Author Archives: Rick West

Delusion Returns to Los Angeles for 2016… with Teeth!

PrintDelusion: His Crimson Queen just may be the hottest ticket to any event this Halloween season here in Southern California. Ironically, Delusion isn’t a haunt – it’s immersive theater set within a spooky environment, dressed up in frightening tales, and performed flawlessly by very talented actors. While Delusion isn’t a haunted attraction, it does run during the fall season, and has become synonymous with Halloween here in Los Angeles, making it a must-see on everyone’s spooky To-Do list.

Finding a ticket for the 2016 season of Delusion: His Crimson Queen is nearly impossible at this point. The production sold out extremely fast as soon as tickets went on sale. This year, the ticket demand is beyond crazy, since Delusion was on hiatus in 2015; fans ravenous for the show’s return snatched up tickets very quickly once they went on sale in August. In fact Delusion: His Crimson Queen was completely sold-out before the show’s cast was even locked.

The story and theme of Delusion changes drastically each season. Creator Jon Braver and some of his team unveiled the title of this year’s show – His Crimson Queen – at Midsummer Scream in July, which was met by whistles and thunderous applause from more than 300 fans sitting on the edges of their seats in anticipation of the announcement. Immediately, speculation spread as to the exact theme of Delusion 2016; the popular consensus all along was that Braver was bringing the show back as a vampire tale. That consensus proved to be correct; Delusion has brought bloodthirsty children of the night to Los Angeles!

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Universal Studios Hollywood Opens Strongest Halloween Horror Nights Event to Date

horror-nights-hollywood-2016_1202Without a doubt, 2016 is the strongest intellectual property lineup that Universal Studios Hollywood has ever assembled for Halloween Horror Nights. Fronted by the long-awaited maze The Exorcist, HHN features a powerhouse ensemble that includes mazes based on American Horror Story, Halloween 2, Krampus and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There’s more – so let’s dive right in and pick apart Halloween Horror Nights 2016 piece by fleshy piece…

SPOILER ALERT: This in-depth review contains spoilers regarding the mazes and scare zones found at Halloween Horror Nights 2016. It also features images and video that contain spoilers as well.

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Los Angeles Live Steamers to Fans: “Leave us Alone!”

GHOST_TRAIN_2013_4307In the wake of our September 17 story regarding the closure of the Los Angeles Live Steamers’ annual Ghost Train event, fans of all walks have expressed their sadness and disappointment online and on social media. Certainly, the disappointment is widespread, as the LALS board of directors surely must have been anticipating when they voted to cancel the Halloween event.

Jay Carsman, a member of the club who originally reached out to Theme Park Adventure, asking us to remove all Ghost Train content on our site, instead voluntarily offered us a very detailed explanation into the club’s decision to do away with this 15 year-old event in Griffith Park here in Los Angeles.

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A Sneak Peek Behind The 17th Door Haunt Experience 2016

17th-door-preview-2016_1546Without a doubt, the single most-anticipated new attraction to come online here in Southern California last Halloween was The 17th Door Haunt Experience. Located in Tustin, just minutes away from Disneyland in Orange County, The 17th Door hit the scene hard, taking everyone by surprise by its sheer size, detail and controversial content.

The 17th Door took no prisoners as it thrust thousands of curious guests into the nightmarish world of Paula, a college freshman with lots of emotional baggage. Embarking on her terror trip of bulimia, alcohol and drug abuse, we joined Paula as she made one bad decision after another – and paid for it dearly. Guests fought their way with Paula through solitary confinement, a room filled with live cockroaches, demons in the form of swine-human hybrids, and a myriad of gut-wrenching moments that pushed many to the brink. More than 3,000 visitors at The 17th Door last season tapped out – they cried mercy, because the intensity was simply too much for them to bear.

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CREEP LA 2016 is a Masterful, Bizarre Halloween Experience

Creep LA 2016-1When you stare into the Darkness, the Darkness stares back.

Creep LA burst onto the Southern California Halloween attraction scene last year and wowed fans of all types with its powerful blend of haunted house terror and intense theatrical style. Created by Justin Fix, Creep was a huge success and amassed quite a loyal following in a very short amount of time, from curious horror fans to an impressive list of Hollywood celebrities. The question on our mind was, following a great debut year, what would come next for Justin and his team?

In Southern California, new haunts not only need to succeed well in their first year – they need to follow that success with bigger, bolder events to retain their foothold and gain traction for the future. The second year is a huge hurdle to clear – some haunts get so beat up their first year, they don’t even bother returning; others go completely over-the-top and try to be something they’re not, completely ruining the momentum they did have.

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Ghost Train Cancelled by Los Angeles Live Steamers Board of Directors

ghost-train-2015_84022016 brings a lot of change to Halloween in Southern California. Sadly, not all of that change is good news. Case in point, Ghost Train, an incredible family event that has thrilled guests of all ages for the past 15 years in Griffith Park will not be returning. In an executive decision made by the Los Angeles Live Steamers board of directors this summer, it was decided that the beloved Halloween event would not return this year.

The word of Ghost Train’s sudden demise came in the form of public announcements from LA Live Steamers Railroad Museum on their official website as well as Facebook page – which fans immediately spoke up against. As a result, those early posts (and a slew of public outcry) were deleted, and a much more abbreviated and under-the-radar announcement is all that’s left on the organization’s website, offering no explanation regarding the situation or decision.

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Scandia’s Ontario Haunt Brings Chills and Energetic Scary Fun to Inland Empire

scandia-2015_7603Scandia’s Haunt in Ontario, California, is one of those attractions you drive by and think, that’s cute – they make their own haunted house at the mini golf place. In fact, we were guilty of doing that for years as we zigged and zagged all over Southern California covering Halloween events and haunted attractions from San Diego to Los Angeles and beyond.

Finally, after the team at Scandia asked that we stop by and check their haunt out, we slugged it into our schedule and made it happen. To be honest, our expectations were pretty low. After all, Scandia is a chain of miniature golf/family entertainment centers; how much effort would they really put into a temporary haunted house? To our absolute surprise and delight, Scandia Ontario and its team of haunters really get into it, and absolutely pour their heart and souls into returning year after year to put on a tremendous show for everyone who stops by.

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First Look: American Horror Story and Krampus Come to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood

hhn-preview-2016-2Historically, the one maze that has been the most elusive in Halloween Horror Nights history has been The Exorcist. For more than a decade, Creative Director/Executive Producer John Murdy and Art Director Chris Williams have chased the rights to use that intellectual property for a walk-through Horror Nights attraction, which finally has become a reality. The devil in the details remained challenging Monday afternoon, when Theme Park Adventure was scheduled to have a behind-the-scenes tour of The Exorcist with Murdy. Just prior to our arrival, inspectors came to walk The Exorcist maze, making it impossible for media to take a tour. Stubborn to the bitter end, we now wait on pins and needles with the rest of Universal’s fans until Halloween Horror Nights opens this Friday and we can finally see The Exorcist in person!

Switching gears from The Exorcist, John took us on a tour of American Horror Story, a maze that is comprised of three of the popular franchise’s seasons: Murder House (Season 1), Freak Show (Season 4), and Hotel (Season 5). The maze is still under construction at the time of this writing, but it’s pretty damned close – and looks really good.

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Exploring Death and the Afterlife with Bardo Thodol and Screenshot Productions

bardo-1Southern California is a region full of immersive theater, haunted attractions, extreme horror experiences and themed entertainment where Screenshot Productions manages to add a unique touch to the industry with its emotional, raw, theatrical and (sometimes) terrifying shows to an already diverse scene. Whether it’s sadness, loss, anger, or fear, these are shows that evoke emotions in an unexpected way. Since 2013, I have overcome fear, and experienced my birth and death. But this time… it was about exploring the afterlife.

Inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol), this experience by Screenshot Productions is described as a “multi-act immersive experience taking you through your own death and soul’s judgment in the afterlife.” My immediate reaction: I’m in. While I do appreciate and respect the non-horror type of experiences that Screenshot Productions produces, I definitely get drawn in and intrigued by the darker side. The scarier it is, the better, and I was ready for this.

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17th Door Haunted Experience Delivers Extreme and Unsettling Moments

17th Door 2015_5646The 17th Door Haunted Experience made its debut in Southern California in 2015. Located in The Marketplace in Tustin, California, this extreme haunt took just about everyone by surprise on multiple levels – from its incredible set design to the sheer physical size and complexity of its operation.

Created by husband and wife team Robbie and Heather Luther, The 17th Door is a haunt unlike we’ve ever experienced here in Southern California. The fact that it’s nestled unassumingly in an upscale strip mall in a sleepy suburban master-planned community makes it even more of an anomaly.

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