Tag: Southern California (page 1 of 8)

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Embarks for Its Darkest Season Yet

NEW Interactive Maze Paths, NEW Reimagined Event Footprint, Extreme Aerial & Fire Shows, New Maze Designs, More Ultimate Scream Tours, More Secret Bars, More Private Lairs, More Twisted Spirits

 

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor rises again from the depths this Friday, September 27, drenched in legend and oozing with a sordid past. Regarded as one of the most haunted places on Earth, the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is a thrill-seekers’ delight, blurring the lines of history and hysteria, and for the 2018 season, the event will disorient fans with an entirely NEW park footprint along with NEW maze designsINTERACTIVE alternate paths, and THRILLING live entertainment.

“This coming season attendees are invited to descend into Dark Harbor’s newly, omni-immersive and hyper-enhanced mazes for its darkest season yet,” stated Charity Hill, Executive Producer of Dark Harbor. “With a myriad of voluntary experiences, alternate paths, secret bars, and hidden passages we are proud to deliver a choose-your-own-adventure mega haunt.”

Regarded as one of the most haunted places on Earth, the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor is a thrill-seekers' delight, blurring the lines of history and hysteria. (Photo: Business Wire)Put on a detective’s hat and retrace the steps of Samuel the Savage to solve the gruesome murders in B340. Re-live childhood nightmares playing hide-and-seek with Scary Mary and her sinister teddy bear in Lullaby. Escape the Ringmaster’s big top before becoming a specimen in the oddities museum of Circus. Head to boot camp with Half Hatch Henry for a reimagined storyline of the fan-favorite maze, Deadrise, to experience Captain’s rigorous training camp. Feeling Intrepid? Traverse the John Brown Shipyard and try to hide from the lurking creatures in the Scottish Highlands aboard Iron Master’s express train to hell. Clock in to a shift aboard the infamous Grey Ghost and avoid Chef’s chopping block while working up an appetite for flesh in the maze FEAST.

At Midsummer Scream, the producers of Dark Harbor announced a devilishly perfect addition to their creative team, the sinister & twisted mind of Jon Cooke. The NEW Dark Harbor Production Designer brings with him over a decade of experience designing some of SoCal’s most celebrated theme parks and haunted attractions.

As Dark Harbor’s darkest and most sinister season approaches, those daring enough to set foot on property will navigate a bone-chilling 9-degree Ice Bar, dodge hundreds of devious entities, seek out hidden havens, indulge in devilish treats, imbibe intense concoctions, survive Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Sinister Swings, brave the Panic 4D Experience, and white-knuckle death-defying aerial and fire stunts for the haunt’s most frighteningly immersive season yet.

Let the countdown begin: 6 blood-curdling mazes, 5 weeks of terror, 3 new secret bars, 2 electrifying stages, 1 way out…

The annual haunt returns to the Queen Mary this weekend on September 27 and continues to scare those who dare on select nights through November 2. General Admission ticket prices start at just $20 online with optional limited upgrades to Fast Fright, Evil Express, VIP, Ultimate Scream, Creepy Cabanas, and Private Patios (available while supplies last). For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.

The 17th Door Haunted House Returns with Crybaby!

Four years ago the 17th Door Haunt Experience stormed the SoCal haunt scene and has become one of the most talked about attractions in Southern California. Brilliantly blending a traditional walk-through haunted house with theatrical and extreme elements, it’s a more intense, but still accessible level for haunt fans who had felt they’d “seen it all.”

This year the 17th Door Haunted House returns to its home in Fullerton for the second straight year, allowing the team to build their best haunt yet! One of the scariest, most intense, and most interactive haunted houses in the country has taken things to a whole new level for 2018. This year, guests will also be able to undergo the Vixi Ward Virtual Reality Experience, an enhanced 15-minute immersive venture for an additional $13.

New rooms and new scares… you will hate it and you will love it! Will you cry “Mercy?” or will you survive all 20 (22 with VR) rooms of psychological terror?

STORY

At Perpetuum Penitentiary, the madness continues. As Paula continues to serve her time, she continues her descent into darkness. An unseen side of Paula is now coming into focus. A thought or mention of her dead child torments her soul and brings forth a psychotic rage aimed at those around her. The prison psychiatrist has prescribed “Art Therapy,” inflaming her rage and suffering. As a last resort, he has given her an unorthodox tool… a therapy puppet named “Lincoln.” Meant to present her suffocated infant son, it will push her to a place of evil and perversion. The depravity spreads like a virus.

Will the puppet, Lincoln, lead her to accept her crime? Or will it push her to nightmarish depths previously unknown? Will Paula choose a path to redemption or will she be devoured by the darkness, becoming a permanent inmate of hell… otherwise known as Perpetuum, Death Row.

Paula, her dead son, and You are… Crybaby. 

THE VIXI WARD EXPERIENCE

In the heyday of Perpetuum Penitentiary, the prison partnered with the enigmatic Vixi Labs on a new experimental treatment method for its most troublesome inmates. Touting a revolutionary machine that was capable of interfacing with the human brain – the VRX-2000 headset – Vixi Labs helped Perpetuum to establish the new Vixi Ward within the prison.

After only a short operating streak, Vixi Ward was officially shut down for “excessive casualties” incurred during treatment. Yet in spite of this, screams still echo throughout the halls of Vixi Ward, and it’s rumored to continue operations on particularly unruly inmates.

Guests sentenced to Vixi Ward will face a 15 minute immersive experience. Guests may first endure a pre-op procedure to assess their fitness for treatment. They will then don the VRX-2000 headset themselves to begin their virtual reality experience. Once the guests’ treatment concludes, they will then be snuck back into inmate general population using a secret entrance. There, they will begin The 17th Door maze inside Perpetuum.

 “We’re always striving to outdo ourselves each year and 2018 is no exception!” said The 17th Door co-owner Heather Luther. “With a refocus on storyline, refinement in room details and sets and layered elements of new innovative and interactive scares, we are expecting this to be our best show yet!”Pre-sale tickets for this year’s season are now available online at www.the17thdoor.com. Act fast because they sell out quickly!

The 17th Door is designed for a mature audience, preferably 16 years of age and older, as guests will find themselves in intense situations. All guests must still sign a liability waiver and the actors are allowed to touch guests. At any point during the haunted house experience, guests may use the safe word “Mercy” to be escorted out. They will be given the option to rejoin their group in the next room or leave the haunt entirely.

The 17th Door 2017 Haunt Experience Dates:

September 21-22, 28-29

October 5-7, 11-14, 17-21, 24-31

 

L.A. Haunted Hayride Celebrates 10th Anniversary

LOS ANGELES HAUNTED HAYRIDE ANNOUNCES THEIR MOST SPECTACULAR SEASON YET AS THE HALLOWEEN ICON CELEBRATES 10 YEARS BY BRINGING BACK ALL THE FAN FAVES OF THE PAST DECADE

 

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride (@LAHauntedHayride) returns with the most immersive ride yet as guests are completely transported back to hayrides past. This is sure to be another Halloween feast with the return of the legendary Haunted Hayride, the heart-pounding House Of Shadows Dark Maze, the disturbed neighborhood of Trick Or Treat and everyone’s favorite haunted village, Purgatory.

 

For fans that have been to every hayride, it will be an unforgettable ride through the nightmares the hayride has been inducing for years.  You will also be treated to new surprises and some larger than life additions that one would expect for a celebration as grand as a 10 Year Anniversary. For first-timers, the experience will be a hayride on steroids as every memorable demon and apparition returns to say hello once again. Do you remember the demon church of “The Congregation”? Or the legions of psychopathic clowns from “Through The Eyes Of A Child”? Maybe you’d love to take a ride back through “The Rift”? Then, this is your year and then some! If you haven’t been to the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, you will not want to miss out on this limited run special edition.

When you visit the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride your evening will include a stop in Purgatory. The charm and magic of our old world ‘haunted village’ invokes the nostalgia of Halloweens past; smell the freshly cut hay and see the deep, rich, orange glow of jack o’ lanterns as you pass through our gates. Become a part of the show at Theatre Macabre, ride the ‘Scary-Go-Round’, enjoy fair food & drink faves at the Grub Shack, have a clandestine encounter with a psychic, and don’t forget to grab your limited run anniversary swag in the Bootique.

Returning for this massive anniversary, the park will bring back cult favorites House Of Shadows and Trick Or Treat. The legendary House Of Shadows sends you into complete darkness as you grasp onto your group and stumble through Southern California’s only true dark maze! It is a disorienting, claustrophobic experience where you might find yourself totally alone in the shadows. At Trick Or Treat, it’s Halloween every night. Check out our ALL-NEW ghoulish residents as we have amped up the fright factor for this annual freakish block party.

The terror of the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride begins on September 29th, 2018 and will be open select nights until October 31st, 2018. Operating hours are Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 7pm-10:30 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm-12am, with the exception of September 29th when we close at 11pm. General Admission and VIP passes that surpass the line are available, as well as a Platinum pass that includes VIP parking! There are also a limited number of Hayride Only passes starting at $26, all expected to sell out during the pre-sale. Pre-sale for tickets will end September 1st. Visit www.losangeleshauntedhayride.com for exact nights of operation and other details.

Social Tags: #LAHH, #LAHH2018, #LAHH10Years

Universal’s OG Monsters Return to HHN Hollywood

Last but not least…

Per the leaked mazes earlier this month, the OG horror icons are coming back in the all-new Universal Monsters maze.  Instead of being “remixed” and Dubstepping this time they’ll be rocking out to an HHN exclusive soundtrack by Slash who previously lent his talents to the 2014 Clowns 3D maze.  HHN fans love the Universal Monsters and this has the potential to be the best Universal Monsters maze we’ve seen yet at HHN Hollywood, especially since this time around it’ll be given its own original maze construction.

Inspired by Universal’s original cinematic Monsters and the studio that invented the horror film, Universal Studios Hollywood unearths an all-new Halloween Horror Nights maze based on the original “Universal Monsters”…with a terrifying contemporary twist on these classic horror icons. The new maze will also feature an original score produced and composed by celebrated GRAMMY Award-winning musician, SLASH, long hailed as one of the 10 best electric guitar players of all time.

At its core, Halloween Horror Nights is an extension of the horror film legacy originated by Universal Pictures and introduced to audiences in the 1920s…with a staple of classic Universal Monsters that dominated the silver screen, including Dracula, The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein’s Monster, and The Wolf Man.

Halloween Horror Nights continues to pay homage to these creatures of the night in this new maze by reawakening more than a dozen of these iconic classic Monsters. The essence of the maze will underscore each of their unique attributes and reimagine them into terrifying modern day characters. At a glance, resurrected monsters will include The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Dracula’s Bride, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Mummy, to name a few.

By giving each character a unique, complex composition, SLASH’s original score will add a haunting dimension to the experience and help define each of the characters.

“As a fan of horror movies and of Halloween Horror Nights, I jumped at the chance to once again collaborate with Universal Studios Hollywood to produce what might be interpreted as a soundtrack for the maze,” said SLASH. “Similar to the way music affects a film, I wanted to compose a score for the legions of infamous characters featured in the maze to elicit a greater sense of terror for the guests. In the end, the goal is to ultimately make the guests feel as if they are playing an integral role in a classic Monster movie.”

“This maze is the ultimate melding of two of history’s greatest icons – classic monsters and the top guitar player of all time,” said John Murdy, Creative Director at Universal Studios Hollywood and Executive Producer of Halloween Horror Nights. “SLASH’s intuitive understanding of the characters’ struggles brings enormous depth to the maze to epitomize a living-movie experience for our guests.

“This is the second time we’ve had the great fortune to collaborate with SLASH on a Halloween Horror Nights maze,” Murdy continued, “and it is a distinct honor to bring his expertise to the event where guests can enjoy a truly exclusive opportunity.”

The event will also feature mazes on the movies Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Poltergeist, Trick ‘r Treat, Stranger Things, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and more.

The event kicks off on September 14th and runs through November 3rd.

It’s Going to be a Hell Fest at Six Flags Fright Fest

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the world’s largest regional theme park company, and CBS Films today announced an exclusive national partnership to provide Six Flags guests with a unique experience in support of CBS Films and Lionsgate’s latest horror movie release, Hell Fest, in theaters Friday, September 28, 2018.

In collaboration with Hell Fest creators, Six Flags and CBS Films are launching new haunted attractions based on the movie at three Six Flags theme parks this Fright Fest. The company’s industry-leading entertainment teams at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ and Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL will transform haunted mazes into real-life replicas of the movie’s most unnerving, goriest and most epic scenes.

Guests who are brave enough to enter will walk through the Devil’s Mouth into The Hell Fest Maze and venture through a number of rooms, each themed to depict scenes straight from the movie including:

  • The Mausoleum, an increasingly narrow corridor that forces guests to feel the touch of death;
  • The Mask Room a haunting room filled with floating white faces that could spring to life when visitors least expect it;
  • The Doll Room, filled with dolls straight out of the worst nightmares; and
  • The Torture Chamber, where the bodies of the disassembled, dissected and disemboweled wish to share their horrific ending.

Room by room, guests must find their way out, or risk being trapped by “The Other,” the movie’s deranged antagonist.

Fright Fest runs Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from September 15 through October 31. Operating schedules vary by park. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com.

Scare Zone’s Guide to Midsummer Scream

 

While most of your friends are planning their BBQs and trips to the beach, as a true haunt fan, you’re more likely spending your summer trying to decipher John Murdy’s Twitter hints and studying the line up for Midsummer Scream. Although we’re lucky to have two large Halloween/Horror conventions in Southern California, Midsummer Scream occurs first and is our own personal favorite. It’s truly a must-attend event for any fan of haunted attractions, spooky decor, and horror in general.  The event is jam packed with panels, vendors, mini-haunts, and demos, and it gets bigger each year, making it increasingly difficult to figure out how to see it all. Here, we’ve assembled some tips to help you get the most from your weekend.

Getting the Most From Midsummer Scream: Scare Zone’s Terror Tips

1. GET THERE EARLY (OR WAIT IT OUT)

This event gets more and more popular each year, and you can count on a huge line to get into the convention center for about an hour before it opens. But their staff is well organized, and the line moves fairly quickly. Our advice is to study the event schedule before you go: if there’s a panel or presentation at 11:30 am or noon, plan to get there early and wait in line to ensure you don’t miss it. Otherwise, if you arrive an hour or so after opening, the line will have subsided almost entirely, and you won’t have to wait. Parking, on the other hand, is another matter. The nearby lots fill up extremely quickly, so if you don’t arrive early, be prepared for a bit of walk to the convention center.

You should also buy your tickets in advance online to help shorten your overall wait time.

2. BUY SOMETHING

One of the best things about Midsummer Scream is the huge variety of high-quality vendors in the exhibit hall. Masks, costumes, purses and accessories, comics, amazing sculptures and props are all super cool to look at and completely Instagrammable. But remember: these vendors  aren’t there just for your entertainment. They paid a big chunk of money for their table, and their main goal is to sell. So BUY SOMETHING! Even if all you can afford is a $5 handmade magnet or a $20 t-shirt, plan to buy at least one item from a vendor at the show. Sales are what makes vendors return the next year, so to keep this convention great, budget ahead to spend some cash to support the haunt/horror community.

3. DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME AT THE HHN* PANEL

Nothing brings the crowds like the Halloween Horror Nights presentation (which is on Sunday this year). But unless this is your very first time at a SoCal haunt convention or you have a John Murdy poster hanging on your wall that you kiss every night before bed, there’s no real reason to wait in such a crazy long line for this presentation, especially if you’re short on time. Murdy tends to offer the same “behind the scenes” info and stories year after year, so if you’ve attended an HHN panel before, we suggest you skip it and spend your time in the Hall of Shadows or visiting exhibitor booths instead. After all, if a new maze is revealed during the presentation, 100 haunt bloggers will be broadcasting that info live on Twitter within seconds anyway.

But, we do want to note that joining the HHN panel this year will be Mike Aiello from HHN Orlando, which could change things up a bit.

*This advice actually applies to any theme park panel.

4. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE HALL OF SHADOWS

Hall of Shadows Midsummer Scream

Although the Hall of Shadows showcases “mini-haunts,” there’s nothing mini about some of the lines. It can take several hours to see all of the attractions within the space. If you don’t have that kind of time, prioritize the ones you’re most interested in and skip the rest. Also, just because a haunt has a long line doesn’t mean it’s the best.  Long lines typically mean pre-shows or some other feature that causes a bottleneck in queue flow.

But most importantly, be sure to thank the haunt owners/operators for their exhibits! Many of these mini-haunts are from home haunters, not professionals. These haunters have gone above and beyond to bring convention attendees a truly unique and amazing haunt experience. And they didn’t get paid to do it. In fact, it probably cost them a lot of money. We can almost guarantee you they’re frazzled and exhausted from the build. So tell them how great their haunt is and how much you appreciate it.

5. DON’T MISS ZOMBIE JOE

All the cool kids will be at Zombie Joe’s Urban Death. So don’t be uncool. Check out this amazingly creative and creepy show from a great group of performers. Performances are every half hour, so it will be easy to squeeze this into your schedule.

6. BRING THE KIDS

Returning this year is Paranormal Pixie’s Pumpkin Patch, which has crafts, shows, and book readings perfect for the tender lumplings in your family. And kids 10 and under get into the convention for free! However, we do want to warn parents that even though we find the convention to be extremely family friendly, if your kids are very sensitive to monsters or scary images, this convention might not be for them.

***

We can’t wait to see what Midsummer Scream 2018 has in store for us! We’ll be covering the event all day Saturday, so be sure to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook for pics, videos, and exclusive announcements.

Sinister Pointe’s “SCARY PLACE”

We’ve really missed Sinister Pointe.  Their absence was fully noticed and felt out here in SoCal during haunt season. After a period of darkness, one of our top-rated Haunt events is making the most spectacular return with what’s billed to be the LARGEST MULTI-LEVEL, INDOOR HAUNT EXPERIENCE in California.

In past years the inventive Sinister Pointe Productions team has created some of our most memorable haunted experiences which includes the revival of Queen Mary’s ‘Dark Harbor and the special haunted nights at The Winchester Mystery House.  Through the years, they’ve also terrified us with Christmas and Valentine’s day haunts along with SeancesScavenger Hunts, VR Experiences, and haunted bars.

For fall 2018 they’re unleashing a brand new kind of Halloween event, Sinister Pointe’s Scary Place. Haunt lovers will be scared to death in three stories of unrelenting terror, covering over 150,000 square feet and featuring two all-new mazes and a brand new haunted dark ride. Yes, a ride!

The experience will begin as the brave and foolhardy alike cross the veil into the foggy realm known as the Scary Place. Two mazes and a new ride will await haunt goers in this murky realm of terror for a full night of Halloween fun including…

Evil on 2  (Walkthrough Attraction)

There is an evil that has taken over the second floor of this quaint little hotel and we need you to venture into this maze to investigate! Let’s just hope that the terror within hasn’t spread!

PHOBIAS  (Walkthrough Attraction)

Welcome to “PHOBIAS”. Step right up and see if you have what it takes when you’re put up against some of your greatest fears. A fully interactive maze experience that will test your abilities to cope with your worst nightmares. We hope for your sake, being alone isn’t one of them!

Boogeyman Express (Ride):

All aboard the boogeyman express. Rumor has it that the boogeyman and his evil minions roam these grounds hunting innocent bystanders! So I have an idea, let’s go see if the rumors are true! Please keep your hands and arms inside the carts at all times, for this here is the most hair-raising terror train in the wilderness!

Between the screams, horror fiends can feast on a variety of snack foods and check out the revolting entertainment including the main stage, wandering magicians, games, roaming packs of monsters, and the Sinister Pointe Dark Market where new merchandise from vicious vendors will be available for purchase.

“For 20 years I have been producing Haunted Attractions that many guests have traveled great distances just to experience a 15-minute attraction. I figured it’s time to give our fans an experience that will last an entire evening!” says Jeff Schiefelbein, the creative fiend behind Sinister Pointe.

Two types of tickets will be available, allowing guests to choose their fate. The All Night Pass will allow guests unlimited access to all entertainment, attractions, and vendors for a single price starting at $42 on select nights, and $52.00 on Friday and Saturday nights. The All Night VIP Access allows for front of the line access to all mazes and attractions, along with priority seating for shows and performances with prices starting at just $60.00 on select nights, and $70.00 on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tickets: https://ocevents.ticketspice.com/scaryplace18

Scary Place will take place at the Laguna Hills Mall located at 24155 Laguna Hills Mall, Laguna Hills, CA, and will run on September 28-30 and October 4-7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-28, 31. Hours will be from 7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. on Sundays – Thursdays.

Where do you go when you close your eyes? Sinister Pointe wants to send you to your Scary Place.

Links:
Hashtag: #ScaryPlace

HAUNT REVIEW: Knott’s Scary Farm 2017

With some chaos Knott’s Scary Farm‘s 45th Halloween Haunt brings back many popular mazes, revamps others, introduces a couple new ones, and gives a final send off to the first Mistress of Haunt.

Well, we decided to forego the early season visit (and our own advice) and went to Knott’s Scary Farm on a mid-October Saturday night. You know, a night when everyone else in Southern California typically visits. Actually we just couldn’t find another time to go this season as we’ve been prioritizing haunts that are offering newer experiences. We also wanted to mix it up a little and report on what it’s like for real-everyday guests (with Fright Lane) and not a press media outlet that has the red carpet rolled out for them,  to which there’s a significant difference in the experiences.

So after 45 years one would think that Knott’s would have it’s haunt operations running smoothly but sadly chaos ensued from the moment we arrived at the front gates. We lucked out a little on parking but even that was a mess (so was our car after paying $20 to park in a dusty lot). The process to get through the turnstile, using their mobile tickets, and getting a Fright Lane wristband was frustratingly slow. It makes no sense as to why they don’t just hand out the fright lane wrist bands to guest who’ve purchased them as they enter the park as the system for the getting the passes at designated stations within the park is aggravatingly slow and disorganized. It completely diminishes  the value of the Fright Lane’s triple admission price and causes a big crowd of confused and angry people form right inside the park’s front gates.

In addition, many employees we encountered seemed clueless as to what they were doing, where things were, and what was going on in general. Line control and crowd flow was confusing and chaotic all over the park. These things matter just as much as having good mazes. The fun spirit of the evening can be quickly killed for guests if they have to endure what seems to be unnecessary frustrations. It nearly killed it for us. Being “sold out” is not an excuse for guests to have a shitty experience.

Perhaps they need to reduce the cap on the number of nightly admissions. Or maybe they need to hire more operations employees and if they’re hiring a lot of seasonal help during haunt they should take the time to properly train ALL of them. This would really make a difference on how efficient everything is ran inside the park. Compared to Universal, Magic Mountain, and Queen Mary,  Knott’s lands in last place for its operations this year… a solid buried skull. Just go onto social media to see the never ending guest rants about this year’s operations.

Now on to the good stuff. While most of it is the same things we’ve all seen and loved before at Knott’s Scary Farm, part of the charm is the Halloween tradition that carries on year-after-year at the park. The new maze themes and the traditional Halloween ambiance that’s showcased across the foggy landscape is actually even more captivating this year with top notch park decorations along with high caliber and some truly scary maze designs. What distinguishes Knott’s in the Southern California theme park market is the originality of their mazes that are not confined to structured movie themes like Universal’s.

In particular, the new Dark Ride maze is probably one of the best themed and designed mazes we’ve ever experienced at  Scary Farm in our past 25 years of visiting! Paranormal Inc. also continues its reign as the most terrifying maze at KSF with Shadowlands, Pumpkin Eater, and Trick or Treat: Lights Out rounding out the slate of our top mazes this year. We’re very happy that they brought back an overlay to the Timber Mountain Log Ride, even if it’s just “family friendly”. Now we hope they can get the Calico Mine Train back on board. Finally, rounding out the festivities, the anything but family friendly Elvira goes out with a (double) bang for her final season at Knott’s… sad so sad.

Now here’s our full Knott’s Scary Farm maze reviews featuring some incredible full maze videos from our friends at Theme Park HD.

 New Mazes and Attractions

DARK RIDE

Journey through an abandoned carnival ride where cruel characters still linger in the shadows in the NEW maze, Dark Ride. The carnival attraction has become a refuge for sideshow freaks and now those shunned performers have created an ominous world where they plan to unleash terror on those who enter.

This is the Scary Farm maze everyone has been screaming for! Dark Ride looked spectacular and is probably one of the most imaginative and well designed mazes we’ve ever seen at Knott’s. Paying tribute to the old school carnival haunted – fun houses, Dark Ride takes guests on a twisted pathway through and behind the scenes of one of the most elaborate mazes in the history of Scary Farm. There are some fun scares but this maze is more about the story and design. It’s almost ironic how a maze based on a simplistic carnival haunted house ride features the most incredible special effects we’ve seen featured in a KSF maze. The scale of the sets, use of animatronics, music, and craftsmanship is definitely Knott’s warning shot back at HHN and others who have tried to run off with the  haunt  maze blueprint that they originated.  A few more scares might have made this maze beyond perfect but we’re almost glad it wasn’t any scarier as we may have then missed seeing the full glory of this awesome maze by trying to cover our eyes (lol). All in all this maze definitely earns the trophy for haunt theme of the year and for the first time in our Knott’s Scary Farm history, it earns our top 666 skull rating for Haunt Design.

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PUMPKIN EATER

Daring guests will attempt to survive the wrath of the murderous 7-foot tall creature that haunts the old woods surrounding The Hollow in this year’s NEW MAZE, Pumpkin Eater. The notorious creature is on the prowl, hidden within the dark confines of the haunted town he once terrorized. To escape the sinister Pumpkin Eater’s wrath all who enter must go on a quest through the silent town of victims, face a cave of crawling insects and solve the labyrinth of thorns that blocks the only way out.

The nursery rhyme of Peter Peter Pumpkin eater is brought to life (and death) in this very imaginative maze concept.  It reminded us of a mix of 1992’s Mother Noose and the more recent Cornstalkers mazes. Just like Dark Ride, Pumpkin Eater demonstrates that Knott’s has really graduated up into a new level of immersive maze theming, storytelling, and design. This maze also had quite a few good scares throughout with a high energy cast that really knows how to work within the maze’s long layout. The makeup and costuming were also well done with monstrous  pumpkins and people with carved faces lurking about. There’s also some grotesque scenes but nothing that’s over the top like in the the Red Barn maze. The spiraling journey through the rotted pumpkins that requires guests to push through dripping wet passageways was a highlight of the maze. Due to many of the outdoor sections this maze is much scarier at night but all in all it really is a fun and fright inducing Halloween maze adventure.

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TRICK OR TREAT: LIGHTS OUT

Are you afraid of the dark? You will be. Armed with only a faulty flashlight, explore the creepy house at the end of the street, in the upgraded Trick-or-Treat: Lights Out maze. Face the terrors  of the house in complete darkness as your interactive flashlight reveals the horrors hiding in the shadows.  Featuring new state-of-the-art effects, unexpected scares and other eerie surprises, Trick-or-Treat: Lights Out will terrorize you like never before.

When we first heard about this maze we thought that it was going to just be the same old Trick or Treat maze where all they’ve done now is shut off the lights so that they could promote it as something new. While this is somewhat true, it works really well with the result being more than just a gimmick. ‘Trick or Treat’ actually has never really been a scary maze to us but the “lights out” element adds a new layer of suspense and scariness to the maze this year. Each guest has their own flashlight so the rooms and settings are somewhat illuminated as the groups walk through but now the ghouls and monsters have the full advantage of seeing  you before you get to see them. They also added some fantastic looking new characters and set redresses. Trick or Treat has established itself as one of the most popular Scary Farm mazes that doesn’t seem to get old. With the new lights out Trick we expect it continue to be treating guests for more years to come.

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TIMBER MOUNTAIN LOG RIDE HALLOWEEN HOOTENANNY

This season the Timber Mountain Log Ride becomes the Halloween Hootenanny. This is a family friendly Halloween overlay to our classic Timber Mountain Log Ride. This attraction will be open every day during the Halloween season and features a brand new original song sung by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.

After a hiatus that lasted for a few years, it’s so good to finally have the haunted log ride back at Scary Farm. For us this was always one of the quintessential and unique haunt experiences. This new version isn’t designed to be an overly scary experience but the upgraded props, effects and soundtrack make it one of the funnest things to do at Scary Farm and a nice break from walking around. We also appreciate that in spite of the stricter OSHA regulations they still managed to get a handful of live monsters to lurk about in the dark corners around the flume.

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Returning Mazes

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HAUNT REVIEW: CREEP LA’s LORE

Creep LA, the masters of haunt experiences in LA, have teamed up with Amazon Prime Video to create a truly unique immersive theater experience this Halloween season.

Past Creep LA experiences have been highly rated  here on The  Scare Zone and this year continues the tradition of the well produced interactive theatrical haunt experience.  Unlike the previous years  (“Creep Los Angeles”, “The Willows”) , this year’s CreepLA is closely tied to an intellectual property. Derived from Aaron Mahnke’s popular podcast, Lore is  an Amazon Prime Exclusive’s new six-episode anthology series that presents the frightening and often disturbing tales based on real people and events that have led to our modern-day myths and legends. Celebrating the origins of the horror genre, Lore explores the real-life tales behind pop culture’s most legendary horror myths, such as vampires, changelings, werewolves, séances and possessed dolls.

Creep LA: Lore takes small groups of eight inside an imagined universe where they’ll travel through a fully engaging, multi-sensory, 1-hour walk-thru experience. At Creep LA: Lore, everyone is part of the experience whether they intend to be or not. To be clear this is not one of those torture and humiliation haunt concepts.  Guests may get touched (or kissed) but it’s all within boundaries.

This year’s show has definitely taken the production to a new level (having the corporate partnership is always a good thing). The size and scope of the venue is huge and each scene is  intricately  designed. The settings create dynamic and diverse environments. The talent is also top notch. Some of the highlighted performances include the nurse that recites a spooky bedtime story to the group and room of disturbed orphans, a woman looking for her son that has disappeared with a rather creepy looking doll,  and a lobotomy doctor with his disembodied assistants.

One of the challenges of performing a haunt show is that the actors do have to rely on the audience actively participating, which can lead to some unpredictable outcomes from show to show. We strongly suggest that you don’t try to hide or act too smug as you will then be the person who is picked on. During the show everyone can expect to be separated from the group at some point.

Being honest, there were a few WTF moments in the show as some of the scenes didn’t seem to flow smoothly or provide a satisfactory finale. Perhaps it’s because we weren’t fully familiar with Lore yet. We remember the previous years having more suspense and scares built into the experiences. Nonetheless, this year’s show is able to compensate with it’s overall higher quality of production and is a high caliber Halloween theatrical haunt experience. Plus, with the themed bar at the end, it’s setup as the perfect Halloween season date, friends, or all to yourself night out.

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DETAILS

Creep LA: Lore is taking place at Mag1ic Box LA in Downtown LA on select dates from October  5th  through November 12th. Creep LA has continuously sold out their previous event series almost immediately upon going on sale. So be sure to get yours quickly or you may just end up reading about it here on The Scare Zone.

Tickets for Creep LA: Lore are for ADULTS ONLY. Ticket prices start at $65. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit: www.CreepLA.com.

Engage with and follow Creep LA on social media at: #creepla @creeplosangeles

ScareLA 2017

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that the second Southern California Halloween Convention of the year will be taking place this weekend.

ScareLA is the world’s first summer Halloween convention. Situated in the entertainment capital of the world, the event celebrates the American scare season traditions and the diverse cultural heritage of the Greater Los Angeles region. Featuring hundreds of specialty vendors, education programming, world-class industry presentations, ScareLA draws thousands of professionals, fans and families from the U.S. and abroad to celebrate Halloween early every summer. ScareLA is one of the fastest growing independent fan conventions in the U.S. addressing a $10 billion Halloween industry worldwide.

To celebrate their 5th anniversary, they are making 2017 EXTRA scary with the special appearance of John Kassir, the Cryptkeeper of “Tales from the Crypt,” ScareLA’s 2017 Host! Listen to his iconic voice over the loudspeakers of the entire convention all weekend long as he announces special programming and more surprises right from the ScareLA show floor.

The fun will continue into the night in our Saturday night-party venue: Clifton’s Shadowbox Room (Clifton’s Republic, 648 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014). You’ve heard of the famed Tiki Room, Gothic Bar and five stories of incredible themed-entertainment space at this coveted DTLA staple. But did you know that lurking below the ground there is a room called “The Shadowbox”?!? Few have set foot inside and even fewer have ever left! Open only for ScareLA attendees from 8PM-2AM!

This will be a tale you will never forget: August 5-6 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Tickets for the convention are still available for purchase, but all monsters must act now before quantities die out!

For more information, visit www.scarela.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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