Today the “remake, revisioning, retelling, etc.” of Poltergeist arrives in theaters. As all of you know, the original Poltergeist is considered one of the top classic movies in the horror genre. Therefore, we had to say a little something about it.
For those of us who were fortunate enough to be around in the early 80’s, the original movie successfully tapped into the fears kids and adults carried with them during those times. These fears included, child abduction as Caroline was sucked through the TV set into the “other side” away from her family. There also was familial dysfunction and displacement as the events of Caroline’s abduction lead to the unraveling of the family unit with strained relationships and distrust emerging among the members. For kids, there are also the terrors of all the things that go bump in the night from monsters (and clowns) under bed to the scary shadows of trees reflecting (and crashing) through our bedroom windows at night. For adults, the horrors of being vulnerable in moments of crisis, not having cable TV, and bad real estate investments also manifested in this successful, low gore but high scare movie.
Since Poltergeist came out in 1982 many movies have taken (ripped off) from its story pages, including it’s own 2 sequels. Now 33 years later it seems that they’re baaaack. Current reviews have been fairly positive and we believe in the notion that good ghost stories always deserve to be retold. However, our hope is that the storytelling has evolved enough to capture some of the things that keep us up at night in today’s world, especially us 80’s kids who are now adults. Perhaps instead of the TV, the little girl should be sucked into a mobile phone or iPad?
The one big flaw we see in this movie is the lack of Tangina, the Poltergeist lady herself. Sadly, the original actress Zelda Rubinstien looked into the light and is now on the other side herself but her character was a big part of the movie as she reminded us what we’re afraid of and why. She also provided the wisdom to lead us all to better understand ourselves and learn why we can’t let our own fears get the best of us. Without this central character in the movie we’re not sure if it can recreate the horror magic of the first but we’ll still give it a try.
All in all what we will be watching the movie for is it’s potential to become a haunt experience. While it has always been harder to transform ghost movies into haunts versus slashers and monsters, there have been some successful ghost mazes in recent years. Of course, Universal’s HHN as successfully created some very creepy and scary haunted houses based on ghostly occurrences such as Dead End, and Dead Silence, and Insidious. Poltergeist itself was also featured in a few rooms inside Knotts Scary Farm’s Horrowood Hotel maze back in the early 2000’s.
We’ll follow up and let you all know what we think of the Poltergeist’s return and look forward to hearing all of your thoughts as well.
Today Jack the Clown made his twisted and triumphant return for Universal Orlando’s HHN 25th year. Jack has been one of the most popular icons over the past 25 years at HHN so it’s no real surprise that he’s the chosen master of sacremonies. We do wonder if he’s only the first of the other popular HHN icons who may return as HHN 25 is a big horror show to lead, but if anyone (thing) can kill it on their own, Jack can. He is known as being the master of mayhem and the bringer of chaos and all things Halloween Horror Nights. To us this version of Jack also looks more sinister than ever before and we’re glad that he has returned to offer us a “glimpse of terror” for this year’s scare-tivites taking place at Universal Orlando on select nights from September 18th through November 1st, 2015. Check it out…
Now as we wait for HHN to slowly release the themes for this year’s 9 houses, 5 scare zones, and 2 shows; Jack is inviting us to sign up and pledge allegance to him as one of his “Maniacs”. As one of Jack’s Maniacs you’ll be able to know all the secrets of “HNN 25″ (or stick with us here at Scare Zone).
Speaking of HHN 25 secrets, we did discover a survey Universal has out asking which of the following themes are the most appealing/scary to us (with the disclaimer that the Television and movie titles are provided as examples only, and may or may not reflect material used in past Halloween Horror Nights events):
(Blade, Resident Evil, Underworld) Comedy Horror
(Shaun of the Dead, Scary Movie, A Haunted House) Psychological Horror
(The Ring, The Exorcist, Insidious) Science Fiction Horror
(Alien, Cloverfield, War of the Worlds) Slasher/Gore
(Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Scream) Zombies
(28 Days Later, The Walking Dead, World War Z) Classic Horror
(Frankenstein, Werewolves, Vampires)
Our friends over at HHNRUMORS have their own guesses with what they believe to be the official leaked list. If this is all true it’ll be a big year indeed:
The Walking Dead (the dead will never die at HHN)
Freddy vs Jason (this is a nice mashup of some of horror’s biggest slasher icons)
Insidious (likely based on the 3rd movie which we expect will be available to buy when HHN rolls around)
Scream (MTV has a new Scream TV series this summer so this will likely be based on this version)
American Werewolf in London (one of the most popular mazes in HHN history)
Hallow’d Past 2 (a nostalgic trip back through HHN prop warehouse the worse HHN terrors live on)
Alice in Wonderland 3D (classic fairy-scary tale based house returns)
Run (we loved this choose your own path maze and all the maniacs running inside)
Blizzard (a Body Collectors and Shadybrook mash-up)
Comment below on which themes you’d like and expect to see at HHN 25. For more information on HHn 25 tickets visit their website and stay tuned as we anxiously await the 9 houses to be revealed.
We are very disappointed to share that our experience at Insidious 4D here in Los Angeles did not happen due to the people running it being disorganized, disingenuous, and rude. We pride ourselves at Scare Zone in representing the experience everyday people will have when going to haunts so we don’t push to get special press access, treatment, or freebies as we want to report on the haunt experiences as they really are and not biased with VIP access.
Insidious 4D is a very simple marketing promotion, using virtual reality goggles and some film props set up inside of two connected trucks, designed to promote the upcoming movie Insidious 3. During the stop in L.A. guests can RSVP for a reserved time or just show up and wait in line. All the RSVP times required codes provided by various press partners and all seemed impossible for us to use on the event’s website. Nonetheless, the event was listed on the website as opening at 3pm today (Saturday 5/16) so we went at 2:30 to begin our wait in line and hopefully beat some of the crowds. However, upon our arrival we were told that they don’t open until 6:30p (?). Others had also arrived early to get in line and like us had traveled some distance to attend and were also dismayed to be told they now needed to come back 3.5 hours later. When we checked on our phones the website still had the opening time listed as 3pm so this was a critical error on their part.
The Public relations (PR) woman who was running the check in line appeared to be nice at first but in a very backhanded and patronizing manner she was also trying to act as if it was our faults for showing up at the time listed on the website; as if we should have known they didn’t have their shit together. She “offered” to “try to” accommodate us if we waited to go in. Meanwhile there was nobody, press or otherwise waiting to go in. However, literally a minute before our other writer showed up, a group of “PR” people (9 total) arrived. I was then told by this Insidious PR woman that “she tried to get us in but since our friend wasn’t there, there’s nothing she can do.” I told her we can still wait, as we came expecting to wait, but to be clear the website stated that they opened at 3 and not 6:30.” The Insidious PR woman then randomly snapped at me and said that she was trying to be nice but my tone is rude (which it was not, I only stated the facts) and I should try at 6:30 and she stormed off. It was a very odd moment. A second later her bipolar disorder kicked in again as she came back over to me and said she’ll see what she can do and then walked off again (WTF?).
Our other writer showed up seconds later and other visitors started to show up as well. The Insidious PR woman started telling them that it wasn’t open until 6:30 and they all looked puzzled since the website said 3pm. She told them it was only open for press. One of us then went over to the group she was telling to leave to validate they weren’t crazy and that the website does say they open at 3pm and can accommodate general admission without a “reservation” time. This is when the Insidious PR woman physically grabbed her and pushed her aside. It was unreal! We told her that it wasn’t necessary to push and the Insidious PR woman harshly said “I told your friend I was trying to make it work for you so why don’t you talk to each and stay out of this.” At this point we were so shocked at the nature of the behavior of this Insidious PR woman we were finished and knew that this experience was not worth it at all. The only scary thing here was is this second class nut job woman who was struggling through her mental issues in public. She actually could have been arrested for assault had we decided to call the police.
We did ask who was in charge and spoke with some other guy “in charge”. He seemed nice enough and seemed to agree what had transpired was uncalled for, but also wasn’t proactive in correcting the situation. While speaking with him, the crazy Insidious PR woman came back and over to us and tried to do more condescending verbal assaults as she apparently was the victim of this situation. Then the guy started to argue with her as well so we were finished with this whole shit show and left.
This is a problem we’ve experienced over the years in the haunt industry. Dealing with the companies, movie studios, and individuals who try to capitalize off of the haunt experience. All these entities do not have the integrity nor the soul to deliver a haunt experience with any real intention to provide people with a good time and scares. They simply want to promote their upcoming moving, sell some goods, and make a fast buck off of dedicated haunters, horror fans, and the general public. It’s really disgusting to think that they’ll be so rude and condensending to the very people who are going to be watching their movies and buying the products that pay their checks. They obviously only have a myopic view of the world in which everyone should simply go along with the rules that they keep changing while they keeping playing games. They don’t see the big picture and know that once the word gets out that their event/haunt is crap, they’ve lost the trust and support of the haunt community, fans, and public.
Again, we want our fellow Haunt Stalkers, Haunters and friends to be treated with respect. No one should ever be verbally assaulted, spoken to in a condescending tone, or physically pushed. It is disgusting to know that the Insidious 4D experience is being carried out by a bunch of emotionally distraught and crooked individuals. Sadly this also taints the overall view and experience of the Insidious brand and studios behind it.
“Halloween Extreme” is a relatively new haunt conference that takes place in Orlando, Florida, every year in May. It debuted in 2013 and took a hiatus last year, but it’s back in a big way for 2015.
Produced by the Netherworld Haunted House, Spooky Empire, and Transworld, Halloween Extreme takes place May 15-17, 2015, at the Doubletree Hotel at Universal Studios in Orlando. Like other conferences, there are celebrity guests, classes, contests, parties, and of course, THE must-have for any successful conference…haunt tours!
This year, Halloween Extreme has upped the ante over other conferences by being the first to offer tours of a major theme park haunt: Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa. The Friday night bus tour will make a stop at the theme park, where attendees will be treated to a lights-on, behind-the-scenes tour of the popular Deadfall and Zombie Mortuary houses. There will also be a preview of Zombie Containment 15, as well as a Q&A session with the event’s production team. This kind of access is almost unprecedented for a haunt conference, so if you have the ability to attend this event, get your tickets now!
Of course, the tour of Howl-O-Scream isn’t the only thing to see. There are 3 other haunt tours scheduled for the weekend, including The Shallow Grave, Legends of Old Town, and The Republic. And with their expanded roster of seminars (including panels featuring speakers from Halloween Horror Nights and Howl-O-Scream), Halloween Extreme is shaping up to be a major player in the conference circuit. Their location in theme park heaven, aka Orlando, doesn’t hurt either.
Check out Halloween Extreme’s web site for more information and to buy tickets. We are definitely putting this conference on our must-attend list for a future year!
For decades children have been forced to take awkward photos with scary looking Easter Bunnies. We’re sure these terrifying rodent encounters have had some long lasting affects on some of our Haunt Stalkers. This weekend you’ll finally be able to re-face your fears and try not to become a (Easter) basket case in the process as for the first time, we can ever recall, Brighton Asylum Slaughter House will be hosting a “full contact” Easter Haunt.
The animals have taken over Brighton Asylum for the night and they’re having YOU for dinner! Rabid bunnies with chainsaws (and so much more) await you in this horrifying, yet thrilling, full contact haunted attraction experience. We know you love haunted houses and Brighton Asylum brings you the very best in seasonal and off season haunted attraction entertainment!
Experience the “Rottentail Slaughterhouse” full contact haunted attraction event this Saturday, April 4th! Only those who accept a glow necklace at the ticket booth will be participants in this more intense haunted attraction experience (Those who wish to attend the event without contact simply enter without glow necklace).
At Brighton Asylum’s “Contact” verion of “Rottentail Slaughterhouse”, you may be subjected, but not limited, to the following: forced separation from your group or path, simulated abduction, physical contact, contact with water, profanity, etc. Not recommended for pregnant women, people with heart conditions, respiratory problems, back and neck problems, balance problems, anxiety conditions, claustrophobia conditions, and other medical conditions that could be made worse by these situations.
Note: you MUST be 18 years or older to enter this attraction, and willing to sign their waiver. You will be screened by security. I.D. is checked. Those under the age of 18 years CAN participate if accompanied by a parent.
There’s no better combination for “off season haunt” than a long Dead President’s weekend with both a Friday the 13th and Valentine’s Day. The S&M fun of 50 Shades of Gray is no match to the heart pumping you’ll feel from getting stalked by spooks, frightened by freaks, and chased by chainsaws on Valentine’s Night.
For 2015 many haunts across the country are planning to make the most of the holiday weekend as there’s a nice and long list of Bloody Valentine’s offerings, It’s a known fact that being scared is physiologically arousing and as we always say, love will never do without haunts.
Looking to get felt up this Valentine’s weekend? Combining the two popular haunt trends of extreme and Valentine’s day haunts, Brighton Asylum want’s you to “be their’s” at the “Dark Valentine” full contact haunted attraction open this Valentine’s weekend!
Only those who accept a glow necklace at the ticket booth will be participants in this more intense haunted attraction experience. If at any time you want the contact to stop, just discard the necklace. Those who wish to attend the event without contact simply enter without glow necklace.
Note: you MUST be 18 years or older to enter this attraction, and willing to sign our waiver. You will be screened by security. I.D. is checked. Those under the age of 18 years CAN participate if accompanied by a parent. We are not responsible for minor’s who attempt to enter with an adult guardian other than their parent.
At Brighton Asylum’s “Contact” verion of “Dark Valentine”, you may be subjected, but not limited, to the following: forced separation from your group or path, simulated abduction, physical contact, contact with water, profanity, etc. Not recommended for pregnant women, people with heart conditions, respiratory problems, back and neck problems, balance problems, anxiety conditions, claustrophobia conditions, and other medical conditions that could be made worse by these situations.
Brighton Asylum Legend Brighton’s industrial complex, a series of old and decrepit warehouses, was used for housing mentally unstable and psychologically damaged individuals back in the mid 1940’s. After years of extremely harsh living conditions, grotesque medical experiments, staff disappearances, and screams spilling into the residential areas during the night, the state permanently closed the facility in 1952 pending a full investigation. No such results of an investigation can be found to date. The series of unthinkable events that took place between the mid 1940’s and 1952, are still waiting to be discovered. Several of the head doctors and psychiatrists involved, allegedly, found a way to tap into the minds of their patients in an effort to experience first hand exactly what was in the deepest, darkest, recesses of their minds. They thought this would provide them with a better understanding of their patients and ultimately lead to better treatments. Ultimately, rumor has it, it drove them to the brink of insanity themselves. There are reports of doctor’s, psychiatrists, nurses, and even guards, clawing their own skin off, pulling their teeth out, cutting their eyelids off, and performing surgeries on themselves and each other, just to name a few of the many grotesqueries that were rumored to have happened as a result of this unprecedented technique.
All was quiet for 59 years while Brighton Asylum sat unexposed, decaying and cut off from any and all outside influence. All the while, Brighton Asylum sat unexposed, decaying and cut off from any and all outside influence. Then, as if to be suddenly given a new lease on life, Brighton Asylum re-opened in 2011 as a haunted attraction. Its creaky doors open to the public once again, and ever since, thousands of people have been exploring its hallways and rooms where hundreds of patients lost their minds. Some say that when you enter one of the patient rooms, you actually enter the mind of that patient, encompassing everything that patient was and everything that drove that patient to the brink of insanity. Is your mind strong enough to endure it? Or will you suffer the same fate that so many have rumored to have suffered before you, and become yet another victim of the infamous and harrowing Brighton Asylum?
Great news for Southern California haunt fans! Reign of Terror, in Thousand Oaks, will be opening its doors for a special event on Friday, February 13, 2015. The haunt will be in full production mode, so it’s a great chance to experience one of California’s best haunted houses during the off season. We don’t get a lot of off-season haunts in California, so you really don’t want to miss this opportunity.
All proceeds from the night will be donated to Reign of Terror associate Tom Hood, who is currently battling cancer.
Tickets are a real bargain at only $10 (a VIP option is available). We expect the line to be much shorter than it usually is during haunt season, so not only is this a fabulous value, but it’s also a way to avoid the long waits that happen during Halloween. Plus, your money will be going to a great cause. In addition, the Sunset Terrace restaurant in the Janss Mall will also donate a portion of their sales to the cause, so come hungry and thirsty and stop by the restaurant before/after.
Texas has, by far, the most haunts open on Valentine’s Day, and that trend seems to be continuing in 2015, as Austin’s House of Torment injects some terror into the sappy holiday by presenting “Valentine X“!
Ten years have passed since the last documented appearance of the Bear Butcher. His murderous actions caused a spree of copycats performing their own acts of violence on Valentine’s Day.
House of Torment Haunted House presents: Valentine X, a thrilling experience this Friday the 13th and Valentine’s Day. Come face to face with the Bear Butcher and his chainsaw in candlelit horror, as he unites his copycats in a murderous act of purity to those with adulterous sins. This February, Bear Butcher’s message is deadlier than ever before.
Valentine X will be open for two nights only: February 13 and 14, 2015, from 7:30 to 10:30 pm. Tickets are $24.99 for general admission and $34.99 for a Fast Pass. This is a small price to pay for a nice evening out with a loved one. Scare Zone also recommends a valentine’s day haunt as a great idea for a first date! (muwahahah)
During this time of year, we get together with family to celebrate the season. And what brings families together more than a heart-warming Christmas movie? Well, when you you get sick of all the heart-warming tripe, check out one of the movies on our list below as we’ve loaded up your Xmas stalking, um stocking… with a nice collection of Holiday Horrors just for you.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Years after witnessing his parents perish at the hands of a burglar disguised as Santa Claus, Billy Chapman dons a Kris Kringle suit of his own and goes on a terrible holiday killing spree, finally returning to the abusive orphanage that raised him. ‘Tis the season for yuletide mayhem! Charles E. Sellier Jr. directs this horror cult favorite, co-starring Robert Brian Wilson and Lilyan Chauvin.
This movie spawned four sequels, all of which were more ridiculous than the first. The first one seemed to take itself somewhat seriously, but as you can see from this much beloved “garbage day” clip from the second movie, things went really downhill in the sequels:
When a man brings home an adorable creature from Chinatown as a Christmas present for his son Billy, the shopkeeper’s sage advice — no midnight snacks, no water, mood lighting only — goes unheeded. As a result, devilish green creatures with a million vices take over the small town on Christmas Eve. This 1980s hit was written by Chris Columbus and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, and is not recommended for your littlest monsters. This is perhaps the best-known and probably best-quality movie on this list, and it’s a true classic from the 1980s.
Black Christmas (1974)
Terror reigns inside a sorority house a few days before Christmas break as a series of menacing phone calls — and the discovery of a dead girl’s body — transform yuletide cheer into fear. Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey and Andrea Martin (“SCTV”) co-star as just a few of the petrified sisters at the mercy of an unseen stalker in this 1970s horror gem from director Robert Clark, who told a much happier holiday tale with his 1983 classic, A Christmas Story. This movie was filled with a lot of just…weirdness.
And of course, they remade this movie in 2006.
The Shining (1980)
While this isn’t directly a Christmas movie the winter setting creates a sense of holiday of terror unlike any other movie. This is also high on our “wish list” for a haunted attraction, well suited for Universal. The Shining is a 1980 psychological horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd. The film is based on the novel of the same name, by Stephen King, about a writer with a wife and young son who accepts the job of off-season caretaker at an isolated hotel. The son, who possesses psychic abilities, is able to see things in the future or past, such as the ghosts in the hotel. Soon after moving in, and after a paralyzing winter storm that leaves the family snowbound, the father becomes influenced by the supernatural presence in the haunted hotel; he descends into madness and attempts to kill his wife and son.
Jack Frost (1996)
When his prison transport collides with a truck full of “genetic material,” condemned serial killer Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) is inexplicably transformed into a terrifying, murderous snowman. With a red plaid scarf, a carrot nose and a heart made out of coal, the icy madman sets his sights on a small rural town and goes on an old-fashioned killing spree. Shannon Elizabeth co-stars in this chilling horror flick directed by Michael Cooney. The description of this movie made us wonder what exactly they mean by “genetic material”? (Kids, don’t eat the slimy snow.) This movie is so beyond ridiculous that it’s really a comedy rather than horror. It’s best watched after consuming a pitcher of spiked eggnog.
Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996)
Defense attorney, Jennifer Garrick, acquires a Pinocchio puppet from a condemned serial killer. Her pre-teen daughter, Zoe, mistakes the puppet as a birthday present and grows really attached to her new doll friend. Suddenly, accidents begin to happen to those who cross Zoe. Zoe claims it’s her Pinocchio doll. Zoe’s therapist thinks otherwise. Soon Pinocchio and Zoe are conversing about his bad behavior. Pinocchio promises he’ll behave if Zoe will cut his strings. Zoe complies, and the mysterious murders begin…
Christmas Evil (1980)
The winter weather isn’t the only thing that’s frightful about this unconventional holiday offering about a toy maker whose obsession with Christmas spirals dangerously out of control. After enduring a traumatic childhood in which he learned there was no such thing as Santa Claus, Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart) takes it upon himself to judge the “naughty” and the “nice.” But instead of spreading cheer, he opts for fear. Here’s a great bunch of clips from the movie:
Don’t Open ‘Till Christmas (1984)
A murderer is running loose through the streets of London, hunting down men dressed as Santa and killing them all in different, extremely violent, and quite colorful fashions. Inspector Harris has decided to take on the seemingly impossible task of tracking down the psychopath, but he’s going to have his work cut out for him. Only the suspicious reporter, Giles, seems to offer the Inspector any promising leads.
You can watch the entire movie on YouTube.
Santa Claws (1996)
Under normal conditions, a man in a jolly red suit can be delightful. But when the outfit belongs to a demented psycho (Grant Kramer) who’s convinced he’s Santa Claus, it’s absolutely frightful. Raven Quinn (Debbie Rochon), a sexy B-movie scream queen whose marriage is crumbling, is already dreading the Christmas season. When her creepy next-door neighbor starts dishing out his own brand of holiday cheer, things only go south from there. The scariest thing about this movie is the naughty job everyone does at acting but it could make for a strong final contender on America’s Funniest Home Videos (if we were still living in 1996).
Santa’s Slay (2005)
Jolly old Saint Nick (Bill Goldberg [yes, the wrestler]) isn’t making a gift list this year — he’s making a hit list, checking it twice and unleashing his inner demon for an unforgettably terrifying Christmas. A bet that Santa lost to an angel 1,000 years ago has expired, and now he’s hell-bent on spreading some holiday fear. As the big day approaches, only young Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith) and his grandfather (Robert Culp) can stop him.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
The Martians are irked that their children spend so much time watching TV shows from Earth that sing the praises of Santa Claus, so they decide to make a trek to the planet to capture Mr. Claus. During their mission, they also abduct two children who lead the aliens to the North Pole and Santa. The Martians take all three earthlings back to Mars, where, with the help of a native, they manage to spread Christmas cheer throughout the red planet. A serious B-movie classic; so great, it was featured on Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
If you’re so inclined, you can actually watch the entire movie on YouTube.
The Disney version of Frozen has become it’s own terror for parents and anyone in the proximity of little girls under age 13 who can’t “let it go”. However, the terror of this survival themed horror movie comes from the suspense of being on a ski lift in middle of a winter storm with unknown terrors (spoiler – a pack of wolves) waiting below. In Frozen, three skiers stranded on a chairlift are forced to make life-or-death choices which prove more perilous than staying put and freezing to death. The movie does provide some wonderfully gruesome scenes and high tension moments if you’re able to “suspend” your disbelief that the scenario they’re in could actually happen in the first place.