Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CA
It's been a lot of pictures worth of updates--what with our look at people and booths, the Hall of Shadows, and two days of panels--but we come to our final post about this year's Midsummer Scream Halloween convention. Today's #ShriekySunday looks at the fantastic sliding monsters of the Decayed Brigade troupe, a collection of talented and athletic individuals who have elevated a haunt scare tactic into an art form.
Last weekend, they put on three shows each day showcasing their skills. However, unlike performances that they have put on during previous years' Halloween conventions, this year, the three shows were interconnected with a common storyline. The introduction of theater into their craft brought the showmanship up a whole other level, honing in on precision and presenting exciting storytelling. Looking at just the past five years these Knott's Scary Farm sliders have been performing and comparing this weekend's performances with their first convention shows, it's clear that Decayed Brigade has become more sophisticated, more thrilling, and more impressive. They truly push the bar for Halloween performers. But before we dive into the shows, lets get a bit acquainted with this squad.
That out of the way, we'll look at the shows next. As I mentioned before, Midsummer Scream saw a series of shows that actually related to each other. Whereas previous years' shows might at most each have its own theme, this year, all three shows wove together to tell the story of a boy's dreams of becoming a slider monster and his immersion into the monster world, which eventually draws his sister into a nightmare that eventually becomes a conflict between good and evil. Of course, in between all of that, there are plenty of impressive sliding tricks--jumps, dips, acrobatics. Lets have a look!
Show 1: The Dream
Young Sebastian is a huge fan of sliding monsters (and apparently Minions) and aspires to be a slider himself. He watches YouTube videos of the Decayed Brigade every night, much to the scorn of his sister. One night, after being ordered to put his computer away and go to bed, Sebastian is visited by the monsters themselves. They haunt him by using him as a prop and obstacle in their sliding tricks and eventually chase him back to some dark depths. After some more series of slider stunts, Sebastian re-emerges, now Seabass and a slider himself. The act concludes with Seabass joining the Decayed Brigade and fulfilling his own dream.
Show 2: The Nightmare
The Dream began with a bit of a spat between Sebastian and his sister, Naomi. The Nightmare traces her arc of the story as she settles in for a night's sleep. The Decayed Brigade sliders creep out and begin toying with her, the way monsters do when they go bump in the night, before finally awakening her to a living nightmare. Naomi becomes hostage to the monsters' tricks and stunts, including Seabass' revelry. The fun and games culminate in some impressive jumps and athletic maneuvers, but as the show seems to conclude, a rift develops within the Decayed Brigade over Naomi's fate, cleaving them into two factions, and when a rival monster, Screech, strikes Naomi down, Seabass is left in shock over what has become of his sibling.
Show 3: The Battle
Before the start of the the third show, the Decayed Brigade provided credit and thanks to families and friends who have assisted them in putting together this show and provided support over the years. On Saturday, they also held a moment of silence for members of the haunt community who had sadly passed away over this year. It was a somber point, but a symbol of the support and tight-knit nature of this community. After that was concluded, the final chapter began...
The monsters are in civil war. Seabass and his allies face off against Screech and his comrades. The sinister creatures bring a hooded and seemingly lifeless Naomi to the center of the runway, taunting Seabass and his friends with the fate of his sister. As Seabass lifts the hood, Naomi is revealed to have been transformed to Nomi. Now, she too is a member of the dark and dead, and she appears to be at the head of command. Shock gives way to determination, and an all-out battle breaks out between the two sides. They battle, alternatively with each other and also to try to stop Nomi. But ultimately, as the forces of dark and light collide, they rebalance each other, and the Decayed Brigade are one once more. With everything returned to happily ever after, the conclusion of the show consists of guest interaction and long jumps.
On Sunday, the Queen Mary Dark Harbor sliders even provided a guest appearance in the show. This followed Saturday's highlight, in which the record for most monsters jumped by a slider was broken by the new kid to the team, Velocity, who jumped 12 monsters. Given that last year at Midsummer Scream, Double Dee set the record at 10, it's apparent that these guys are pushing the bar higher and higher faster and faster!
Using a plot to organize the shows proved to be a thrilling and thoroughly entertaining move. Every show was packed with energetic and gleeful fans, and the monsters did not disappoint, performing their moves with highly impressive precision. Considering all work on these shows came off the performers' own spare time, outside of their normal jobs, what they presented was pretty amazing.
The Decayed Brigade has hopes for bringing these shows to more venues outside of haunts and Halloween conventions. And over the past year, they've already performed at a couple of events that aren't exclusively haunt attraction related. This team is an awesome group of dedicated Halloween fans spanning all ages and even across generations. From Knott's Scary Farm legends to new young blood, it should be very exciting to see what the Decayed Brigade comes up with next. I can't wait to see these folks in the fog this fall...
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.