The Hall of Shadows
This would be heaven for me. Literally heaven. Unfortunately it’s in southern California, which means I won’t be getting there this year. To paraphrase Portia/Balthazar from THE MERCHANT OF VENICE: “…in the course of justice, none of us should attain heaven: we do pray for free travel vouchers…” OR an overly-generous fan who wants to sponsor the reviewer by footing the bill for the plane tickets. Any takers? Anybody?
MIDSUMMER SCREAM is a Horror Con—no, make that “Halloween Festival”—taking place over the weekend of July 29th and 30th. It features the HALL OF SHADOWS, an offering of 14 “mini-haunts,” created by both professionals and amateurs, 14 different haunted attractions meant to serve as a preview of the attractions that will be available come October. FOURTEEN different haunted houses, each with a different theme—heaven, alright.
Here’s what those lucky bastards who attend can expect to see:
THE HALL OF SHADOWS ENTRYWAY, where visitors “[p]ass through the gothic gates of a spooky old cemetery inspired by the tale of Sleepy Hollow. This portal…is where spirits dwell, fog caresses age-old grave markers, and the legend of the Headless Horseman has never felt so real!”
GRIMM’S HALLOW: “Just when you thought it was safe to read old fairy tales…Come face with the fears of the Old World. Monsters, nightmares, and childhood terrors wait around every corner.” (Yeah, there’s gotta be a big bad wolf in there somewhere. This one may be my favorite.)
GOTHIC HILLS: “Legend tells of an old crypt, hidden away from the rest of the Gothic Hills Cemetery, that holds the remains of Julius Fitzroy, a once powerful and temperamental tycoon whose soul was cursed to be trapped for the rest of eternity inside a crystal skull. Adventurers who disappear into the undergrowth of the cemetery in search of the tomb are never heard from again!”
THE MARITIME HORROR: “…another chapter of H.P. Lovecraft-inspired horror. Enter the seaport village of Innsmouth, where something sinister is lurking beyond the shadows.”
PEEP SHOW: “…a bizarre showcase featuring the kind of lovelies Dr. Weltschmerz obsessed over.” (This one sounds tres intriguing.)
HIGGINS MANOR: “The walls of the Higgins estate have grown cold and silent since the disappearance of William P. Higgins III. But evil still resides inside his crumbling manor. There’s a suspected traitor… and his vicious henchmen are looking for answers.”
PUMKIN JACK’S HAUNTED HOUSE: “Are you afraid of the dark? Beware of what lurks in the mist…you may just find yourself face-to-face with your nightmares. The family that lives there…can be deceiving, luring you to your final moments of life.”
DEAD ZONE 805: “You are part of a special crime unit sent to investigate the work shed of a suspected killer. Once inside, you discover much more than you ever could have imagined!” (Oooh, this one sounds really cool!)
THE FLESHYARD: “It is the year 2320. Welcome aboard the USS Abyssma…your journey through interstellar space starts now. Using…warp drive, your trip will take approximately 9 months. 24th century world-class amenities await you, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight!” (A Sci-Fi themed haunt! I like it! I’m sure there are no hostile aliens or space demons to worry about.)
HYDE STREET MASSACRE: “You will…be lost within the haunting walls of Otis Hatcher’s killing chambers; a man so obsessed with Halloween, he lost his mind and became an infamous serial killer…”
THE LAST OF MAN: “Gain access to an abandoned facility that once was home to a government project known as “The Last of Man”. It is believed that an airborne virus is still trapped inside…” (I’m thinking zombies. Lots of zombies.)
MUTATION ANALYSIS CENTER: “Enter this facility and encounter mutations of the undead. The zombie apocalypse is over, and all that is left are the experimental test subjects…” (Even more zombies.)
THE GATE: “Rumored to be a sacred place—a portal between the living and the dead. It is said to have existed since the beginning of time; a dark, brooding place inhabited by the damned and those simply lost along their spiritual journeys. Mortals that venture into The Gate never return. The hellmouth stands open and waiting…”
MABLE’S 6 FEET UNDER: “…our little Mable will be waiting for you! Yes, it’s true—
Mable has taken over the motel. And she is ready to squeeze the life out of the party. It’s Mable’s Motel now.” (Sounds cool. But who’s Mable?)
APPARITION ADNENTURE: TERROR TWINS: “Follow in the footsteps of the Specter Inspectors paranormal investigation team as you venture through the historically haunted Edwards Family Home.” (I’m sure there’s nothing at all reminiscent of THE SHINING in there.)
DECAYED BRIGADE SLIDER SHOW: “Three times each day, members of the Decayed Brigade will thrill and awe guests as they demonstrate incredible acts of athletic precision as they show off their unique style of scaring as some of the Southland’s most frightening haunt monsters.” (Huh? Zombie acrobats?)
Man, a veritable smorgasbord of Horror! Somebody sponsor me! I gotta get out there!