Tuesday, September 19, 2017

[Haunts] Three New Experiences Coming to Terrify Guests at Knott's Scary Farm 2017

The grandaddy of 'em all isn't sitting out the 2017, not by a long shot. Not that I would expect them too, given the history and reputation they have to live up to every year. So, for 2017 they've cooked up three new maze experiences that are sure to warm your nightmares. Let's get right down to it, shall we?

First up on the list, Dark Ride.

Right off the bat, I'm gonna get it for this one. Clowns, yep...I have a this love hate for the little buggers and it's mostly because there's so many haunts out there that don't do them right at all.

However, the title of this one gets me right in the nostalgia as I love dark rides, so maybe...just maybe, they'll win me over. I'm not entirely sure on that, but hey...a few places in the past have made me like their rendition on clowns.

Here's the teaser video for Dark Ride.

"Journey through an abandoned carnival ride where cruel carny folk still linger in the shadows in Dark Ride: Castle of Chaos, Knott’s Scary Farm’s newest maze. The shunned performers have created an ominous world of terror which they plan to unleash on those who enter. Dark Ride will lead brave visitors through a treacherous path and into the bowels of a long neglected attraction, as sinister shadows and horrifying scenes cast gloom over the once pleasant ride. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare, being helplessly surrounded by clowns without a way out."
Okay, so that sound interesting. Just not entirely sure how I feel about it. It's not that I'm scared of clowns, just that I'm tired of seeing them overdone out there. However, one never knows until they get there. With it being the "Year of IT", it's bound to happen as well. So, we'll see.

Next up on the list? Pumpkin Eater

Well, color me curious. This one is definitely an interesting take on things by the sounds of it, and kinda nice to see something not scarecrow/corn themed but also still keeping with the tradition of the Fall season going on here. Which, in my world is never a bad thing. I love when haunts do this kind of thing, even more so when they can really make it their own.

Though, before we get too ahead of ourselves, let's see just what the teaser video has in store for us.

"Survive the wrath of the murderous 7-foot tall creature that haunts the old woods surrounding The Hollow in the new maze, Pumpkin Eater. The notorious creature is on the prowl hidden within the dark confines of the haunted town he once terrorized. To escape the sinister Pumpkin Eater’s wrath all that enter must go on a quest through the silent town of victims, face a cave of crawling insects and solve the labyrinth of thorns that blocks the way out."
Well, okay. That hit a few notes for me. A little reminder of the great Motel Hell, and Pumpkinhead all wrapped into one with a new twist? Yeah, definitely onboard with the idea and give them some credit to taking some old themes and spinning it into something unique for the park.

So far, so good? I think anyway, so let's get to the final new maze for the Knott's Scary Farm 2017 season, and that is; Trick or Treat: Light's Out.

First off, I still love this maze, and while I've only seen it at Dorney Park's Halloween Haunt, I'm sure this new iteration of it at Knott's is going to be something really special. The idea of taking this and then putting an interactive "lights out" overlay onto it? Well, I'm down for that...

But as usual, let's see what they have to show us...

"Are you afraid of the dark? You will be.
Armed with only a faulty flashlight, explore the creepy house at the end of the street, in the upgraded Trick-or-Treat: Lights Out maze. Face the terrors of the house in complete darkness as your interactive flashlight reveals the horrors hiding in the shadows.
Featuring new state-of-the-art effects, unexpected scares and other eerie surprises, Trick-or-Treat: Lights Out will terrorize you like never before."
Okay, I'm down, sign me up. I love the idea of taking an already great maze concept and then turning it on it's head. One of my favorite things that some haunts in the past have pulled of masterfully and as long as they haven't skimped on the detail and style of Trick or Treat in the past for this? Oh yeah, it's gonna be one helluva ride.

And that wraps up the new mazes coming to this year's Knott's Scary Farm! This year's event kicks off in just three days, so if you're going out to the park let us know what you think of it since myself and the team won't be getting a chance to visit until later in the season.

For tickets, hours, directions, and a ton more information of everything you can do at 2017's Knott's Scary Farm, head on over to their official website for all that and more.

Until next time,

Sweet Screams and Pleasant Nightmares!

[Haunts] SeaWorld San Antonio's Howl-O-Scream Takes a Twisted Turn into the Dark Side of the Gardens for 2017

Another haunt that I haven't talked much about in the past couple of years, but that's because there wasn't a lot that was new. This year? Well, it seems that the folks at SeaWorld San Antonio are bring a little something different to the table in 2017. At least it's something new for them...

What am I on about? Well, it seems that, as the headline states, the Dark Side of the Gardens maze is making an appearance for 2017's Howl-O-Scream. I have a weird love/hate kind of relationship with this one as my only real experience of it was for a couple of years at Busch Gardens Williamsburg where after the first year, things went downhill fairly quickly for the concept.

Here's the official word on Dark Side of the Gardens from SeaWorld directly;

Dark Side of the Gardens features Ivy, the Lady of the Garden, and the ultra-creepy place where she resides, said Sharon Aguillen, SeaWorld San Antonio’s vice president of entertainment. “Guests can take a deadly detour by upgrading to an extended VIP experience in an exclusive area inside the Gardens’ maze,” Aguillen said.

“Creatures have entered the gardens, and they’re everywhere – behind you, above you – waiting to pull you in where it’s dark and deep,” she said. 
“The gardens are alive, but dead inside. It’s a twisted combination of beautiful flowers, lush landscaping and severed body parts. You never know what you’ll find. Or, what will find you. It’s a distorted landscape populated with living nightmares. And, the farther you go in, the darker it gets.”

So, there's the official rundown, and if done properly? This really is an amazing concept and experience. However, in the past it's been something that was referred to as "Home Depot Home and Garden Center" in the past. That sounds harsh, but it's not something I came up with, it's what the general public did and it really was fitting as after the first year, things really went down hill with the idea at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

That said, I am looking forward to hopefully getting the chance to see this, along with the other mazes at this year's event. Fingers crossed for that one and I hope that they do surprise the living crap out of me with things and hope that maybe the reception of Unearthed: Scarlett's Revenge has taught the theme park chain a thing or two on what to do.

However, that's not all for new things at this year's Howl-O-Scream. In addition to the new maze, there's also two new bar experiences coming into the fold.The first being Z Bar, a zombie apocalypse styled joint, and what seems to be similar to Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Inoculation Station. After all, who doesn't like a nurse or two making sure your liquid courage checks out, right? I still want to check out Blood Thirsty as well, because that bar has had me curious for the past 3 years!

Again, I'm hoping to get the chance to visit this year's Howl-O-Scream, and complete the trifecta of the event as we have covered the Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Tampa locations in the past. Just when will be going? Not sure yet, but stay tuned for that information and more.

Until then, SeaWorld San Antonio kicks off Howl-O-Scream 2017 on Sept 29th and runs on select nights until October 29th. For more information and to get tickets, head on over to their official website.

Until next time,

Sweet Screams and Pleasant Nightmares!

[Haunts] Survive The Blood Yard at Eastern State Penitentiary's Terror Behind the Walls

The crew behind Eastern State Penitentiary's Terror Behind the Walls is never one to take a break, and always bringing something new to the table every year. 2017 is no exception to that as gone is the oddity that was Detritus and in its place comes, The Blood Yard.

I'll admit, I'm not exactly distressed over the removal of Detritus, and from the looks of it it's not entirely gone either. This seems to be an update to something that really just never caught on that well. The concept was cool, and I did enjoy it, but I don't think that it really resonated with many. Now, Blood Yard? That immediately kind of registers in people's head space I think.

So, just what is it all about? Here's a little video preview and the word from the official Terror Behind the Walls website:

"Deep within the ruins of the prison compound, you discover the camp of a gruesome colony. A path marked with bones leads you deeper into the lair of the butcher, the warriors, and their ancient empress - the forgotten who now reside among the fragments of the lost prison. The beating of the drums becomes louder and louder, faster and faster. Finally you reach the source - a gory site of gnawed bones and decayed flesh.
The carnage sends a clear message: you could be next. Hunt or be hunted."
Well, that just sounds like a friendly bunch of folks, dontcha think?

As you can see from the video above, it definitely looks like some scenery from Detritus is being reused here and I'm completely on board with that. They don't have to entirely reinvent the wheel here, just add to it, and I'm really glad that they are. In the past, that section of the haunt always seemed a bit disjointed and I'm hoping that this year it comes together with the new theming.

Not to mention, this also fits in with the whole cult thing that seems to be slowly taking over the place as well and fits in with that underlying story. Mostly since The Machine Shop, The Infirmary and Lock Down could all be considered faction like in a way, where this may ultimately end up? Who knows, but it's a fun ride putting pieces together like this, even if there's no real concrete reason behind it.

Is there? If there is, awesome, if there wasn't until now?  You're welcome guys, call me, I got some more for ya!

Anyway, there's what's new maze wise for this year's Terror Behind the Walls, for more information on the rest of the event, hours, tickets, special events, and a whole coffin load more, hit up their official website. Eastern State Penitentiary's Terror Behind the Walls kicks off in just 4 days on Sept 22nd!

While I personally won't be going, our very own Fil will be attending in just a couple of weeks so definitely keep an eye out for his on location look at things and the follow up review.

Until next time,

Sweet Screams and Pleasant Nightmares!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Haunt Tour 2017 and Other Ponderings

Well, as covered in my last post, things have gotten a bit hectic around here as far as myself goes in the realm of normal life and I've found myself living in New Mexico of all places, definitely didn't see that one coming (No, still not over that one). Of course, I don't even really know what "normal life" is these days, but hey...we'll go with that descriptor for the moment here.

Things have been kind of at a standstill with me, and I do have to apologize for that as I haven't really been keeping up with the news from haunts and other seasonal events here that are coming up here. However, been keeping an eye on things here and there and I do plan to get some stuff out there about a few that caught my eye in the next few days. The whole move and getting my brain in gear just has taken a bit more time than originally planned, that's all.

So, what of Haunt Tour 2017, the point of all this writing today? Good question, and I've taken a good bit of the morning here to try and figure that out. This year, marking the 6th official year of doing this this, have decided that it's time to split things up a little. In the past I've traveled to pretty much every haunt we've covered, which is kind of insane when you really look back on a few of the years.

Last year, things got cut short thanks to some fairly horrible real life intervention that left me in a state that I just couldn't continue, it also meant that a lot of reviews went unfinished as well. That part still kind of stings as it's the first time I really didn't finish a lot of them and kind of haunts me (pun rather fitting) some a little bit as this season approaches.

Anyway, this year I'm going to be handing over the reins somewhat to our very own haunt addict and reporter, Fil! Yep, that's right...while I'm not able to get to pretty much any place in the Northeast this year, I'm gonna let him run a bit lose on the matter and see just what he comes up with. It'll be interesting to see his full take on events, and while he's doing that? I'm gonna scrounge around down here in the Southwest to see just what's lurking about...

Can find all those details as they come on the Haunt Tour 2017 page!

I do know that one location I'm going to be hitting up isn't a haunt at all. In fact, don't even really know what to call Meow Wolf, but I'm looking forward to the journey into the weird that it is...at least from what little I've seen on it.

I have been purposefully keeping myself in the dark with it so that I go into it fresh, so who knows what to expect. I'm guessing some kind of acid trip that I'm likely not wholly prepared for, sounds about right.

I'm also hoping to add the first ever California haunt to the mix while out at TwitchCon in about 6 weeks here too. Since we're staying at the Queen Mary, only fitting they throw a huge Halloween event every year and why not check the place out, I mean, seems like a sign to me, right?

So, there ya have it, kind of what's up with things as of late. I do have another update coming very soon regarding the day to day life around here and a ton of haunt news that I haven't gotten to, but it's coming, don't you worry!

Until next time,

Sweet Screams and Pleasant Nightmares