Monday, February 25, 2019

Off-Season Spooky: The 3 Hottest Tickets in Town

Winter can be hard on the Halloween fan, what with the spooky season in your rear view and the year's endless months sprawling before you, with hundreds of days until October once more dawns black and orange, heralding the return of the Best Time of the Year.

And that's to say nothing of spring, with its sunshine and flowers and bunnies. I mean, pastels? THE HORROR!

But despair not, gentle creeps. Here are three off-season spooky events taking place this spring in Los Angeles:

Surely you remember my recent review of Delusion: The Blue Blade. Again, this is not a haunt, and it's not exactly horror, but there are some creepy moments, and some killer set pieces, and I firmly believe that if you're the kind of person who spends March wishing it could be October, you'll enjoy yourself.

Tickets available now through March 17, 2019.

Another immersive theater experience making a triumphant return this spring is The Willows - you can read my thoughts about the 2017 production here

Tickets are on sale now for showtimes through the end of March, with more tickets to be released for later shows. 

Finally, Reign of Terror in Thousand Oaks is putting on a special one-night only event on Saturday, March 9, 2019 from 7-11 PM, but unlike the aforementioned productions, this is a proper haunted house. From the RoT social media:
ALL your FAVORITE features, and creatures, await your Springtime visit to Reign of Terror Haunted House's SPECIAL EVENT on March 9, 2019! Including the expanded underground 'slime bog' inside Miner's Revenge, the outcasts inhabiting the 'Inbred' attraction, the 'White-Out Experience' inside our Fun House, plus all the outlandish occupants, sights, sounds and scents that make ROT the most fiendishly fun you can have in a Haunt!
Tickets are available now on their website, with  proceeds benefiting various animal rescue groups. If you've never been to Reign of Terror, it really must be seen to be believed, and what better time to go than right in the middle of the off-season?


Saturday, February 23, 2019

A Spell for the Final Girl

In case you missed it back in October, I contributed a piece to Luna Luna's Halloween issue, and it stirs everything from the Blumhouse Halloween to Claire C. Holland's I Am Not Your Final Girl (an excellent collection of horror-inspired poetry if ever there was one) to our current political climate into a witchy brew. Please check it out.

Friday, February 22, 2019

REVIEW: Delusion: The Blue Blade (2019)

With the 2018 haunt season now dwindling to a distant memory and this fall's impending offerings little more than a faint glimmer on the Halloween horizon, we're in a bit of a creepy dead zone at the moment - such is winter, I suppose. 

And then an invitation appeared in my inbox - an invitation to shake off the shackles of February and tear through the fabric of space and time as a participant in the latest iteration of Los Angeles' renowned interactive play Delusion: The Blue Blade

Really, how could I refuse?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

REVIEW: Creep LA: Awake

If you're looking for a haunt (or is it immersive theatre?) that really lives up to its name, Creep LA is your jam. Year after year, they're the classiest, weirdest, most intelligent game in town. If other haunts are "Top That" from Teen Witch (and don't get me wrong, I LOVE "Top That"), Creep LA  is that scene in 2015's The Witch where the bird is pecking that lady's tit while she laughs dementedly. Both are great in their own way, of course, but one makes you laugh with your friends while the other leaves you shuddering alone.

Are you ready to shudder? Alone?

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

REVIEW: WB's Horror Made Here - A Festival of Frights

When it comes to the LA haunt scene, we may not have much in the way of mazes set in actual abandoned or historical buildings, but we do have one asset that sets us apart from pretty much every other city in the world: Hollywood, baby! This is the epicenter of The Industry, and if you've seen it on screens big or small, there's a pretty good chance it was made on a lot in southern California. Small towns especially; from Haddonfield to Stars Hollow, your favorite quaint suburbs may look like middle America, but they're actually as West Coast as you can get. So it's actually kind of surprising that more movie studios haven't gotten in on the act for Halloween. In fact, for years Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights ran pretty much unchallenged as the Hollywood Home of Halloween Horror. But no more.

Universal, keep an eye on that crown of yours, because Warner Bros. is hot on your heels with Horror Made Here.

Friday, October 5, 2018

REVIEW: The Queen Mary's Dark Harbor 2018

Let's get this out of the way: I was totally taco-blocked at the Queen Mary last night.


They bounced back so incredibly hard from last year's taco debacle that there was no free food whatsoever - not even the possibility of free tacos - and I didn't even care!

Seriously, though - it's the maritime-flavored, floating haunt from hell that we always knew it could be, but I don't think it ever quite achieved its full potential until now. But with haunt mastermind Jon Cooke - the man behind Knott's Scary Farm's Dark Ride, my Favorite Maze Ever - on board to revamp the mazes and rethink the layout, Dark Harbor is finally great. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Trickin' & Treatin': Midsummer Scream 2018

Who could have guessed that Long Beach would end up as the Halloween capital of California?

If you were at Midsummer Scream this year - and I know you were, because EVERYONE ON EARTH WAS - you know this to be true. Just a few years out from its debut, Midsummer Scream has established itself as the premier Halloween convention in California, and a bona fide destination event for Halloweenies from all over the country, if not the globe.

A convention dedicated to the spookiest night of the year shouldn't feel quite so right plopped in the middle of such an oppressively hot summer weekend, like a pumpkin patch that's magically sprung up in the middle of a beach. But we've all learned to embrace Halloween in July. And I really do mean all of us.

Because Midsummer Scream was CROWDED. AS. FUCK.

It's always crowded, of course. But this year was different. The parking situation was apocalyptic. The convention floor was claustrophobic. They actually sold out on both Saturday and Sunday! I was positively awed by the turnout. Awed, and a little anxiety-stricken. Here's my biggest survival tip: You're going to have to make peace with your feelings about crowds before you head into Midsummer Scream.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Ultimate Fantasy: Magic, Murder & Performing Femininity in The Love Witch

I wrote about one of my favorite recent films, Anna Biller's The Love Witch (2016), over on Death & the Maiden. Please check it out by clicking on Samantha Robinson's bewitching visage in the above photo.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy BOO Year: Anticipating 2018

Tomorrow the slate will be wiped clean once again! Are you excited? I know I am. I love a brand new year, with all of its promise and anticipation. Here are a few things I'm looking forward to in 2018:

  • Insidious: The Last Key. The fourth (!) entry in what has become a veritable franchise, I don't have high hopes that this one will revolutionize the genre or anything; I just want a ride through the spook house. 
  • Winchester. Have you been to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose? Legend has it that Sarah Winchester had to keep her labyrinthine mansion in a perpetual state of construction to appease the spirits of the angry dead murdered by her family's namesake rifles. True story or con perpetrated by a particularly savvy 19th-century contractor? Perhaps this movie will provide some clarity! In any case, it's a haunted house movie based on a place that I've actually visited, so I'm in.
  • Hell House LLC 2: The Abbadon Hotel. Despite the cumbersome title, I'm super excited for this follow-up to the found-footage creeper set in a seasonal haunted house. 
  • Halloween (2018). RuPaul said it best.
  • The 'Burbs Collector's Edition. Look at this glorious Blu-ray edition of ONE OF THE GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME. Just look at it. Come March, it will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine. 
  • More horror conventions and festivals! We already have good, solid dates for Spookshow 6 (April 7), Monsterpalooza (April 13-15), and Midsummer Scream (July 28 & 29). Half my year is already planned, wheeee!
  • Halloween haunts! Of course I'm already thinking about October. When am I not? Can't wait to find out what Knott's has in store this year. Plus, I'm hoping to finally check out Mable's 6 Feet Under, Coffin Creek in Corona, and whatever else the Halloween gods might throw my way.
  • Channel Zero: Butcher's Block. The third season of this creepypasta-based horror anthology series premieres on February 7th! 
  • The return of iZombie. Not sure if there's a date yet, but the fourth season of this zom-com should be making its way back to the CW in 2018. I know I say a lot of things are underrated, but um, so is this. It's so fun and funny and well-cast and clever. Please check it out, even if you're burnt out on zombies.
  • Shirley Jackson hits Netflix. At some point this year, I am going to be watching a Netflix original series based on The Haunting of Hill House. That's reason enough to be excited for that ball to drop tonight.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Best of 2017: Everything Else

Photo by Rebecca Orlandini

Despite the weirdness of the world at large, so many cool things happened this year that I feel like I need a second, non-movie-related post to recap it all. So here are a few of my non-filmic favorites of 2017:

  1. Halloween vow renewal in Haddonfield. My husband and I had our vows renewed by Michael Myers himself on Halloween at the SugarMynt Gallery in South Pasadena, directly behind the original Myers house from John Carpenter's 1978 masterpiece Halloween. I wore a dress from the Elvira for Pinup Girl collection. The ceremony and subsequent photo shoot at nearby locations from the film (with Michael in tow, natch) were simultaneously hilarious, romantic, and suitably spooky. Thank you to SugarMynt and Wicked Weddings! This was a dream come true.
  2. So many conventions. We made it our business to hit as many as possible this year: Halloween Club's Spookshow, Monsterpalooza, Midsummer Scream, ScareLA, Son of Monsterpalooza. I got a super sick zombie caricature of me and my husband at Son of Monsterpalooza that I will treasure forever.
  3. Podcast madness! I never really talk about podcasts on this blog, but there are so many that I love, and many of them are horror-related, or at least horror-adjacent. Allow me to give my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION to Boys and Ghouls, the Faculty of Horror, the Purple Stuff Podcast, My Favorite Murder, Post Mortem with Mick Garris, Nightmare on Film Street, and Teen Creeps. Thanks for getting up in my ears all year long.
  4. Pilgrimage to Salem. I finally fulfilled my lifelong dream of traveling to Salem, Massachusetts this year. We visited in February, which meant that there was still snow on the ground and some of the attractions were closed for the season (catch you next time, Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery and Witch Dungeon Museum!) - but on the plus side, there were no crowds whatsoever, and I felt like we really got to explore at our leisure. I loved the old cemeteries, the Witch Trials memorial, the Witch House, the House of the Seven Gables, and the divine pizza and Caesar salad at Bambolina.
  5. Knotts Scary Farm. I've been going since I was probably too young to be going, and this was the best year yet at the Haunt. Shoutout once again to Dark Ride, my favorite maze of all time. I can't wait to see what they have in store for 2018.
  6. Spooky site-specific interactive theater. Namely, the Willows (from the minds of Creep LA) and Wicked Lit, which I finally experienced after years of anticipation. 
  7. The return of the Griffith Park Ghost Train. I'm just really happy that it's back. 
  8. Channel Zero: No-End House. Even better than Candle Cove. This might be the most underrated horror TV show. Can't wait to see what's coming up for season 3.
  9. John Carpenter's Anthology tour. I feel so lucky to live in a world where one of my favorite directors and composers can enjoy a second career as an honest-to-god rock star, and I can't believe that I've been privileged enough to see him perform twice now. 
  10. Not with a broomstick, but a pen. Finally, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to the horror community myself in some small way. In 2017, I had one of my short stories featured on HelloHorror, had a piece published in a beautiful collection of poems about Salem called Entombed in Verse, and saw the micro-short Nothing Happens that I created with my husband accepted at Midsummer Scream and the inaugural Salem Horror Fest.

What were some of your favorites of 2017? What are you looking forward to in the new year? (I'll tell you some of my picks tomorrow!)


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