Events

Midsummer Scream 2019 Tickets Now on Sale!

The moment horror and haunt fans have been waiting for in Southern California and beyond is finally here! Tickets for Midsummer Scream have just gone on sale and can be swept up for a decent early discount.

What, in our opinion, is becoming the largest and most popular horror, haunt, and Halloween convention in California, will bring an even bigger crowd than last year, promising a great lineup of guests, vendors, and our favorite component to the event, the Hall of Shadows.

Check out the press release below for the most updated information from the Midsummer Scream team and if you haven’t experienced what this awesome event has to offer, take a peek at our coverage over the last few years:

Midsummer Scream 2018: Shocking and Rocking the Haunt Scene
Midsummer Scream 2017: Move Over Christmas, July is for Halloween
Review: Midsummer Scream 2016

 

LONG BEACH, CA – Midsummer Scream, the largest Halloween and horror fan convention in the world, returns to Southern California August 3-4 for a monstrous weekend of thrills, chills, and haunting fun. For the first time, Midsummer Scream will occupy the entire Long Beach Convention Center, doubling the show’s size for 2019.

Tickets for Midsummer Scream 2019 are now on sale at MidsummerScream.org including single-day General Admission passes, as well as the very popular limited-edition Gold Bat Weekend Pass, which enables guests to access the show floor and other aspects of Midsummer Scream an hour early each day before the convention opens to the general public; front of line priority access to panel presentations and attractions throughout the venue; a collectible lanyard and credential; and a Gold Bat 2019 enamel pin.

Midsummer Scream is expected to draw over 30,000 fans of all things macabre to Long Beach, where they will find a greatly-expanded show floor featuring more than 300 unique vendors, a children’s activity area, a wide variety of live entertainment performances, and exciting celebrity appearances, including the queen of Halloween, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark).

Deemed the “gateway to the Halloween season” by fans, Midsummer Scream is proud to announce the highly-anticipated return of Southern California’s largest haunt events to the show for a weekend of world-class presentations, surprises, and major announcements. These industry leaders include Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror NightsKnott’s Scary FarmSix Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest, and Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor.

The enormous dark zone, Hall of Shadows, will showcase over a dozen haunted attractions and displays, live stage entertainment, and daily exhibitions by the Decayed Brigade slider team. Guests will enter Hall of Shadows through a foreboding jungle experience created by CalHauntS, and enter the world of “Tiki Terror”, a vendor market featuring a world-class lineup of tiki personalities and manufacturers, including the legendary Tom “Thor” ThordarsonMunktiki mugs and ceramic oddities, and artist Jeff Granito.

With more than 300 artisans and exhibitors, Midsummer Scream’s show floor has doubled in size, featuring unique artwork, props, Halloween accessories, clothing, and makeup supplies. Always keeping guest comfort in mind, Midsummer Scream has again widened the show floor aisles for easier traffic circulation as fans visit their favorite vendors such as Trick or Treat StudiosKreepsville 666Bearded Lady’s Mystic MuseumEdyn Rashae Studios, and Dark Delicacies. Among the horrific hustle and bustle on the show floor, fans will also find Midsummer newcomers Madame TussaudsCrypt TV, and Bloody Mary: Makeup to Die For.

Live entertainment is abundant at Midsummer Scream, from the show floor and Hall of Shadows, to the Theatre Macabre. Returning again this year to delight guests are Force of Nature ProductionsZombie Joe’s UndergroundTheatre Group, and Jimmy H as the creepy-but-cool Mudd the Magnificent.

This is Midsummer Scream’s fourth year partnering with Kitten Rescue Los Angeles in presenting the Black Cat Lounge, where guests can mix and mingle with adorable felines roaming freely through a decorated play space. The Black Cat Lounge gives guests looking to adopt a pet the perfect opportunity to bond with their new little friends and give them forever homes.

Tickets are now on sale at MidsummerScream.org. More news and information regarding Midsummer Scream 2019 will be announced in the weeks and months ahead.

Movies

PRND Director’s Cut Brings Clarity to a Previously Disorganized Story

When I go to see a film, it’s rare that I ever see additional cuts or extended additions (of course with the exception of Lord of the Rings and Blade Runner because whoever argues that those editions aren’t the better of the films I will fight you), mostly because I’ve probably been shaped more into the “millennial” culture than I’d like to admit, my attention span for something once experienced, giving me little desire to revisit it in the future. This is a very bad habit, I know, but I made an effort recently to break my habit and it was well worth it.

Last year, I was happy to attend a premiere for a film that now, hits very close to home–quite literally, in fact. PRND (Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive), directed by Joss Refauvelet and written by John-Arthur Ingram, I honestly didn’t know how to describe it, or what angle to approach it from. At the time, it felt like it was trying to tell the story about ridesharing going wrong, but after talking to the director, cast, and crew, that’s not what the intention was, but again–everything on the screen is what the viewer sees, no matter what creator intention was or not. The story PRND was telling just wasn’t matching up.

Yet, I still saw the potential in the film. I could see what it was trying to do, it just wasn’t doing very well due to back and forth cuts between past and present, introducing characters that had no build up, and a lot of nothing happening that left you bored. I highlighted this in my review which you can take a quick peek at, the original film beginning with who the audience perceives as the main character, Max (Javier Ordonez), driving around and killing, but otherwise doing a whole lot of nothing. But, there was still something else going on. I saw this underlying gem in Shelby (Kimberly Peters) and her story which was purportedly the key to the origin of the actual main character, a murderous Prius.

Shelby is a character that seems to have a history of struggling with her self-esteem under the thumb of her mean-spirited husband Henry, who is redneck-meets-Malfoy, […] The exchanges these two have over the course of a good mid portion of the film brings a needed balance, one that I thought could have been introduced much earlier.

This needed to be the focus and the core. I continued to emphasize that there was something there, “I felt that a little balance between the two narratives would have provided more context early on and to give the audience something to hang onto rather than crossing your fingers, hoping that there was a point.” This movie had potential and after that premiere, talking to the director and the cast and crew, this was something that the knew needed to happen.

Well, it did.

On Amazon PrimePRND Director’s Cut has given us a 100% improvement on a film that while had some nice moments, just wasn’t very well executed, even for a very, very low-budget picture. Nearly the entire film has been rearranged to reflect a slightly more linear story while still giving us a little jump between past and present–but most of all, viewers can actually tell that the murder Prius is what this whole thing is about.

Even in the first 10 or so minutes of the film, I was pleased to see these changes. Although we get that first tantalizing scene with Max dumping a kill, immediately after we’re introduced to Shelby and her story of surviving a controlling and abusive husband, Henry (Nigel Chisholm), just to enter a world of a different kind of horror.

If you watched the first version, I highly recommend that you give this new edit a sit-down, and if you’ve never seen the first version–don’t bother. Watch this one and enjoy a film that for being made on a 5k budget over 10 days originally, is a thrilling look into what happens when technology becomes too emotional and sympathetic for its own good and turns into kill-or-be-killed rideshare trips in the witching hours throughout Ventura, CA.

If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch this for free, otherwise it’s $4.99 to rent. While some of the quality is still not worthy of a perfect rating, the film no longer feels like one of those, “it’s so bad it’s good” experiences and I reckon it’s actually worth your time. And while it doesn’t exactly fit into the category of carsploitation movies, it’s in that realm, and any fan of those kinds of movies may not be disappointed.

All in all, I should probably start watching more refreshed cuts of movies.

 

Events

Scares, Refined at Fright Fest 2018

This year at Fright Fest was unlike the last few, now with new mazes and the palpable ambition to elevate the event into some of the white-knuckle experiences that other similar Halloween haunt events are known for. New mazes included Sewer of Souls, Condemned – Forever Damned, and Hell Fest, based on the haunt-based horror film to be released on September 28th.

Here’s a rundown of how things went, along with our video and photo highlights:

Unleashing the Monsters

This year’s opening ceremony, the unleashing all the monsters for the event wasn’t as long as it has been in the past. Actually, it was probably less than 2 minutes, when before, they’ve been let out in shorter waves to get the crowd really worked up and interacting. We can’t be sure that this is the case for every night to come, but it was certainly a disappointment. Just after, of course, there were some great moments of clowns and creeps skulking around in the crowds and making attendees jump.


Red’s Revenge

Like last year and the year before, Red’s Revenge was just about the same as it has been, but the scares in this maze—even though seasoned Fright Fest goers will find it predictable, the scares are still reliable and it feels as if the scare actors were more refined than they have been in recent years. Something that we noticed throughout the rest of the event. Previous years, many scare actors had relied on eardrum-shattering shrieking for jump scares. For those of us who are super sensitive to high-pitches, this can worsen conditions like tinnitus. Yet, some of these instances were absent, something I was very glad to see missing and how much it improved the experience for this year.


Willoughby’s Resurrected

This maze felt even more improved from previous years. Before, it’s felt very empty both in elements and scare actors. Even if things didn’t change, it felt like they did. One of the improvements that definitely did change was the lack of a pre-show. I honestly cannot remember if this component was still working last year, but it definitely added to the pleasure of jumping right into the maze rather than feeling like you were waiting around for a jump scare tactic that has been made stale in the industry. Willoughby’s was really enjoyable and as you can see from our video, delivers exactly what it means to.


Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising

In all its iterations, Aftermath has been really successful in its design, openness, despite being slightly confusing at times. This year it ditched elements that made it more of a tedious maze (I’m talking about a meandering through chain link fences that seemed like it even confused the scare actors) and relied on the scenery to reveal story elements, good scares, and a great array of characters that scare in different ways. I really enjoyed the last impressive reveal in foggy back-lighting that makes for a super powerful, and spooky image.


Sewer of Souls

First, I feel like this particular location might actually be cursed. Upon entering the queue, we realized that it wasn’t moving at all and most of the scare actors, and guests were standing in the exit. Committed to getting to see this (and avoiding going up and down the hill again) we waited. Firemen showed up, and obviously something had gone amiss. In previous years, there has been line chaos (not knowing which line was which), poorly conceived themes, and what feels like a long history of “oh no, not this location again.”

Yet, we continued to wait, and when officials gave the all clear, we were very pleased to see a maze in this cursed place that was fresh, really fun, and a real win in concept, design, and execution. While our video doesn’t seem like it delivers scares, I thought that this fresh new idea for the park was a real success. It’s one of the mazes you have to go through several times as there is so much to see. I will say though, I’m not a fan of inflatable elements that you have to go through in such a tight squeeze (not good for cameras), and I find that squeezing my body and face through somewhere other people have squeezed their faces is a great way to spread unwanted germs. Others may not have this problem, but I definitely found it a bit icky.


Hell Fest

Essentially, this was the previous Vault 666 getting a Hell Fest skin that while it felt a touch strange without context, still delivered scares in a way had previously fallen short. I’m not sure which elements were pulled directly from the film with the exception of a few that you will recognize from the trailer, but it would be really great to see the maze again after the film comes out. Utilizing an intellectual property is the bread and butter of many other Halloween events, and of course the concept of the movie absolutely lends itself to that, but in retrospect, I think it’s great that Fright Fest has stepped into this ring when it comes to mazes. Of course we saw the utilization of Suicide Squad in 2016 for the scare zone in the DC area, which was such an obvious and wonderful fit.

I’d like to continue to see a great blend of IP and original content continue to come to this park because it draws crowds of fans who might not usually attend the event, while continuing to hit high-notes for those who visit every year no matter what.


Condemned – Forever Damned

First I’ll say this was probably one of the most solid and detailed mazes I’ve seen at Fright Fest. This location where Toyz of Terror 3D has been in the past, was sorely in need of something new even though I really enjoyed seeing it every year. This maze starts off strong, has some murky bits in the middle, but really feels well-rounded, and brings Fright Fest into a higher realm of maze creation—at least in my opinion. I could not be sure that there were “scents” being used, but the whole maze definitely had the feeling and touched all your senses, submersing you into what really felt like a neglected and condemned space. Not gonna lie, some of it was downright gross, and I wasn’t used to having that kind of experience at Six Flags.

Of course, this is in a very good way, and for good reason. What I didn’t find too thrilling about it, however, was being guided into low spaces, and tight spaces, places my back and the rest of me have trouble cramming into or under. The first dip down into a mess of mops, I was not provided the option with going around, even though there was. I kind of wish that had been explained to me early on, then I would have been prepared to take the less painful option. The second time, however, I definitely wasn’t going to fit, camera and all through a tight space that several times the maze attendant encouraged us to go through.

But, these elements aren’t designed for us. They are designed for the majority of the population that attends the event, being teens, and that’s okay. From those we did see who went through these parts, they enjoyed it, it just would have been nice to make it a little more clear that those of us with mobility issues had a different choice. Yet, I cannot let my small experience detract from what a win this is for the park’s Halloween event.


Wrapping Up

I could spend all day writing about the great scare zones, the VooDoo Nights live music show, and everything else, but I’ve already said a lot about this event, and with another spooky weekend upon us, it’s probably one of the best years of Fright Fest yet and still remains to be one of the most affordable in Southern California. Enjoy a few more videos and photos, and you can get more information, including tickets for Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain here: https://www.sixflags.com/magicmountain/special-events/fright-fest-night


Events

Universal Studios Reveals a First Look Inside “Stranger Things” for Halloween Horror Nights 2018

Universal City, CA, September 5, 2018 – Universal Studios reveals first look images from the “Stranger Things” haunted mazes coming to “Halloween Horror Nights” 2018.

For the first time ever, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Singapore are partnering with Netflix to bring “Stranger Things” to life at their “Halloween Horror Nights” events. Each park will feature its very own maze that will give guests the chance to brave the Upside Down and encounter iconic scenes, characters and environments from season one of the critically-acclaimed series. 

The images showcase some of the eerily-authentic environments guests will encounter at “Halloween Horror Nights” 2018 – including the Byers’ living room adorned with an erratic display of flashing Christmas lights, Hawkins National Laboratory in the Upside Down, Will’s makeshift fort called Castle Byers and more.

“Halloween Horror Nights” begins Friday, September 14 in Hollywood and Orlando, and on Thursday, September 27 in Singapore. Tickets and vacation packages are on sale now. For more information about “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando Resort or Universal Studios Singapore, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

Comics

Review: Cthulhu is Hard to Spell

 If you like Lovecraft and love his monsters, this anthology just launched on Kickstarter is a beautiful exploration into the world of the Elder Gods as a “love letter to Lovecraft” and his love of monsters.

The esoteric realm of H.P. Lovecraft is the bread and butter of many horror fans, especially those who love tabletop gaming, horror literature, and the kind of horrific creatures that trigger the underlying fear that lies in what is unknown, what images conjure in our imagination of the unknown, and the danger of being sucked into madness.

The anthology is thirty-five shorts edited by writer and comic creator, Russell Nohelty who has successfully funded multiple Kickstarter projects, eleven titles in his Amazon store, holds courses on better business practices for creators looking to establish their work to a wider market, and more. Spearheading this project and including a piece of his own—which, at the end, is an excellent choice for an ending—Nohelty has arranged such a wide variety of different takes on the lives of the Elder Gods, including the mighty, sleepy, and hard to spell, Cthulhu. (But let’s face it, definitely not the hardest out of all the Elder Gods, I’m looking at you, Brkthruslpk.)

The journey through these stories will take you from deep, dark and horrific places, to moments of heartwarming storytelling, many silly and gut-busting narratives, and may even fill you with emotions strong enough for tears (yeah, I cried, sue me). While not all of the stories made enough of an impression to be my taste, for the sake of time, I have whittled down a list of my top five favorites in order of appearance.

Nora

Art and words by Angela Oddling

Before I get into why I really enjoyed this piece, when you read this collection, take time to read the forward by Dirk Manning. Not only does set a good tone for what you will experience, the first line of the intro plays into the theme of “Nora.” About a girl who doesn’t seem to fit into her world, she goes looking to find a way. This story, along with another in my list, is up there in the arena with emotionally driven story that tugs on your heart strings. The art is really fun and fits the story well, but the writing in this short feels polished and a good example of breaking away from the norm of writers exploring Lovecraft’s world in their own words.

Cat is Cryptic

Art and words by Megan Hutchison

Anyone who knows me knows that I love cats so automatically I liked this piece even though it gets pretty dark for a little bit. The cats in this piece are super cute and the arc of the story has such a smooth and subtle slide into a pleasing, yet happily horrific ending you can’t help but read it again.

Isathoggua’s Triumph

Art by John Edingfield II
Words by Clay Adams

This story definitely speaks to the overall themes of taking Lovecraft’s work to strange and hilarious places. You don’t really anticipate the end of the piece, but it made me laugh a lot and I was even happier to see that the injection of humor similar to this takes place throughout the rest of the book.

Flycatcher

Story by Frank Martin
Art by Dan Scalisi

About the destroyer—let’s face it, all of the elder gods are destroyers—Yba’sokug, this was a master lesson in brevity and a balance of subtle humor combined with the terror of Lovecraft’s work (that is, if you’re a fly). This one made it to my top five because it was so simply done in only two pages remaining to be self-contained and highly enjoyable.

Ashes to Ashes

Art by Laura Neubert
Words by Virginia Drohan

Of all the stories in this collection, this is one that I feel like no one should miss. Following Elder God Quachil Utttaus who turns the living into dust by just touching them, this story explores more of those feelings of loneliness, but unlike the earlier mentioned, “Nora,” this story doubles-down on those empty and lost feelings to reach down into your chest to rip your heart out and crush it into dust. The art is even gentle, lovely, and with a sort of poetic movement that only adds its beauty.

Overall

The stories I’ve highlighted, however, don’t even scratch the surface on what this collection has to offer. Every story from beginning to end is strategically placed with intent, giving the reader a clear vision of what the collection intended to do. It really accomplishes a well-rounded set, and an exploration into the world of the Elder Gods in the Lovecraft Universe. The writing is filled with humor, sorrow, and animated, purposeful storytelling along with vibrant art that demonstrates incredible diversity. There is something for everyone in this work and it’s the kind of book you’d want to revisit, especially if you want to add a little levity and escape from monsters of the real world. I do have to say, however, there are a few stories that feel a little lacking, but it’s not due to any fault of the writer or artist. These are just stories that feel like they may need a book of their own and hopefully they can find an extended life beyond such a short snippet.

All in all, it’s a great book and by the end, you’ll definitely know how to spell, Cthulhu.

Pronouncing it is the hard part.

Find it now on Kickstarter!

Events · Press Releases

Hell Fest Maze Coming to Three Six Flags Parks

Small editor note before the press release. I’m extremely excited for this one – been looking forward to the movie since I saw the trailer a while back.


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas–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.

“Our guests visit Fright Fest to experience the scariest and most haunting attractions in North America. Partnering with CBS Films adds a new, completely immersive in-park experience to our existing lineup and will take this year’s event to a whole new level of fear,” said Vice President of North America Strategic Marketing & Partnerships Stephanie Borges.

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, wherethe bodies of the disassembled, dissected and disemboweledwish 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.

“Fall means Halloween and for millions of people, Halloween means Fright Fest at their favorite Six Flags theme park,” commented the film’s director Gregory Plotkin, who continued, “We are excited for Six Flags patrons to have the unique opportunity to step inside the terrifying world of ‘Hell Fest.’ I can’t wait to hear the screams and laughter!”

Six Flags will also promote the movie’s nationwide release through Six Flags Media Networks platforms, including Nielsen measured Six Flags TV.

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.

Events · Press Releases

HALLOWEEN 4 Coming to Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., ORLANDO, Fla. (August 14, 2018) – Beginning on Friday, September 14, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, from Trancas International Films, takes a stab at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, bringing the notorious slasher to Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort in all-new mazes inspired by the iconic horror film.

Based on the fourth installment in the classic slasher series created by John Carpenter, the mazes will transport guests to the suburban town of Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween night where Myers has escaped Smith’s Grove Sanitarium and is hungry for revenge. This time, he relentlessly stalks his niece Jamie as his next victim, stopping at nothing to kill her.

Guests will follow Myers as he escapes the mental hospital, encounters his first victims at Penney’s Gas Station and Diner, and wreaks terror on Haddonfield, all set to Alan Howarth’s ominous score. The maze will include horrifying scares by Myers in his classic featureless white mask and navy jumpsuit, with guests dodging his bloody knife at every turn. Halloween fanatics can expect a cameo by Myer’s psychiatrist Dr. Loomis and other famous characters from the film as they try to escape the bloodbath.

Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 25 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood and Orlando to become victims inside their own horror film. Multiple movie-quality mazes based on iconic horror television shows, films and original stories come to life season after season. And, the streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing scare-actors lunge from every darkened corner.

Additional details about Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will be revealed soon. For more information about Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com. All tickets and vacation packages are on sale now.

Press Releases

MGM’S POLTERGEIST Comes to Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights for the First Time

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug 9, 2018) – They’re Here. Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort will bring guests “into the light” as part of this year’s Halloween Horror Nights events featuring terrifying new mazes inspired by Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures’ (MGM) iconic supernatural horror film, Poltergeist, beginning September 14.

Directed by Tobe Hooper and produced by Steven Spielberg, Poltergeist garnered critical and consumer success when it first premiered in 1982. Characterized as one of the scariest films of all time, this groundbreaking movie paved the way for a new era of supernatural ghost stories that will come to life for the first time ever at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights. This living representation of the film will take guests into some of its most iconic scenes and encounter memorable characters that spawned their first true nightmares.

The mazes will lure guests to the Freeling family house built atop a cemetery where malicious ghosts threaten the lives within.  From the underground graveyard to ghostly apparitions, guests will come face to face with infamous scenes from the film, including the iconic flickering TV screen, menacing Beast from beyond and pool filled with floating corpses. As guests cross into the ‘light,’ they will find themselves surrounded by a surreal landscape of vanishing walls, floating furniture and a creepy clown with a menacing smile.  In a rush against time, guests will be forced to make it back to the world of the living or forever be trapped…

Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 25 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood and Orlando to become victims inside their own horror film. Multiple movie-quality mazes based on iconic horror television shows, films and original stories come to life season after season. And, the streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing scare-actors lunge from every darkened corner.

Additional details about Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will be revealed soon. All tickets and vacation packages are on sale now. For more information about Halloween Horror Nights at either Universal Studios Hollywood or Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

Events · Press Releases

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood Announces Full Slate for Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights

 

LOS ANGELES, CA – August 1, 2018 – Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood (WBSTH) is expanding its already chilling Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights with new attractions created to give horror fans a night to remember. In addition to the return of Pennywise in our reimagined It Knows What Scares You maze, and debut of the sinister institution from Batman: Arkham Asylum, this year’s Horror Made Here will also feature a blood-curdling maze from The Conjuring Universe, a diabolical viewing of The Exorcist, an eerie tour through Freddy vs. Jason’s Camp Crystal Lake, and much more.

In this year’s reinvented maze, guests will experience a sneak peek into the world of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren as they confront a host of satanic spirits from The Conjuring Universe. Fans will fall victim to Annabelle’s devious games, and come face-to-face with the demon lurking in the shadows from New Line Cinema’s latest installment The Nun, in theaters September 7th, 2018.

Deep, dark woods conceal the ghastly presence of Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, waiting to give visitors the worst nightmare of their lives. Aboard a Warner Bros.’ tour cart, guests must survive a cunning game of cat and mouse as they navigate through the infamous Camp Crystal Lake – and all of the horrors unveiled along the way. Brave campers will be left to their own devices to explore the campground, while those unlucky enough to face Freddy and Jason will suffer the gruesome fate they have in store for them.

In addition, those seeking even more supernatural thrills are in for a treat as Horror Made Here will present a special “forbidden screening” of the 1973 classic The Exorcist. Visitors who wish to encounter a truly demonic spirit will enter the safe haven of our backlot church and witness an evil beyond this world right from the pews.  In this 4D experience, guests will relive the most terrifying scenes from The Exorcist in an unholy viewing known to provoke demonic forces.

Horror Made Here will also offer a series of attractions and activities for horror loving fans, including:

  • Devil’s Drop Tower: Adventurous visitors will have the opportunity to take the 90-foot plunge into the air for the scream of their life.
  • Stage 48: Script to Scream: Enter the world of Tim Burton and see authentic props and costumes from his iconic movies Sweeney ToddThe Corpse BrideMars Attacks! and for the first time ever on display at Warner Bros., original props from the Halloween classic, Beetlejuice.
  • Horror Makeup Demonstrations: Learn how makeup artists bring terrifying characters to life with our special Horror Made Here SFX makeup demonstrations throughout the night.
  • The Lost Boys Arcade: Play iconic games in the retro Lost Boys-themed arcade. Games include titles like Ms. Pac-Man, Tetris, Mario Bros, Space Invaders and Terminator 2 Pinball.
  • Horror Made Here Night Tour: Board a quick nighttime tour through the Warner Bros.’ backlot for a guided exploration behind-the-scenes of beloved titles in horror entertainment, including iconic filming locations like New York Street, where House of Wax was shot.

Additionally, Horror Made Here will feature carnival games, live entertainment, a “Little Shop of Horrors” where guests can purchase Halloween and Horror Made Here merchandise, plus fun food and beverage options, including the goth-punk Fangtasia Bar featured in the HBO series True Blood, serving regular drinks for humans and “Tru-Blood” for vampires.

“We are thrilled to announce our expanded line-up for Horror Made Here. At Warner Bros., we are committed to delivering not just a scary experience, but one that’s unforgettably unique to its setting on the legendary backlot where some of horror’s most iconic films were brought to life,” said Gary Soloff, Director of Marketing, WBSTH. “This year, our extended nights and hours will give guests the opportunity to relive some of their favorite moments in horror while also enjoying our creepy carnival filled with more entertainment and plenty of food and drinks.”

Horror Made Here will begin on October 5, 2018, allowing fans to face their biggest fears for 13 nights. Tickets are on sale now, starting from $59 per person at horrormadehere.com.

For a premium experience, join “The Losers’ Club” for the night to enjoy front-of-line access to each maze, two complimentary beverages, one free IT photo-op, and free priority parking.

Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights is a special ticketed event, held on October 5-6, October 12-14, October 18-21 and October 25-287PM to 1AM. The event ticket includes access to the festival, all scare mazes and the night tour. Limited capacity per night, purchase early to guarantee your ticket. Visit horrormadehere.com for more information.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood is open daily from 8:30AM to 4:00PM, with tours departing every 30 minutes and extended hours offered during the summer, spring break and winter holiday seasons. Advanced bookings are strongly recommended, and children eight years or older are welcome.  For the best value, book your tickets online at www.wbstudiotour.com or by calling 818-977-TOUR (8687).

Events

Midsummer Scream 2018: Shocking and Rocking the Haunt Scene

With one of their biggest years yet, this last weekend Midsummer Scream decked out the Long Beach Convention Center in jovial cat faces, spooky castle façade host to an incredible list of vendors, mini-haunts, panels, and a communal space that brought horror and Halloween fans together in celebration. Organized by a team with experience in theme parks, event management, and a love for Halloween and haunts, David Markland and Claire Dunlap of Black Cat Orange, Gary Baker, Johanna Atilano, and Rick West of Theme Park Adventure brought the fire to Halloween in the SoCal haunt scene.

In their third, and so far, most impressive year, the lineups brought iconic horror and haunt-making royalty to stalk the halls and delight fans with photo-ops, autographs, and insights into upcoming Halloween events happening in Southern California and beyond.

While other horror conventions throughout the year have had great success in finding attendance over many years, the growth of Midsummer Scream in such a short span both in attendance and the range of exhibits and activities for con-goers to experience on the level that they offered this last weekend, will be hard to compete with.

Cruising down the aisles of exhibitors, you would be hard-pressed to see any of the generic offerings that many conventions (horror and non) have by the dozen. Each artist brought something unique to their tables and it was very easy to cruise around to each of them and simply spend the day marveling at the creativity and talent there was throughout the hall. Home and professional haunters had plenty of vendors to choose from when it came to getting their hands on cool gadgets, props, and materials to help bring their haunts to life.

Makeup demos by Boneyard FX also took place at the head of the main exhibitor hall and we caught a few that were pretty fantastic.

Hall of Shadows

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the entrance to the Hall of Shadows featured an amazing façade by CalHauntS. To make this even more impressive, a little show took place in the “castle” with Dr. Frankenstein, his assistant Igor, and other creatures that delivered some pretty great scares.

Deeper in the Hall was more vendors like Fog it Up! with their incredible array of available fog juices and scents, as well as the Warner Bros. Studio Tour’s Horror Made Here display featuring the Nun from Conjuring 2 and the current crowd-pleaser (for good reason) IT. Other great highlights was the themed bar created by Sinister Pointe to preview their upcoming event, Scary Place.

We were delighted to check out a few of the home-haunters, and again, there were so many great options, each had long lines in both their GA and the expedited “Gold Bat” VIP option. The spacing of the haunts was huge and fantastic. Everything was so well spaced out that the long lines weren’t overwhelming and exploring the space was really enjoyable, especially seeing the wide variety of different kinds of haunts from temperature experiences, escape room, themed, and original.

To top this off, Six Flags Fright Fest also put on an excellent blacklight scare zone which was an absolute treat to watch con-goers timidly cruise through.

Panels

Both days, some of the most amazing panels took place. While the regulars like Six Flags’ Fright Fest and others announced what was in store for their upcoming events, a newcomer to the Halloween convention scene, but no stranger to the horror industry, the Horror Made Here panel featuring Warner Bros. announcing their big entrance into the haunt scene was a jaw-to-the-floor experience. There was a lot to process from such big news and excitement, a topic for something we’ll be able to provide more information and a breakdown on its own.

However, the icing on the cake for Midsummer Scream among panels like the 25th celebration of Hocus Pocus that featured guests that made the now classic go-to Halloween movie happen, was of course the almost cult-like following that is Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights.

For the first time, ever, the dynamic duo, Creative Director, John Murdy and Art Director, Chris Willams were joined by the Senior Director of Entertainment Creative Development for Universal Orlando, Mike Aiello. The onstage chemistry these three had was brilliant as they gave glimpses into the different processes that each park goes through in haunt maze and house development, entertaining tens of thousands each Halloween season.

Three brains that share a love for scaring the crap out of people: (left to right) Mike Aiello, Chris Williams, and John Murdy

As an avid fan of both parks’ events (I’ve been very lucky to attend HHN 25 and 27), they were hailed like rock stars. What ended up being an over two-hour presentation, the only shred of news amid the current announcements that came from it was there would also be a Trick r’ Treat scare zone for Hollywood’s event this year. Seeing the meeting of East and West was a delight, made happen by the crew that worked year-round to bring this year’s lineup to the fans.

Already announced, the fourth year of Midsummer Scream will take place August 4th and 5th in the same location and again, there is so much we missed in this year’s event, especially not having the time to go see the Black Cat Lounge that featured adorable adoptables from Kitten Rescue Los Angeles which was a highlight to last year’s event. We are looking forward to what is in store for the future for the Mixsummer Scream team.

Crew at the heart of Midsummer Scream(left to right) Markland, Dunlap, West, Atilano, Baker

We’d like to thank Midsummer Scream for having us out to this event and enjoy the additional pictures of what we found interesting below!

*Access to this event was provided by Midsummer Scream as Media/Press

** This article has been updated to mention the Six Flags Fright Fest scare zone, which was very enjoyable!

Movies · Press Releases

New Trailer Revealed for Dread Central Presents’ LASSO

Los Angeles, CA (July 31st, 2018) – Epic Pictures’ horror label Dread Central Presents sets the U.S. release date of LASSO to November 13th and reveals a new trailer to Evan Cecil’s Western-themed slasher.

From Dragonfly Films, LASSO, produced by Elaine Gibson, Todd Myers and Evan Cecil, stars Sean Patrick Flanery (The Boondock Saints), Lindsey Morgan (The 100),Karen Grassle (Little House on the Prairie) and Andrew Jacobs (Paranormal Activity).

The horror flick centers around Kit (Morgan) and Simon (Jacobs), two young leaders of an Active Senior Tour group, out on an adventure to a small-town Rodeo festival located deep in the woods. It’s a great experience for the group … until they try to leave. Simon and Kit must save themselves, and whatever seniors they can, from becoming victims of a deadly Rodeo Ritual. Along the way they join up with another unexpected group of victims, including a one-armed cowboy, Ennis (Flanery), Rosheen, the Rodeo queen, and Trish, a powerhouse female bull rider. Together the group must fight to survive the night from relentless bloodthirsty cowboys on the hunt for human livestock.

In the UK, LASSO will premiere at FrightFest in London on August 25th.

Press Releases

Universal Parks Debut Exclusive First Look Image of New “Stranger Things” Halloween Horror Nights Maze Based on the Critically-Acclaimed Netflix Original Series

 

Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Singapore debut exclusive first look image of new “Stranger Things” Halloween Horror Nights maze designed exclusively by Kyle Lambert, the official illustrator of the mega-hit Netflix original series

Universal Parks & Resorts, July 30, 2018 – Things are about to get turned upside down at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights’ with the first look reveal of the “Stranger Things” maze key art designed exclusively by Kyle Lambert, the official illustrator of the mega-hit Netflix original series.

Featuring the series’ cast standing adjacent to the predatory Demogorgon, the ominous image depicts a nearly palpable account of what guests can expect to experience when the “Stranger Things” maze debuts as part of “Halloween Horror Nights” this fall.

The “Stranger Things” maze, inspired by season one of the Netflix series, will come to life at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, beginning, Friday, September 14, and at Universal Studios Singapore, beginning Thursday, September 27, 2018.

The parallel universe, referred to as the Upside Down, that terrorized the small town of Hawkins, Indiana in “Stranger Things,” will bring the chittering, predatory Demogorgon to “Halloween Horror Nights” to stalk unwitting guests as they encounter iconic scenes, characters and environments from the mesmerizing series.

Working collaboratively with Netflix, along with the creators and executive producer of the blockbuster series—Matt Duffer, Ross Duffer and Shawn Levy, the mazes will be authentic representations of “Stranger Things,” designed to transport guests into artfully recreated scenes and storylines. From the menacing Hawkins National Laboratory, under the U.S. Department of Energy, to the Byers home adorned with an erratic display of flashing Christmas lights and the eerie Upside Down woods oozing a shower of floating orb-like spores, the chilling new mazes will offer surprising twists and unexpected turns around every corner.

Check out this sneak peek!

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 25 years, guests from around the world have visited “Halloween Horror Nights” to become victims inside their own horror film. Multiple movie-quality mazes based on iconic horror television shows, films and original stories come to life season after season, while the streets of each park’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones with menacing scare-actors lunging from every darkened corner.

For more information about “Halloween Horror Nights” visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.