Haunted Attractions

One area of themed entertainment that is near and dear to our hearts as fans has always been haunted attractions. Since 1994, Theme Park Adventure has devoted much of its time and energy on showcasing haunts, from yard displays to major theme park productions; we love it all, and always tell our readers that Halloween isn’t just a holiday for us – it’s a lifestyle…

The Basement – a Dark Escape Room Experience in Los Angeles

the-basement-escape-roomThis past weekend, Theme Park Adventure and members of the ScareLA team, along with some invited guests, converged on Sylmar to experience The Basement – Southern California’s hottest new escape room attraction, brought to you by Dark House Entertainment.

If you’re not familiar with the terminology, an escape room is an attraction where a group (sometimes guests are alone, but that’s not often the case, simply for sake of capacity) of people are “locked” in a space, and are given a defined amount of time to figure out puzzles, locate secret doors, interact with characters, or manipulate props in order to find their way out before the timer reaches zero and the game is over.

While the platform certainly lends itself to horror and the macabre, there are surprisingly very few horror-themed escape room attractions around the world. Themes vary from Egyptian tombs to pirate treasures and whodunit crime scenarios, all with different degrees of interaction, time allotments and difficulty levels.

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Great Horror Campout Launches Movie Night Under the Stars

great-horror-campout-movie-nightThe Great Horror Campout which debuted in 2013 as a 12-hour overnight immersive horror camping adventure is debuting it’s first outdoor horror movie night hosted by none other than the Great Horror Campout, Camp Headmaster.  The first event will feature Friday the 13th on Friday, March 13th, for $13 with an additional bonus of $13 OFF your Great Horror Campout ticket when you buy anytime until prior to screening and use PROMO CODE: Friday.  All ticket proceeds will benefit Los Angeles Parks Foundation.

Positioned as “The Headmaster is getting bored waiting until the summer for Campout and wants to have a little fun now,” the tone of the movie night will be on brand with the Headmasters overly confident and comedically condescending demeanor.

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ScareLA Announces 2015 Dates and New Venue

ScareLAlogoScareLA, the Southern California Halloween convention, is excited to announce its expansion to a new venue, the Pasadena Convention Center for the event’s 2015 edition on August 8 and 9, 2015. The move will increase the con’s show floor to over 100,000 sq. ft. to accommodate a growing list of vendors, attractions, and entertainment. Tickets presale is scheduled to launch within the following week with aggressive discounts for fans and e-mail list subscribers.

“ScareLA 2015 is off to a great start with our expansion into the Pasadena Convention Center,” said Lora Ivanova, ScareLA Executive Producer and Co-founder. “What that means for our fans is: more spooky vendors, easier access to classes and stage content, bigger interactive haunt exhibits and hotels within walking distance for anyone coming from out of town or wishing to make this a true mid-summer Halloween staycation. Our team is busy curating our 2015 programming and cannot wait to share our scary passion with Los Angeles this August!”

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Knott’s Scary Farm Street Monsters 1997 – Throwback Thursday

Knotts-Ghost-Town-Monster-1997 (3)Theme Park Adventure has been covering Knott’s Scary Farm’s Halloween Haunt each year since 1994. In fact, I often refer to the mid-late ’90s as the “Golden Years of Haunt”. Knott’s began its annual spook fest in 1973; over the next decade, it would grow into a Southern California tradition, attracting thousands of guests each night. By the time TPA was embraced by the Haunt family in 1994, the Scary Farm was a must-do event for scores of Halloween fans, and we were in the thick of it all, snapping away with cameras and letting our video tape roll.

One of our favorite things to do back in the day was spend hours in Ghost Town, watching the street monsters roam about and do their thing – whether it was scaring guests senseless, acting corny, or simply pulling off outrageous gags with each other and passersby… often at their expense! In short, because I could go on for hours, the Ghost Town Streets monsters of yesteryear were much different than they are today; it’s not a matter of who or what was better. In 1997, when these four pictures were taken, Knott’s was a very different animal than it is now. In 1997, Halloween Haunt was caught somewhere between its gritty origins and guerrilla-style production and the multi-million dollar spectacle that it is today.

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FAN MAIL: TPA Knott’s Haunt Maze DVD & Rufus Mystery

Special Ops: Infected 2014Hi,

Can I buy a DVD, or better yet, a Blu-ray of your 2014 Knott’s Halloween walk-throughs of all the mazes, without the big white TPA logo in the lower right ?

How much would that be?

Thanks,
Dave

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The Darkness to Open for TransWorld 2015

darkness-haunt-tourThe Darkness Haunted House located in St. Louis, Missouri, is set to open for the haunted house industry during TransWorld’s Halloween & Attraction Show March 19-22, 2015.

Take one of three different tours through one of the most detailed haunted houses in America. Go behind the scenes Thursday, March 19th and take photos, videos, and experience seminars on how to build amazing sets.

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Delusion: Lies Within 2014 Review

Delusion_PosterRetail_19X27Without a doubt, one of the most popular heavyweight champions of Southern California’s Halloween season is Delusion. Whether you consider it a haunted attraction or simply a spooky play that you star in that happens to take place during the haunt season, there are no two ways about it – Delusion has become a national and international sensation that a very broad range of fans are drawn to each year here in Los Angeles, and coming off of an amazingly successful 2014 run, there are no signs whatsoever that Delusion is slowing down in momentum; on the contrary – this might just be an experience that could survive here year-round in Southern California.

Delusion’s creator, Jon Braver, does not readily embrace the idea that his Haunted Play concept is a haunted attraction or Halloween-specific event. This is something that he and I have discussed and debated for years, ever since Delusion debuted in 2011 right here in Los Angeles, taking the haunt season by storm. Part interactive play, part haunted house, Delusion places guests in the story and immerses them in a lengthy, completely satisfying production that leaves your head spinning. Dazzling special effects, a very detailed story line, and top-notch actors are the hallmarks of what makes Jon Braver’s Delusion experience so different than anything we’ve ever covered.

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Reign of Terror Opens Friday the 13th to Fight Cancer

Reign-of-TerrorReign of Terror haunted attraction in Thousand Oaks, California, has announced that it will open its doors on Friday, February 13th this year for a very special cause – to help one of its own fight cancer. To be clear: this is a call to action for the entire haunt community here in Southern California (and beyond) to come together as a family and speak loudly with our hearts and wallets to help one of ROT’s team members and his family in this time of great financial and emotional need.

One of the most elaborate haunted attractions in the world, Reign of Terror is known throughout the Southern California haunt community not only for its legendary theming and immersive environments – it’s also admired for its generosity. What many in the general population may not be aware of, is that Reign of Terror donates 100% of its annual haunt profits to two local charities – The Young Artists Ensemble’s Conejo Theatre for Everyone Program, and The Thousand Oaks Teen Center. Over the past six years, Reign of Terror has donated nearly $90,000.00 to these organizations. On February 13th, ROT will focus its attention and financial might inward, for one of its own.

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Snow Days at the LA Zoo Coming this Month

Photo by Tad MotoyamaNo snowstorms are predicted for Southern California but the Los Angeles Zoo expects just such chilly conditions through the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, January 24 and 25, 2015, during SNOW DAYS AT THE LA ZOO.

The wintery fun features a rare opportunity to watch inquisitive animals exploring snowy wonderlands in several habitats, a snow play area for Zoo guests including a special sledding hill, elaborate ice-carving demonstrations, an inflatable snow globe in which guests can pose for family photo ops, a scavenger-style hunt through the Zoo for youngsters with snow-related animal facts and more.

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Theme Park Adventure 2014 – Year in Review

2014 was a huge year for Theme Park Adventure, as well as the themed entertainment industry as a whole. In addition to crazy new projects such as Diagon Alley opening, some old favorites had big moments as well, including the complete renovation of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland. TPA had its own major milestone, as we hit our 20th Anniversary in September and celebrated with a huge bash at the Knott’s Berry Farm Hotel with more than 200 friends and fans in attendance!

TPA_20th_selfieTheme Park Adventure has gained more momentum in 2014 than in most of its years combined. Our global readership has grown by leaps and bounds, as has our social media presence via Twitter and Facebook. The amount of news and information TPA publishes has risen sharply this past year from a few items per week to 1-3 new stories per day. As co-producers of ScareLA, Theme Park Adventure has also entrenched itself deeper into the Southern California haunt community, and using that platform, we have continued to work at bringing haunters together in unity not just from the region, but from around the world as our coverage of international dark attractions continues to pick up momentum. And then there’s our own Halloween content – that never-ending flow of imagery and video that we collect in October that is so voluminous that there’s just no way we can ever get it up and online as quickly as we’d like to. We surrender! Into the new year our Halloween madness continues – not that any of our TPAers seem to mind!

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