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.

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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.

 

Reign of Terror 2016 Review

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So last night I hit up Reign of Terror haunted house in Thousand Oaks. It’s my second year in a row attending. Reign of Terror is a gigantic haunt featuring 95 individual rooms. There are eight different themes including a Victorian haunted house, a creepy circus, and an insane asylum.

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I have a big appreciation for ROT, because it offers the classic haunted house experience for a fair price. I think when people envision a haunted house in their mind, they’re picturing something like Reign of Terror. ROT relies on detailed props, sets, and costumes. The actors go all out to provide a fun experience for guests, and the animatronics are top notch.

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Unlike other haunts, ROT isn’t trying to push boundaries or tell an elaborate story. Instead, it offers good old fashioned Halloween fun. It might not appeal to those who demand a certain level of intensity from their haunts. Still, Reign of Terror has a lot to offer. Those who appreciate the artistry of production design, will definitely adore it. ROT doesn’t cut any corners. I’d also recommend it to those who feel they aren’t getting enough bang for their buck from other Halloween events.

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I think Reign of Terror could use a few more actors, other than that I have no complaints. I’d recommend getting a VIP ticket. It’s only $10 more, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy. I’d compare Reign of Terror to a vintage Halloween decoration. It’s like a cute cardboard ghost in that evokes nostalgia and possesses a unique charm all its own. It’ll have you pining for the crisp Autumn nights of your childhood.

Tickets and times can be found on the official Reign of Terror website. All photo credits belong to ROT. 

http://www.rothauntedhouse.com/

Midsummer Scream Provides the Scares of the Summer!

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Disclaimer: We’ve posted a lot about Midsummer Scream over the last couple weeks, and our coverage is now coming to a close. We decided it was time to share our final thoughts. Though, I’m the one writing this, we discussed our opinions together, so this article represents AHH as a whole. Now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, let’s get started!

This was the first year of Midsummer Scream, so there was great potential for disaster. However, the forces behind this new convention are experienced event coordinators. Their expertise coupled with excellent vendors, speakers, and haunts created an outstanding experience for Halloween enthusiasts. Midsummer Scream was perhaps the best convention I’ve ever attended. If I didn’t know it was the first year, I would’ve assumed it’s been going on for at least a decade.

A big part of what made Midsummer Scream such a spectacular event, was the venue. The Long Beach Convention Center was the perfect location. Sure it’s quite a trip for us Los Angeles dwellers, but the drive wasn’t too bad and Long Beach is a breathtaking area. The building has plenty of room, so everyone had space to breathe. It was also well air conditioned, which is a major step up from most conventions. (I’m talking to you, Monsterpalooza.)

In addition to the fantastic venue, Midsummer Scream also provided a huge supply of entertainment. All the local haunts were in attendance. Everyone from mainstream players like Knott’s Scary Farm and Halloween Horror Nights, to popular home haunts unveiled their plans for the 2016 season. Those who couldn’t wait for October could hit up the mini haunts in the Hall of Shadows. Of course it wouldn’t be a horror convention without the vendors. In the vendors hall, guests could find all sorts of freaky swag. To top it all off, those willing to spend a little extra could hit up the costumed dance party, headlined by Oingo Boingo.

I can’t say that I have any complaints about the convention. I’d be hard pressed to come up with anything I would change. Midsummer Scream was just what I needed to get me in the Halloween spirit, and I’m already looking forward to next year.

What did you think of Midsummer Scream? Be sure to let us know in the comments, or on any of our social media sites.

 

Will You Escape The Bunker Experience?

Within the last few years, escape rooms have been popping up everywhere. Everything from simple rooms, all the way to complex rooms where you have to face your biggest fears in order to escape. There’s an escape room for everyone. In Pasadena California, there is an escape room that combines it all into one of the most epic adventures anyone could have- The Bunker Experience. Fellow All Hallows’ Haunts team member Chris Nelson and I had the opportunity to check out the Bunker Experience, and I can honestly say, we were not disappointed.

For those who have never done an escape room, it’s basically a room where you must complete a series of tasks in order to get out. These tasks could range from finding a key, to solving a puzzle, to finding clues, or facing a fear. The tasks do vary, as well as the difficulty and theme of the room. As for the Bunker Experience, it’s set in a post apocalyptic future where mankind resides in underground compounds for protection. However, the compound you’re in is compromised by savages known as the Vandals, led by Lightcrawler. The Vandals are savage like creatures who attack, kill, and eat humans. They have attacked the compound, and it’s your job to find the hidden map and escape to safety before it’s too late.

Now, I had never done an escape room before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. We arrived just before our designated time, where we met several other participants who would be heading into the Bunker the same time we were. This was our team. We were checked in by a performer who was in dirty, ragged clothes. Once we checked in, another survivor brought us into the compound and explained to us what had been happening on the surface. Suddenly, an injured performer makes his way into the bunker. He had been attacked by the Vandals. The compound had been breached. We were rushed and sealed into the bunker, where we had forty minutes to find the map and escape to safety.

Now, for obvious reasons, I’m not going to reveal any clues or the exact tasks we had to complete. I don’t want to give anyone reading this an unfair advantage (though we’ve been told that they change the tasks periodically). I will tell you that they were some of the most clever and trickiest tasks I could’ve imagined. To add a sense of terror and urgency, there is the occasional banging on the walls, creepy sound effects, and dying guide who can assist you… till he dies. Sadly, we didn’t make it out before our time expired. Once the door opened, we had to make our way through this post apocalyptic maze where the Vandals were waiting.

I cannot even begin to describe how much fun we had. As soon as we entered, we were thrust into this incredible story of survival. We were part of the story and the adventure. It’s always cool walking through a maze or haunts, but you’re only walking through a story. With the Bunker Experience, you are part of the story. The challenges and tasks are so much fun. It’s great because it really shows you how important it is to work as a team and think outside the box. The forty minutes does go by really quick, but you’re having the time of your life!

We honestly can’t wait to do it again and bring our friends with us. I highly recommend the Bunker Experience to everyone. It’s fun, it’s scary, it’s challenging, and it’s an adventure. The story is fantastic and very enthralling. The performers are truly committed and top notch. You will have fun. You will be scared. You will not be disappointed.

The Bunker Experience, which first opened during the 2015 Halloween season, now runs year round. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit them online at http://www.thebunkerexperoence.com . You can also follow them on Twitter- @BunkerEx .

Per their site, you must be 18 years of age or older to participate, otherwise parental supervision is required. Groups consist of a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 12 people. There is no minimum to the number tickets you have to purchase, yet be prepared to share your time slot with others.

The Bunker Experience is located at 20 N. Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103.

Seriously, visit the Bunker Experience and go on an adventure! You will not regret it!

(All Photos by The Bunker Experience.)