Attracting more than 8,000 fans for its debut last summer, Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival is set to return bigger and more terrifying to the Long Beach Convention Center July 29 and 30. Drawing lovers of all things Halloween and horror to Southern California, Midsummer Scream delivers a stunning array of industry icons, more than 100,000 square feet of artisan vendors, live entertainment, specialty workshops, makeup demonstrations, short film screenings, haunted attraction previews, and an enormous dark zone known as the Hall of Shadows. Midsummer Scream is a joint production from the teams behind CreepyLA and Theme Park Adventure.
"We are thrilled to return to Long Beach this summer after such an exciting first year in 2016," says David Markland, Midsummer Scream's Executive Director. "Halloween and horror go hand-in-hand, and nowhere is the fan dedication to both more intense and heartfelt than right here in Southern California. Building on everything we learned from last year's convention, our team has worked tirelessly over the past 12 months, preparing to take Midsummer Scream to a whole new level for this community. In just a few weeks, the Halloween season officially begins here on the West Coast; Long Beach has proven to be the perfect home for us, and we're incredibly excited to lead the charge with the best fans in the world."
One of the hallmarks of Midsummer Scream is its lineup of world-class panel presentations. This year, the Terrace Theater becomes the convention's main stage, with a capacity to seat more than 3,000 fans at a time. The biggest tourist attractions on the West Coast are set to return to the main stage, unveiling their Halloween 2017 plans throughout the weekend, along with a stunning lineup of presentations that include:
- Beyond the Fifth Dimension: Creating the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - Sure to thrill theme park fans, Midsummer Scream will welcome key members of the attraction's design and development team who will discuss Tower's inception for Walt Disney World, and each iteration that followed. Mark Silverman, renowned as the voice of Rod Serling in the attraction, will join the discussion, thrilling fans by reciting the famous soundtrack narration live on stage.
- Submitted for Approval: Are You Afraid of the Dark? - Midsummer Scream is taking it back to the '90s to discuss the Nickelodeon sensation that sparked the imagination - and nightmares - of kids everywhere. Co-Creator/Executive Producer D.J. MacHale will be joined by other Are You Afraid of the Dark? alumni on stage to discuss their work on the show and what fun it was keeping viewers cowering behind their blankets all night.
- Master Creature Makers: From Dinosaurs to Fantasy Worlds - Hosted by Jeff Tucker of 91 Reasons podcast, this fascinating discussion will take a close look at some of the world's best practical creature makers, and the challenges their companies face in an increasingly digital world. Jeff will be joined on stage by Erich Grey Litoff from the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, Emmy award-winning creature designer and filmmaker Kirk R. Thatcher, themed entertainment icon Garner Holt of Garner Holt Productions, and John Criswell of Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
- 45 Years of Knott's Scary Farm - Independent of the Scary Farm's official main stage presentation, this is a special 90-minute look at the past 45 years of the Halloween event that started it all in 1973. Hosted by author/historian Ted Dougherty, this presentation will feature a rotating panel of individuals who were, and are today, responsible for creating what is considered the granddaddy of all theme park haunt events. Panelists include early Halloween Haunt legend John Waite, former Entertainment Design Manager at Knott's Todd Faux, world-renowned magician and entertainer Ed Alonzo, current Knott's Berry Farm Vice President of Entertainment Ken Parks, and current Knott's Scary Farm Design Specialist Jon Cooke.
Midsummer Scream's second stage will offer seating for up to 750 guests at a time, featuring its own blockbuster lineup of presentations that include:
- Shock Waves Live! - From your ear buds to the stage, Blumhouse.com's hit horror podcast comes to Midsummer Scream for the first time. Hosts Rebekah McKendry, Robert Galluzzo, Ryan Turek, and Elric Kane will record and episode before a live audience, bringing with them an insightful and playful discussion about the world of horror films. Spend an hour with them, and maybe you'll walk away with some great film recommendations.
- Tales and Tribulations: The Delusion Retrospective - Internationally recognized as a pioneering phenomenon in horror theater, Delusion returns to Midsummer Scream with a 90-minute retrospective of its past 5 productions and a glimpse into the future as creator Jon Braver and Skybound Entertainment discuss their new collaboration, Delusion: Lies Within - VR.
- Winchester Mystery House: "Explore More" of Hallowe'en and Other Surprises - The Winchester Mystery House will host a 60-minute presentation on Sunday, July 30, featuring a look at never-before-opened areas of the mansion that are now featured on the new Explore More Tour, a sneak peek at the wildly-popular Hallowe'en Candlelight Tour - expanded for 2017, plus an exciting update on the upcoming Winchester motion picture, starring Helen Mirren. Doug Barnes of The Season Pass Podcast will lead the on-stage discussion with Walter Magnuson, General Manager of the Winchester Mystery House, and Tim O'Day, the company's Director of Communication.
- Stage & Scream: Immersive Horror Theater - Noah Nelson of No Proscenium is set to host this fascinating discussion amongst several very different performance group visionaries that each have their own approach and following in the exceptionally popular world of immersive horror theater on the West Coast and beyond. Joining Noah on stage are Jonathan Josephson of Unbound Productions/Wicked Lit, Zombie Joe of Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group, Anna Mavromati of Shine On Collective, and Landon Zakheim, Co-Director of the Overlook Film Festival.
- Into the Black: First Look - Fans will get their first look at one of Southern California's most-anticipated new haunted attractions for 2017, Into the Black. Hosted by Shawn Marshall of Parks and Cons Podcast, Into the Black: First Look will screen the attraction's backstory film, as well as a teaser for the haunt's "making of" documentary which will debut after the end of this year's Halloween season, followed by a discussion and Q&A with Larry Bones, Creator, Executive Producer, and Director of Into the Black; actress Claire Dunlap; actress Aubree Garman; and Ted Dougherty, the Director and Co-writer of Into the Black's VR film.
- Ben Cooper Costumes: Past and Future - This fascinating and nostalgic panel will focus on the history and future vision of Ben Cooper Costumes, founded in 1937. In the years to follow, the company would go on to produce Disney character-based Halloween costumes, as well as several from the Star Wars franchise. Moderator Rebekah McKendry from Blumhouse.com will be joined on stage by Shifra Cooper, Project Manager and Social Media Manager at Ben Cooper Costumes; Micheline Pitt, artist and designer; and Jon Miller, writer and Ben Cooper Costumes historian.
Theme Park Panel Presentations
One of the biggest draws to Midsummer Scream are major presentations by leading tourist attractions. During these blockbuster appearances, representatives of the greatest Halloween events in the world take to the main stage, connecting with their fans to discuss what each has in store for the Halloween season - from behind-the-scenes details, to exciting announcements about new mazes and attractions. Joining Midsummer Scream 2017 are Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights, Queen Mary's Dark Harbor, Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest, and Knott's Scary Farm.
Fans should expect dramatic surprises, fast-breaking announcements, monsters, and more throughout the weekend in the Terrace Theater!
Unique Theatrical Experiences
Featured this year as part of Midsummer Scream's robust live entertainment selection, guests will have access to two unique productions by Los Angeles-based theater companies Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group, as well as Force of Nature Productions.
For those daring and curious - and 18 years of age or older - Zombie Joe's will present a special Midsummer Scream 2017 version of its wildly-popular Urban Death show. Urban Death is a series of disturbing, frightening, graphically mature vignettes involving violence, death, and all things taboo; this adults-only production will leave guests laughing nervously, wincing, applauding, and wanting to see more Zombie Joe shows throughout the year.
Force of Nature will make it's Midsummer Scream debut with Fallen Saints: Dia De Los Muertos, an immersive theatrical experience that will take guests deep into a cemetery late at night, where they witness the original story of one of Mexico's greatest folklore legends. This special engagement at Midsummer Scream is an exclusive "story bridge", which will then continue this fall in Los Angeles during the group's Halloween production.
Dark Harbor's Sinister Circus at the Queen Mary
Once Midsummer Scream completes its activities for the evening at the Long Beach Convention Center on Saturday, July 29, the party continues just across the bay aboard one of the most haunted places in the world - the Queen Mary. Halloween fans don't have to wait until October to mix and mingle with their favorite Dark Harbor characters; they're going to populate the upper deck of the world-famous ocean liner all night long while Midsummer fans dance the night away - many in elaborate costumes, as Sinister Circus is also a costume ball featuring prizes and surprises! Tickets and hotel packages are now on sale for Dark Harbor's Sinister Circus at www.queenmary.com/events/sinister-circus.
Hall of Shadows
Hall of Shadows is a massive dark zone that occupies over one third of the convention’s 90,000 square-foot show floor, giving thousands of fans the opportunity to preview more than a dozen stand-alone home and professional haunt experiences each day. In addition to terrifying haunted attractions, the Hall of Shadows will feature an elaborate Sleepy Hollow-themed entry portal designed and built by CalHauntS, a talented group of haunters based in Los Angeles. Walking through the creepy cemetery, guests will encounter eerie special effects and theme park-quality props and scenery.
High-energy performances by the Decayed Brigade slider team will take place three times each day; “sliding” is a scare tactic created more than 40 years ago at Knott’s Scary Farm, where performers push their bodies and the laws of gravity to the limit, creating a heart-stopping fright.
Once inside the Hall of Shadows, guests will experience more than a dozen “mini haunts” – a sampling of home and professional haunted attractions that can be found across the Southland this coming Halloween season. Each haunt in the Hall of Shadows will have a General Admission line, and a Front of Line lane. All haunts within the Hall are included with paid admission to Midsummer Scream.
Halloween and horror fans will be able to meet celebrity guests throughout the weekend, including Sid Haig (House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects), Cassandra Peterson (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark), actress/model LeeAnna Vamp; Kane Hodder (“Jason Voorhees” from four Friday the 13th films); and more!
Screaming Room Presented by HorrorBuzz.com
Presented by HorrorBuzz.com, this screening room will feature a full two days of programming that includes short film submissions, Etheria Film Night selections, various haunted attraction flow-through videos by Theme Park Adventure, Trick R Treat select clips with recorded commentary by Michael Dougherty for Midsummer Scream, and BuzzFeed Unsolved hosted by Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej.
Midsummer Scream recognizes that Halloween is a holiday that is enjoyed by people of all ages, including small children. The show floor will feature a large children’s area, complete with arts and crafts, friendly monster meet-and-greets, and the whimsical fun of Buster Balloon, entertainer and master balloon artist.
For more information regarding dates and times for panels and events, and to purchase tickets, log on to MidsummerScream.org. Fans may sign up on the site for email notifications and announcements, including discounts and other special offers. Follow Midsummer Scream on social media –Twitter/Periscope: @MidsummerScream, Instagram: @MidsummerScream, and Facebook:facebook.com/midsummerscream.
Former producers of ScareLA, Midsummer Scream creators are David Markland, Executive Director; Gary Baker, Executive Producer; Rick West, Creative Director; Johanna Atilano, Producer; and Claire Dunlap, Supervising Producer.
About Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival
Midsummer Scream is a large-scale summer festival celebrating the spirit of Halloween and horror, drawing thousands of guests to Southern California for a weekend of thrills and chills. Featuring a massive show floor of vendors and exhibitors, haunted attractions and experiences, live entertainment and world-class panel presentations, Midsummer Scream is the West Coast’s premier Halloween/horror event, offering something for fans of all ages. More information can be found at MidsummerScream.org.