There’ll Be a lot of Buzz at HHN26!

April 16th, 2016

Second to the mazes, one of the most popular things to do at Universal Studios Orlando Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) is have a few of their speciality drinks and get buzzed. Well the first maze announcement for 2016’s #HHN26 is promising to give Haunt Stalkers a real buzz as the family of cannibalistic Texas hillbillies lead by Leatherface and his chainsaw will be stalking us in this year’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre maze.

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Leatherface has terrorized HHN on both coasts a few times in past. Back in 2007, mazes based on the 2003 remake were featured at both parks with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Flesh Wounds in Orlando and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Back in Business in Hollywood. The Hollywood maze hand an encore in 2008.

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Universal Hollywood went on to reincarnate Leatherface again in 2012 with one of the most scariest mazes of year – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Saw is the Law. This version, which will likely serve as the blueprint for the HHN26 maze, took us back to the original 1974 Tobe Hopper classic where the scenes fell in sequence with the orginal movie. Overall, the maze was a very fitting tribute to the movie. However, one scene we didn’t see, or maybe missed because we were running in terror, was the girl being placed on the meat hook. We hope that makes it way into the HHN26 maze.

 

 

This will be the first time that a maze based on the 1974 movie will be featured at HHN26. Here’s more of what you can expect to see this tim around from Universal’s press release:

capture-20130413-162654Flashes of a familiar facemask blur the line between reality and film. The roar of a chain saw inside a darkened, deteriorating farmhouse is deafening. You are being hunted. Moving past the rotting remains of other victims, you find your escape blocked by an immovable force. A force that has only one purpose – complete and total destruction.

This year, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” – one of the greatest horror films ever made – will come to life as an all-new maze at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 26.

You will walk through the iconic Texas farmhouse and experience Leatherface’s kills from the 1974 slasher film. You will desperately try to escape as the violent roar of his chain saw surrounds you.

 

Zombie Joe’s Blood Alley – A Horror-Theatre Spectacular

March 17th, 2016

Our fiendish friends at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group proudly births their all-new, evil red-haired step-child of URBAN DEATH…. BLOOD ALLEY. This is a seething horror-theatre spectacular in the great Grand Guignol, Theater of Cruelty and Buto-traditions, centering around the memoirs of a forgotten street alley haunted by the unspeakable events of its past; a cursed place of no mercy, inhabited by a hundred-year accumulation of apparitions, phantasms and sub-breeds that desperately await their next victim!

Zombie Joe’s produces unique, provocative, strange, and freaky fun haunted plays throughout the year. It’s the perfect date or friends night out in North Hollywood with many cool spots to eat and drink at before and after the show. Check it out!

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For Ages 14 and up. Directed by Zombie Joe.

(4) Weekends Only! Opens FRIDAY, MARCH 18 @ 11pm;
FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS @ 11pm,
MARCH 18 – APRIL 9, 2016

ZJU Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601
Tickets Only $15.
For Reservations Call: 818-202-4120
Website: ZombieJoes.com
Advance Tickets On Sale for All Performances at: ZombieJoes.Tix.com }

The Dead Walk On And On At Universal Studios Hollywood

March 17th, 2016

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The story of survivors in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by hordes of terrifying flesh-eating walkers is coming back to life at Universal Studios Hollywood this summer in a brand new year-round haunted attraction. After being part of the Horror Nights lineup for many years The Walking Dead will now walk on and on as part of the park’s permanent attraction list. The new attraction will be located right near the park’s entrance in a brand new facility that’s being built specifically for it.  This is a smart move for the park as this kind of attraction should have a high capacity intake that can help alleviate some of the herds of walkers… err tourists that will be attacking the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which entrance is also nearly adjacent to this new attraction.

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We also expect that this new attraction will be bigger, more elaborate, and scarier than any Walking Dead Maze they’ve made as now they have the advantage of utilizing  a dedicated space for the attraction. On the downside for us haunt stalkers and HHN fans, we know that this attraction will now be lazily counted as part of the HHN maze lineup every year as well. What we do hope is that they now move on and use other themes for the Terror Tram and Scare Zones which have been dominated by The Walking Dead in recent years.

This isn’t first year-round haunt at Universal Hollywood. In previous years, in nearly the same location, there has been The Mummy, Van Helsing, and Universal’s House of Horrors attractions. As with these attractions, the challenge Universal will have is keeping it fresh. While the former attractions were anchored in singular story lines the potential benefit of using The Walking Dead is they can modify the scenes and maze as the show continues on; if they choose to.

 

Here’s more info from Universal Studios:

Universal Studios Hollywood has worked collaboratively with AMC’s “The Walking Dead” for years as a signature “Halloween Horror Nights” maze. This newly enhanced venture will take the highly sought-after experience from a seasonal, limited time offering to an authentic 365 day opportunity, raising the bar for themed walk-through attractions. For a look at what to expect when the attraction opens this summer, please click here.

To further elevate the authenticity of this new attraction, Universal Studios Hollywood is partnering with “The Walking Dead’s” creative team, including visionary executive producer and director, Greg Nicotero and his special effects company, KNB Efx. Greg’s team, responsible for masterfully creating the show’s realistic decaying walkers, will construct prosthetics, utilize original molds and painstakingly apply paint and detailing to the attraction walkers. The integral involvement of the creative team will not only inspire the emotional connection fans experience, it will be among the attraction’s key distinguishing characteristics that will define it as a living version of the show. 

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“The Walking Dead” attraction will create a no-holds-barred experience that significantly intensifies any other iteration previously developed within the theme park. Coupled with authentic walker make-up effects, sophisticated animatronic walkers, substantially more detailed set design and costuming, and highly recognizable props replicated from the series, the attraction will deliver an uncompromised realistic environment that brings guests even further into the most watched show in cable television history. “The Walking Dead’ is a phenomenon that has successfully and consistently affected the psyche of viewers on a global basis, since its debut,” said Larry Kurzweil, President of Universal Studios Hollywood. “We’re taking its intensity to the next level by collaborating with the show’s award-winning production team to create an authentic living representation of the series that can only be experienced at Universal Studios Hollywood.”

“We’re so grateful for our longstanding partnership with the talented team at Universal Studios Hollywood. We’ve shared a successful three-year partnership at Halloween Horror Nights and now this permanent ‘The Walking Dead’ walk- through attraction takes the relationship and the fan experience to the next level,” said Charlie Collier, President of AMC and SundanceTV. “Along with our great partners at Universal, it means a great deal to us to continue entertaining — and frightening — passionate, loyal fans of ‘The Walking Dead’ for years to come.”

The “The Walking Dead” attraction will be located within an entirely new, custom built structure, situated within an expansive building complex just inside the theme park’s main entry.
The past five years have been a remarkable time for Universal Studios Hollywood as the destination embarked on an unprecedented revitalization that has substantially altered over 75 percent of its familiar footprint to effectively characterize it as an entirely new theme park experience. The introduction of the all-new “The Walking Dead” attraction continues the theme park’s unparalleled investment in an ambitious epic transformation.

Sinister Pointe’s “Séance”: Event Review

March 1st, 2016

Sinister Pointe’s “Curiosities” shop is a small space in a small strip mall in Brea, and we drove right by it on the way to experience their latest event, “Séance.” But although the footprint of the shop is small, the inside is huge on character and filled with fascinating objects and interesting merchandise. And behind the secret door inside the shop was a special space set up for the séance.

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When we arrived, we milled about the shop looking at the various trinkets and eyeing our fellow séance participants. We wondered what exactly was about to happen to us in the next hour. The Sinister Pointe website was purposely vague regarding event details, and the result was that we couldn’t really determine whether this was going to be played up as a “real” paranormal experience or whether there would be actors jumping out at us from behind the curtains. But since this was Sinister Pointe, after all, we didn’t think we’d be able to escape without being terrified in some way.

A creepy looking guy wearing a top hat and cape, and ominously carrying a black rose, chatted us up as we waited for the “show” to begin. He definitely played up the “it’s real” angle, letting us know that we were about to meet a real medium, who would not actually guarantee that anything would happen tonight. He asked us about our own paranormal experiences in the past, which got us into a good mind-set for the evening.

Finally, it was time for us to enter into the séance room. WARNING: From here on out, there may be mild spoilers.

The Experience

A secret door behind some shelving opened up, and the cape-wearing host purposely split the groups apart and took us two-by-two into the back room. As we entered, we passed underneath some burning sage. He asked us to breathe it in as a sort of “protection” against evil. In the room was a large, circular table with exactly 13 chairs. Each seat at the table had its own occult symbol carved into the wooden table surface (for example, an ankh, a pentagram, the star of Solomon, etc.). LED candles were scattered about. Temporary walls created a small, intimate space, and the room was decorated to look like the inside of an old house, complete with wallpaper, windows and curtains, pictures on the walls, shelves with various trinkets and items, old books strewn about the floor, and a creepy looking doll sitting on a chair. We eyed that doll suspiciously.

We waited a few minutes before the medium appeared. He was a friendly-looking guy with a beard, and he introduced himself. He then went around the table and asked us to recount any previous paranormal experiences we might have had. This was a bit awkward but interesting. He then had us join hands, and he began his first attempt to contact some spirits. Unfortunately, it failed, and nothing happened. Now we were wondering whether this really was some cheesy paranormal ghost-hunting gathering that wasn’t going to amount to much.

Next, our medium tried a few “experiments.” They involved opening a box with some old circus tickets and relating the story of a circus that burned down in the 1940s. Without going into detail, the “experiment” turned into a relatively obvious kind of magic trick that involved switching out some papers. After this followed distribution of some tarot cards, a story about the medium’s grandfather, and an “experiment” with old playing cards. Again, this was a card trick that resulted in an audience member creepily choosing three “6” cards (i.e., 666)—and oh no, did we just summon the devil to our séance?!

Things finally got interesting when the fake tree in the corner started shaking. Finally, we thought, here come some effects. Things happened quickly from there. Concerned for our safety, our medium had us grab hands, and he attempted to tell this evil spirit to leave us alone. Various objects in the room were thrown about. Yes, they were thrown. When they tell you at the beginning to keep your feet on the floor and make sure your chair is as close to the table as possible, make sure you listen! Or you could find yourself in the path of shattering glass or chairs being hurled across the room.

The lights went out, and our demon spirit began speaking to us. This was incredibly creepy and tense. After the intensity of some of the effects that happened with the lights on, we were pretty freaked out about what might happen in the dark. There were a couple of, let’s say, “fourth-dimensional” effects to experience, and then, fortunately for us, our medium was successful in driving the spirit away. The lights came back on.

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Our Thoughts

Because the website was vague regarding details, we were genuinely surprised with the direction of the event, and that was a good thing. Without knowing what to experience, our expectations were somewhat low. We think this was helpful because, overall, the event was fun and creepy but somewhat unsatisfying. The beginning was a bit slow, and if you’re not a paranormal “believer,” you may find some of the spiritual rhetoric hokey and laughable. The “magic tricks” were somewhat interesting but pretty transparent. There is a back story about the spirit who eventually assaults us during the séance, but honestly, it was a bit hard to understand. We found the climax of the event to be extremely scary and intense, but for all the build up, it could’ve used a bigger payoff. When the lights came back on, everyone remained seated until someone finally asked, “Is it over?” We feel that almost everyone was genuinely expecting something more. Maybe just that one final “scare” to take it over the edge. However, we do note that we attended the standard version of the show; the midnight version promised to be more “extreme,” so perhaps we should have stayed up late for that experience.

The séance set itself was lovely and well made. As veteran haunt goers, we were, of course, scanning the room for what the “effects” would be, but they were extremely well hidden. The medium played his part very well. And for an event in a confined, single-room space where all guests remain seated, the variety of experiences, the build up to the climax, and the scare factor were pulled off very well. Every guest was part of the story and experienced some kind of interaction.

Overall, Sinister Pointe’s Séance was creepy, scary, and most of all, fun. With a few tweaks, it could have been a pretty epic experience. We are very impressed with what they accomplished in the back room of their small shop, and we can’t wait for the next event.

Ratings

Haunt Design: 4.5 Skulls
Theming: 4 Skulls
Scare Factor: 4 Skulls
Fright Value: 3 skulls

Overall Rating: 4 Skulls

All Saints Lunatic Asylum Presents: Cupid’s Revenge, February 12 and 13

February 5th, 2016

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Ah, Valentine’s Day. Candy. Roses. Screams.

The list of haunts opening this Valentine’s Day has grown a little larger as the All Saints Lunatic Asylum in Apple Valley, California, presents “Cupid’s Revenge,” Friday and Saturday, February 12 and 13, from 7 to 10 pm.

Romance is in the air at the Asylum, and the staff is having a hard time keeping control. One weekend only experience the Asylum on a whole different level- LIGHTS OUT!! Yep, Blackout!!!

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Tickets are only $8.00.

All Saints Lunatic Asylum is located at 22521 Shawnee Rd., Apple Valley, CA. For more information, visit their website at http://allsaintsasylum.com/ or check them out on Facebook.

Reign of Terror Special Event: February 13, 2016

February 3rd, 2016

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For the second year in a row, Reign of Terror is making our Valentine’s Day wishes come true by opening their haunt for one night only this February.

On Saturday, February 13, 2016, Reign of Terror in Thousand Oaks, CA, will be open and in full production mode for a special event benefiting Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties. The haunt will be open from 7 pm to 11 pm, and tickets run $17 (or $25  for VIP access).

 

If you missed ROT this Halloween or just want an excellent opportunity to revisit one of the best haunts in Southern California, now is your chance! Bring your Valentine or your mom for a great night of haunting with the added bonus of helping out a great charity. Scare Zone will definitely be there, so if you see us, be sure to say hi!

Two Nights Only! Portland’s “Fear PDXmas”

December 8th, 2015

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Shopping at the mall, choking down fruitcake, dealing with your relatives….Is there a scarier time of year than the holidays? NO! That’s why holiday haunts make perfect sense.

If you live near Portland, Oregon, you’re in for a real Christmas treat this year, as Fear PDX Haunted House brings you not one, but FIVE haunted attractions all themed to the horror of the holiday season!

House of Krampus

We all know about Santa Claus, but his dark companion Krampus has a more sinister way of doing business.  He and his henchmen are visiting an old farm house to punish the undeserving. Sadly, Krampus turned out the lights and turned up the fear so you must fight through with only one glow stick. Good luck…


ClownCracker

Who says clowns lack festivity? The rat king may meet his maker this holiday season as the glitter and glamour of this classic tale turns to gore and grime. So step right into this ballet of horror and experience a darker comedic version of the Nutcracker.

Rudolph

They should have let him join those reindeer games, but it’s too late now as Rudolph has a new way of making history. He’s tired of the torment from the other reindeer and has joined forces with evil spirits deep below the cavernous North Pole to seek revenge on those who ridiculed him.  Whatever you do, don’t look at the light.

Zombie Xmas

What better way to ring in the holiday spirit than by being stormed by a horde of brain-eating zombies. The apocalypse right during the holidays gives you just that with a festive twist.  I triple dog dare you to join us.  Christmas dinner is being served rare and nobody has seen Grandma in a while… Can you survive?

Elf Block

Thousands of years working the assembly line would drive anybody mad. So what happens when the elves finally crack? Now you can experience the place where elves can finally be corrected on their duties, sentenced to a lifetime of labor.  But can you survive? Afterall, somebody’s gotta make the toys.

Fear PDXmas is open for TWO NIGHTS ONLY: December 18 and 19, 2015. So stuff your stocking with some tickets. At only $20, it’s a real bargain.

ThanksKilling Time Movies

November 26th, 2015

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. Anyone?

We did find a few handful of Thanksgiving appropriate movies for you, including the 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:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

Five friends visiting their grandfather’s house in the country are hunted and terrorized by a chain-saw wielding killer and his family of grave-robbing cannibals.

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.]

You’re Next (2011)

The Davison family comes under attack during dinner at a family getaway by a gang of mysterious killers. However, the dinner table soon get turned around as they soon learn that one of the victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.

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…

ThanksKilling (2009)

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” (a movie that never was actually made).

CreepyLA Announces the 2015 Cadavers (Southern California Haunt Awards)!

November 9th, 2015

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Even with haunts extending their operation into the weekend after Halloween, this year’s haunt season seemed to have quickly past by. It also felt as if there were not nearly as many haunts operating this season in Southern California. Nonetheless, the mainstay theme parks continued to scare with their ever increasingly popular (and expensive) haunts. There also were some noteworthy newcomers like CreepLA and some others that failed miserably. Alas, for this year’s haunt offerings in L.A. it’s now time to reflect back and rate the best of the season.

For the first time, the haunt reviewers and fans of Southern California have come together to vote for the Cadavers: Southern California Halloween Attraction Awards. These awards were created and organized by our friends at CreepyLA and we’re glad to be able to contribute our votes.

Click their logo or keep reading after the jump to see the full coverage of the Cadavers Awards from CreepyLA. Also, check out their site for more year-round coverage of the supernatural, the scary, and anything Halloween related in the Los Angeles area.

creepyla_throne_header Read the rest of this entry »

Haunt Review: Creep Los Angeles

October 17th, 2015

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But I’m a creep

I’m a weirdo

What the hell am I doing here?

I don’t belong here.

These are the lyrics to the unsettling, slow choral version of the Radiohead song that plays while you wait your turn for the new Creep Los Angeles haunt. But don’t listen to those words—you do belong here, because Creep Los Angeles is a seriously scary, demented, and innovative new haunt experience that you should definitely put on your list this October.

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Warning: Slight spoilers ahead.

Creep Los Angeles is located in the Arts District, only a couple of miles from another new haunt, Drunken Devil. The location is unassuming and bit deserted at night. The haunt is housed inside an abandoned warehouse, with the only indication there’s a haunt inside being the word “Creep” projected on the outside wall and the line of people on the sidewalk. We were unsure what to expect from this haunt as the website was deliberately vague on details, although it did tell us that we’d be forced to run and crawl. Some of the other people waiting in line with us were hoping the experience would be on the level of “Blackout” or “Alone.” We can report that it’s certainly not as intense as those two haunts, but it’s definitely more extreme than the standard theme park haunt experience. So for us, it’s a nice mixture of something a little more extreme without being too uncomfortable.

This haunt sends groups of six people through at one time, with groups going through every 8 minutes or so. We were forced to sign a waiver to enter the haunt, and we were warned that we’d probably be touched. After signing the form, we were ushered in a small holding area, where an older woman told us we’d meet her “creepy son” inside. Then she proceeded to stare us down for the next uncomfortable 5 or 7 minutes. Suddenly, a “creepy guy” burst out of the darkness and took one of us—alone—into the haunt. Immediately, this was different from most other experiences out there. We don’t really want to give away what happens if you end up being chosen for this “alone” experience, but we’ll say that it’s not too intense, but certainly helps to build suspense. Eventually, the group is reunited, and the haunt proceeds.

Overall, there’s not a very coherent story line behind the haunt; instead, there is a sequence of different scenes featuring actors who put on a bit of a performance where they might warn you about something, and then something scary happens (Bloody Mary, for example). The actors we thought of as the “creeps” are men and women who are mostly wearing masks that look like they’re from the The Purge, with the odd gorilla or scary baby mask thrown in. One of the more intense scenes involves hiding from a killer inside a dark box, with peep holes you can look out to see the killer stalking you.

Despite the fact that we didn’t gather a distinct story from the experience, we still felt that the scenes had a good flow and connection to them. The overall aesthetic is sparse, with an almost black-and-white feeling to the scenes. Some of the rooms have a surreal, “arty” quality. Lighting and effects are kept to a minimum, and the presence of a single actor in the room can sometimes be scarier than any scene full of monsters in a theme park haunt.

As for the running and crawling: yes, you will be doing these things. But no, it’s not that bad. You will most definitely be touched at some point, but it’s not too invasive. The actors occasionally pull people away from the group, but the separation doesn’t last long. Overall, Creep Los Angeles strikes a really good balance between something a little more extreme than the typical haunt without being over the top. You will feel uncomfortable, but not violated.

We definitely recommend that our readers check out Creep Los Angeles. The haunt is scary, unique, and good for haunt stalkers tired of the typical, “monster around the corner” scare. We also feel that the $25-$35 ticket price is a decent value, as the haunt lasted about 20 minutes, and with the small group size, everyone was guaranteed to get scared at least once.

 

Ratings

Haunt Design: 4.5 Skulls
Theming: 3.5 Skulls
Scare Factor: 4.5 Skulls
Fright Value: 4 skulls

Overall Rating: 4.5 Skulls