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)

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.

It’s ‘Spirit Halloween’ Mask Roundup Time!

Although me and my fellow horror enthusiasts are down in the dumps about Halloween all but being canceled this year, we can still have fun with looking for terrible officially licensed masks!  We just can’t go to an actual Spirit Halloween store to try them on, because that would most likely be frowned upon in today’s Covid environment.  But luckily, there’s this thing called a website – and I found some good ones:    Continue reading

All Severed Hands On Deck: The Queen Mary’s ‘Dark Harbor’ Launches September 26th!

One of my favorite Southern California haunts is the famed and spoooooooky Dark Harbor which takes place on and around The Queen Mary ship (rumored to be heavily haunted) in Long Beach, California.  And……they are about to set sail for their 10th year and are bringing along a new terrifying maze to celebrate!

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Yes, that there is Scary Mary and she will be back this year – along with The Captain, The Chef, The Ringmaster, and more!  As I mentioned earlier, there will be a brand new maze called Rogue to go along with 5 other spine-tingling mazes.  One of the things I love about Dark Harbor is that some of the mazes are actually located on The Queen Mary which gives you an even more unsettling feeling while you shuffle nervously from room to room.

In addition to the mazes, there will be numerous ghouls and ghosts roaming the grounds – as well as other entertainment to make you feel all the more welcome (or unwelcome if you wish).  Bottom line:  It’s going to be spooky.  It’s going to be fun.  And you need to go HERE now and grab tickets for Dark Harbor in Long Beach if you’re going to be in the area between September 26th-November 2nd.  Happy Haunting!

That One Time Lonnie Got His Ass Away From There…… (Halloween – 1978)

Oh, Halloween.  Not the holiday, but the movie.  Even though I do love the holiday.  I guess they kind of go hand-in-hand.  What am I rambling about?  Oh yeah – Halloween!  It scared the shit out of me when I was a kid and to this day is pretty much horror movie perfection.  But, there’s always a scene that makes me chuckle.  A scene, other than when Michael Myers is driving, that stirs the crowd into a frenzy at screenings of the movie.  And that scene is………..

That Lonnie was a little shit.  And good for Loomis for telling his ass to get away from the Myers house!  Better that than have little Lonnie get his ass stabbed by Mikey.  But it’s just the whole delivery that Donald Pleasence brings to the line that makes it a crowd favorite.  And that little smirk.  That semi-giggle.  He was so proud of his zinger.  And he should have been.  Who knows by the way – maybe Loomis’ threatening verbiage steered Lonnie onto the right path in life, and maybe he went on to become a successful……ah, who gives a shit.

The Possibilities Are Endless With This Michael Myers ‘Halloween’ Posable Prop!

Have you ever wanted to have Michael Myers cook dinner with you?  What about watch you while you shower?  Well…….thanks to Trick or Treat Studios and Distortions Unlimited, you soon can do all of that with Mikey and more!  A fully posable 6’1″ tall prop is being released this year and you can preorder your copy now.

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Omg.  I can hear his heavy breathing already.  Now – if the prop looks as good as that pic, I’m sold.  And yes, it comes with the butcher knife which is an obvious necessity.  Annie’s famous chewing is not included, however.  If you’d like to plunk down your cash for the preorder, you can go HERE to the Trick or Treat Studios site and commit.  Hopefully he will come home in time for Halloween!

Why Can’t We Make Michael Myers Scary Again?

Ok, so I haven’t officially done a review for the new Halloween on my site yet…..but here’s my review of it in a nutshell:

Loved the look of it, loved most of the nods to the original, loved the look of Michael Myers and the fact that Nick Castle was back.  Hated most of the humor, didn’t love the whole ‘I’ve been waiting 40 years for him to escape so I can kill him’ Jamie Lee Curtis storyline, and most importantly……I hated that Michael Myers wasn’t scary. 

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Which brings me to this brief rant.  Now, I enjoyed the new movie just fine.  I didn’t love it.  I didn’t think it was amazing.  And it probably won’t even be in my Top 5 for the year.  But I liked it.  Why can’t we make Michael Myers scary again though?  Oh – I’m sure some people will say that he was scary in this.  Stomping a head into pieces does not make him scary.  Appearing in the shadows, popping up in the background of a shot so you can barely see him, and methodically stalking a victim makes him scary.  And the mask breathing.  None of which was really found here.

I think that’s why the humor was a huge miss for me.  I get it – Danny McBride and David Gordon Green write comedy.  But I don’t need that in a Halloween movie.  Sure, a little humor can help break up the flow of a horror movie in a good way – because the contrast that comes later on with the dread and killing can make it all the more unsettling.  I just really missed my scary Michael when I watched this ‘sequel’.  I even think back to Halloween II (which I honestly love btw), and that scene where Jamie Lee Curtis is crawling across the hospital parking lot.  Just so well done.

I have faith though.  Because there will be a sequel to the new Halloween (money talks…..and Michael’s breathing at the end) – and I am hoping…..and praying…..that Michael Myers can and will be scary again.  And btw – what the hell happened to the asshole boyfriend in the movie?  He didn’t deserve to die?  Psssshhhh.

Halloween Mask Ideas: Creepy Bootleg Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ Mask!

Hey!  Halloween is coming!  Do you want to find the one mask that will amaze your friends?  Do you want to find the one mask that will stupify your friends?  And do you want to find the one mask will instantly make you dance EXACTLY like Michael Jackson in the Thriller music video???  Ok.  The last part isn’t guaranteed to work, but give it a shot. And feast your eyes on THIS!

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Yikes!  Scarrrrry!  But also pretty fucking awesome.  Yes, that is a mask that is supposed to be zombified Michael Jackson from his infamous Thriller music video.  And apparently (according to the eBay listing), this is a Mexican bootleg.  Take that info as you will, but you should know from reading that part that you will not be able to find this in your local Spirit Halloween store.  But do you want one?  Then head on over to the eBay listing HERE and get your bid on.  Trust me, you’ll be the hit of the party!  Or you’ll frighten a lot of people, but it’s a win-win situation.  Happy Halloween!

Halloween Candy Madness: Peanut Butter Kisses

One of my fondest memories of Halloween (besides the time that a crazy neighbor threw chocolate-covered grasshoppers at me and my friends) was getting home from a night of trick-or-treating and dumping my candy out on the kitchen table to gaze at my sugary prizes.  Oh it was exciting.  I would take my bucket…..lift the bucket high over my head…..and then see:

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Sonofabitch.  It’s those damned dreaded Peanut Butter Kisses!!  (smoke comes out nostrils and ears)  Do you ever want to know what a stomach ache tastes like?  Eat some Peanut Butter Kisses.  Now look, I get it – adults in the neighborhood didn’t want to spend a lot on Halloween candy, so they would opt for the ‘cheaper’ options to try and get by. And yes, I also get that the colors of the wrapping are festive for Halloween.  So it should be a ‘win-win’ situation, right?  Nope.

But alas, there is a bit of charm associated with Peanut Butter Kisses because they DO symbolize Halloween and yes……some people even (gulp) like them.  So maybe I’ve been too harsh in the past on these acquired taste (only if you have any true taste) candies, and I should embrace them for what they are:  Terrible tasting peanut butter flavored taffy candy that still makes me smile because they scream ‘Halloween’.  And sometimes, that’s all that matters, right?  Yay, Halloween!

Review: Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival 2018 (Long Beach, CA)

Yessssss!  It’s finally time for the Halloween convention season, and what better way to kick it off this year than with a trip to the Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival in downtown Long Beach, California!

This was my third year going to Midsummer Scream, and it keeps getting bigger and better every year.  And unfortunately more crowded.  It’s a gift and a curse.  But yes, everything that made last year’s convention stand out was back this year:  The Hall Of Shadows (individual mini haunted houses in a darkly lit massive area), The Black Cat Lounge (where you can pet and play with a bunch of adorable kittens in a creepy circus environment), and of course……all of the creepy costume-goers who roam about the area eagerly awaiting your arrival to give you a good fright.  Oh my god – here comes one now!

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Nothing gets me more into the ‘spirit’ of Halloween than a good convention, and specifically Midsummer Scream.  Focusing on the haunts and everything that is Halloween – there were also tons of vendors selling their ghoulish goodies, a picture and meet & greet opportunity with Elvira herself (Cassandra Peterson), and you could even get a hot pretzel with cheese sauce!  Ok, the last thing was not impressive – but everything else this year was.  Except the aforementioned size of the crowd, which keeps getting bigger each go around.  If they can find a way to make it a little less claustrophobic in the vending aisles, then I feel that would make a big difference.

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Other than that one little negative, Midsummer Scream was frightfully good this year and they’ve already announced next year’s dates of August 3rd & 4th!  Plenty of time to think and prepare a good costume and plenty of time to think about an escape plan if you get too scared in The Hall Of Shadows.  Spooooooooky.  Thanks again to Midsummer Scream for another BOOtiful convention!