It’s Time to Get The Last Laugh at Howl-O-Scream

June 30th, 2015

The first house has been revealed for Busch Gardens Tampa’s Howl-O-Scream – Circus of Superstition: The Last Laugh.

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Over the past 4 years this house has been terrifying guest with one the scariest shows on earth. It seems that all good things must eventually come to an end but before they do the clowns and freaks are going to do all they can to make sure it’s impossible to survive the terrorizing surprises and startling scares that wait inside Circus of Superstition: The Last Laugh. You may have spent all these years of avoiding black cats and sidewalk cracks, but all those years of bad luck have finally caught up with you!

We experienced the Circus of Superstition the first year it premiered at HOS in 2012 and it definitely was a favorite of ours. Here’s our review:

4912a4371d964f27b05762c0fae4a617_hos15_circus_housegallery02_550x350This maze was fantastic! As all of our haunt stalkers know by now, we find the clown theme to be tired and not scary. However, this maze has cleverly combined the Trickster icon and the park’s 13th anniversary with the theme of thirteen superstitions being showcased inside a circus filled with crazed clowns. Unlike the typical clown mazes where they try to be silly while scaring you, these clowns are sinister and pure evil. Lead by the Trickster who snidely welcomed us inside , we really felt like we were testing our luck in this maze. Inside, we were treated to superstitious fears such as opened umbrellas, broken mirrors  black cats, hat on a bed, spilling salt, and cracked sidewalks. The clowns attacked from all directions and some, on bungee cords, sprung out and got extremely close to us. On top of all that, this maze was in 3D bringing a whole new dimension of fear with the dramatic transitions from florescent bright rooms to dark passages, causing a very disorienting effect . The finale of the maze was one of the most suspenseful and heart pounding scares of the night with a walkway surrounded by ax wielding clowns. Seems we were pretty lucky to get out in one piece. 

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 4.5 skulls
  • Theming: 5 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 4.5 skulls

Overall Rating*: 4.5 skulls 

Step right up for the one of the scariest circus shows you’ll ever seen.

Terror Has Been Unearthed for Howl-O-Scream

June 18th, 2015

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Breaking News:  Maintenance crews stopped in Tracks – Yesterday crews digging at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FLWilliamsburg, VA and Sea World in San Antonio, TX found mysterious objects at the respective construction sites. All the parks are currently investigating the unusual discovery. More to come…

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This fall, for select nights, Howl-O-Scream 2015 returns to Busch Gardens and Sea World parks with sinister surprises and unexpected terrors around every corner. Howl-O-Scream 2015 has Unearthed a new evil and the parks will be overgrown with new dark and sinister fun.

Hundreds of roaming creatures will swarm in the streets, making escape nearly impossible. A chilling live show will get your pulse pounding, and top thrill rides in the dark will keep the screams coming all night long.

Get your tickets early and save on a single terrifying night at Howl-O-Scream 2015. Pre-Sale for the events will be available for a limited time.

Join the conversation by using #EvilUnearthed and follow Howl-O-Scream on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to learn about promotions and insider information first.

Dark Harbor Will Scare You to Sleep With a New ‘Lullaby’

June 15th, 2015

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A full month of terror awaits us this fall as the fearsome crew of Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor reveals new terrors for 2015.

Further exploring the deepest fears and horrific stories of the ship’s restless souls, this year the tale of the ship’s youngest soul, Scary Mary, will be unveiled in a new maze. There’ll also be a new Side Show of Freaks and Oddities, attractions, monsters and more orchestrated by The Ringmaster and all of the ghoulish spirits of the Queen for its most frightful season of thrills yet. 

IMG_0210Lullaby will take fear-seekers on a terrifying voyage with Dark Harbor’s youngest soul, Scary Mary, who has haunted the Queen Mary ever since her horrific drowning in the poolroom in 1952. Mary was a bad seed from birth. Before her death, mysterious tragedies and unexplained occurrences seemed to follow in Mary’s wake. She isn’t looking for just one playmate; she wants a whole playground of souls to play with in the afterlife. She can be spotted through out Dark Harbor, but the poolroom of the ship is her playroom. One must proceed through Lullaby with caution, as it may be the last journey through Dark Harbor as a mortal soul.

Dark Harbor will introduce the new Side Show of Freaks and Oddities that will take guests through an immersive experience into the grotesque world of freaks like never before imagined. Enjoy a specialty cocktail at the Side Show Bar for an up-close and personal look behind the Side Show curtain and catch an exclusively freaky live Side Show performance.

Dark Harbor guests will get lost in the depths of the Queen Mary’s haunted history through the Deadrise, Soulmate and B340 mazes as well as visit the feared Voodoo Priestess in her Voodoo Village with dark magic gypsies in a setting wrought with shrunken heads and voodoo dolls.

The Ringmaster will orchestrate the freaks and monsters of the Circus maze and its terrifying mad house that will disorient illusions through horrific magic, paranormal wonders and spirited thrills. The Ringmaster, The Captain and their band of spirits including Samuel the Savage, Graceful Gale, Half-Hatch Henry and of course Scary Mary will haunt the grounds of Dark Harbor nightly.

Dark Harbor brings the true haunted tales of The Queen Mary to life, offering the most authentically frightening experience available. The annual event begins October 1 and continues to scare those who dare through November 1. Ticket prices start at just $20 online, with Fast Fright, VIP Passes, and lodging packages available. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.

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Winner Kills All: Freddy vs. Jason at HHN25

June 10th, 2015

First up for Universal Orlando’s #HHN25 is the confirmation of the long rumored Freddy vs. Jason house!

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Freddy and Jason last appeared at Horror Nights in 2007, when each had their own maze. Now we get to have both of the most iconic horror movie killers of all time terrorize us together at Halloween Horror Nights 25. The house will feature “iconic kills” from the movies, as victims (guests) make their ways through the respective killers’ worlds. The terror will begin on Jason’s turf at the bloody campgrounds of Camp Crystal Lake. Those who survive will then make their way to 1428 Elm Street into Freddy Krueger’s broiler room of horrific nightmares. After they’ve taken care of all their victims, they’ll then place their gruesome sights on each other for a finale that will place us right in the middle of the Freddy vs. Jason fight. This is where knife gloves and machetes come out for an epic horror battle to the bloody end. 

Universal doesn’t want to pick the winner so to increase the repeatability and surprise of the house the winner of the Freddy vs. Jason battle will continue to change depending on when you go through it. Either way, Winner Kills All!’ 

This is the first of 9 haunts expected to terrorize us at #HHN25 this year. This is a great start and we can’t wait to hear what more they have in store for us.

Poltergeist: They’re Baaack?

May 22nd, 2015

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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.

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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.

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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?

tanginalives1The 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.

HHN 25 Brings Back in the Clown

May 19th, 2015

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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).

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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):

Action Horror
(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:

  1. The Walking Dead (the dead will never die at HHN)
  2. Freddy vs Jason (this is a nice mashup of some of horror’s biggest slasher icons)
  3. Insidious (likely based on the 3rd movie which we expect will be available to buy when HHN rolls around) 
  4. Scream (MTV has a new Scream TV series this summer so this will likely be based on this version)
  5. American Werewolf in London (one of the most popular mazes in HHN history)
  6. Hallow’d Past 2 (a nostalgic trip back through HHN prop warehouse the worse HHN terrors live on)
  7. Alice in Wonderland 3D (classic fairy-scary tale based house returns)
  8. Run (we loved this choose your own path maze and all the maniacs running inside)
  9. 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.

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Insidious 4D Experience: Just Step Away ‘Further’ Back

May 16th, 2015

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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.

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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.

FullSizeRenderAgain, 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.

Tour 2 Howl-O-Scream Houses at This Year’s Halloween Extreme

April 22nd, 2015

Halloween Extreme

“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!

Here Comes Peter Rottentail to Brighton Asylum’s Easter Haunt

April 2nd, 2015

Scary-Easter-bunny-pictures-5For 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.

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April 4th, 8:30pm-10:30pm
Brighton Asylum – 2 Brighton Ave, Passaic NJ 07055

NEW: TIMED TICKETING! Now you can purchase a timed ticketing slot and greatly reduce your wait time!

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.

Friday the 13th/Valentine’s Day/Dead Presidents Weekend Haunts 2015

February 9th, 2015

The Fun and Terror Continues….

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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.

 

Alabama

Warehouse 31 – Birmingham

Arx Mortis – Killen

Arizona

The 13th Floor – Phoenix

California

Talladega Frights-My Bloody Valentine – Bakersfield

Zombie Joe’s Ghosts of the Underground – North Hollywood

Fear Overload Scream Park – San Leandro

Reign of Terror – Thousand Oaks

Colorado

The 13th Floor’s Valentine X – Denver

Connecticut

Scream Acres’s Zombie Prom & Bloody Valentine’s – Covington

Florida

Legends Dark Amusements-A Haunting in Old Town – Kissimmee

The Shadow Grave: A Night to Dismember – Winter Heaven

Illinois

Basement of the Dead – Aurora

13th Floor Haunted House – Chicago

Factory of Love (Teddy Bear Killer) – Moline

Nightmare on Fairgrounds Road: Broken Hearts – Princeton

 

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Kansas

The Asylum Haunted House: My Bloody Valentine – Chetopa

Michigan

Exit 13 Haunted House -Mount Morris

50 Shades of Phun – Westland

New Jersey

Brighton Asylum-Dark Valentine’s – Passaic

New York

Blood Manor – NYC – Scare Zone has visited Blood Manor on Valentine’s Day and had a bloody good time. Read our review here.

Times Scare – NYC

Nyctophobia Haunted House – Eastport

North Carolina

Deceased Farm: My Deceased Valentine – Lexington

Oklahoma

 Guthrie Haunts: My Vexed Valentine – Guthrie

The Sanctuary’s Tunnel of Love – Oklahoma City

Pennsylvania

Castle Blood’s Love & Death – Monessen

Valentine’s Ghost Tour – Philadelphia

Halloween Park – Strinestown

Tennessee

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure: My Bloody Valentine – Gatlinburg

Slaughter House Bloody Valentine – Hermitage

Frightmare Manor – Morrison

Haunted Hell – Nashville

Texas

House of Torment – Austin

Moxley Manor-Valentine’s Day Massacre – Bedford

House of Horrors’s Tortured Love -Clyde

50 Shades of Fear at Hangman’s House of Horrors -Fort Worth

Cutting Edge-Twisted Love – Fort Worth SZ Review

Tayman Graveyard-Valentine Massacre – Midlothian

Dark Hour Haunted House – Plano

The 13th Floor – San Antonio

Utah

Castle of Chaos – Taylorsville

Virginia

Night Watch Haunt’s Dark Hearts – Hellsville

Shocktober’s My Bloody Valentine – Leesburg

St. Albans Sanatorium’s Fatal Attraction – Radford

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We hope you have a horrifyingly Valentine’s NIGHT! We look forward to hearing all about it… if you survive.