MidSummer Scream at the Long Beach Convention Center
For those of you who were not in attendance at this past weekend’s premiere MidSummer Scream, hosted at the Long Beach Convention Center, you missed a great weekend. There were so many amazing things to see, experience, and learn, everything from a festive dance Saturday night, to panels from all the major amusement parks in SoCal, to a dance recital, a magic show, sliders, classes, makeup demos, tons of awesome exhibitors, mini haunts, kitten rescues, and even a scavenger hunt. I attended on Sunday, and got to check out several things, including the Winchester Mystery House panel, Six Flag’s FrightFest panel, Urban Death, and Knott’s Scary Farm panel, as well as some mini haunts, and, of course, retail therapy in the huge exhibitors hall.
There was even entertainment in the line waiting to get in. Check out this cute little magic act.
Once the event began, I spent a few minutes checking out the exhibitors, to scout out where I wanted to shop later. There wasn’t much time, as I needed to head over for my first of the day, the Winchester Mystery House.
As I am finding is true of most awesome amusements and attractions, the Winchester House has a rich and full history. Created by the widow Sarah Winchester in the 1840’s, the Winchester House evolved from an 8 bedroom house, fueled by her unlimited resources from the sale of the Winchester rifle, ($1000 daily, and 50% of the Winchester stock) and her obsession with the paranormal. She felt she was haunted by the souls of all those killed by a Winchester rifle. The development of the Winchester Mystery House is a big part of the history of the Silicon Valley. Shortly after the 1922 death of Sarah Winchester, the house became a tourist attraction, with a 25 cent entry fee. The Winchester House was influential in Disney’s Haunted Mansion, was checked out by Houdini who said there was real paranormal activity in it, and hosted a sceance by James Van Pragh.
So, what is new at the Winchester Mystery House? Several things actually: a 10 night Halloween event starts on October 7th. This is a special, add on event never done before. And brand new is the Skeleton Key Club, an annual membership program with special benefits, including the brand new “Explore More” tour, which will allow access to parts of the house never before open to the public. To kick off the new membership program, those of us in attendance at the panel received a certificate redeemable for a one year membership. What an awesome gift from the fine folks at the Winchester Mystery House. Especially since I have never been there, I will look forward to visiting there, and, of course, doing a complete trip report. Look for this report later in August.
My time spent among the exhibitors was time well spent. I found resources for all matter of Halloween decorations, accessories, props, and smaller, private Haunts I never realized even existed.
Here are links to two of the Haunts I thought sounded interesting:
The vendor merchandise was unique, reasonably priced, and fun to check out. Check out this animation operating game I found.
Among the vendors, I want to do a shout out to Sweet Midnight, The Dark Side of Cute. They make adorable women’s Halloween dresses and skirts, (Yes, I got one!) Check them out at here
A complete list of the vendors can be found here.
So all this was fun, but the time had come for one of the two main events for me on this day, the reveal for Six Flags Magic Mountain’s 2016 Frightfest. I know the big reveals are already common knowledge, but here we go! As always, Magic Mountain is looking to be Scarier and Bigger (and better.) Six Flags went all out, including bringing Annie Willoughby to visit.
SCARIER AND BIGGER FRIGHT FEST IN 2016
Six Flags Magic Mountain’s 24th season of Fright Fest® will be the biggest and scariest in the Park’s history! The exciting line-up of new haunted attractions includes a new scare zone, Suicide Squad: The Six Flags Fright Fest Experience, themed after the Warner Bros. Pictures highly anticipated film, Suicide Squad. and the largest outdoor maze in the Park’s history, Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising. The expansion also includes more roving “scare-actors” than ever before and an additional Fright Fest weekend, bringing the total to 19 event days.
Fright Fest offers terrifying haunted mazes, roaming zombies, the scariest clowns on the planet and spooky shows … leaving no tombstone unturned to bring the ultimate sensory overload for every range of fear. For the little monsters, a Trick or Treat Trail and Halloween Crafts round out the activities during the daylight hours … but once the clock hits 7:00p.m., the ghouls come out to haunt the park.
September 17, 18, 24, 25, 30, October 1, 2, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30.
Fright Fest activities not available on Monday, October 10.
The returning Mazes:
- Red’s Revenge
- Toyz of Terror 3D
- Vault 666
- Willoughby’s Garden of Darkness
- Willoughby’s Resurrected
- New for 2016: Aftermath 2, Chaos Rising, a 40,000 foot maze to be constructed in the area formerly occupied by DejaVu. I just found on the website that there will be an additional fee for this maze.Here is the description from the Magic Mountain website:”Enter a post apocalyptic city where nomad warriors rule with bone-crushing iron fists and the dead stalk the living.Two young men were seen roaming the streets around town but their minds just weren’t with them. They were empty inside and totally entranced. These two were commonly known as the town misfits and were always getting into trouble so their somber behavior seemed highly unusual. They traveled in search of food, but the usual local fast food joints were not appetizing. Instead, the boys grabbed an unsuspecting passerby and feasted on his brains. Soon after, this person joined him on his quest for brains, and the zombie infection began.Now with a troop of countless members, the zombies roam the streets of the park. They can’t control themselves, and these blood-thirsty creatures are hungry for their next meal. They often split up, biting into anyone that gets in their way. As they wander around, they can’t wait to feast on living guests who pass too close.Will you survive Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising, the park’s largest outdoor maze ever built?”
NEW! Suicide Squad: The Six Flags Fright Fest Experience
A brand new Fright Fest experience is planned for DC Universe in conjunction with Warner Bros, and based on the movie Suicide Squad. Details were scarce. We’ll have more info as it becomes available. This is the first time that Warner Brothers and Six Flags are partnering up for a Fright Fest area. This is no doubt going to prove to be another of the great innovative ideas Six Flags Magic Mountain has brought to the table for 2016.
From the website: “This year’s stunning new scare zone, Suicide Squad: The Six Flags Fright Fest Experience will transform the Park’s DC UNIVERSE area into DC’ Midway City, where some of the “Worst Heroes Ever” from the highly-anticipated film Suicide Squad will be roaming the streets. Darkness and chaos will reign as some of DC Comics’ most famous supervillains will be found among the mass destruction from the film. State-of-the-art digital imagery and fiery special effects will create an inferno as buildings burst into flames and creatures attack from every angle. “It feels good to be bad” at Suicide Squad: The Six Flags Fright Fest Experience.”
SUICIDE SQUAD and all related characters and elements © & ™ DC Comics and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s16)
There are videos of all the mazes and scare zones on the web at https://frightfest.sixflags.com/magicmountain
(On an unrelated note, while 2017 construction (presumably for the Justice League dark ride) occurs in DC Universe, BOTH Riddler’s Revenge and Tidal Wave will be closed temporarily. We don’t have dates yet, stay tuned.
I know, it seems like I should be done. But there was still Knott’s Scary Farms presentation to look forward to still! It was the final presentation of the event, so the MidSummer Scream Team greeted us. Knott’s, as always, is very proud of their history, and we got a lesson in the history of the sound effects evolution. As for announcements, apparently they plan to dole them out in bits. Announcements given so far include the return of the maze Paranormal, and the new, individual Skelton Key rooms. A nice Q&A session, peppered with gifts of free haunt passes and floppy disk of sound effects from Haunts past, revealed that the Haunt Scary Passes will indeed be available for this season. Many other questions, including my question regarding the return of the maze ToothFairy received the answer, “Stay Tuned”
That’s about all I have for this trip report. I will be at ScareLA next Sunday, and will have a report on that event for ya’all next week.
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