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April 24, 2012

Gory zombie attacks leave a sweet taste in John Migliore’s mouth.

The 48-year-old Hamiltonian has been in 16 zombie films and gained “notoriety” particularly after one of his scenes in the 2009 movie Survival of the Dead, where he helped rip a man in half and eat him.

What most people don’t know is that the blood on set is often kept in containers labelled “zesty mint flavour,” said Migliore, who was also in Dawn of the Dead and Resident Evil Apocalypse.

“You’re tearing someone in half and you’ve got kind of a sweet taste in your mouth and it’s just so wrong. Really. It’s just wrong,” the actor said, dressed in a torn tuxedo with costume blood trickling down the front.

Migliore joined other vendors and horror specialists at the third annual Canadian Haunted Attractions Conference at the Crowne Plaza over the weekend. It was the first time the event, which went from Friday to Sunday, was held in Hamilton.

The convention was held in St. Catharines and London in previous years.

The appeal of horror is a “base” feeling, said Migliore, who spoke with attendees as well as presented a seminar at the conference.

“I think it all goes back to childhood,” he said. “I loved being scared as a kid … and it seems as an adult I’m always trying to recreate those moments that freak me out so much.”

About 120 people from around North America preregistered for the three-day conference, but it was estimated another 200 people would drop by, founder and organizer Matthew Flagler said.

The conference featured workshops on haunted set design, body art and make up, demonology and paranormal investigations, and haunt advertising.

Haunted Hamilton also led a historical walking tour of the downtown Saturday night.

The Hamilton event has been busier than the conference in the previous cities, Flagler said.

Part of that was because the annual convention is only in its third year but it is also because of Hamilton’s “vibrant” art scene, he said. “I think that Hamilton would embrace this because we’re like-minded people.”

Scarborough resident Kathleen Dempsey and her sister from Orangeville, Sheila, made the trip to the conference because of their intrigue with the paranormal.

Kathleen, who embarks on paranormal investigations as a hobby, said their favourite holiday was Halloween.

“A lot of this has to do with death and everybody’s curious about death and it’s mysterious and exciting because it’s mysterious,” the 46-year-old said. “It’s the unknown.”

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