Haunters and Halloween Addicts Descend on the Long Beach Convention Center for Midsummer Scream 2019

Midsummer Scream is truly one of my ultimate favorite conventions. This one is interesting because it’s not just for horror hounds. It’s a full on celebration of Halloween in August to kick off the haunt season. Serious Halloweeners live the lifestyle year round, and know the season really kicks off in August. Waiting for Fall is for hobbyists, casualists and frankly, amateurs. But let’s be honest, even for those who casually dabble in Halloween… there is something pretty badass about getting to celebrate it in the sweltering August heat. Last year I attended Midsummer for a single day and quickly realized that was simply not enough to see all the sights these cenobites have in store! This year I was treated to a full weekend of frights just as the Halloween Gods of old and new intended, and I enjoyed every horrific second of it. This convention does not just feature panels, guests, and exhibitors, (which are pretty badass on their own), but there’s also an entire section of the convention space dedicated to mini walk through haunts.

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Enter the Shadow of Halls and experience a cornucopia of walk through mazes and experiences. It’s perpetual night, the fog machines are going, the lasers are glowing, an eerie purple and green sheen light the way just enough to see the silhouettes of monsters running amuck. Tiki terrors, wicked pumpkins and haunted experiences inhabit the Hall of Shadows. A math teacher by day, haunter by night, welcomed us to a temple of treasures. The Dreich Society really catered to their audience with Fear Fest ’89. The entrance was made to look like Anytown, USA’s town square movie theater. On the bill? The Shining, Poltergeist, Aliens and other 80’s horror favorites. We were treated to a nostalgic sampling of so many favorites, I screamed, I was chased by an axe wielding Jack Torrance and endured an iconic Poltergeist clown attack.

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The Scream Queens Tribute by Lights Out Productions was an entertainingly interactive one. The premise- The Chanels enlist the help of new pledges (that’s us) to assist them with an ancient ritual. Hands are joined, a circle is formed, and I just so happened to be the one holding hands with the actress who had lines regarding genital warts and the enjoyable method of how they’re spread. I laughed my ass off, then was told to run, and was promptly sprayed dead in the face by The Red Devil himself. It was small and simplistic, but fun and entertaining.

Another semi-interactive offering this year was Twisted Minds Productions‘ Salem. Guests run room to room as actors play out scenes. The masterminds behind this haunt are two seventeen year old kids from Highland Park, bet your ass I’m going to be hounding those guys for a sit-down and sneak peak at this year’s haunt.

One of the most ingenious attractions was the Ready Or Not Experience, inspired by and promoting the movie of the same name, hitting theaters August 20th. Again, the premise was simple – high stakes hide and seek. It was dark, we were given flags a la flag football. Music began, we were instructed to run and hide, there were a series of simple rooms constructed with furniture to hide in/under/around. In my panic, I slid under a bed and pulled the bedskirt down behind me. I felt around in the dark, and I grabbed a hand. The hand clutched mine, I clutched back, and Kayleigh introduced herself to me, “Hi, I’m Kayleigh, I think your friend is up top”. The music changed and we could hear the scare actors making their way through, searching for us. The sheer mental fuckery caused by damn near pitch black, crouched low and concealed while being knowingly hunted in a totally unfamiliar terrain was enough to continue holding hands with a stranger in the dark for a long while. Longer than any other situation would have warranted it, that’s for damn sure! In the end I kept both my flags, but I think it’s because when the actor came to find me I was small enough and terrified enough to be pushed all the way back into the shadows. A second actor found me just before the timer went off, and as she so rightfully called out “I think your friend is too scared to come out!”. Yes. Yes, I was in fact too scared to come out. This is something I would love for them to produce on a longer term, larger scale. I would absolutely pay to do this and I know so many of you would, too. I can’t remember the last time I was so aware of the blood pumping and my heart beating in my ears.

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LA Haunted Hayride Panel – (Read the full write up here). I am… so. Fucking. Excited for this year’s LA Haunted Hayride. Three major forces teaming up to bring a haunt that sounds like it is going to be so well fleshed out and delivered. Too much cool shit to fit here, so click the link to check out the full write up.

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This year’s celebration focused on The Haunted Mansion’s 50th anniversary which meant lots of cool mansion tributes, memorabilia, exhibits, costumes, legendary imagineer Bob Gurr, panels and even a swinging wake to celebrate one of Disneyland’s most beloved attractions.

The Dream Warriors were in attendance, the one and only Elvira (I made up my mind to do the meet and greet this time and missed it!). I had a lovely conversation with Suspiria‘s Barbara Magnolfi. She is more beautiful than ever and exudes such an inexplicable loveliness. Suspiria holds such a special place in this giallo girl’s heart, it was a bit of a surreal moment getting to chat with her for a few. I didn’t splurge on the signed poster but that little exchange we shared will stay with me always.

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For fans of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the private collection mini museum was pretty mind melting. Thanks for sharing your insanely awesome and terrifying collection with us!

I missed my chance to frolic and pet kittens in the black cat pet adoption lounge, but what a freakin’ cool cause to incorporate. Many things I did not see, and so many wonderful things I did. Really a testament to what an awesome show Midsummer is.

Super impressed with how seamlessly everything ran, extra grateful for the white bats putting in the time to deliver an amazingly fun and well oiled event. Those gold bat passes ain’t no joke… the place gets pretty packed and those GA lines get pretty long, so snag those gold bat passes next year if you’re able to swing it.

Midsummer Scream Returns August 2020

Video highlights will be up on YouTube as soon as I edit them together!

 

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