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One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare. That door is opening once again, and this time it’s opening for fans of the iconic Disney attraction – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – as they converge on Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival at the Long Beach Convention Center this July.
Kicking off this year’s world-class presentations in the Terrace Theater at 12 noon on Saturday, July 29, is a must-see panel discussion titled, “Beyond the 5th Dimension: Creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror”.
Hosted by Midsummer Scream Creative Director Rick West, this thrilling panel discussion will feature Cory Sewelson, who served as the Production Designer/Art Director for the Florida version of Tower, and the Producer/Creative Director for California and Paris’ versions of the attraction; Michael Sprout, who was the Show Writer on each Tower project, including Tokyo’s, which does not carry The Twilight Zone theme; and Mark Silverman, the amazing voice actor who brought the persona of Rod Serling to life for the Florida, California, and Paris attractions.
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Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival, the West Coast’s premier Halloween, haunt, and horror convention returns July 29-30 to the Long Beach Convention Center for a weekend of world-class thrills and chills. One of the stand-out components of Midsummer Scream’s impressive array of entertainment is the Hall of Shadows – a large portion of the convention’s show floor that is shrouded in darkness and filled with billowing fog, and roaming monsters on an unprecedented scale. For 2017, the Hall of Shadows will feature 14 highly-themed “mini haunts” representing professional and home-made attractions that fans can look forward to visiting this Halloween season here in Southern California.
“Hall of Shadows is a substantial component of Midsummer Scream,” says the convention’s Creative Director, Rick West. “Last year, we featured 9 mini haunts within the Hall; this year, we are upping the count to 14. We are thrilled with the diversity of participating groups this year, from extremely popular pro haunts, to some of the greatest home haunts in existence. Add the awesome spectacle of the Decayed Brigade slider team into the mix, and you’ll find that we have a Hall of Shadows experience this year that is truly epic. Hall of Shadows is a cornerstone of Midsummer Scream, as there is nothing that defines Halloween in America more than haunted houses and lurking monsters. It’s going to be a blast, and all of our participants are raring to go!”
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Tickets are on sale today for Midsummer Scream 2017, which will be hosted at the Long Beach Convention Center Saturday and Sunday, July 29-30. After a stellar debut last year, Midsummer Scream returns to Long Beach with a vengeance for a weekend of non-stop Halloween fun, haunted attractions, world-class panel presentations, live entertainment, makeup demonstrations, amazing vendors, and a sinister after-hours party in one of the most iconic paranormal activity locations in the world – the Queen Mary.
Ticket options are available beginning today at MidsummerScream.org.
Fans attending Midsummer Scream 2017 are in for an early Halloween treat, as virtually every aspect of the convention is bigger and better this year, including:
World-Class Presentations and Bigger Main Stage Venue
As the official kick-off event for the Halloween season in Southern California, Midsummer Scream features an unparalleled lineup of major presentations by the largest tourist attractions on the West Coast. This year’s epic Main Stage lineup includes Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights, Knott’s Scary Farm, Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, and Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest. These Main Stage presentations will be held in the beautiful, state-of-the-art Terrace Theater, which features comfortable seating for up to 3,000 screaming fans.
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Tortured Souls is the name of the latest horror-filled production that we have experienced at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group in North Hollywood. As the name implies, this particular engagement is all about discomfort; anyone familiar with ZJU knows that most things this avant-garde group does is not for the squeamish.
While not really what I would call a “haunt” or even haunt experience, there definitely are some frightening visuals and creepy characters throughout Tortured Souls that lend themselves very nicely to that type of attraction. Guests are escorted through the doorway to Zombie Joe’s small NoHo theater and into the afterlife – a strange, dark place that makes no real sense, and is packed full of nightmarish vignettes of people in purgatory, I suppose, forever stuck in the vicious life cycle that landed them there in the first place. Drugs. Sex. Whatever.
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Reign of Terror Haunted House in Thousand Oaks has announced that it will be open Saturday night, March 4, 2017 for a special event benefiting local animal rescue charities in the Greater Los Angeles area.
Anyone familiar with the haunted attraction scene here in Southern California is certainly aware of Reign of Terror; it is one of the largest and most elaborate haunts in the United States. We often say that we’re lucky to have ROT in our own backyard here in Los Angeles, as it truly is a spectacle to experience and appreciate year after year.
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There may be no place on Earth more storied than the Queen Mary when it comes to legends of paranormal activity. The massive ship now rests permanently moored in Long Beach, California, where she hosts visitors from around the world – they come to gawk at the titanic ship of yesteryear, to shop, to enjoy fine dining experiences, and they come to stay overnight in one of the cabins, as the Queen Mary was converted into a hotel in 1972 (the number of guest rooms and amenities on the ship have grown vastly since then). People also flock to the Queen Mary for much darker reasons. Paranormal investigations are on-going within the creaking hull of the ship, within her cavernous bowels, and in every narrow crawlspace – some of which haven’t been explored for years. Considered a virtual hotbed of ghostly activity, it is only fitting that the Queen Mary is home to one of the largest Halloween events in the world. Dark Harbor 2016 marked the 7th season for event, which grows in scale and popularity here in Southern California each year.
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INTO THE BLACK is a brand-new haunt experience for 2017 created by Bone Yard Effects, Inc. that will take visitors on a harrowing journey this Halloween season at the Pomona Fairplex in Southern California.
In 1866, Anton and Isabella Black built a large home deep in the woods, a fair distance from any village. They were reclusive, socially awkward individuals that kept to themselves and were rarely seen in public. Once locals began disappearing, people began speaking in whispers about the Blacks. Some suggested they were murderers. Others claimed that the couple was heavily involved with the occult – and that those who had gone missing were taken as part of heinous Satanic rituals and offerings. It didn’t take long for the woods to be deemed “off limits”. The looming Victorian in the heart of those woods would become known as the House of the Devil. For decades, no one ventured into the woods and eventually, the home and its occupants faded into obscurity. The lore surrounding The Black House was passed down for generations until people began to question the validity of the information at hand.
Recently, paranormal investigation teams and curious thrill seekers have started to return to the area, searching for any sign of The Black House or clues that shed light on whatever happened to Anton and Isabella – or those unfortunate souls who entered the woods all those years ago, never to return. Despite their best efforts, everyone looking for answers emerges empty-handed, casting even more doubt on the stories attributed to “the most evil place on Earth.”
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Sinister Pointe has always been on the cutting edge of innovative haunt-centric attractions here in Southern California. In 2011, the company broke through the traditional Halloween season barrier and introduced its Not So Merry Holiday Haunt concept for the first time – an adults-only event using the same footprint as the existing haunted attraction, but redressing much of it with Christmas props, costumes and soundscape. Everyone went nuts for the Holiday Haunt, and curious fans came from far and near to see the raunchy spectacle for themselves.
The Holiday Haunt continued for two more Christmas seasons in the company’s long-time location in Orange County before going dark after the 2013 Christmas season. In the years that followed, Sinister Pointe has explored other ventures and opportunities despite fans asking without fail each year if the Holiday Haunt would return. When Jeff Schiefelbein and his crew announced the return of the Not So Merry Holiday Haunt for Christmas 2016, fans were thrilled; we were too, as this over-the-top holiday attraction had also become one of our favorite annual events.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story contains images and a video that are not suitable for children. Please exercise care when browsing in mixed company or around minors. Some of the content below is NSFW and will be considered offensive to some individuals. The embedded video is Age Restricted, as to add a layer of protection for our readers.
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Sinister Pointe, a company that is renowned throughout Southern California and beyond for its highly-detailed, interactive haunt attractions. This past summer, Sinister Pointe thrilled fans at Midsummer Scream by announcing that they would be unleashing a new kind of terror for the 2016 Halloween season: a walk-through experience called Fear the Mark.
In 2015, Sinister Pointe produced an escape room type of attraction, rather than the traditional walk-through experience they’re most known and loved for; it was fun and well-executed, but definitely was a big departure from the type of haunt the company had produced for years. The announcement that the group was returning to its walk-through roots was very well-received by everyone in the haunt community. Knowing what Sinister Pointe is capable of, and understanding the creative need to move forward and try new things, we were very curious and excited as well to see what Jeff Schiefelbein and his team were going to bring to the table for 2016.
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For the past 26 years, Halloween fans have flocked to Rotten Apple 907 in Burbank, California, to visit one of the most elaborate home haunts in Southern California. This year, the Rotten Apple team put its twisted spin on popular childhood tales, creating the Not So Enchanted Forest.
Entering the foreboding Not So Enchanted Forest through a storybook facade, guests stepped into a dark, heavily-landscaped woodland. A small footbridge carried folks over a babbling brook toward a small cottage in a clearing – but not before a spooky tree a la Snow White’s Scary Adventures or even the Haunted Mansion advanced menacingly! This set the stage perfectly for the family-friendly frights that waited ahead in the darkness of the Not So Enchanted Forest.
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