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…

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor New Maze and Spirit to be Announced at Midsummer Scream 2017

Queen Mary's Dark Harbor new maze and character to be revealed at Midsummer Scream 2017As the excitement builds in anticipation of next weekend’s Midsummer Scream convention in Long Beach, the Queen Mary has just announced that it will be revealing a new Dark Harbor maze and character to fans during its hour-long presentation on Saturday, July 29 in the Terrace Theater (main stage).

Typically, each of the major theme parks and attractions that participate in Midsummer Scream thrill guests with enticing presentations and discussions of what’s to be expected come Halloween time. The biggest moments come when the attractions unveil a new maze or major component – that is the pièce de résistance as far as fans are concerned; it’s what they line up for, and it’s what they hope to witness when they pour into the theater each summer.

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Legacy of the Hallowed Haunting Grounds Panel Announced for Midsummer Scream 2017

The history of home haunting in Southern California is long and storied. However, one home haunt in particular – the Hallowed Haunting Grounds – changed the playing field dramatically in 1973, when a group of creative kids led by Gary Corb took to the front yard at 4343 Babcock Avenue in Studio City.

Over the course of 32 years, the Hallowed Haunting Grounds grew into the most elaborate and detailed Halloween yard display anyone had ever seen. What started out as a simple homage to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, became a must-see roadside attraction each October; a virtual who’s who from the entertainment industry showing up nightly to gawk and whisper with the masses as they journeyed “beyond the graveyard of desolate souls”. The Hallowed Haunting Grounds was more than a spectacle; it became a cornerstone of Halloween in Los Angeles, attracting thousands from near and far to experience its subtle complexity – mournful spirits, crumbling church ruins, undulating graves, floating lanterns, and displaced ghosts.

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Blood Alley 3 Sinks Its Teeth Into Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group

Blood Alley 3There’s a hot show in town called Blood Alley 3, presented by the extremely dedicated men and women who make up Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group in North Hollywood, California. You’ve heard of this team before via Theme Park Adventure; we love their Urban Death productions, as well as other spooky offerings they come up with throughout the year.

As you may have guessed, the “3” in the title indicates there have been previous Blood Alley productions at Zombie Joe’s, and you would be right. The sad fact is, we’d never experienced this particular show until just last week. A ticket and front row seat scratched that itch quickly – and as we arrived, I messaged one of the actors… “It’s our first time… be gentle!”

What came next was a rapid descent into avant-garde, extremely adult theater that blurred the lines of horror, erotica, and other genres that pretty much defy category. What is Blood Alley? If you have seen Zombie Joe’s Urban Death shows, you already know the gist of things – strange vignettes that depict all sorts of gross and frightening subjects, lasting only seconds for the most part before the lights go out and the next scene is readied. This repeats itself for about an hour. Blood Alley 3 is the same type of production – but much, much more intense in every aspect than Urban Death.

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45 Years of Knott’s Scary Farm Presentation Announced for Midsummer Scream 2017

This Halloween season marks a special milestone for our friends at Knott’s Berry Farm. When the fog begins to billow across Ghost Town, and strange creatures begin to emerge from the shadows later this year, it will be time to celebrate the 45th Halloween event the park has hosted – known around the world as Knott’s Scary Farm. Fans need not wait until late September or October to begin celebrating, however. On Sunday, July 30th, Midsummer Scream will proudly present 45 Years of Knott’s Scary Farm, hosted by author/historian Ted Dougherty.

45 Years of Knott’s Scary Farm will close Midsummer Scream 2017 with a special 90-minute presentation on Sunday, July 30th, beginning at 4:30pm in the Terrace Theater, which will accommodate up to 3,000 fans. The unique presentation will feature historical photos of Knott’s Scary Farm, and an unprecedented “rotating panel” that will spotlight individuals key to the creation of, and crucial to the continued success of the haunt that pioneered similar events at theme parks around the world.

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Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Panel Announced for Midsummer Scream 2017

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 Announces Hall of Shadows 2017 Participants

Hall of Shadows 2017Midsummer 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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Midsummer Scream 2017 Tickets on Sale Today!

Midsummer Scream 2017Tickets 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 Presented by Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group Delivers Sex and Despair

Tortured Souls ArtTortured 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 Special Event in March Announced

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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Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2016 a Grand Mix of Mazes, Monsters, and Boozy Mayhem

Queen Mary's Dark Harbor 2016There 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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