The first haunt season of 2014 is arriving with some love and lots of fear for Haunt Stalkers. If you find it romantic to be stalked by spooks, frightened by freaks, and chased by chainsaws then check out this line up of Valentine’s Day Night haunts that promise to get your heart pumping.
It’s a known fact that being scared is physiologically arousing, so hold your loved one(s) by the hand and pray it stays attached to their body. As we always say, love will never do without haunts.
Freakling Bros., the little haunt in Las Vegas that is gaining recognition as one of the most terrifying, disorienting, and all-around awesome haunts in the entire country, has decided that it’s just not scary enough. Last October, they debuted “The Victim Experience,” an extreme horror experience that tested the limits of guests—an experience that only 30% of paying victims made it through. And now, by popular demand, Freakling Bros. is bringing it back for a special run this March! So if you missed it last October, now is your chance for some off-season extreme terror.
From their Web site:
Freakling Bros. Proudly Presents… our first ever off season event: THE VICTIM EXPERIENCE: MARCH OF DEATH. A twisted, Masochistic, and utterly Hellish experience for that special kind of thrill seeker. This experience is not for most. This experience is not “fun.” But most importantly, there is nothing quite like this ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY. All ticket sales will be online. There are a limited amount of tickets available and they will sell out. THIS WILL NOT BE OFFERED DURING HALLOWEEN SEASON!
There has been some whining online about the high ticket cost for this ($185, + online service charge). but we think this price is actually a bargain. First of all, this is an extremely personalized experience. The actors/torturers will be entirely focused on you. They won’t be shaking a can at a conga line, like in most haunts. Second, there are a lot of perks included with this price, including a “special” shuttle ride, a “decompression” lounge that includes beverages and snacks, and a survivor shirt (if you make it through, and that’s a big if). Not to mention the bragging rights you’ll get for being able to claim you attempted (and maybe even survived) the most intense haunted attraction in the country.
If you’re on the fence about doing this, be warned that this will not be offered in October. So don’t miss your chance this March. Tickets are limited and will be sold online only through February 20th.
Now that the horror of the holidays are over – it’s time to take little time out for yourself. The Queen Scary errr Mary currently has a special getaway offer for you to enjoy the horror of the haunted Queen Mary. We can’t think of a more frightening or relaxing winter retreat.
The best past is some of the scenes and sets you experience are also used during their Dark Harbor haunt event.
Get a stay aboard the haunted Queen Mary and enjoy a Paranormal Ship Walk for two for one low price. For all TUES to THURS stays in 2014, get two tickets to a paranormal Shipwalk Tour ($39 per person) and one night’s stay aboard the Queen Mary – starting at just $115.
In the mist of the winter season haunters are already planning their tricks and treats for the 2014 Haunt Season. Before the scary things get into full swing you can still catch a break at the 2014 California Haunter’s Retreat.
This year will be the 2nd annual gathering taking place at the Historic Santa Maria Inn. It’s a simple and laid back weekend with haunt owners, industry folk, and crew members from all around the west coast (and beyond). There’s no fees or no stress just Eat Drink and be Scary.
The retreat begins on Friday, February 7th a the Historic Santa Maria Inn. Call (805) 928-7777 for reservations and use the promo code California Haunters Retreat for room discounts!!
You can get updates and more information on the retreat via Facebook.
Kicking off their 2014 season, Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group in North Hollywood, CA, is presenting Nightmares, and “all-new horror theatre spectacular, diving-deep into our darkest dreams, desires, memories, fears, and freaky-ass ambitions.”
As our readers know, Zombie Joe’s had one of our favorite haunted attractions in the 2013 haunt season, and for us, the best part of the attraction was the theatrical performance inside the theatre. So we’re excited to hear about the new Nightmares show. If it’s anything like Urban Death, you can be sure to be creeped out and freaked out.
Nightmares runs Friday and Saturday nights at 11pm from January 17 through February 1, 2014. Tickets are just $15.
As we creep out of the clutches of 2013 it’s time for us to reflect back at another year of Haunt Stalking that seems to of had quickly passed away. To close out 2013 here’s our rankings of the best (and worst) haunts we experienced in our 2013 Haunt Stalking adventures. We truly scared it up in 2013, which materialized into being one of our biggest years of fears yet. We visited numerous haunts across the country from California, to Texas, New York, Philadelphia, and beyond. For a list of all the places we visited and to read our full reviews, please click here.
As you all know, haunt experiences can be a highly individual and subjective experience; what may scare one person might not be frightening at all to another, and what scares you one night might fall flat on a return visit. Nonetheless, we are professional Haunt Stalkers and this year the Terrorspondents have combined our votes for Scare Zone’s Golden Skulls: 2013 Haunt Rankings. So these reflect want we found to be the best from our own 2013 Haunt Stalking experiences.
BEST MAZE DESIGN/EFFECTS: Insidious: Into the Further (HHN Hollywood)
Chambers of the Mausoleum (Corona, CA)
Delusion: Masque of Mortality (Los Angeles, CA)
Prison of the Dead Escape! (Shocktoberfest, PA)
BEST MAZE THEME: Black Magic (Knott’s Scary Farm)
Insidious: Into The Further (HHN Hollywood)
Delusion: Masque of Mortality
Gunslinger’s Grave (Knott’s Scary Farm)
BEST SCARE TACTIC:
Prison of the Dead Escape! (Shocktoberfest, PA) – Too many scares to name
Coffin Creek Manor (Corona, CA) – eyeball in wall distraction
Reign of Terror (Thousand Oaks, CA) - best use of animated props
Circus (Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor – hall of mirrors, wall of daggers
BEST SCENE IN A MAZE:
Delusion: Masque of Mortality – Children’s bedroom scene
The Purge: Fear the Night – Outdoor park scene
Black Magic (Knott’s Scary Farm) – Burning Theatre
Lock Down (Terror Behind the Walls) – Strobe Hallway of Freaks
BEST MAZE NAME: El Cucuy: The Boogeyman (HHN Hollywood)
Detritus (Terror Behind the Walls)
Dr. Dark’s Black Spider Side Show (Headless Horseman)
Delusion: Masque of Mortality
BEST SCARE-ACTORS/MONSTERS: Nightmare NYC: Killers 2
Zombie Joe’s Urban Death Tour of Terror
The Purge: Fear the Night
The Empty Grave
BEST SCARE ZONE: Ghost Town (KSF)
Purge: Survive the Night (HHN Hollywood)
Walking Dead: Dead on Arrival (HHN Hollywood)
The Fog (Haunted Hollywood Sports)
MOST UNIQUE HAUNT EXPERIENCE: Nightmare NYC: Killers 2
Zombie Joe’s Urban Death Tour of Terror
The Purge: Fear the Night
Delusion: Masque of Mortality
SCARIEST MAZE: PRISON OF THE DEAD ESCAPE! (Shocktoberfest, PA)
Insidious (HHN Hollywood)
Terror Behind the Walls (PA)
Reign of Terror (Thousand Oaks, CA)
BEST OVERALL MAZE OF 2013: PRISON OF THE DEAD ESCAPE! (Shocktoberfest, PA)
BEST VALUE HAUNT OF 2013: KNOTT’S SCARY FARM
TOP STAND ALONE HAUNT OF 2013: TERROR BEHIND THE WALLS (Eastern State Penitentiary)
*We really don’t like having an uncommitted result but this year it really was a toss up for us between both of these parks. Universal’s mazes were full on sophistcated Horror Shows with some of the best effects, makeup, and talent, but we just didn’t find it to be nearly as scary as years past; mostly due to the park being overcrowded. In addition, the pricing has become too high with diminishing returns on our hard earned dollars. Oppositely, Knott’s is a great value and provides the best Halloween season environments throughout the park with unique themes, but the talent was amateurish (at best) and just like Universal the scare factor felt diminished this year.
This is where we load up the cracked and broken skulls (the worse of the worse) and drive them off to the crematory. Of course, being in the world of horror, we’re aptly aware that not everything will die immediately or forever, but until they return here’s our call for the worse of 2013.
WHO MADE THIS (WORST DESIGN)?
The Bog (Coffin Creek in Corona, CA)
WTF IS GOING ON (WORST THEME)?
The Cutting Edge (Ft. Worth, TX)
DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB (WORST SCARE-ACTOR/MONSTERS)
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.
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 Claws 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.
This December Sinister Pointe is opening it’s doors AGAIN for a special limited time engagement. SP will transform their current Halloween Haunt maze into a Holiday Nightmare. Experience evil elves, killer santas, a gruesome grinch, wretched whos and an onslaught of everything that is just plain wrong! This event is HILARIOUSLY RUDE and CRUDE! Expect inappropriate behavior, strong language and insults. If you are easily offended then this SPECIFIC holiday event is NOT for you!!
Everyone that attends will get to take a photo with our NOT so merry Santa! (photos sold separately)
- THIS EVENT IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CHILDREN…..AT ALL! -
Dates & Times:
Friday, December 13th – 7pm – 12am
Saturday, December 14th – 7pm – 12amFriday, December 20th – 7pm – 12am
Saturday, December 21st – 7pm – 12amPrices:
General Admission – $17.00
General Admission w/Fastpass – $25.00
All Night Pass – $30.00
All Night Pass w/Fastpass – $35.00
Pure Terror Screampark, located in Monroe, New York, bills itself as the “Scariest Haunted House in New York,” but like most haunts given to such hyperbole, it falls vastly short of this claim.
We visited Pure Terror on a Saturday night in the middle of October, when haunt season was in full swing, and the lines were very long. The person manning the ticket booth told us the lines were about 2 hours long, and since our time on the East Coast was limited and we had other haunts to visit that night, we opted for the “Speed Pass” so we could get to the front of the lines. And we were very happy we did so, because these attractions are not worth waiting that long for.
This year, Pure Terror moved to “Museum Village,” which is located in a park-like setting containing 19th-century buildings and historical artifacts. It was a cool setting for a haunt, and we were excited when we first stepped onto the grounds. There were a few vendors selling trinkets and things, and the haunted houses are located near the back of the property, their facades (and long lines) mostly hidden from view until after you pay for your ticket.
All three attractions in the Screampark were billed as “all new” for 2013, and the lines are daisy chained. They do let only small groups in at a time, which is a good practice, but the mazes are very small, so that is really their only option.
The Crypt – Our brand new attraction will send you traveling underground with the un-dead into a labyrinth of tight, terrifying passage ways. Your heart will race as you continue deeper into this dark, putrid hell where the restless souls await you.
Although the props and scenery were sparse and simple in this haunt, this was actually our favorite attraction of the night. Low-hanging, hay-like netting hung from the ceiling, forcing us to crouch in certain areas. The scareactors wore the same kind of netted suits, which helped them blend in with the walls and hide them from view. They got us with a few good scares in here. Naked female torsos also hung from the ceiling, and a couple of actors creeped us out by twisting the nipples on these props as we walked by. We’re not prudes, but this kind of lewd behavior isn’t exactly scary, but more eye-rolling, and we hope they didn’t do this sort of thing to the younger guests.
Haunt Design: 2 Skulls
Theming: 1.5 Skulls
Scare Factor: 2.5 Skulls
Overall Rating: 2 Skulls
Phobia – Another all new attraction where the stench of death is surrounding you before you even enter this macabre den of demise. Be forewarned, this structure is crawling with creature’s everywhere with no chance of escaping. Phobia will exploit all of your senses and make your worst fears a reality.
If you have a phobia of urine-scented dark passages, then this maze will terrify you! We don’t know what the hell was going on in this maze, but it smelled worse than a port-a-potty on skid row. We guess this was the “stench of death” promised in the maze description. This was stronger than any of the manufactured “haunt scents” we’ve experienced at high-level attractions. It smelled like the real deal. The halls were dark, the floor was just dirt, and there was a lot of black plastic, making the maze feel more like a home haunt than a professional attraction. There were some generic-type props hanging around as well as generic scenes of clowns, etc. The actors were doing their best to scare us, but the set up here just wasn’t conducive to scares. There was nothing particularly memorable about this maze (aside from the smell, that is), and the extreme darkness had us running into the group in front of us several times, which increased the annoyance factor, not the scare factor.
Haunt Design: 0 Skulls
Theming: 0 Skulls
Scare Factor: 0.5 Skulls
Overall Rating: 0 Skulls
House of Terror
All New for 2013: The House of Terror – Bigger & Scarier than ever before; guaranteed to have you on your hands and knees.
This is the most themed maze at the Screampark, and as the name probably implies, it’s an old-fashioned haunted mansion–type of theme, with the addition of some actors in vampire attire. The first few rooms are well done, with somewhat elaborate sets re-creating the interior of a Victorian-era home that has fallen into spooky disrepair. But the floors in this maze are again just dirt, which really distracts from the feeling of being in an actual house. We know that building plywood floors is probably a huge expense, and maybe there’s something about the historic “Museum Village” that prevents this construction, but fully enclosing the haunt from floor to ceiling would go a long way in elevating the experience. Nevertheless, they did a good job with what they had. The hallways were tight, and there were a few good distractions that the actors used to their full benefit for scaring us. We enjoyed this maze until we came to a part we had to crawl through. The actors direct you into crawling inside a fireplace, which is clever at first, but once inside, it’s pitch black, which left us bumping into the group in front of us while on our hands and knees, Human Centipede style.
Haunt Design: 2 Skulls
Theming: 3 Skulls
Scare Factor: 1.5 Skulls
Overall Rating: 2 Skulls
Overall, we were disappointed with our visit to Pure Terror Screampark. Particularly perplexing is the fact that HauntWorld.com called this haunt “one of the scariest screamparks.” We certainly cannot endorse such a high rating. One thing that does give us hope, though, is the fact that as we were leaving the grounds, one of the scareactors asked us how we liked it and seemed genuinely concerned when we told him about our experience. The fact that they care about guests’ experiences shows that they are trying to make a good haunt and it’s probably not just a money grab. So we hope to hear that Pure Terror improves its attractions next year, and we think they have a good basis on which to build something worth visiting. But for now, we can’t recommend it.
Today we’re all sitting around our dinner tables, giving thanks for all the great haunts we experienced this year, and counting down in our heads until the next haunting season. And despite the terror that goes along with being surrounded by family for the day, there just aren’t many horror movies themed to Thanksgiving. Of course just about every zombie movie can qualify as a Thanksgiving movie, since they feature people eating but it’s about time someone tap into the unrealized Thanksgiving horror market. Uwe Boll, Eli Roth, Jason Blum perhaps? Anyone?
Eli Roth actually has teased the possibility with this fake trailer for the “Thanksgiving” horror movie that was featured in Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse.
We did find a few handful of real movies for you, including the new holiday horror “franchise” ThanksKilling. So, when you’re done stuffing yourself you can watch these psychos and turkeys take their turns at slicing up some holiday meat:
Home Sweet Home (1981)
The Bradley family’s country home turns into a slaughterhouse when an escaped mental patient steals a station wagon and shows up on their doorstep in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. Now, instead of the traditional turkey, the Bradleys seem to be the main course on this killer’s holiday menu. Jake Steinfeld (“Body by Jake”), Vinessa Shaw, Peter De Paula, Don Edmunds and Charles Hoyes co-star in this early slice of 1980s horror. [Description from Netflix.]
Blood Freak (1972)
In this bizarre story, a bodybuilder named Herschel has become a serious marijuana addict. One day, while working on a turkey farm, Herschel consumes contaminated meat, and soon after, his head is transformed into a turkey head. The turkey-headed muscle man still craves his weed, so he gobble-gobbles and attacks other addicts and dealers in order to snag their dope and feed his addiction.[Description from Netflix.]
And the biggest Thanksgiving masterpieces of all…
While on their way home for Thanksgiving break, five college kids run afoul of a homicidal turkey that wants them dead. As the cursed bird hunts them down one by one, the survivors scramble to find a way to defeat the possessed creature. Will the bloodthirsty turkey make this their last Thanksgiving feast ever? Writer-director Jordan Downey’s holiday-themed horror spoof features an appearance by adult-film star Wanda Lust.[Description from Netflix. NOTE: This film is available on Netflix streaming.]
ThanksKilling 3 (2012)
Fowl-mouthed villain Turkie carves through the likes of a rapping grandma, a mindless puppet, a wig-wearing inventor, a bisexual space worm, and their equally ridiculous friends on his quest to recover the last copy of “ThanksKilling 2″.