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THEME PARK ADVENTURE – LATEST NEWS AND FEATURES
If you’re a horror or theme park fan (preferably both) living in Southern California, chances are you are well aware that there is a brand-new walk-through attraction based on AMC’s The Walking Dead opening July 4th at Universal Studios Hollywood.
And, if you’re not or weren’t aware… now you know.
Under the creative direction of John Murdy and artful eye of Chris Williams, The Walking Dead will become the newest addition to the Los Angeles park, which is still undergoing an epic transformation that will see more exciting additions in the wake of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, which opened this spring. While involved in other aspects of creative development for Universal Studios Hollywood, Murdy and Williams are best known as the dynamic duo of terror behind the theme park’s wildly-popular Halloween Horror Nights event.
One of the most exciting and unique components of Midsummer Scream – California’s premier Halloween, haunt and horror festival – will be its Hall of Shadows dark zone, featuring roaming monsters, entertainment, and 9 terrifying mini haunted attraction experiences.
Hall of Shadows will occupy more than one third of the Halloween festival’s 90,000 square-foot show floor this year, giving thousands of fans the opportunity to preview home and professional haunts each day, included with their admission to Midsummer Scream. In addition to the haunted attractions, those brave enough to venture into Hall of Shadows will experience a full-blown scare zone, Toxicity, high-energy performances by the Decayed Brigade slider team three times each day, and many terrifying monsters lurking in the fog, waiting to pounce!
FULL SCARE ZONE
Created by Larry Bones and his crew at Bone Yard Effects, Toxicity is an immersive experience set within the walls of a genetics lab that has suffered a toxic explosion that will leave guests screaming as they are attacked by twisted, mutated scientists from all sides. Bone Yard Effects creates the makeup applications and prosthetics each year for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Midsummer Scream, California’s premier Halloween, haunt and horror festival announces the Museum of Paranormal History, a unique collective of vendors, experts, authors, and local tour guides specializing in all things supernatural.
The Museum of Paranormal History will feature more than a dozen exhibitors on the show floor including Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum which will be showcasing their vintage Ouija boards, ParaXplorer Project, Dearly Departed Tours, Haunted Vegas Tours, Planet Paranormal known for their wide variety of fantastic radio talk shows, Orange County Ghosts and Legends tour and paranormal investigation group, and the Winchester Mystery House which will be featured in a major presentation on Sunday July 31 and will have actual pieces from the famous Northern California mansion on display – some for sale – at their booth. To ensure nothing gets out of hand, members of the Southland Ghostbusters cosplay group will be present throughout the weekend.
Midsummer Scream, Southern California’s premier Halloween, haunt and horror festival to be held July 30 – 31 at the Long Beach Convention Center, has unleashed a steady stream of announcements, from world-class theme park presentations to professional makeup demonstrations, and a massive show floor filled with artisans and vendors of the macabre. The most famous haunted house in California has now been added to the festival’s lineup; a storied mansion so legendary that its name is revered by fans and ghost hunters around the world… Winchester.
The Winchester Mystery House will be hosting an unprecedented 60-minute presentation and panel discussion on Sunday July 31 featuring rare photographs, never-before-seen footage and ghost stories from the sprawling 160-room Victorian mansion in the San Francisco Bay Area. WINCHESTER: California’s Original Haunted House will feature Walter Magnuson, General Manager Winchester Mystery House; Tim O’Day, Director of Communications for Winchester Mystery House; and Peter Overstreet, event producer of Winchester Mystery House’s all-new Halloween Candlelight Tours.
Earlier this week, Universal Studios Hollywood confirmed what fans have been speculating for a while – that a year-round attraction based on AMC’s blockbuster series The Walking Dead is close to opening at the Southern California theme park.
This is a major boon for haunt and horror fans in the region who lamented over the closure of Universal’s House of Horrors in summer 2014. House of Horrors was a year-round walk-through haunted attraction that featured such notable silver screen heavies as the Mummy, Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Norman Bates, and more. It’s closure and demolition was part of the unprecedented property-wide makeover that Universal Studios Hollywood is still undergoing in large to make way for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which opened last month.
For the past five years, The Walking Dead has been a featured intellectual property at Universal Studios Hollywood during its annual Halloween Horror Nights event, taking on every form from sprawling scare zone to intense mazes reflecting whichever season ended that spring. Over time, two very defined groups of fans have found their voice – those who are totally into The Walking Dead, and those who have had more than enough of it at Halloween Horror Nights. The latter group becomes more and more vocal online each season that Universal announces that The Walking Dead will be returning. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the show, and I’ve already figured that it’ll be part of HHN for at least a year after the show finally ends.
Let’s have a party, there’s a full moon in the sky! Midsummer Scream is thrilled to announce Oingo Boingo Dance Party will headline its Noche de los Muertos (Night of the Dead) celebration and costume contest at the Long Beach Convention Center Saturday evening July 30th, 2016.
Oingo Boingo Dance Party is comprised of former Oingo Boingo members Johnny Vatos, Steve Bartek, John Avila, Sam “Sluggo” Phipps, Carl Graves and Doug Lacy, along with a host of other wildly-talented musicians that keep the legacy of the iconic band alive and thriving for fans of multiple generations.
Known for their unique sound which includes explosive percussion, electrifying guitar riffs and a full horns section, Oingo Boingo’s extensive song catalogue includes Only a Lad, Little Girls, Weird Science, No One Lives Forever, and the venerable Dead Man’s Party. The band hosted Halloween shows in Irvine each year at the height of its popularity, with thousands of “Tender Lumplings” – the given nickname for their adoring fans – showing up in costumes and skeletal makeup, as the underlying thematic style of the group commonly centered around Dia de los Muertos.
“Oingo Boingo was synonymous with Halloween here in Southern California in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” said Rick West, Creative Director of Midsummer Scream. “What better way to launch our event than a concert featuring these legendary performers doing what they do best as Oingo Boingo Dance Party? To me, bringing these musicians and the haunt and horror community together under one roof is a no-brainer. They’re going to bring the house down!”
Veteran special effects makeup artist Larry Bones and his world-class team of artists from Bone Yard Effects will turn a host of volunteers into savage creatures that will roam the show floor and Hall of Shadows during this summer’s Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival held July 30 – 31 at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Bones, whose film credits include Congo, Outbreak and Shallow Hal, will oversee the transformation of dozens of volunteers throughout the weekend to populate the entire Midsummer Scream venue, from the ominous Hall of Shadows to the vendor/exhibitor show floor and beyond. For the past 10 years, Larry has overseen the makeup needs for Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights.
“We are thrilled to have Larry as a creative partner,” said Claire Dunlap, Associate Producer of Midsummer Scream. “The enthusiasm he’s had for our event since the onset is infectious. At launch Larry committed his full support for which we are ecstatic. Having Bone Yard Effects with FX Faces at the helm of our most anticipated portion of the show floor creates excitement for our organization and the thousands of guest who’ll get to admire – and be terrorized by – his amazing talents. Larry is providing all that his creative genius has to offer and it is a win-win for everyone involved.”
A huge kudos to the Berry Farm team for its 2016 Knott’s for the Cure effort, benefiting Susan G. Komen Orange County in the fight against breast cancer. This year, Knott’s Berry Farm raised $130,588 between January and March through its extensive campaign in Buena Park. Each year, the SoCal theme park does a heck of a job promoting breast cancer awareness – from selling pink-colored tickets and merchandise, to lighting up some of its iconic attractions in “breast cancer awareness pink”. Knott’s has done a stand-up job at not only calling attention to this cause – which we’re all responsible to shed light on – but putting their money where their mouth is and raising a lot of cash for the Susan G. Komen foundation.
Fans of Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will tell you, John Murdy (Creative Director, HHN Hollywood) and Chris Williams (Art Director, HHN Hollywood) have wanted to land The Exorcist for a long time as an HHN maze property. At the same time, whenever the subject has been brought up in public, fans return the desire with enthusiastic cheers and applause. This week, that unholy wish has been granted, as Universal announced The Exorcist for both its California and Florida events.
In an interview I did with Chris Williams, he noted that the one IP he’s always wanted to have as a maze at Horror Nights is The Exorcist.
“I began entertaining that thought five or six years ago. I’m a very spiritual person,” explained Williams. “The more I thought about it, I would love to make it so scary on Saturday night, that you might find yourself sitting in church on Sunday morning!”
Are you excited about the new GhostRider renovation taking place at Knott’s Berry Farm? Are you a super fan who’d love to get up close and personal with the coaster’s new trains? Do you have some free time this Friday, April 29th? If the answers equal a resounding “YES!” then do we have some exciting news for you!
Knott’s Berry Farm is looking for 30 TPAers to pose in the new GhostRider trains this Friday for images to be used as part of the park’s new marketing materials for the beloved wooden coaster. The photo shoot will begin at 1 PM, and is expected to last 2 – 3 hours; you must be able to stay for the entire session. Only 30 people are needed; this is an extremely limited-space opportunity that has been extended exclusively to Theme Park Adventure. We’re certain spots will fill up immediately, so do not hesitate to RSVP if you are able to do this.