July Spooky News

All Around Southern California

It may only be July, but before you know it, Halloween season will be around the corner. So it’s not really a surprise that we’ve seen several announcements related to spooky things happening this fall. So much so that we decided to put together a little press blast to catch you up on things to come in the autumn. It all starts with the kickoff to the Halloween season via the largest Halloween convention in Southern California, and continues through new announcements at a couple local. haunted institutions. What were they? Keep reading to find out!

Midsummer Scream

We’re remiss to start things off by mentioning Midsummer Scream, which will be coming back for its fourth year on the first weekend of next month. We’ve been covering this awesome convention since its inception, and we promise that if you are a fan of the haunted scene, you won’t want to miss this. Again bigger and grander than ever, Midsummer Scream will offer panels of haunted attractions announcements, hundreds of Halloween and horror exhibitors, ghoulish entertainment, and the ever-popular Hall of Shadows collection of mini-haunts. Go get your tickets today!

From the press release:


World’s Largest Halloween and Horror Fan Convention Takes Over Long Beach Convention Center for a Weekend of Thrills and Chills, Featuring Hundreds of Vendors, World-Class Presentations, Haunted Attractions, Live Entertainment, and More! 

LONG BEACH, CA – Midsummer Scream, the largest Halloween and horror fan convention in the world, returns to Southern California August 3-4 for a monstrous weekend of thrills, chills, and haunting fun. For the first time, Midsummer Scream will occupy the entire Long Beach Convention Center, doubling the show’s size for 2019.

Tickets for Midsummer Scream 2019 are now on sale at MidsummerScream.org including single-day General Admission passes, as well as the very popular limited-edition Gold Bat Weekend Pass, which enables guests to access the show floor, Hall of Shadows, and other areas of Midsummer Scream an hour early each day before the convention opens to the general public; front of line priority access to panel presentations and attractions throughout the venue; a collectible lanyard and credential; and a Gold Bat 2019 enamel pin.

Midsummer Scream is expected to draw over 30,000 fans of all things macabre to Long Beach, where they will find a greatly-expanded show floor featuring more than 350 unique vendors, Paranormal Pixie’s children’s activity area with Buster Balloon, a wide variety of live entertainment performances, and exciting celebrity appearances including the queen of Halloween, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark).

This year, Midsummer Scream celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, complete with a must-see panel presentation that includes Disney Legends Bob Gurr and Tony Baxter, vendors on the show floor in the Corridor of Creepy Creeps selling Mansion-inspired merchandise, and a Saturday night party, the Grim Grinning Gala, which promises to be the swingingest wake anywhere for both the living and the disembodied, complete with a movie screening of The Haunted Mansion with live commentary by the film’s Director, Rob Minkoff, and Producer, Don Hahn. Happy Haunts that materialize in costume Saturday night are invited to participate in the Grim Grinning Gala’s contest with a $500 prize being awarded to the ghost with the most creativity! 

Photo courtesy of Midsummer Scream.

Photo courtesy of Midsummer Scream.

Deemed the “gateway to the Halloween season” by fans, Midsummer Scream will host presentations from many of Southern California’s major haunt attractions, including Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror NightsQueen Mary’s Dark HarborLos Angeles Haunted Hayride, and Knott’s Scary Farm, as they offer guests exclusive sneak peeks at what terrors they have in store this coming October across the Southland.

Other outstanding presentations will include The Curious Creators of Christine McConnell’s Show; a Tales From the Crypt 30th Anniversary reunion featuring the voice of the Crypt Keeper, John Kassir; theWinchester Mystery House; a look at Spooky and Strange Themed Bars of Southern CaliforniaCharles Phoenix and his all-new Halloweenland retrospective; the ever-popular Buzzfeed: Unsolved withRyan Bergara and Shane Madej; and a look at JFI Productions’ attractions, from Creep to The Willows and beyond. 

The massive Hall of Shadows dark zone is themed this year to Tiki Terror - a monstrously ghoulish mash-up of Polynesian lore and everything evil that goes bump in the night! As guests pass through a foreboding jungle portal created by the incredibly talented CalHauntS group - complete with crashed airplane, crumbling temple ruins, and an erupting volcano - they will find a unique tiki vendor area featuring artists and merchants such as Jeff GranitoSweet SirenTiki Tiki Monster, and McBiff. For those 21 years of age or older, libations can be found in the Drunken Devil’s Freaky Tiki Bar, where guests will mix and mingle with a kooky crew of castaways just dying for social interaction.

Photo courtesy of Midsummer Scream.

Photo courtesy of Midsummer Scream.

Also featured in this year’s Hall of Shadows will be over a dozen haunted attractions and displays, including Sinister Valley from Lake Elsinore’s Storm Stadium, Twisted Minds ProductionsHellsir Cemetery,Shattered Realm, and Wicked Pumpkin Hollow, to name just a few! Returning once again, the Decayed Brigade will thrill thousands of onlookers several times each day with sliding exhibitions that push the boundaries of gravity!

With more than 350 artisans and exhibitors, Midsummer Scream’s show floor has more than doubled in size, featuring unique artwork, props, Halloween accessories, clothing, and makeup supplies. Always keeping guest comfort in mind, Midsummer Scream has widened the show floor aisles to 15 feet for easier traffic circulation as fans visit their favorite vendors such as Trick or Treat StudiosKreepsville 666Bearded Lady’s Mystic MuseumEdyn Rashae Studios, and Dark Delicacies. Among the horrific hustle and bustle on the show floor, fans will also find Midsummer newcomers Madame TussaudsCrypt TV, and Bloody Mary: Makeup to Die For.

Live entertainment is abundant at Midsummer Scream, from the show floor stage to the Theatre Macabre on the upper concourse of the convention center. Returning again this year to delight guests are Force of Nature Productions teasing their Halloween production; Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group presenting Urban Death for adults, and for the first time ever, Urban Death for Kidz!; a sexy horror fashion show by Poltergeists and Paramours; and Jimmy H as the creepy-but-cool Mudd the Magnificent. Guests will also be wowed ‘40s and ‘50s-style by Dr. Zomba’s Ghost Show of Terror throughout the weekend!


For those looking to get a jump on the Halloween season or sharpen their haunting skills, Midsummer Scream offers a robust education program, completely included in the price of admission, with the exception of select make-and-take classes by the incredible SoCal Valley Haunters group, which has a dedicated workshop area on the show floor. Educational classes and presentations this year range from novice to advanced and include everything from projection mapping on a budget to cosplay ideas and tips, to the importance of audio for your attraction, taught by industry sound designer Dan Bieranowski. There’s even a seminar taught by Matthew Maldonado and Cassie Lopez, two themed entertainment professionals who will teach aspiring designers what it takes to break into the business of creating theme parks and scream parks!

New for 2019, Midsummer Scream has created a Podcast Studio, where fans can watch their favorite podcasters interview industry icons and personalities live in a relaxed, fun environment all weekend long! Programming includes Forever Midnight interviewing Miko Hughes (Gage from the original Pet Sematary); the Theme Park Duo Podcast featuring Jeff Schiefelbein of Sinister PointeParks and Cons chat it up with Jon Cooke and Ted Dougherty of Plague ProductionsDizney Coast to Coast with Kimberly J. Brown from Halloweentown; and Tales From the Fog hosting members of CalHauntS, who invite aspiring haunters to come at them with whatever questions they may have about effects techniques, creating yard displays or walk-through attractions, or prop-making in this very special So, You Want to be a Haunter? audience Q&A session; Fangoria will be hosting two podcasts as well - Post Mortem with Mick Garris interviewing horror legend Tony Todd, and Nightmare University with Dr. Rebekah McKendry, where she’ll deliver a crash-course on all things Hellraiser!


HorrorBuzz is back at it again, with wall-to-wall hand-picked horror flicks in the Screaming Room, where guests are invited to rest for a while, and take in all the gore-filled movies they can handle, including curated film blocks from Etheria Film NightCrypt TV, and USC Film School.

This is Midsummer Scream’s fourth year partnering with Kitten Rescue Los Angeles in presenting the Black Cat Lounge, where guests can mix and mingle with adorable felines roaming freely through a decorated play space. The Black Cat Lounge gives guests looking to adopt a pet the perfect opportunity to bond with their new little friends and give them forever homes.

Tickets are now on sale at MidsummerScream.org.

About Midsummer Scream

Midsummer Scream is presented by David Markland (Executive Director), Gary Baker (Executive Producer), Claire Dunlap (Supervising Producer), and Rick West (Creative Director). Its goal is to showcase the diversity of Southern California’s haunt and horror community as a welcoming beacon for fans around the world to converge on Los Angeles for a weekend of excitement, networking and non-stop spooky fun! Be sure to follow Midsummer Scream on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Periscope for breaking updates and information.

Ghostbusters Maze Comes to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights will have a record-setting TEN mazes this season (nine new mazes plus the year-round Walking Dead attraction). Thusfar, we’ve seen announced:

  • Stranger Things

  • Holidayz in Hell

  • Universal Monsters: Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman

Joining that crowd is Ghostbusters, after the iconic 1984 hit. Every year, HHN hits upon a franchise etched in classic cinema fandom, and this seems to fulfill that roll this year. Although the movie itself is considered less horror than most of Horror Nights’ IP’s, it’s still a fun adventure. It will be interesting to see how this is brought to life (although, of course, we can assume there will be a lot of “boo boxes”). For this maze, though, I have a feeling it will also be a lot of fun. And tickets for the Fan Preview Night are still available for those who want to see everything before the official general public opening night!

From the press release:


Universal City, CA & Orlando, FL. – For the first time ever, Sony Pictures’ classic film, Ghostbusters, is coming to “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort – bringing the most memorable scenes, characters and supernatural spirits from one of pop culture’s most iconic films to life in immersive mazes based off the 1984 classic at the nation’s premier Halloween events, starting this September.

Ghostbusters has entertained generations with its comedic yet frightening tale of four paranormal investigators on their quest to eradicate supernatural threats from creating chaos throughout New York City. As the film marks its milestone 35th anniversary, guests will have the unique opportunity to live the action and terrifying scares they have seen in the hit film when it comes to life at Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” in Hollywood and Orlando.

In each maze, guests will follow in the footsteps of the Ghostbusters – Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston – as they venture through artfully recreated scenes from the film, including the firehouse, New York Public Library and the Temple of Gozer, as an army of ghoulish spirits, hideous specters and ectoplasm-dripping phantasms attack from every corner.  As they delve deeper into the maze, guests will come face-to-face with an array of paranormal creatures, from the voracious Slimer to the all-powerful Gozer the Gozerian and in its ultimate destructor form – the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, to brave the demonic spirits and survive the night.

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 25 years, guests from around the world have visited “Halloween Horror Nights” to become victims inside their own horror film.  Multiple movie-quality mazes based on iconic horror television shows, films and original stories come to life season after season. And, the streets of each park’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing scare-actors lunge from every darkened corner.

Image courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

Image courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

“Halloween Horror Nights” begins Friday, September 6 in Orlando and on Friday, September 13 in Hollywood. Additional details about the events will be revealed soon. For more information about “Halloween Horror Nights” and to purchase select tickets at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

L.A. Haunted Hayride

Finally, we have some big news from a longstanding Los Angeles haunted institution. The L.A Haunted Hayride is under new management, and it’s enlisted the services of rapidly-haunt-world-conquering designer, Jon Cooke, to revamp the event. Cooke did a great job polishing up Dark Harbor last year, so there are high hopes that he can bring some freshness to the Hayride as well, since it was admittedly a little lackluster last year. All will be revealed at Midsummer Scream too. More incentive to go?

From the press release:


LONG BEACH, CA - Midsummer Scream, the world’s largest Halloween and horror fan convention, is thrilled to announce a panel presentation from Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, which owns multiple haunted attractions and events across the nation.

In 2018, Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group acquired the assets of Ten Thirty One Productions, which owned the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride (LAHH). Guests will experience a completely re-imagined LA Haunted Hayride in Griffith Park this Halloween season, which will be unveiled at Midsummer Scream by the event’s new Creative Director, Jon Cooke, of Plague Productions.

Photo courtesy of L.A. Haunted Hayride.

Photo courtesy of L.A. Haunted Hayride.

The presentation will take place at the Long Beach Convention Center on Sunday, August 4, and will feature Chris Stafford, CEO/Founding Partner of Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group; Warren Conard, Director of Operations/Founding Partner of Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group; Jon Cooke, Owner/Creative Director of Plague Productions; and Melissa Carbone, Founder of Ten Thirty One Productions and Producer of the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. The presentation will be hosted by Ted Dougherty, Writer/Director at Plague Productions.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have the Thirteenth Floor team with us this year,” says Midsummer Scream Creative Director, Rick West. “This group of talented, driven individuals has literally created a haunt empire across the nation by purchasing and plussing well-known attractions, and making them their own. For years, thousands of fans have attended the LA Haunted Hayride in Griffith Park; it’s a known attraction that is now part of the Thirteenth Floor arsenal. Bringing Jon Cooke on as the attraction’s Creative Director is an exciting new chapter for the Hayride, and we couldn’t be more curious to see what he and his team have in store for us as they give Midsummer fans an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the mysterious town of Midnight Falls, and the strange characters that dwell there!”

Photo courtesy of Midsummer Scream.

Photo courtesy of Midsummer Scream.

Photo courtesy of Midsummer Scream.

Photo courtesy of Midsummer Scream.

Photo courtesy of Midsummer Scream.

Photo courtesy of Midsummer Scream.

In addition to their exciting panel presentation, Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group/LA Haunted Hayride will have a large show floor presence this year at Midsummer Scream, where guests will get their first in-person look at part of the town, Midnight Falls, and some of its infamous locals.

Midsummer Scream continues to be a beacon within the Halloween, horror, and haunt community, drawing fans from across America and beyond to Long Beach each summer. The participation of Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group bolsters the mission of Midsummer Scream in becoming a world stage for the haunt industry, where companies not just local to Southern California step into the spotlight and are celebrated by fans and peers of all walks, from all corners of the globe.

Sinister Pointe’s Spirit Lounge Coming

If you can’t wait for Halloween season to formally commence, and something like Midsummer Scream isn’t enough to whet your appetite, try whetting your whistle at a haunted pop-up bar coming this summer! Sinister Pointe will be presenting its Spirit Lounge, running select nights from August 8th through September 1st. “Putting the BOO in booze,” this special attraction will have movie quality props, horrifying displays, special lighting, sounds and visual FX, interactive cocktails, strolling entertainment and more. It’ll be an great way to imbibe great spirits with great spirits!

The Spirit Lounge will be located at 375 W. Birch Street, Brea, CA 92821. With plenty of photo ops, it will be a spooktacular horror-themed bar experience!

Image courtesy of Sinister Pointe.

Image courtesy of Sinister Pointe.

Sinister Pointe will also be unearthing a new haunted attraction this fall entitled The MIST. What is this? Well, I’m sure we’ll soon find out. It’s good to see a beloved haunt favorite back in action, though, after being a little quiet a couple of years ago!

Photo courtesy of Sinister Pointe.

Photo courtesy of Sinister Pointe.

That does it for today’s news-edition of Flashback Frightday—although not really a flashback as much as looking ahead. Looking to get excited for the gothic season? Better start getting your creep on!

Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.