Knott’s Scary Farm- Tricks, Treats, and Halloween Scares

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Official Knott’s Scary Farm promotional photo

Knott’s Scary Farm is always one of the top haunts on the AHH list, and the 2017 season did not disappoint. This year’s Scary Farm offered guests two new mazes, an updated Trick or Treat, and the final Elvira: Mistress of the Dark show. In addition to the new attractions, attendees were given the opportunity to revisit classic attractions from previous years. Ok, let’s take this step by step, maze by maze.

THE MAZES

Dark Ride– Dark Ride was one of the two new mazes. This was my 2nd favorite maze. The theme is pretty straight forward. It’s modeled after an old carnival dark ride. In my opinion, this was an excellent theme choice. It’s something that seems obvious, but I haven’t seen almost anyone else try this concept. I loved almost everything about this it. It had colors, glowing elements, and mechanical wizards. You name it, it was probably in Dark Ride. This maze gave off a deep appreciation for the theme parks and rides of the past. It reminded me of everything I loved about going through the haunted house at the state fair.

Pumpkin Eater– Pumpkin Eater was the other new maze for 2017. Like Dark Ride, Pumpkin Eater appealed to my nostalgia. If Dark Ride was an ode to theme parks of the past, Pumpkin Eater served as an ode to Halloweens of the past. I loved all of the jack o’ lantern motifs and the many different textures within the maze. There were so many wonderful classic Halloween elements. It was a delight being able to walk through the inside of a pumpkin right into a corn maze. If I had one complaint about Pumpkin Eater, it’s that I didn’t completely understand the story they were trying to convey. However, overall the maze was a win.

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Photo by Andy Shultz

Trick or Treat: Lights Out– I don’t have much to say about Trick or Treat. It was kind of fun being able to walk through the maze with a flashlight, but I liked the previous year’s maze better. I have to agree with my friend who felt that making everything so dark rendered all the creative details  insignificant.

Red Barn– This maze has consistently been my least favorite. I don’t hate it. In fact, I quite like the giant diseased horse. Still, the whole cannibal farm theme feels a bit uninspired.

Shadowlands– From my least favorite to my most favorite. Shadowlands is once again my number one. A big part of that is the Japanese theme. I have a strong interest in Japanese culture, particularly J-horror. I noticed a lot of cool stuff about Shadowlands. For example many of the classic youkai like Rokurokubi, (a very, very long necked woman) could be found within the maze. I definitely appreciated the designer’s commitment to historical accuracy.

Tooth Fairy– Tooth Fairy is another Knott’s staple. This maze is like your wort dentist trip times ten. Like Pumpkin Eater, Tooth Fairy has some wonderful textures. I particularly liked the walls that are made to look like gums. While I wouldn’t call Tooth Fairy one of my favorites, it’s absolutely worth checking out.

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The AHH Team- Photo by Brandon Scullion

Voodoo– Voodoo is another maze that stands out for me. I like these mazes with a heavy cultural aspect, and Voodoo provided it in spades. The maze guided you through all of the types of places associated with Louisiana voodoo. One highlight from this maze is the scene of a mechanical alligator being served a living man as a sacrifice.

Paranormal Inc.- The maze Paranormal Inc. is what occurs when an episode of Ghost Adventures goes terribly wrong. Like Dark Ride, Paranormal Inc. is so enjoyable because it contains many campy elements such as glowing lights and vibrating floors.

Special Ops: Infected– I’ll be honest, I didn’t have the opportunity to try this real life zombie shooting game.

THE SCARE ZONES

Fiesta de los Muertos– Once again, Fiesta de los Muertos provided all of the bright hues and sugar skulls associated with Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

CarnEvil– I’m obsessed with anything circus or carnival themed, but even I think clowns are getting a bit overdone. For that reason, I wasn’t too excited about this scare zone.

The Hollow– The classic “Halloween” aesthetic pairs perfectly with the new maze, Pumpkin Eater. I liked this scare zone, because it contained some unique light up tree trunk props.

Ghost Town Streets– This was my favorite scare zone, because it had the best monsters. This was also probably the foggiest part of the park, and I love fog.

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Official Knott’s Scary Farm promotional photo

THE SHOWS

The Hanging– I didn’t care for The Hanging. The stunts were exceptional, but the show was way too frantic. The writing felt like it was trying to cram the top 100 pop culture moments of the year into about 30 minutes. I can see why people might enjoy it, but it wasn’t for me.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark– I couldn’t think of a better sendoff to the “Queen of Halloween”. Elvira was as vivacious as ever, and her dancers were equally impressive. The show had some priceless moments like Elvira recreating that famous Flashdance sequence. I was so happy I got to see her final show at Knott’s.

Overall, my Knott’s experience was well worth the price of admission. Knott’s has been one of the few attractions that I feel is consistently outdoing themselves. I always tell those who are short on money/time and want the best Halloween experience for their dollar to go to Knott’s Scary Farm. That advice still stands.

If you like our content, please follow us on Twitter @HallowsHaunts and right here on the blog.

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Midsummer Scream 2018 Announced

Just when you thought Halloween couldn’t get any better, it did! For the second year in a row, we all woke up Halloween morning to an awesome surprise as Midsummer Scream, the leading Halloween festival, announced their 2018 show dates!

Midsummer Scream will return for third consecutive year to the Long Beach Convention Center July 28th and July 29th.

For those unfamiliar with Midsummer Scream, it’s a two day festival dedicated to all things Halloween, where all the major theme parks make their announcements for Haunt season, Haunts set up demonstrations, vendors from all over the country sell the spookiest products and much, much more.

All Hallows’ Haunts has had the privilege of attending the last two years and we can’t wait for this July to return! Midsummer Scream has proven itself to not just be the best Halloween convention, but the best overall convention (even better than Comic Con. Yeah, we said it!).

As we get closer to July, be sure to follow us here and on Twitter (@HallowsHaunts) for more information on Midsummer Scream and other Halloween and Haunt events in Southern California.

(Image by Midsummer Scream)

“Ghost and Legends” Coming to The Queen Mary

October is officially here! And that means we’re in the middle of haunt season! Now, no stranger to Haunts and ghosts, the Queen Mary made an announcement this week when it revealed its new year round attraction, “Ghost and Legends.”

Per the official press release for the Queen Mary:

“The Queen Mary, dubbed one of the top 10 most haunted places on Earth by Time Magazine, is pleased to unveil the newly-intensified and re-inspired Ghost and Legends, opening to the public on Friday, October 20. Offered year-round, thrill seekers and scare enthusiasts are invited to board the haunted RMS Queen Mary to test their fears in the world’s largest interactive and fully immersive haunted attraction. Experience the spirit legends of the Queen Mary first-hand with all-new special effects, cutting-edge technology and, of course, the chance to encounter paranormal activity for a one-of-a-kind, spine-chilling, fun time.”

Brian Luallen, Director of Entertainment Events, for The Queen Mary, stated:
““The new Ghosts and Legends offers guests an entirely different level of the traditional haunted experience. We crafted terrifying original stories and characters based the ship’s well-known paranormal tales and hot-spots onboard the Queen Mary to create a truly thrilling, immersive, and unique encounter.”

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is already considered to be one the premier haunt events of the Halloween season. The addition of “Ghost and Legends” appears to be taking them to a whole new level of haunt entertainment. With the attraction being year round, the ship is about to get a whole lot busier and more exciting!

The press release ended with the best part: the attraction is only $15 for adults and $12 for children:

“Ghost and Legends haunted experience aboard the Queen Mary will open on Friday, October 20 at 11 a.m. The year-round attraction will be open daily and runs every 30 minutes starting at 11 a.m., accommodating up to 30 guests per experience. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children and are available at http://www.queenmary.com/tickets/. For more information, including hours or to purchase tickets online, please visit queenmary.com”

The team here at All Hallows’ Haunts are already big fans of Dark Harbor. Now, with “Ghost and Legends,” Queen Mary will become a place we will frequent more often throughout the year.

Be sure to follow us here and on Twitter (@HallowsHaunts) for more information on Dark Harbor, Ghosts and Legends and other Halloween, Horror and Haunt events in Southern California.

(Cover photo courtesy of the Queen Mary.)

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Unveils Chef

Halloween Horror Nights at Midsummer Scream

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One of the biggest attractions at Midsummer Scream is always Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. Every year fans gather in a room to hear any bit of news from HHN’s creative team, John Murdy and Chris Williams. This panel always draws an enthusiastic bunch of haunt fans, and this year was no exception.

Before jumping into the new stuff, they provided some background information regarding how they became involved in Horror Nights. Both men painted rosy pictures of their childhood love of monsters, and how it inspired them later in life.  None of this was news to me, but Murdy and Williams were as charismatic as usual, so it was still entertaining.

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As for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights, they walked the audience through pictures chronicling the process of building The Shining maze. They promised the Grady sisters, room 237, Danny on his tricycle, “Here’s Johnny”, and of course the famous carpet. Murdy stated that his goal with this maze is to capture the slow burning dread of the movie.

They delved into scare zones a bit, too. One of the scare zones will be Hell on Earth set in New York City. Guests can expect to see an assortment of demons roaming the streets. HHN always creates top notch monsters/effects, so haunt lovers will definitely be in for a devilish treat.

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Finally, for those super fans, Universal is bringing back their VIP tours known as the R.I.P. Experience. This walking tour includes front of the line passes to everything in the park, free valet parking, special entry, a buffet dinner, and reserved seats for shows.

Keep your peepers here for updates about Halloween Horror Nights. Also be sure to follow us on Twitter at @HallowsHaunts. We’ve got lots of spooky stuff in store this Halloween season, and you won’t want to miss it.

 

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 Shining announced at HHN Hollywood

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As we creep towards Halloween, we’re beginning to get some great news about upcoming haunt events. The best news so far, comes from Universal Studios. Universal Studios has just announced that The Shining will be a maze theme at Halloween Horror Nights. Guests at HHN in Orlando and Hollywood will be given the chance to wander the dizzying corridors of the Overlook.

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Universal promises to include many iconic scenes from the film, while adding their own creative flair. Those brave enough to enter will encounter a crazed Jack Torrance as well as the spirit of room 237. While not explicitly stated, the maze is also expected to include the eerie little girls Danny encounters in the famous hallway scene. Hopefully, we’ll also be treated to the blood gushing elevator and the guy in the bear suit blowing another guy. Seriously, it’s the weirdest part of The Shining.

HHN The Shining Trailer

Click the link above to view the official maze teaser. Also follow us right here on All Hallows’ Haunts and on Twitter @allhallowshaunts for more Halloween updates.

Midsummer Scream Schedule of Events!

It’s just over two months before the return of the Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival. Now, the team behind Midsummer Scream has announced its schedule of events, and it certainly looks exciting!

Some of the panels include presentations from The Queen Mary’s “Dark Harbor”, Universal Studios Hollywood’s “Halloween Horror Night’s”, Knott’s “Scary Farm”, and much more. They also announced the return of the Winchester Mystery House, as well as a thrilling panel discussing the sadly now gone Disney’s California Adventure ride “The Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror.”

This is only the tip of the iceberg folks, as Midsummer Scream has additional shows, the “Hall of Shadows”, and numerous other events and panels booked for that weekend. Plus, more is on the way.

You can check out the 2017 Midsummer Scream event schedule by clicking on the the following link- http://midsummerscream.org/2017-schedule/

The entire AHH team is anxiously waiting for Midsummer Scream to get here!!!

Midsummer Scream takes place Saturday July 29th and Sunday July 30th, 2017 at the Long Beach convention center. Tickets are on sale and can be bought at MidsummerScream.org . You can also follow them on Twitter/Periscope: @MidsummerScream, and Instagram: @MidsummerScream.

Be sure to follow All Hallows’ Haunts here and on Twitter (@HallowsHaunts) for more information on Midsummer Scream as more announcements are made.
(Midsummer Scream Poster by Midsummer Scream.)

Midsummer Scream Tickets on Sale Now!

Midsummer-Scream-2017_Postcard-696x1024Alright all you Halloween, horror, and haunt enthusiasts! Tickets are now on sale for Midsummer Scream, the biggest Halloween festival of the year. In case you’re unfamiliar with Midsummer Scream, it’s a summertime extravaganza dedicated to Halloween and haunts. Many of the California based haunts and theme parks, including Knott’s, Universal Studios, and Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, made their official Halloween announcements at Midsummer Scream.

Theme Park Adventure (@TPAMagazine), the co-creators of Midsummer Scream, have announced some of the lineup for this year’s event that includes the Decayed Brigade, Zombie Joe’s Underground, Return Home Podcast, Force of Nature Productions, Mudd The Magnificent, and many more to be announced.

They also announced the return of the Hall of Shadows, Midsummer Scream’s own scarezone which features numerous mini-haunts.

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For you party ghouls, this year’s party will be hosted aboard the Queen Mary by Dark Harbor’s Sinister Circus!

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I know that I speak for the whole All Hallows’ Haunts team when I say last year’s Midsummer Scream was not just the best Halloween convention we had been to, but it was the best overall convention that any of us had ever attended. We can’t wait for July when Midsummer Scream returns!!!

Midsummer Scream takes place Saturday July 29th and Sunday July 30th, 2017 at the Long Beach convention center. Tickets are on sale and can be bought at MidsummerScream.org . You can also follow them on Twitter/Periscope: @MidsummerScream, and Instagram: @MidsummerScream.

Be sure to follow All Hallows’ Haunts here and on Twitter (@HallowsHaunts) for more information on Midsummer Scream as more announcements are made.

(Midsummer Scream Poster by Midsummer Scream.)

 

A Special AHH Anniversary!

12670167_10153237045047750_5102022318822753542_n.jpgThe very first AHH meeting.

As of yesterday, All Hallows’ Haunts hit our one year anniversary. It’s been a crazy and wonderful year for us. We’ve got to do so many things and meet a variety of new friends from the horror community. In 2016, we got to experience Midsummer Scream, Scare LA, Stan Lee’s Comic Con, Halloween Horror Nights, Knott’s Scary Farm, and so much more. Andy and our Force of Nature friend, Sebastian Munoz built the Fallen Saints haunt from the ground up. Lola transformed into every creature under the moon for the ghoulish theatre experience, Urban Death. Finally, our little claws typed numerous articles on topics both delightfully spooky and frighteningly disturbing.

12049186_10153073784827750_6124095253612958666_n.jpgThe AHH founders with our friend, Vincent.

When we started this journey, we didn’t have a clue. Each step has been a learning process, and we’re still growing. However, there is one thing that has remained consistent, and that is our supporters. We’ve received so much love from the horror community. That love drives us to do more, to be better. That love has radiated from every dark, cobwebbed corner. So we want to say thank you. Thank you for engaging us at conventions, thank you for reading and sharing our content, and thank you so much for your kindness.

13422340_1754294864783083_5834912263037025618_o.jpgAndy and Lola with our friends, Sebastian and Adam.

In 2017, we intend to stay focused, and to expand our reach. We’d like to try our hand at other forms of media, in addition to the ones we already use. We’re undergoing some big changes right now, and it may be awhile before we feel settled. We ask that you stick with us and provide honest feedback. As the site mutates and develops, we promise to continue supporting Halloween enthusiasts, horror fiends, and other macabre weirdos. This is starting to get so sweet we’re worried about drawing mosquitos, so we’ll close with a final thank you to you, our dear friends.