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This Weekend: Midsummer Scream 2017

It’s almost time kids, the summer kick off to haunt season is here!

Get your tickets NOW for Midsummer Scream, the Scare Zone’s highly ranked Southern California Haunt Convention!

Returning for a second year Midsummer Scream is a large-scale summer festival celebrating the spirit of Halloween and horror, drawing thousands of guests to Southern California for a weekend of thrills and chills. Featuring a massive show floor of vendors and exhibitors, haunted attractions and experiences, live entertainment and world-class panel presentations, Midsummer Scream is the West Coast’s premier Halloween/horror event, offering something for fans of all ages. More information can be found at MidsummerScream.org.

Featured guests and panelist includes:

  • Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira, Mistress of the Dark: Appearing as herself. Saturday, July 29 only.
  • Sid Haig as Captain Spaulding in House of 1000 Corpses

  • LeeAnna Vamp: Appearing at the Girls & Corpses booth all weekend long! “Queen of the Nerds” and the “Ghoul Of Your Dreams.” Globally recognized cosplayer and judge on SyFy’s Cosplay Melee.

  • Kane Hodder: Jason Voorhees from the “Friday the 13th” series; Victor Crowley from the “Hatchet” trilogy. Signing at the Savage Productions booth #162/164 on Saturday, July 29 only.
  • Barbara Magnolfi: Olga in “Suspiria.” Signing all weekend long at the Etheria booth, #154.
  • Tony Moran: Michael Myers from “Halloween” (1978). Signing on Saturday, July 29 at the Coffin Girls booth, #205.
  • John Murdy: Creative Director, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. Appearing Sunday, July 30.

  • Ed Alonzo: World famous magician.Appearing Sunday, July 30 as part of the Knotts Berry Farm 45 panel.
  • Bela Lugosi, Jr.: Saturday, July 29 only; signing at the Rock Rebel booth.

 

Here’s a look back the the Midsummer Scream highlights from 2016

Haunt Review 2016: The 17th Door Haunted Experience

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Last year, the talk of the Southern California haunt community was the 17th Door in Tustin. At the time, we were intrigued, but our packed haunt schedule in 2015 didn’t leave us time to visit the haunt during its inaugural year. And, in full disclosure, we’re typically not fans of the “extreme haunt” experience, so we didn’t make it a priority. But after great word of mouth, we put this one near the top of our to-do list for 2016.

And we’re sure glad we did.

About the Experience

The 17th Door promotes itself as providing “psychological terror,” and although many people have described it as “extreme,” after experiencing it, we wouldn’t put it in the same category as Blackout or McKamey Manor. We found the 17th Door to be a great mix of a traditional haunt, theatrical haunt, and an extreme haunt experience.  And for those who might be “extreme haunt curious,” the 17th Door could be a great choice.

Despite its location in a homogeneous, boring mall (typical for Orange County), once inside the 17th  Door, everything is elaborately themed. Even the ticketing/queue area is impressively decorated, and victims should remain on their toes because some of the most unsuspected scares may happen before you even get your hand stamped. The haunt does make all customers sign a waiver. Be sure to read it thoroughly to get a preview of what themes and experiences may await you, and some of the subject matter could be disturbing to sensitive people, such as depictions (implied, not graphic) of child sexual abuse, abortion, and infanticide.

The back story of the haunt is a continuation from last year. Our heroine Paula has survived the mental hospital and is back in school at Gluttire University, where she finds herself unfortunately pregnant by her abusive boyfriend.

The haunt is structured such that each room is its own individual experience. You must remain in the room until the light above the door (17 of them) turns green before you can move on. We were particularly  impressed by the fact that each room is very unique but also serves the overall story. Some rooms are simple and involve a typical haunt “boo” scare, whereas others are elaborate setups involving the actors playing out a scene to tell the story or lead into a scare. Other rooms–the most “extreme” ones, obviously–require guests to perform some task before moving on. Some may be easy, some uncomfortable, and still others might be completely unbearable depending on what you’re afraid of.

There’s always the option of yelling “Mercy!” to get out of a performing a task, but we definitely recommend that you push yourself and try to do as much as possible. We don’t want to spoil too much, but we will say that there are a few instances of electric shock, which is probably the worst thing we experienced in the haunt. You won’t have to eat any bugs or have any bugs put on you. You  might have to touch some gross stuff, including butchered animals. You might get sprayed with water or have water lightly spit on you. But most of it was pretty tolerable. The actors will touch the guests, but it was mild and infrequent.

The Haunt

17thdoor

Your journey begins as a psychiatrist discharges you from the mental ward and releases you to the real world and Gluttire University. At least, we think that’s what happened. Our memory may have been erased! The first scene is an excellent introduction to the haunt, and the scares in this room are brilliantly used to set the level of fear for all the guests. We were instantly put on edge, and that feeling remained with us throughout the experience.

We progressed through various scenes, but we won’t describe them all here to avoid spoilers. But some standouts included a disgusting bathroom, a mini escape room experience, the outside of a fraternity house, a laboratory of insects, a McDonald’s “Play Place,” Paula’s dorm room, and the labor and delivery ward. Each room is fully immersive, and the scares and “tasks” build as you progress through the experience. The actors are also some of the best we’ve seen. They did a great job deciding on the fly who would be the best person in the group to pick on in a particular room, and they would also back off that person if they refused to participate, seamlessly moving on to the next “victim.” The actors at 17th Door have a particularly challenging task in striking the balance between psychological terror and fun, and they achieved it easily.

Summary

We loved 17th Door for its great mixture of experiences. It is definitely a step up from the traditional haunted house in terms extreme elements, but we think most of our haunt stalkers would be up for the challenge. If you’re bored of the “monster around the corner” type of scare, you should definitely visit 17th Door to see what the hype is about. It is definitely one of the best themed, unique, and fun haunts in Southern California right now.

Our Ratings

Haunt Design:  5-skulls

Theming:  4-skulls

Scare Factor:  4-skulls

Fright Value:  4-5-skulls

Overall Rating:

4-25-skulls

HalloWeekends 2014

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Knott’s Scary Farm’s sister park Cedar Point has announced two new haunted attractions and a new show featuring Midnight Syndicate for HalloWeekends 2014! This year will mark the haunt’s 18th anniversary as it continues to uphold the terrorizing tradition of Halloween mazes and shows.

While we’ve already provided some in depth coverage on Knott’s Scary Farm (KSF), it wouldn’t be “fair” if we didn’t also provide info on its scary relatives across the country. Since joining the Cedar Fair family, the curse of Knott’s Halloween Haunt has spread across to the other parks in the Cedar Fair theme park chain, which includes Cedar Point, California’s Great America, Valleyfair, Kings Island, Kings Dominion, Dorney Park, and Carowinds.

New Attractions

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Hexed – Hexed will be located inside a newly constructed building near GateKeeper’s gift shop. This maze will be “overrun by decrepit witches whose minions and spells have gone horribly awry.”

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Tombstone Terror-tory – A new outdoor zone themed to a ghost-town (a la Knott’s) that will haunt the walkways of Frontier Town.

Returning Attractions

Eden Musee -This haunted house is a creepy throwback to the traditional wax museum that was once located along Cedar Point’s main midway in the 1960s and ’70s. Step inside this museum filled with wax figures from classic to creepy…and some have been known to come to life!
G.A. Boeckling’s Eerie Estate – This stately limestone mansion harbors deep, dark secrets, guarded by ancient inhabitants seeking revenge and looking for more permanent residents!
Eternity Infirmary – Patient’s can check in, but can’t check out! Stay away, or you may become their next patient – for ETERNITY!

Cut Throat Cove– Meet the motley crews of sunken ships, left deserted on this island. But mind yer steps – they’ve been waitin’ for rescue for over 100 years.
Maniacal, Mechanical Screamworks – Journey into science fiction past and future to explore a sinister, steamy subculture of a world that never was, but might have been.
CornStalkers – Scarecrows ready for the new harvest of flesh.
CarnEvil – The crazy clowns and lurking sideshow freaks are waiting to share their special brand of entertainment with you.
Blood on the Bayou – Lurking along the dark fetid waters of the bayou are mysteries too dangerous to explore, too twisted to explain.

 

Shows

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Midnight Syndicate Live -When you’re looking for music for your haunt, whether you’re a home haunter, an independent professional, or a giant theme park, Midnight Syndicate is the go-to source. Midnight Syndicate is Halloween music. They have music for every theme, genre, and mood. If you’ve ever been in a haunt, there is a 99% chance you’ve heard a Midnight Syndicate song playing in the background. So it’s perfect that, after 17 years of composing recorded Halloween music, their first live performances will take place this Fall during HalloWeekends at Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio. Midnight Syndicate Live! Legacy of Shadows is described as a “multimedia horror-themed concert blending live music, theatre, and film,” and performances will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night from September 12 through November 1.

Some of the haunts (among hundreds) that have featured music by Midnight Syndicate include Reign of Terror (CA), Terror Behind the Walls (PA), 13th Gate (LA), Parker House (TX), and all Six Flags Fright Fest locations. Last year, Midnight Syndicate unleashed “Monsters of Legend,” its 16th nationwide release

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Interview sessions are being held each Sunday through August from 2-7 p.m. at Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay for those interested in working at the HalloWeekends event.

General Info

HalloWeekends will be open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Sept. 12 through Nov. 2. Hours and ride availability vary.

Friday Fright Links: January 13

 Happy Friday the 13th!

Wondering why Friday the 13th is a big deal? Read this – History Channel

Sinister Pointe (Brea, CA) to put on a special Valentine’s day horror event – Sinister Pointe on Facebook

Ten persistent horror franchises–is your favorite on the list? – Den of Geek.com

Need a vacation? Visit one of these 13 real-life horror locations – Smarter Travel

The many guises of Jason Voorhees – Dread Central

Some details about the “rebooted” Munsters TV show – Fear Net

And don’t forget — HAUNTS ARE OPEN TONIGHT!

Cutting Edge, Forth Worth, TX

Moxley Manor, Bedford, TX

Malibu City Hall, Malibu, CA (recommended for teenagers, although all ages are welcome)

 

Happy Horror-days!

As we prepare to face the scariest season of the year–the holidays–Scare Zone would like to wish our readers a Scary Christmas, Happy Horror-kkah, Killer Kwanzaa, and a Frightful New Year!

We’d like to thank all our readers for their support, and thanks also to all the great haunts who made 2011 a killer year. We’re looking forward to screaming again in 2012!

Here’s a little Xmas lullaby from Jon Autopsy to get you in the sinister spirit:

Have A Killer Christmas

Ho Ho Ho, Kill Kill Kill

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