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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.
What an Excellent Day – The Exorcist Maze is Finally Coming to Universal Studios Hollywood and Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights
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.
Knott’s Berry Farm Joins Universal Studios Hollywood, Queen Mary, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Walt Disney Imagineering at Midsummer Scream
Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival proudly announces that it has secured the biggest names and brands in themed entertainment as partnering content providers for its debut event to be held July 30 – 31 at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Midsummer Scream is California’s premier Halloween, haunt and horror festival featuring more than 100,000 square feet of artisan vendors, live entertainment, specialty workshops, makeup demonstrations, a screening room, haunted attraction previews and experiences, a darkened scare zone and more.
Fans of all ages will be thrilled and captivated this summer by world-class panel presentations by the leaders in themed entertainment as they wow Midsummer Scream audiences with 2016 maze reveals, special guests and heart-stopping surprises throughout the final weekend in July at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Knott’s Berry Farm is the most recent major attraction to join Midsummer Scream’s world-class lineup, rounding-out the bulk of Southern California’s theme park/major Halloween events that draw millions to Los Angeles and Orange County each autumn.
Flashes of a familiar facemask blur the line between reality and film. The roar of a chain saw inside a darkened, deteriorating farmhouse is deafening. You are being hunted. Moving past the rotting remains of other victims, you find your escape blocked by an immovable force. A force that has only one purpose – complete and total destruction.
This year, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – one of the greatest horror films ever made – will come to life as an all-new maze at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 26.
From the creative minds of CreepyLA and Theme Park Adventure, comes an all-new chapter in terror: Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival. This weekend-long celebration of everything Halloween, haunts and horror makes its debut July 30-31 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, California.
Midsummer Scream features more than 100,000 square feet of event space that will showcase vendors, makeup demonstrations, stage presentations, live entertainment, a screening room, haunted attraction experiences and more.
“We’re combining all of our talents, production knowledge, and years of experience to create an amazing show that we know fans are going to love,” said David Markland, Executive Director of Midsummer Scream. “Each week from now until our July debut, we will be announcing more participants and unveiling different aspects of the show that are going to have people counting down the days with great anticipation.”
We regretfully confirm that Theme Park Adventure is no longer associated with ScareLA Halloween convention in any way. We are unable to answer any questions about the convention’s current operations or future plans, nor are we going to make any further statement at this time regarding the extremely difficult decision we’ve made to resign as two of the event’s producers.
We appreciate the support of the haunt community, and will always be incredibly proud of what we accomplished as a team over the past three years. Sadly, that has come to an end, and we are just as disappointed about that as our friends throughout the industry are.
Thank you all for the outpouring of love and strength during this extremely challenging transition. We promise that we have not abandoned this great community, nor are we fading away. Theme Park Adventure is stronger than ever before, and remains dedicated to the Southern California haunt community and beyond.
We are family. Always have been, always will be.
— Rick West & Johanna Atilano