Cultists! Rejoice! The 2018 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival rose from the fathomless deep to drive the audiences of Portland, OR to madness this month.
A few weeks ago I arrived at a nondescript building in Glendale on a Friday evening. As I push the door aside, I wondered what type of debauchery awaited me only to be surprised to find a row of mannequins dressed in superhero costumes staring back at me. Confused, and slightly startled, I walked around the space to find other mannequins dressed in costumes ranging from Pennywise to Western themed, and it’s at this point where the nervousness started to set in. Luckily this review isn’t going to be about how I was scared shitless by a troupe of soulless mannequins, instead, this was just the beginning stages of what has become one of my favorite events of the Halloween season: SHAPESHIFTER CIRCUS.
If you are looking for a unique dining experience with immersive elements, exceptional set design and fabulous costumes look no further than Disco Dining Club and Grim Wreather’s The Flowering of the Strange Orchid. Inspired by the classic HG Wells’ short story, this experience brings to life the beauty of exotic bloodsucking plants with an incredible 5 course meal by the talented Laurent Quenioux of LQ Foodings. This private event at a beautiful Los Angeles residence will have you feeling like a Hollywood A-lister and provide you a out of the ordinary experience.
From the makers of the infamous Pageant of the Masters, a staple of the Laguna Beach artist community since 1932, brings you Pageant of the Monsters a Halloween festival and celebration. This family friendly event provides Halloween activities for all ages and a hauntingly good time. With a maze, arts and crafts, airbrush tattoos, an alien autopsy experience, a reptile zoo, fortune tellers, scaractors roaming the grounds, and art boutiques, there is something for everyone at Pageant of the Monsters.
Approaching sun down, we anxiously drive an hour off I-5 down a long deserted dirt road towards The Groveland Hotel. As we continue winding up a steep incline, we notice our cellphone reception starts to get spotty. Isn't this how every horror movie starts? Our minds start to race assessing possible outcomes of our stay at The Groveland. Our experience started long before we even reached Room 15 believed to be occupied by a departed gold miner, Lyle.
Having gone to the Winchester Mystery House for a dark-of-night flashlight tour in my early 20s, I thought I knew what to expect when walking onto the estate where the uber-haunted Winchester Mystery House calls home. To my genuine delight, they’ve made some changes to the nighttime tour since my last visit, and what I thought would be just a regular walk-through of the Mystery House by candlelight turned out to be a well-orchestrated haunted house.
Last Monday, I had the chance to attend Freeform’s Halloween House in celebration of their 31 Nights of Halloween. The event, which was located at the historic Lombardi House in Hollywood, California from October 4-9th, was a free pop-up experience that allowed guests the chance to immerse themselves in the world of Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas, as both films were celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year.
The impact of The Jim Henson Company can easily be found in a variety of the things that I have enjoyed in life. I grew up obsessively watching movies like LABYRINTH, DARK CRYSTAL, and MIRROR MASK, growing to love the creepily fantasmical atmospheres that make up the world of those films. Years later I would come to appreciate the sheer might and artistry that went into the puppeteering found in Jim Henson Company’s projects. With the arrival of THE CURIOUS CREATIONS OF CHRISTINE MCCONNELL, I theorized that this project would appeal to both an older generation that grew up on puppetry and also could introduce puppetry to a younger generation. After seeing a special screening of the show on the studio lot, I felt more certain that my theory would be proven true!
Before I started writing this, I was trying to remember the exact moment I discovered Joe Coleman, who I consider to by my favorite living artist. I’m pretty sure it was about 12 years ago when I was working at Borders Bookstore (RIP) in Atlanta, Georgia. I was shelving the art books early in the morning before any customers came in, and I came upon Cosmic Retribution: The Infernal Art of Joe Coleman. I spent about thirty minutes on the clock reading the book and looking at the pictures and realized that there was someone out there making art that resonated with me.
Deep within the halls of the Queen Mary, there is a room filled with seemingly ordinary items from the past. However, these items hold spiritual significance that allow them to be used as a conduit for communication with the spirits. These items open up the world between the living and the departed. They invite ghosts to pass over the threshold and interact with the living.
This past week, we were invited to take a behind the scenes tour of the upcoming STRANGER THINGS Maze debuting this Friday at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood. Universal Hollywood Creative Director John Murdy gave us a room by room tour of the maze, even though most of it was still under construction. He explained to us what everything was going to look, sound, and feel like once completed. The maze will include all the iconic locations from the first season of the hit Netflix series.
If this year’s Midsummer Scream seemed busier than ever, that’s because it was. With Midsummer being one of the largest haunt related conventions in the United States, it is the place to be to unveil all the new, exciting haunt related things to the hungry crowds eager for this year’s haunt season to start. Curious fans scurried to the Grand Ballroom on Saturday, July 28th, to see and hear all the new changes coming to Six Flags Magic Mountain's Fright Fest.
The team behind Six Flags Fright Fest assembled to reveal all the latest announcements going into this year’s spooky event. If fans stayed long enough, they also got to experience a variety of frightening and strange characters from the haunted attraction roaming throughout the presentation. Of course, it wouldn’t have been a Fright Fest panel without the infamous Innocence Willoughby skulking about and scaring the panelists onstage.
This year’s Fright Fest features the arrivals of a couple of new mazes as well as new scare zone additions to the event.
Condemned - Forever Damned is a new maze this year, which focuses on an abandoned house towards the front of the park. Once you enter the home, you may never get the chance to leave. Throughout the course of your time in the abandoned home, you will run across various souls of the people who used to live there. You’ll also have to try to keep away from the soul snatchers because they desire nothing more to take your soul.
Sewer of Souls is another new maze this year that will be replacing the Dead End maze of previous years. You’ll walk into a dank, dusty sewer and make your way through the gross, putrid passageways that make up the sewer system. Along the way, you will run into dwellers who have made the sewer their home.
The panelists then moved onto discussing one of the largest scare zones that they’ve ever had at Fright Fest - The Witch’s Lair. Not only is this the largest scare zone, but it also features the biggest cast they’ve used for a scare. The Witch’s Lair will take root in the Metropolis Area and will slowly take on the form of an outdoor swampy woodland area. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled because you’ll have to run fast if a swamp hound catches your scent. If you were able to make it to the Hall of Shadows, you were able to get a glimpse of the swamp hounds in action.
The panelists did not hide in the fact that they were planning this to be the goriest year ever for the annual haunt event. The debut of the new scare zone The Shadows has emphasized gore that is sure to curl the toes of many a guest. The panelists also wanted to make it clear that the event would not be best for those with small children. This year they are completely axing the Boo Sticks, glow in the dark sticks that kids could wear to help identify to monsters that they were not meant to be scared. All kid gloves are off and the panelists emphasized that the event was really meant for patrons 13 and older.
With all of the new additions this year and with the seductive appeal of gorier attractions, Six Flags Fright Fest is sure to bring all the haunters to the yard. Tickets are on sale HERE.
Welcome witches and warlocks,
I had the great pleasure of attending the panel We Put A Spell On You: Celebrating 25 Years of “Hocus Pocus” at Midsummer Scream and figured I would offer up some thoughts for my fellow convention enthusiasts. To best describe the proceedings, I will turn to the official press release