Long Beach Convention Center
Welcome to day three of our apparently never-ending Midsummer Scream coverage! Up until now, the updates have been largely informational, covering the various panels at the event. But now we move into the eye candy portion of the show, and we'll spend today looking at the Hall of Shadows, Midsummer Scream's sprawling arcade of mini-haunted attractions.
Much like what was featured at Scare L.A. in previous years, there was a portion of the show floor dedicated to miniature versions of several amateur haunts--eight to be exact--plus a scare zone at the entry to the Hall featuring creatures with make-up from Boneyard Effects, the people who do the make-up at Halloween Horror Nights. Lets take a look at all the spooky stuff!
Boneyard Effects Presents: Toxicity
Entering the Hall of Shadows took guests through the Toxicity scare zone, which was mostly a chance to showcase the proesthetics, masks, and make-up created by Boneyard Effects. The theme, as you might guess from the name, involves the aftermath of a toxic explosion at a genetics lab that has mutated all the scientists. The scare zone itself was fun but nothing incredible. Just deformed creatures roaming around and some in little rooms, stalking guests who might be jumpier than the others.
Fear Station: Midway of Fear
Some late changes forced Fear Station to alter its haunt and put on more of an "experience" than a maze. As such, the Midway of Fear was less "fear" and more macabre fun. Inside, there were various stations with carnival games, photo ops, and popcorn! And though there was no scaring going on at all, this mini-haunt often had one of the largest lines... because popcorn.
Perdition Home Haunt in Yorba Linda has had a pretty hefty reputation has a top notch amateur haunted attraction with theming approaching that of the professionals. Unfortunately, this year, they will be taking the season off as the deal with real life things (like getting married), but they brough a condensed version of last year's haunt to Midsummer Scream. The haunt itself was effectively one room and a switchback, featuring a crashed alien craft with a mutilated body inside. One talent was on hand to sneak up on unsuspecting guests, but other than that, there wasn't much action. Still, the ship itself was pretty incredible, and the theming inside was quite gory--a hint of their regular content.
Dead Zone 805
Zombies were the theme in this actor-less mini-haunt normally found out in Ventura. Instead, Dead Zone 805 was more like a walk-through haunted house, with motion triggered effects, projections, and animatronics. It was all very well done, and quite rich and atmospheric. Some monsters would have been nice, but I enjoyed this attraction very much, nonetheless. As the talking skeleton barker at the beginning of the path noted, this maze is... something. (Something cool.)
The biggest footprint and longest facade of the Hall of Shadows went to The Fleshyard, with its decrepit old cabin housing horrific predators bent on murder... lots and lots of murder. Inside was a hallway and two large rooms, making the experience deceptively short. Given the size of the footprint, one might have expected a more circuitous route inside, but then again, with only two days to set up and construct the mini-haunt, a more intricate haunted maze might have driven Fleshyard owner Adam LeBlanc mad! This still ended up being a cool little maze, and I look forward to seeing what the full experience offers this fall!
Scareventures Presents: Sea of Terror
I had not heard of Scareventures prior to Midsummer Scream, and an oceanic themed haunted attraction had me unsure of what to expect. But what I toured was pretty impressive. Though the outside facade had relatively low curb appeal, inside featured a wealth of actors (four positions--second most out of all the mini-haunts) and some fun deteriorated dock theming. The experience had a little bit of those seaside pier haunted house attractions, with characters stalking menacingly (or drunkenly, in one case). So while not really scary, this venture was certainly kind of fun.
This was the attraction that most intrigued me prior to Midsummer Scream, and after going through it a few times, I'm exciting for what's to come in October. Billed as a "haunted burlesque," Gorlesque's mini-haunt was a fantastic set-up to its upcoming full haunt to be located in Downtown Los Angeles. At Midsummer Scream, guests were introduced to the Weltschmerz Society, a cult dedicated to looking for people of perfection to take to paradise. With allusions to Scientology and Nazi medical experiments, this organization certainly doesn't seem all that wholesome, although the representatives certainly were physically alluring. Unfortunately, none of the guests were able to pass the perfection assessment tests, so they were chased out by a taser-welding maniac into the following room, where they witnessed the consequence of being imperfect--a scantily clad girl driven to insanity, or in the case of Sunday's shock-value-of-the-weekend version, driven to apparently copulate with a skeleton. Well, if that's what they brought to the convention, who knows what the full haunt will present!
Like Fear Station, Spooky Hollows has been a mini-haunt participant before. This year's foray into a twisted swampland featured a similar storyline but different layout than last year's Scare L.A. offering, with a couple of actors providing theater to the presentation but not much scares, and a pretty cool finale room reminiscent of Little Pet Shop of Horrors. Thematically, this was definitely one of the stronger mazes, and its incorporation of projections and screen scares was pretty fun as well.
Finally, we come upon my favorite mini-haunt--though I am definitely biased. On the other hand, guests in general seemed to come out of Higgins Manor loving what they had just experienced, even if they weren't quite sure what it is. You see, rather than go for intense scares, the cast of Higgins Manor decided to aim for entertainment. Though the maze featured a couple of startle scares, this foray through The Higgins Company work camp was more a walkthrough interview for the company and meet-and-greet of some of the characters of the Higgins Manor story. The unstable Foreman, looking for new hires to murder and plunder; the menacingly hulking Cousins looking for skulls in the Store Room; feces-flinging Uncle Sloppy outside in the outhouse; the crass Bartender in the Pink Whiskers Saloon. And outside, the Soiled Doves--undead Old West prostitute sisters who will do anything or anyone for the right price of a wooden nickel--provided hilarious entertainment for those waiting in line.
And as the weekend progressed, some guests came out echoing absurd and inappropriate catchphrases barked as running jokes from inside the maze. The entire cast and crew did an excellent job keeping guests churning and entertained throughout the weekend.
That's your look at the Hall of Shadows. There was also a Blackout experience, but if you know anything about how that attraction works (it's more psychological than visual), you'll understand why there are no photos of this contribution. Overall, all the haunts were all enjoyable, and I hope to make it out to many of these come October!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.