With Halloween just around the corner, our Horror Expert Stephanie Hayslip has put together a list of Haunt attractions for a very spooky October 2014.
The Curse of Devil Swamp
“The Curse of the Devil Swamp” is a home haunt located in Covina, CA. This was by far the most pleasant surprise of the entire weekend. Created by Lucas Acosta, a college student and vet of Knott’s Scary Farm, this home haunt has an attention to detail and a dedication that is unrivaled. The fresh, interesting designs of the environment and the monsters that live within are unlike anything I have seen. It makes great use of both audio and performance as well, giving this preview a very polished and completed feel.
“The Curse of the Devil Swamp” is open Halloween night and is free, although donations are encouraged. For information on this attraction, please visit www.feartheswamp.com.
“Perdition Home” is the brainchild of Brandon Spletter and Trevor Nielsen. Truly a labor of love, this haunt has grown from a simple yard display to the Orange County staple it is today.
The goriest of gore fans will love this event, which gives us the classic scenes that will leave you gasping in horror for hours after. Although it is a home haunt, Spletter and Nielsen take it very seriously by marketing year round, and having a vast presence in social media. The style of “Perdition Home” reminds me of vintage pulp horror comics with its bright, grotesque imagery and horrific scenarios that the mind simply can’t comprehend.
“Perdition Home” is free and accepts donations, and runs October 23-27 as well as Halloween night. For more information, they are on all of the things – Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and of course The Perdition Home Website.
This non-profit haunt in Stanton, CA, that benefits the Illumination Foundation, a charity devoted to ending the cycle of homelessness. The dedication of this group really shines, and there is no want for style. Their preview was complete with carnival barkers, stilt walkers, and a “Freak Show of Fears,” promising, “Your Dreams Transformed Into Terrifying Nightmares!” With it’s additional “Shadow Walk Manor” as part of the overall package when it is open, there is clearly something there for everyone who has been itching to have a bout of insomnia.
“Fear Station” is open several weekends in October. For more information, please visit www.fearstationhaunt.com. For how you can contribute directly to the Illumination Foundation and learn more, please visit www.ifhomeless.org.
Field of Screams
As I got my start at an attraction called “Terror Park” in Columbus, OH, I had a soft spot for this one. Located in Lake Elsinore, “Field of Screams” sports 5 different mazes and even featured an innovative hotel elevator ride this weekend that I’m relatively sure simulated exactly what a ride to hell would be like.
Zachary and Jeromy Ball are the creative directors of “Field of Screams.” Known as “The Bloodshed Brothers,” they started making names for themselves back in 2009, by creating a YouTube channel based on their concepts. In 2011, when FOS was looking for new management, these twin brothers threw their hat in the ring and have hit the ground running. They still run their YouTube channel, and shoot/upload content every single day.
“Field of Screams” runs every weekend in October and even has a Haunter’s Night, for those of us that work in the haunt community ourselves. For ticket info, FAQs and more, please visit them at HauntedStadium.com
(PS – THEY SELL BEER.)
Alone: An Existential Haunting
What can be said about this experience without ruining it for you is hard to say. I’m not sure if what they offered at ScareLA will be involved in their complete experience, but for all our sakes, I hope it is.
“Alone” is something few people have the guts to attempt. You have to go through the entire event solo, and 90% without light or sound. Yes, you are trapped in the dark with madmen and god knows what else, with nothing to guide you but a hand at your neck and a prayer.
It was thrilling for me to be surprised – as a 15-year veteran of the haunt industry, it takes a lot to see something I have not already seen. But even before I was swallowed by darkness, I was impressed and near giddy with the fact that they had gotten me fascinated with what would happen next.
My problems boil down to two things that may very well have been issues unique to ScareLA. Scheduling seemed to be a problem, as you cannot gauge how long an individual will take to get through the maze, and you can’t send people in while a guest is still inside, since that ruins the entire experience. Hopefully, when you go to the total experience this Halloween season there will not be such an issue as not fitting people in.
Another issue was the storyline – everything leading up to the black was wonderful and creepy, guaranteed to send chills up your spine with its basis in reality. When you begin the dark portion of the experience though, I felt that it lost its way with storyline and simply focused on trying to scare and put you in uncomfortable situations (crawling, people grabbing you, etc.)
That being said, I still left this installation with my mind blown and not caring I was covered in god-knows-what. I had just seen the unexplainable, and wished I could talk about it with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, I will have to keep this moment in time to myself…alone.
Dates and ticket info for “Alone: An Existential Haunting” will be available soon. Stay in the loop at www.thealoneexperience.com.
A SoCal Staple: The Decayed Brigade
Necessary Disclaimer : DO NOT TRY SLIDING AT HOME.
Knott’s Scary Farm is legendary. That’s without question. Not only will this be its 42nd season coming up, but one of the biggest reasons it is legendary is this: it is the birthplace of sliding.
Sliding is the art of sliding across flat surfaces, in the case of Knott’s usually being concrete and stone. Sliders wear very specific equipment for this sport, including heavy-duty knee pads and reinforced boots and gloves. It is a practice that is monitored heavily by the Knott’s Scary Farm community, and you must go through rigorous training in order to be allowed to perform.
Enter The Decayed Brigade – a group of the most talented sliders known to man, who brought their incredible talent and humor to the heart of ScareLA. Their stage was a vinyl runway directly in the center of the event, and they performed three shows daily. Cowboys, Clowns and Monkey People all came together for a common goal – to entertain.
Accumulating over 125 years between them, this group demonstrated amazing acts including jumping over each other, riding each other like surfboards, sliding across platforms and much more. They are also incomparable regarding audience interaction, every character filled with quick wit and naughty humor that left the entire convention with face-splitting smiles and screams of nothing but delight. Music blasts, cheers tore the roof off, and if the Decayed Brigade didn’t get you amped for Halloween then you don’t have a heart in your black, black soul.
Order your tickets now for Knott’s Scary Farm’s 42nd Halloween Haunt at The Knott’s Scary Farm Website.
What I took most from ScareLA was that I have intense excitement for what the next generation of the horror community has to offer. Most of the people I was introduced to were barely in their 20’s, yet creating haunts that would rival even the top competitors’ offerings. Clearly, the next generation of haunters and artists will leave their bloody mark on the future, and I for one cannot wait for a front row seat.