reserved panel seating, a T-shirt and admission to the Dead Carpet Party. For tickets, visit www.fearfete.com.