Review: LA’s ‘Haunted Hayride’!

Last year was quite the bummer for all of us fiending for Halloween activities and our usual local haunts. In Los Angeles it was especially sad because one of the best attractions, the Haunted Hayride, was not operating and not a scream could be heard…..only incessant sobbing. But it’s a new year! And 2021 has marked the return of Los Angeles’ Haunted Hayride (insert applause and cheers here), and it will run its course on select nights through October 31st!

I was lucky enough to go check everything out recently, and I definitely recommend making plans to go! One of the things that makes it different from other local LA haunts, is that the natural environment of its location (Griffith Park) adds to the spookiness. As you walk in and go through the tunnel of pumpkins, you enter a spooky little town called Midnight Falls – full of Halloween decor and scare actors roaming around. From there I ventured straight ahead to the main attraction – The Haunted Hayride Experience. Sitting on actual hay in a tractor bed, you’re driven around the grounds as you stop at multiple terrifying set pieces (the animatronic band was my favorite), until you end your journey surrounded by a bunch of killer clowns. Fun!

After that, I ate some french fries. Exciting. And then continued venturing to the area where the 3 walk-through mazes lived. First up was Midnight Mortuary, which had a ton of good detail and scares – and I was luckily enough to go through without a crowd. Next, Trick Or Treat (not to be confused with either horror movie of the same name). The Halloween decor was strong in this one and was really well done. Last but not least, Dead End Diner – which had the best opening walk-through of the bunch. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by all three of them and the effort involved! I then went and ate more french fries.

But seriously, go hit the Haunted Hayride website link HERE for more details about everything and be sure to grab your tickets! It’s never too early to get into the Halloween spirit! Or become a spirit!!!! (maniacal laughter ensues)

I Am Prepared To Give ‘The Black Phone’ A Big RINGING Endorsement!

Eh, you know when I put a pun in the post’s title that it’s pretty much all downhill from there. But let’s try and get this back on track and talk about my unbridled enthusiasm for the upcoming horror film The Black Phone. You may recognize that title as a short story in Joe Hill’s 2004 book 20th Century Ghosts, or maybe you yourself have an actual black phone and that’s why the title interests you. Whatever the case, writer/director Scott Derrickson has supersized that short story for the big screen, and even teamed back up with his Sinister chum Ethan Hawke for it!

Hawke plays a serial killer in the movie (donning that creepy mask in the pic up there) who kidnaps a child that he locks in a soundproof basement. The only chance the child has to escape, is by communicating with the killer’s past victims via a…….you guessed it – black phone! Let’s take one more opportunity to admire the killer’s mask again, as it was created by none other than the great Tom Savini. Besides the mask, the other reason I’m writing this post is that The Black Phone was screened recently at Fantastic Fest and the hype is real. Meaning that the reviews have been good. So naturally because of that, my personal hype meter has risen.

The Black Phone won’t unfortunately hit theaters until January 28th, 2022…..but I bet a trailer is right around the corner. Stay tuned for more info on that and the release date, and don’t worry – you can still be excited for the movie even if you don’t have a black phone.

Southern California’s Newest Haunt ‘Temecula Terror’ Is Coming In October!

Eeeek! Nothing makes me squeal and get excited more than a brand new haunt experience for the Halloween season! And this year down here in Southern California (Temecula, to be exact), we have a doozy. Yes, Temecula Terror is ready to scare you sheetless (ghost pun) starting on October 1st and wrapping up (mummy pun) on Halloween night. I know what you’re saying…..isn’t Temecula wine country?? Why yes it is, but now it’s also haunt country – so deal with it.

So what can you expect if you take the journey down to Temecula Terror? Well for starters – 3 wickedly terrifying mazes (Hyde Street Haunted House, Butterfield Asylum, and The Crypt) complete with some of the best scare actors and props around. I’ve seen the prep work on the Temecula Terror Instagram page and it looks killer. But what’s a good haunt without some spooky booze? Yes, there will be two bars offering some deliciously demented drinks and a special VIP bar for you VIP folk. There are even some special hours if you want to bring your little monsters by, which you can check out on the Temecula Terror website HERE. And also HERE you can purchase tickets and find out more info on everything. So……will we see you there??? For your sake, I would say yes or else that creepy monster standing behind you right now might not be so kind.

‘Son Of Monsterpalooza’ Coming Back To Burbank On October 8-10!!

Finally!! Finally we are getting somewhat back to normal and horror conventions are popping back up, and hopefully haunted houses for Halloween aren’t far off. And there is no bigger horror convention this year, than the gore-ious spectacle that is Son Of Monsterpalooza! And it’s all going down in Burbank, California on October 8-10.

Now….not much has been revealed so far about special guests, but I can tell you that Elvira herself Cassandra Peterson will be there! As well as Nick Castle (Halloween) and Tobin Bell (Saw). More guests, panels, and events will be announced in the next few months – but for now just know that you’ll see a ton of ghoulish vendors, amazing make-up artists, and spooky special exhibits. And don’t forget to dress up! (It will be the month of Halloween, after all)

Go grab your tickets and/or make some hotel reservations HERE, and I will scare you there!

Update: ‘Antlers’ Is Still Coming This Year!

Few things have kept me staying positive this year so far. Yeah, we seem to be getting over the hump as far as this Covid thing. Yippee. And yeah, Ben Affleck and J-Lo seem to be back together. Hooray. But, the one thing that keeps me going this year is the fact that the movie Antlers (yes, that movie I have talked about constantly and will most certainly go into with my hopes way too high) is finally coming to theaters on October 29th!

Yeah, you can keep your Chris Rock wannabe Saw movies and your Halloween Kills (still a stupid fucking title btw) – I’m all about Antlers! I wonder how many antlers will be in the movie though. Just one pair? Several? A whole gaggle of antlers???? Only time will tell and we now know for sure that all will be seen and answered on October 29th! As I previously stated, my excitement for this movie has a good chance of setting the bar wayyyyyy too high and I could walk out of the theater cursing the very antlers that I was so interested in seeing. But…..I will keep my excitement level high! ANTLERS!

Submit To The Cosmic Creepiness With This New Video From ‘Vitskär Süden’!

Maybe you’re feeling as though this quarantine is reminiscent of hybrid movie brought to you by John Carpenter, David Lynch, and Panos Cosmatos.  Well, if that’s the case – then I’ve got the perfect soundtrack to go along with what’s going on in that mind of yours.

New ‘doom metal’ quartet Vitskär Süden is releasing their debut self-titled album today, and they’ve given us a visually haunting video for the song ‘Trickle of the Snail’ to go along with it.  Whet your appetite and check the video out below, and feel free to do some drugs in the process:

As previously mentioned, Vitskär Süde dropped their debut album TODAY on streaming platforms – and you can listen, download, and purchase directly from the band’s Bandcamp page HERE.  Grab it and get into it……before it grabs you! (insert ominous evil laugh)

Legendary Thrash Metal Band TESTAMENT Unleash New Tour & Album In April!

Dating alllllllll the way back to the 80’s, Testament has remained a fixture to this very day in the thrash metal scene.  Definitely one of the more underappreciated bands, they continue to bring it and continue to tour to bring it to YOU.  I saw them a few years back, and they blew my mind.  And now Testament is embarking on a new US Tour this April, along with Black Dahlia Murder and Municipal Waste, to promote their upcoming album TITANS OF CREATION.

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And speaking of the new album, what better way to get my attention than with a horror-themed first track called ‘Night Of The Witch‘?  Looking forward to hearing this one live when I see them in Anaheim on the tour, and it makes my anticipation for the album even greater.  So just a quick recap:  The new Testament album TITANS OF CREATION is out April 3rd everywhere.  The US Tour supporting that album kicks off April 20th in Phoenix.  And you can follow everything that is Testament right HERE.  Now, turn your speakers waaaaaaay up and check out the ‘Night Of The Witch‘ lyric video below.

‘The Oddities Flea Market’ Is Coming Back To Los Angeles October 23rd & 24th!

As a lover of anything creepy and/or unusual, I am very excited that The Oddities Flea Market is coming back to downtown Los Angeles on October 23rd & 24th!  If you’ve never been, then now is the time to prepare your eyes and your wallet.

You’re reading that correctly, folks! Oddities Flea Market returns to Los Angeles’s historic Globe Theatre, live and in-person, October 23rd and 24th! 

Prepare to be dazzled by wonders unimagined! Shop three curated floors of medical history ephemera, anatomical curiosities, natural history items, osteological specimens, taxidermy, home decor, jewelry, one-of-a-kind art, and much more.

In compliance with health and safety measures, they are releasing a limited number of timed tickets each day.

If you want to grab your tickets now (which is recommended), go HERE and snatch them up!

And for more info in general about The Oddities Flea Market, head over HERE to stay in the loop.

Hide Your Picnic Baskets! ‘Grizzly 2: Revenge’ Is Finally Coming!

While ‘Bear In A Cage‘ was all the rage courtesy of Midsommar last year, we all know what we were really wanting on the bear front.  And that would be……..a long-awaited sequel to the 1976 killer bear movie, Grizzly!  Ah yes, and what better title for a sequel than Grizzly 2: Electric Boogaloo.  Wait, that’s not it.  I meant to say Grizzly 2: Revenge. Ooooh – anything with the word ‘revenge’ in the title has to be good, right?

Long story short on this, is that this movie originally started production in the 80’s – but due to a shady producer and no money……the film was never completed.  One of the original producers has taken it upon herself to finally finish Grizzly 2: Revenge and you can see it soon!  And judging from the trailer below, it’s a bare necessity that you do.

Let’s digest that trailer for a minute.  Here are a few of my takeaways:

– Oh hey, look!  It’s George Clooney & Charlie Sheen!  I wonder if they die early on in the movie?  Spoiler alert:  They do. 

– Nurse Ratched!

– Oh, it’s that guy from Raiders Of The Lost Ark and he’s talking about a devil bear or something. 

– Insert random gigantic 50,000 person concert with 80’s music HERE. 

– Not the forklift!  

– Every good trailer needs an unnecessary slow motion grappling scene.

– Sweet bear sound effects, man. 

Ok, well – for better or probably worse, Grizzly 2: Revenge will be yours to see very soon!  Go to the official website HERE to stay in the know about everything Grizzly 2. Speaking of grizzlies, Grizzly Adams DID have a beard!

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Tears Of A Clown: RIP Sid Haig

‘Tis a sad day in the horror world, because we have lost the great Sid Haig at the age of 80.  I won’t bother getting into his long career in both television and movies (that’s what IMDB is for), but instead will tell a quick story of when I was lucky to meet and talk to him for the first time.

If you have gone to or frequent horror conventions, then there is a high probability that you saw Sid there.  Usually with his friend Bill Moseley in tow nearby, Sid would have his booth set up with glossy 8X10 pics from his acting career laid out for fans to choose from to be signed (Captain Spaulding being the most popular, of course).  His fee would always remain the same ($20 for a signed photo or poster – $10 to sign anything of your own that you brought), which is rare in the convention circuit.  Oh – and pictures/selfies were always free.  That day I had brought my DVD for The Devil’s Rejects to be signed, and I had actually just started this blog and had some stickers to pass around the convention.

I met Sid and he put his signature on the DVD cover and shook my hand.  Honestly couldn’t have been nicer.  He asked if I wanted a picture and I politely declined, and while I was leaving I gave him one of my Dirty Horror stickers.  As I was walking away, he yelled out “Tony, come here!”  So I went back and he said “You’re gonna do great with the blog – take a pic and I’ll hold up the sticker”.  I honestly kinda froze.  But he held the sticker up, and I took the picture……

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And that pretty much was who Sid seemed to be.  Judging from all of the posts on social media today from not just fans, but other acting colleagues, it’s obvious he touched a lot of people.

Now, the end of this story will only further prove my point of the greatness of Sid.  Being that I had brought my own DVD to get signed, the charge was $10.  Unbeknownst to me, I had given Sid a $20 bill.  As I’m walking away again (after getting my picture), I hear “Tony!  Tony!!!“.  I start my walk back to the booth and Sid yells over to me “You gave me a 20, I owe you $10!“.  I just kind of laughed (being that this was the second time I was walking away that Sid yelled out to me), and it made me realize even more that Sid was a pretty amazing guy.  Rest in peace, Sid.