Midsummer Scream’s Hall of Shadows 2017

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Hey weirdos! This article marks the beginning of my Midsummer Scream coverage. My weekend consisted of attending panels, buying spooky shit, and of course walking through haunts in the Hall of Shadows.

For those unfamiliar, the Hall of Shadows is a gigantic blacked out, fogged out space where SoCal haunters set up miniature versions of their Halloween attractions. This year’s Hall of Shadows featured 14 mazes of a wide variety.

My favorites included Hyde Street Massacre, Cold Storage, and The Maritime Horror. Hyde Street Massacre felt like an adaptation of Jack the Ripper. This walk-through included enough blood and screaming girls to keep even Leatherface appeased. The gritty slasher atmosphere made it fun and easy to understand. Some of the other haunts tried to cram complicated stories into their very brief mazes, so the simplicity of Hyde Street Massacre was appreciated.

My 2nd favorite was Cold Storage by Terror Trucks. Cold storage is a high tech haunt trailer. Like Hyde Street Massacre, Cold Storage made use of an easily recognizable genre trope. There is a zombie outbreak, and you’re trying to escape. Cliche? Yes, but what made this maze so special, was all of the little tricks and traps. The maze began with a horde of digital zombies banging on the door in front of you. You’re led down an alternative route with a shaky bridge and one of those puffy marshmallow tunnels that squeezes you as you crawl through it. This one was definitely the most interactive of the 14. While none of the effects were anything groundbreaking, I was quite impressed that they could work all of that stuff into such a small trailer.

Finally, there’s The Maritime Horror. The Maritime Horror utilized a Lovecraftian sea theme to add a bit of literary spice to their attraction. Guests were treated to an assortment of aquatic monsters inspired by the master of weird fiction. This one was pretty quick, so I don’t have much to say about it, but I did like the theme.

Other haunts I enjoyed were Gorelesque, Mutation Analysis Center, Apparition Adventure: Terror Twins, Mable’s 6 Feet Under, and Higgins Manor. I didn’t care for last year’s Gorelesque, so I was pleased to see that they stepped it up this year. Gorelesque is basically exactly what it sounds like, horror combined with burlesque aspects. This year’s attraction used a creepy cult recruitment video, and a talented actress to coerce the audience into taking “pills” designed to make you perfect. This one stood out for me, because it was unique. I liked that it was more performance based than the rest.

Mutation Analysis Center was another “viral outbreak” maze. It used a multitude of glowing elements and neon colors to provide a radioactive feel. This maze was a grand buffet for the eyes.

Apparition Adventure: Terror Twins contained a found footage theme. Guests were ushered into a small room and shown a video of a ghost hunter assuring people that the hauntings had stopped. Of course, right at that moment two ghostly twins flashed by on the screen. Then haunt fans were led into the maze full of spirit children and paranormal activity. This one was very cute in a home haunt kind of way. I could tell they put a lot of work into it, and their efforts showed.

Mable’s 6 Feet Under was the only haunt that was an actual maze. Throughout the maze, you think you’re walking towards the exit, but you’re actually being led to a dead end. You’re then forced to turn around and go back towards the front, where there was a secret exit. The maze’s best feature was the confusing signs labeled with the names of the other mini haunts with arrows pointing in every direction.

Higgins Manor was your typical gothic mansion full of Victorian decor and brooding characters with homicidal inclinations. This one wasn’t a standout for me, but it intrigued me enough that I’d be willing to check out a full length version.

As for the ones I didn’t care for, I wouldn’t say there were any I actively disliked. However, there were a few that just didn’t quite measure up. Mazes like The Fleshyard, The Last of Man, and Grimm’s Hallow failed to deliver.

The Fleshyard was a bizarre space themed haunt, that seemed to be lacking in actors. It consisted of a few hallways that all looked the same and a giant pit of packing peanuts at the end. I’ve heard from others that there were more actors in it, so maybe when I went through they were just all on break. Still, this one didn’t impress me.

The Last of Man by Unhallowed wasn’t too bad. I liked the front facade and the characters in gas masks. However, when writing this article, this one was the most difficult to recall which leads me to believe it wasn’t especially memorable.

Then there’s Grimm’s Hallow by Phobia Productions. To be honest, I couldn’t even figure out what the theme of this maze was supposed to be until I checked the program. Apparently, Grimm’s Hallow was supposed to be based on fairy tales and old world horror. The concept sounds amazing, but the talking trees and elves just left me perplexed. I’d like to see this haunt on a bigger scale, because I have a feeling it could turn out well if given more time and more space to work with.

Overall the Hall of Shadows offered a delightful sample of the treats Halloween season has in store. I had a blast going through each individual maze and seeing the tricks each haunt group had up their sleeve. Unfortunately the Hall of Shadows was limited by the same thing that limits all attractions- there are just too many people. The lines were long, due to the fact that each haunt could only allow so many people through at one time. I also thought the entryway theme by CalHaunts was a tad weak. It was supposed to be based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but I wouldn’t have been able to tell if I hadn’t already known. Problems aside, I still believe the Hall of Shadows was a necessary addition to an already fantastic convention.

The Hall Of Shadows Scares At Midsummer Scream


For Halloween and haunt enthusiasts, Halloween and horror conventions are the second best time of the year (Halloween season being the first best of course). The team behind Midsummer Scream chose to raise the bar to a new level with Halloween and horror conventions by  adding the Hall Of Shadows- an entire section of the convention center filled with mini haunts, sliders, and an army of monsters.

The Hall Of Shadows at Midsummer Scream was a full size haunt event with in a haunt event. It was a fully functional scare zone. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to go through every micro-maze. We really wanted to check out Blackout’s virtual reality maze, but sadly there wasn’t enough time. Of the ones we did see, Toxicity, put on by Boneyard Effects, was definitely our favorite. This is the first maze we saw as we entered the Hall of Shadows, as well was the largest, with the most attention to detail and greatest number of performers.

As we walked through Toxicity, we were surrounded by horrible mutants that looked like they stepped out of a Cronenberg movie. We made our way past vats of leaking toxins, and destroyed quarantine rooms. Finally we were able to make it to safety.

As we exited Toxicity, we had a chance to go through Fear Station’s creepy carnival mini haunt where we got to play a few classic carnival games with a spooky twist- you win or die. We won some popcorn and were fortunate enough not to die.

We were excited to see the Gorelesque! mini haunt as we had first had heard about Gorelesque! earlier this year at Monsterpalooza. We were saddened when they had to cancel their preview a few months ago, but they said they will be performing this Halloween season. For Gorelesque!, we were taken to a room where we were sized up to determine if we were perfect enough to join the Weltschmerz Society and go to Paradise. We were determined imperfect and cast away to see what happens to the imperfect people as we went through a mini maze filled with blood, flesh, and gore. It was a lot of fun.

Following Gorelesque!, we went through Perdition Home’s Sci-Fi space haunt, where a zombie like outbreak took out a space station and shuttle. While it was very short, its attention to detail and design was fantastic.

The last of the mini haunts we hit up was Spooky Hollows, which was a trip through a haunted swamp like area, where the plants have turned evil and deadly. Just like most of the mini-haunts, it was short. However, it was fun and the scares were very well done.

The Hall Of Shadows also featured another adrenaline pumping performance from the masters of sliding, the Decayed Brigade. The Decayed Brigade is wildly popular among the Halloween and horror convention circuit, and as always, delivered a top notch show.

Overall, the Hall Of Shadows was fantastic. Granted, we didn’t get to every mini haunt because the lines were so long- which we were not upset about and is totally okay. These were mini haunts. To give everyone an enjoyable experience, you have to let only a few in at a time. Pushing too many through, you risk ruining the experience and missing out on prime scares. The other reason we didn’t get to every mini haunt was that there was so much to do at Midsummer Scream, you had to pick and choose- which in itself was a great problem to have. Personally, I’d rather have too much to see at a convention than not enough.

Midsummer Scream definitely delivered with the Hall Of Shadows and I personally can’t wait to see what they have in store for Next year! Did you attend Midsummer Scream? What mini haunts were your favorite? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter and Facebook.