Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Unveils Chef

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.

Breaking News- Cassandra Peterson a.k.a Elvira will be at Midsummer Scream 2017

As if the Summer couldn’t get any hotter, the team at Midsummer Scream just announced that Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, will be making a special appearance at Midsummer Scream 2017. As of now, she is slated to appear as herself, not as Elvira. She will be at the convention on Saturday July 29th to sign autographs and meet fans.

The addition of the “Queen of the Macabre” has added a level of excitement and awesomeness to what is shaping to be an epic event!

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.

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/

TV Live- Twilight Zone Meets Theater

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All photos by Adam Neubauer

Imagine a strange and horrifying world. In this universe, time can be bent, the dead can return, and irony reigns supreme. Here, characters find themselves at a crossroads between the mundane and the downright bizarre. No, it’s not The Twilight Zone. It’s TV Live.

TV Live is a short evening of mini plays reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Night Gallery, and Tales From the Darkside. Each story is introduced by a Rod Serling type character played by Michele Danyn.

The first play follows a young nurse (Bonnyjean Hoffert) as she attempts to help a patient with multiple personalities. As she assists a sweet  young patient, she must also face his killer persona (both played by Tucker Matthews). Always waiting near by is lobotomy happy doctor (Mark Motyl). Written by Andy Shultz and directed by Adam Neubauer, the piece is a creative tribute to the asylum based thrillers of the 60s like Shock Corridor.

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The next segment, written by Steven Alloway and directed by JC Gafford  concerns time travel, romance, and betrayal. The story revolves around  a young actress (Katie Grace Hansen) playing a role on a sci-fi television show. It quickly becomes apparent that it’s more than just a role. She must unravel her feelings for her showrunner/former lover (Sam Horrilleno) and also deal with her wacky costar (David Kaufman). While I was entranced by the plot, I didn’t feel the performances did the writing justice. I commend all three actors for putting forth an honorable effort, but the emotions didn’t seem to be there.

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The third and strongest piece of the night is a bittersweet tale by Caroline Muniak and directed by Sebastian Munoz. This testament to everlasting love centers on a woman (Sherry Michaels) struggling with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. Her husband (Tom Jones) and his younger self (Nathan Pellow) lend all of their support. I won’t spoil it for you, but the ending sure tugs on the heartstrings in an honest, non Hallmark Channel way. All three actors are outstanding. It’s their performances that allow this piece to have such a heavy impact.

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The concluding play amps up the tension, by placing two criminals (Sasha Snow and Ali Graba) and their hostage (Skip Pipo) in a bank vault. Throw in two guns and some personal secrets and the situation turns ugly fast. This story, written by Adam Neubauer, and directed by James R. Eschom has a decent premise. However, the specific details of the plot aren’t made clear, which causes this thriller to fall flat. Without context, it’s difficult for me to feel invested in the relationships of these three characters. I’d almost like to see this story remade in a longer format to allow more time for things to develop.

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TV Live is a great ride for those who love classic episodic sci-fi. While, the show may not be completely even in quality, it’s never dull. I could tell that all involved brought grand amounts of care to create this endeavor. I imagine Rod Serling himself would be proud. Audiences have one more Sunday to catch TV Live in its current form. After that, the show will return with an all new show in the same format. For times and tickets, readers should visit fonprods.tix.com/schedule.aspx.

Eli Roth Takes Over the Terror Tram

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Universal has announced the theme of this year’s Terror Tram. That’s right folks, 2016’s Terror Tram is going full on Eli Roth. The Roth run tram will revolve around celebrity clown, “Hollywood Harry”. Harry provides fun and giggles to his many fans. Then the laughs turn to screams when Harry snaps and goes on a murderous spree.

I have to admit the Terror Tram has always been my least favorite part of Horror Nights. Sure, it’s a fun experience to be able to walk through the back lot, but one time is plenty. To me, the Tram lacks scare actors and sets, takes up too much time, and is just way too much walking.

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Nevertheless, this year’s theme has me intrigued. I have long standing mixed emotions about Eli Roth. In high school, I absolutely hated him. I thought he was a plague on modern horror. I’ve also had some personal conflicts with his company Crypt TV, but let’s not go into that.

I’ve calmed down a bit since then. I still don’t have much love for Hostel, (Did we really have to watch those bros party for an hour before getting to the good stuff?) but The Green Inferno was brilliant. It was a risky film to make, and I commend him for taking that gamble. I’m eager to see how this collaboration plays out. No matter what your opinion of Roth, there’s no doubt he’s a major player in the horror scene. His influence just might provide a desperately needed update for the Terror Tram.

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What do you make of this news? Are you an Eli Roth fan? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter. Stay tuned for more updates on Halloween Horror Nights.

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.

 

Knott’s Scary Farm Sets Sights On Halloween 

Halloween and haunt enthusiasts were treated to quite a few surprises over the last few weeks as Knott’s Scary Farm made back to back appearances at both Midsummer Scream and ScareLA Halloween to announce some of what they have planned for this upcoming Halloween Season.

First appearing at the inaugural Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival in Long Beach, California, Knott’s gave fans a brief history of audio mechanics for the mazes before making a few major announcements.

The first announcement  was met with many cheers as they announced last year’s Paranormal Inc. maze would be returning to Knott’s for 2016. When asked if the story or maze would be different, Knott’s representatives stated that only a few tweaks were made to create a better experience.

The second major announcement from Knott’s  concerned the Skeleton Key rooms. With the growing interest in escape rooms, Knott’s has decided that the Skeleton Key rooms for 2016 would consist of an escape room element. The rooms are: Visions, Zozo, Slasher, and Prey.


These new additions to the Skeleton Key rooms definitely add a new factor of terror and excitement to an already incredible event.

The news from Knott’s didn’t end at Midsummer Scream. The following weekend at ScareLA, Knott’s continued the show. The panel at ScareLA started off as a history of Knott’s and Halloween, where they explained the evolution of Knott’s Scary Farm.

They began to speak of the many celebrity hosts of Knott’s Scary Farm, when the official ScareLA host, Elvira, crashed their panel. Elvira announced that she would be returning to Knott’s Scary Farm this year with a new show!

The announcements didn’t end there as they announced that the popular laser tag and paint ball inspired Infected: Special Ops will be replaced this year with an updated version called Infected: Black Ops.

This new version of Infected will introduce a whole new style to the game as it will be in a new area of the park. It will also have a standard queue system instead of special times, new terrain to cover, unlimited ammo, and a whole new boss at the end.

Knott’s plans to announce the remainder of their mazes and shows for this year at a special Knott’s pass holders event on August 25th.

Between the announcements made at Midsummer Scream, ScareLA, and the few made online, Knott’s is shaping up to be the main event for this Halloween season.

Be sure to follow All Hallows’ Haunts here on our site or on Twitter- @HallowsHaunts for more information on Knott’s Scary Farm and other Halloween, horror, and haunt events in Southern California.

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.

 

 

 

Lola’s Favorite Finds From ScareLA and Midsummer Scream

I haven’t talked much about fashion on this site. I used to write about it more on my Buzzfeed account. When I started doing AHH, I just sort of stopped. Fashion is a big part of my life, and it’s probably the thing that gets me noticed more than anything else. On that note, many of my coworkers have been asking me where I get a lot of my stuff. Therefore I’m dedicating this article to all my friends at work, and all my fellow goth girls. I’ve indicated which convention I purchased each item at, but most of these vendors were at both events.

(From ScareLA) As much as I don’t need another black t-shirt, I couldn’t resist. This cute little black tee by Akumu Ink reminds me of The Conjuring by way of Tim Burton. I’m a sucker for illustrations of pale girls with big eyes. Akumu Ink has a wide range of designs to choose from. The designs are printed on hoodies, men’s and women’s tees, and even backpacks. If you like creepy cute, then Akumu Ink is definitely a brand you should look in to. http://akumuink.com/

cz3JKSz6SquiHnMRRrO7_8TW04b_1024x1024(From ScareLA) By far and away my favorite find from both conventions, is this amazing Jack o’ lantern purse by Dulce Calaveritas. I tried to get one at Midsummer Scream, but by the time I’d made up my mind, they were sold out. My purse is a little different than the one in the picture. My pumpkin is lime green with purple features and a black strap. They come in all colors. I like this bag, because it’s big, so there’s plenty of room. I also like the way the vinyl glitters in the sunlight. If you’re looking to score one of these, you’ll have to be patient. They sell out super fast, so it’s kind of hit and miss. https://www.etsy.com/shop/Dulcecalaveritas

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(Midsummer Scream) I picked up not one, but three items from Madame Whiskers. I got an eyeball ring, a Morticia Addams ring, and a Mulder and Scully pendant. You can get almost any image on you’re jewelry. They’re also inexpensive, which is great for goth girls on a budget! https://www.etsy.com/shop/MadameWhiskers#items

(Midsummer Scream) I love a nice sweater, and what hoodie could be better for Lola Tarantula than this spiderweb zip up from Kreepsville 666? Kreepsville 666 is a staple at horror conventions. They offer everything from Elvira dresses to skull shaped handbags. There’s something for every creepy girl! http://store.kreepsville666.com/

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(ScareLA) I absolutely adore these Halloween/horror skirts, designed by Brittnee Braun. My skirt is actually a different pattern than the one in the picture, but they’re quite similar. She sells a huge variety of prints, so there are many options to choose from. The classic high waisted shape will look good on most girls. I like this skirt because it creates the illusion of an hourglass figure. If I were to get another one I’d probably go for one of the zombie prints. https://www.etsy.com/shop/SkirtyBirt?ref=condensed_trust_header_title_items http://www.brittneebraun.com/

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The last vendor I’m going to mention is Sweet Midnight. I didn’t buy anything from her this time, but I’ve invested in some wicked cool stuff in the past. Sweet Midnight’s most popular item is the coffin shaped purse. These purses can be bought with or without bat wings. Word of warning, don’t ever put your coffin in the washing machine. Let’s just say mine is no longer coffin shaped. http://www.sweetmidnight.com/

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