Reviews & info of frightening places to visit.
It’s been too long!
Well, the pandemic did one heck of a reset for us here at TheFright.com but we are back and heading off to Midsummer Scream 2022. We are frightfully excited to see all the new things this year. There’s going to be a ton of exhibitors and we just can’t wait to see all the walk-throughs in The Hall of Shadows!
We can’t wait to overload on horror & all things Halloween, Very soon, we’ll have more to share here on our site! See you there!
This year we had the unique opportunity to go to both Six Flags Fright Fests in California; Fright Fest Discovery Kingdom and Fright Fest Magic Mountain. Both parks put on a pretty good show, but we have to admit that one of them was a little better than the other.
Park Entry Differences
The main difference between the parks is definitely cost. A regular ticket to entry into to Magic Mountain (no mazes) is currently about $93 whereas Discovery Kingdom is about $73. Oddly, parking at Magic Mountain is $25 and Discovery Kingdom is $30. But none of this matters if you have a membership with parking, which we recommend.
Not all Fright Fests cost the same!
We were very surprised to find out the cost differences between the two parks. It’s a HUGE difference! Magic Mountain only charges $20 for their Fright Fest maze wristband while Discovery Kingdom was a whopping $40! If you want the front-of-the-line VIP wristband, it will cost you an extra $15 at Magic Mountain and $10 extra at Discovery Kingdom. We only recommend the VIP pass on the heavier days, closer to Halloween.
Parking & meal passes are covered with the same pass!
We were delighted to find out that our membership passes with the parking add-on at Magic Mountain covered our Discovery Kingdom parking, too! Once in the park (admittance already covered with our membership) we were again pleased to find out that our meal pass and souvenir cup that we bought at Magic Mountain, also worked at Discovery Kingdom! As Six Flags pass membership holders, we were able to use a special coupon from our membership app that gave us a great buy one, get one free deal on our wristbands for the Magic Mountain Fright Fest maze wristbands.
This deal was only good on the first & second weekends of Fright Fest.
All the mazes were great!
Overall, the mazes in both parks were really good. They both offered 6 each. Our favorites were Magic Mountain’s Condemned & Nightmare Manor at Discovery Kingdom. We noticed that Magic Mountain’s scare actor performances were noticeably much better this year. Discovery Kingdom’s were pretty much at the same performance level. We did prefer some of the themes at Discovery kingdom more, but were a little disappointed at how many of them felt a little too short.
Discovery Kingdom had very unique experiences
The one-of-a-kind maze that you could only have at Discovery kingdom was really cool! In their Captian Bloat\’s Shipwreck of Horror maze, their huge shark aquarium exhibit was part of the maze! We also really enjoyed the carnival antics of Carnevil. We also loved the small theme park charm that Discovery Kingdom had.
Magic Mountain was still our favorite!
The scare zones were great at Discovery Kingdom but the mazes were just not quite as good as Magic Mountain’s. Once you add in the fact that you will have to pay double for the full Fright Fest experience at Discovery Kingdom, it’s clear that you will get more for your money at Magic Mountain. Don’t get us wrong though; we still think Discovery Kingdom’s Fright Fest is very worth while!
I loved Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor more last year. Is it still worth it? Yes. Is there anything new this year? Yep.
Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is unique because many of the mazes here are based on stories about the Ship. The storylines make the mazes much more interesting, in my opinion. One of my favorite scenes this year is in the Lullaby maze, “inside the pool” where you see Scary Mary floating above you.
New this year is Rogue. The story here is that a wave has capsized the ship. There are some fun FX here where you see the waves coming at you as you walk through the off-kilter and upside-down halls. You see the bodies floating around you and there are even some bubbles involved. It’s a unique theme and a fun experience. This maze has one of the only two hidden bars.
Lots of bars and drinks for all!
There are plenty of bars this year but we certainly wished there were more hidden ones. (The hidden bars are SO much fun!) All of the bartenders were fantastic and the drinks are great, but they do lack the theme-matching whimsical character of last year’s drinks. At this year’s event, I watched circus performers, rode the famous swings, hung out at the hookah bar, along with eating and drinking more than I needed. All of these experiences were great!
I want to especially commend the performers; they are truly amazing… all of them. The maze performers, the circus entertainment, ALL OF THEM are great! I also enjoyed the swings from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Their creepy green glow adds such an amazing atmosphere to the event. The hookah bar has a nice Moroccan style and the menu has plenty to choose from.
Dark Harbor drowned a little with their logistics
Although it didn’t ruin my great time at the event, I was confronted with a barrage of issues that I really shouldn’t have had to deal with. There were several technical difficulties that prevented me from getting a VIP lounge pass which is a great add-on if you can get it… which I couldn’t. When I went to buy a drink from one of the various food vendors there, their soda fountain only had Sprite. I was handed a cup with Sprite and a bug floating on top! (Gross.) When I asked for another one, they couldn’t give me another because their soda fountain just broke. I tried to order chicken & waffles but they were out of that too, even though a giant sign said they sold them, and this was at the beginning of the night. Luckily, after things were sorted out, the food I got was quite delicious!
Towards the end of the night, the handwashing stations by the porta-potties near the exit (and entrance) were out of water. This led me on an adventure to rinse the soap off my hands. Trying to find a place to remove the dried soapy film from my hands, I asked a nearby bar attendant who couldn’t help because the bars DO NOT have running water and apparently NO hand sanitizer! This led me to realize that the bartenders are not able to wash or sanitize their hands after handling money.
I had a ‘beef’ with this one…
I found a beef stick laying on top of a button switch box that is for the patrons of the hidden bar. You can push this button to activate a scare for the others, going through the maze (which is really fun, by the way). How do I know the stick was from last year? Because the drinks we got in this exact same hidden bar, which was also in the exact same place on the ship, had a drink last year that included a beef stick in the drink. (Ewww!)
Suffice it to say, I have some communal health concerns. I suggest you bring your own hand sanitizer, take your vitamins, and brave the mazes! It’s definitely worthwhile!
So we did a not-so-frightening Halloween event called Nights of the Jack, located in Calabassas at the King Gillette Ranch national park. This one is for the whole family. It is a “Jack-o-Lantern Experience” but what the heck does that mean? It means you are going to be looking at a lot of jack-o-lanterns! I would say it’s an art installation and the art is made out of pumpkins. Motorcycles, celebrities, monsters and more that line the paths as you stroll. Each section uses elaborate music and lighting to help bring it to life.
Don’t be late!
Get there early, the traffic slows WAY down as you are getting closer and the parking is slightly unorganized (I’m sure they will get better at it).
For our visit, we were ready to line up for our time slot, about 15 minutes early and we were quickly checked in and walked into a wonderfully festive courtyard.
What a fun place!
The courtyard is full of food trucks, vendors, tables, heaters, and old-time carnival games & photo panels.
There are also some really quick, single-room, but fun walk-through attractions, “Are you afraid of the dark” and an “Infinity Box”, that can be just a tad scary but are perfect for your little monsters.
After going through the walk-throughs, we went over and grabbed our hot chocolate and cider (they have special cider and hot chocolate for adults, too) and hit the trail. They say it takes about an hour; this seems right depending on the speed of your stroll.
On to the trail!
The footpaths on the trail are wide and easy to walk but beware of the occasional uneven ground. I saw strollers, wagon strollers, and walkers and everyone was navigating just fine. Halfway through the trail, there are porta-potties, more drinks and things that light up for sale.
The artwork on display is breathtaking and amazing! We took so many photos to capture the moment but you absolutely can not take in the real magic that’s there without seeing it for yourself!
Nights of the Jack was just a bit underprepared
Unfortunately, there were a few shortcomings… At the end of the night, the food vendors were running out of food and those who weren’t had lines that were ridiculously long. Also by the end, some of the porta-potties were out of toilet paper and all the hand washing stations (near the exit) were out of water. I used a lot of hand sanitizer and tried to move on with my life.
Would I go again?
Yep, but not every year.
Is it worth the cost?
If you can find a discount code.
Is it safe for the kids?
Absolutely! Kids of all ages!
This year, Midsummer Scream in Long Beach, CA, really outdid themselves! The extended their newly famous horror & Halloween convention to include the entire convention center! Everything Halloween & horror you could imagine was there!
Fun for all ages!
This time we decided to take the kids along to get a different perspective of the event. Many have been asking, “is this event ok for kids?” we can thoroughly say, “YES!” Besides the seemingly endless rows of exhibitors, the kids had a great time at Paranormal Pixe’s Pumpkin Patch. This kids area featured all sorts of fun, including a Magician, a classic marionette puppet show, storytelling, coloring, and lots of balloon animal fun!
Black Cat Lounge
The kids also got to enjoy the very popular Black Cat lounge where they got to pet and play with rescue kitties in a very special room, set up just for them. Kitten Rescue had so many little cuties in there! It was just too much! Kitten Rescue is a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization dedicated to saving homeless and abandoned cats and kittens. As much as we wanted to take one home, we had to leave them there, this time. It was good to know that many of them found their forever home.
This year Midsummer Scream had over 300 exhibitors & vendors! This year is the 50th anniversary of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion and the very Imagineer that invented the “Doom Buggy”, Bob Gurr was there! He told us that his secret to success was to always say, “Yes, I can do that!” and then figure out later how to make it happen. It was truly a magical moment and honor to meet him.
We also ran into an awful lot of Ghostbusters on the convention floor! Universal Studios Halloween Horror nights is featuring a new Ghostbusters maze this year. We heard the buzz from many at the convention that they were looking forward to the maze and the upcoming sequel! We can’t wait, either!
Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights
We caught the presentation on Saturday for Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights and the “taste of things to come” from Creative Director John Murdy did not disappoint. John announced another ’80s horror gem at HHN, Creepshow! John showed off some images of HHN’s walkthrough maze concept art and elevations. We were delighted to see 3 favorite stories from the George Romero & Stephen King film chosen to be brought to life! The walkthrough will feature Father’s Day, The Crate, and They’re Creeping Up on You. Along with those 3 classic stories, it will also feature some of the new stories from the 2019 Creepshow on Shudder, from executive producer Greg Nicotero (of The Walking Dead).
John also promised some great new scare zones and lots of creepy new stiltwalkers! We loved last year’s Holidayz in Hell scare zone. This year, it becomes its own full-fledged walkthrough attraction.
2 Days Just Isn’t Enough, Anymore!
We aren’t’ sure how Midsummer Scream will outdo what we saw this year; add another day? We are really looking forward to next year. If you can make the trip, we highly recommend starting off your Halloween season off early an right at Midsummer Scream. You will not be disappointed.
Hobb’s Grove Has A Little Something For Everyone
We took a short trip to a local haunt in the San Joaquin Valley. Hobb’s Grove is really out in the boonies, just outside of Fresno. It’s actually a perfect location for a classic down-on-the-farm type of haunt. We hadn’t been to Hobb’s Grove in many years. It’s still a great place to go get a good scare! We love the park-like courtyard with fire pits and classic carnival food vendors. Hobb’s also includes a Tarot card reader and a really great Halloween store that had some very unique items!
4 Attractions, Good Scares!
We came on Halloween weekend, on a Sunday, so suffice it to say; it was busy! We decided to only do the Haunted House and the Haunted Forrest. We have heard good things about the other 2 attractions but for the cost, we didn’t feel like it was going to be worth it. Hobb’s puts on a pretty good show, but they are pricey for what they offer. For $42, you can do all 4 attractions, but you have to wait in some seriously long lines. The front of the line pass gets you right in, at the front with no wait, which is great but that runs you $10 on top, for each attraction. We decided to pay the extra to skip the lines, and we have to say, it was worth it.
The forest was our favorite! Lots of really super creepy places and some really great scares! If all you do is one attraction, this one is the one to do and it’s worth the trip there, just for this one! We really liked the various environments that you encounter; a graveyard, a cave, a voodoo camp, and much more.
The Haunted Forrest was such a great maze!
We especially liked the hillbilly camp that you encounter where you are held in individual rooms and are kept in a total black-out for just a little while. The lights flash, you see something in the window. Another flash or two, then total darkness. Out from nowhere, a monster appears in the room with you and dashes out the other side. It was simple, but a fantastic scare! The other best part was a laser swamp that we saw a smaller version of at The Depths, at Knotts. We also love that this attraction was so long! Very worth your money!
The haunted house was pretty good. It included a storybook motif that we really enjoyed. There were a couple of notable things along the way. We really liked the giant dragon head. We loved the multi colored doors. Our favorite part was the Caterpillar puppet that you encounter in the Alice in Wonderland section, just before the vortex tunnel (or rabbit hole?). The maze takes you in and out of the house several times. We liked some of these areas better than what was in the house. There were great actors throughout Hobbs but the house left us feeling like there should have been some better special effects. It includes stairs to a second level, but up there, they seemed to miss out on some great opportunities for some fun effects; a floor drop, walking over a bridge, or perhaps something like the abyss illusion that we saw at Fright Fest. This attraction was good but not quite worth the entry plus the front of the line pass.
Should you go?
If you live near Fresno or Visalia, you should definitely go! If you are coming from further away- maybe. If we lived in Bakersfield, we would say it’s worth skipping Scare Valley and make the drive up, just to see the Haunted Forrest- it’s that good!
Bakersfield’s Scare Valley had some good scares!
We deiced to hit up a smaller haunt closer to where we live and tried out Bakersfield’s Scare Valley. This haunt was put together by the same folks that once made Talladega Frights, over on the west side of town. They sold that property and have moved over to the new Track House Karting facility (formerly BKE), near the new BLVD complex off Buck Owens Blvd. You enter through Track House (which looks like a lot of fun, by the way) and wander on through to the back after buying your wristband at the Track House sales counter.
What was it like?
The theme of the haunt is something like an old hillbilly farm house. Think, Deliverance. The line queue certainly did a great job building up the right feeling. The entrance to house looked pretty good. We loved the smoke machine, lighting, and giant spider on the wall. Inside we found some really good scares, right from the start. The actors did a good job staying in character and creeping us out. We were impressed with the fact that they had quite a bit of great details in their sets, too. The vortex tunnel that they have inside was probably one of the best effects they had. The idea is that the house has trapped you and taken you into some sort of hillbilly hell. It was a good maze, overall.
Lots of room
We were really happy to see that there was a lot of space for the haunt; this location definitely has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, this is where we were just a little let down. The haunt is pretty short. For the price, we think we could have gotten a bit more time in the maze. We are very hopeful that next year they will take advantage of the space and really give us more. This is their first year there and it can be tough to go big, right after a location change. Hopefully, the maze is more full of monsters nearer to Halloween, (which it should be) and you will have a better experience.
Was it worth it?
Well, that depends. We went on a Sunday, opening weekend so there were hardly any people in line and that was really nice. Our thought was, although it’s pretty good, it’s a little short and it’s not quite worth the full $15 price. We recommend getting the Groupon or using their own discount from their web site and go right when they open to avoid waiting an hour for 5 minutes of a scare. If it’s the only chance you will get to go to a haunted house this year, you should definitely check it Bakersfield’s Scare Valley. Like we said, there were some really good scares inside!
Warner Bros Studio Tour Horror Made Here raised the bar
We were blown away with Warner Bros new horror experience this year! This is only the third year for Horror Made Here and we have to say, we were very impressed. We got the Losers’ Club VIP passes (a clever nod to “It”) and we were really glad we did for a few reasons. First, you get 2 free alcoholic drinks and at up to $16 a drink, that can save you a lot. Next, you get a free “It” printed photo of yourself. You also get a ride on Devil’s Drop, and of course, you get front of the line access!
It rained on us, but not our spirits
If anything the rain storm that blew in made the whole night even more magical. The weather started out with some autumn gusts and rolling thunder. The real lightning strikes from above gave Horror Made Here on the Warner Bros backlot the perfect feeling. We managed to get through a couple of mazes before the rain started. At first it was a light sprinkle but as the night went on, it really started to come down. We were really glad we had the VIP passes to not have to stand in the lines and get drenched.
The Conjuring Universe
This maze was a little different than what we were used to. We were taken by a “paranormal” guide from one section to the next, where we were held in each room or area for just long enough for something terrifying to happen. This was very effective in really building up the suspense. There were some exceptionally good scares in this maze. They really made us jump. Utilizing one of the backlot practical set houses allowed for amazing detail throughout. This one has the very Annabelle doll from the films and she is every bit as creepy, if not more, in real life! This was a great attraction! Don’t miss it!
It Knows What Scares You
This was the maze we all came to see and it certainly did not disappoint us. Pennywise was waiting for us throughout and what we really liked was how he interacted with us so much! Pennywise himself presented us with the infamous 3 doors of scary. He showed us what was waiting behind them for us, one by one. But it’s not just Pennywise that will terrify you. We were caught off guard by Georgie a few times where he really got us, too. We loved the immersiveness of this one! Stephen King would be proud. Be sure to see it!
Such a great maze! This one was not so much scary but it was still really fun to experience, none the less. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum and has invited you to come see what he’s done with the place. We’ve seen a few live characterizations of the Joker and we have to say, this was the best we’ve ever seen. The makeup was truly amazing! It was also so much fun to see Two-face, The Riddler, and Harley Quinn inside. The acting was really top-notch. I really wished there was a permanent attraction like this at Six Flags! It was really that good!
The Exorcist: The Forbidden Screening
We want to be clear that this is not a maze, but it was a fantastic experience that was every bit as good (if not better) than a traditional walk-through. This experience combines clips from the original classic and a barrage of effects in the theater that will scare the hell out of you! There were so many details in this experience; we don’t want to give anything away, but be sure you look around as you watch. You could tell that a lot of horror love went into creating this amazing immersive encounter! Absolutely don’t miss this! It was our favorite!
Nightmare on Camp Crystal Lake
Freddy AND Jason at the REAL Camp Crystal Lake! The “campy” jokes from the shuttle driver had me a bit worried that our tour of Camp Crystal Lake was going to be a bit cheesy, but we couldn’t be more wrong. Once we got off the shuttle, we walked strait into Camp Crystal Lake. It was really like walking right into the movie. The rain made the whole experience all the more real, too! A nearly 7ft Jason tormented us around the woods while Freddy lurked around corners inside the buildings. There were some seriously great scares in this walk-through. One of the best was a set of hanging bodies in the cabin. Be sure you go with a group of screamers on this one; it will make the tour all that much more fun!
When you get off the shuttle from Camp Crystal Lake, you end up at Studio 48. This is Warner Bros usual studio tour gift shop but it also has an exhibit hall you absolutely DO NOT want to miss! Just for Halloween, Warner Bros has added many Tim Burton favorites in the exhibit hall; items from The Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, & Beetlejuice, just to name a few. There were many other actual movie props and costumes as well; even a very special one you would have found on Elm Street.
Fangtasia, Devil Drop, & the rest of the backlot was a horror playground!
We took a little time to enjoy the rest of the backlot between mazes. Fangtasia was great; a perfect place for some great photo-ops. We will say the drink prices were crazy expensive, but the drinks were good. This is where having the VIP pass is nice to save some dough. We played a few games in the Lost Boys arcade; a wonderfully nostalgic ’80s arcade that included wanted posters all over, just like the movie. There were some really nice touches on the backlot that included a projection of Audrey 2 in the second story above the Little Shop of Horrors gift shop. Be sure you catch Bette Davis and Joan Crawford wherever you can! They were a delightful riot to interact with! We saved the Devil’s Drop Tower for the end (because the lightning earlier had shut it down). It was a great scream to end the night!
We can’t wait for next year!
Warner Bros Studio Tour Horror Made Here is not cheap! The premium you pay is what keeps the whole event more exclusive but also the level of acting, set details, and effects superior to other haunted attractions. Weather you pay for the regular admission or the VIP pass, we still say the whole experience is well worth it!
Was I impressed?
I was absolutely impressed! This was my first year and I had heard a lot about this event. As a result, I didn’t expect Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor to live up to the hype, but it did. I would even go as far to say it surpassed my expectations!
Everything wrong is just so right!
It feels like a fair that has gone terribly wrong. Maybe it’s the swings (from Neverland Ranch), the twisted carnival performers, or just the smell of food in the air. Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor has enough frightening fun for all ages (well some ages, you know your kid, not me) but it stands out as the attraction to hit if you are over 21.
Why? There are bars everywhere. There are bars INSIDE select mazes some are hidden, some are not. It is fun to try to find the hidden ones. Inside these bars are buttons that allow you to interact with the mazes. For example you can blast people with air or water in one particular bar. I swear it’s way more fun than it sounds.
The mazes are a-maze-ing!
From the opening of the gates, where The Captain and the Ring Master come out for introductions and to set the monsters loose, I knew I was going to experience something unique, and I did. Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor had three of their mazes this year based on stories from the Queen Mary ghosts. These mazes take you throughout parts of the ship that on their own are creepy. Throw in some monsters and some total blackout areas and you are going to scream. Or at least I certainly did, a few times.
Yeah, but was it scary?
There are some good scares at Dark Harbor. As I mentioned I screamed, more than once. It’s my new, must do attraction. Everyone should go for the Halloween but stay for the Queen Mary because the ship is a story, all her own, as well.
A fantastic Halloween and horror event!
This year, Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights is a true frightful feast for your eyes! If you are looking for the ultimate experience where your favorite horror movies and shows come to life, this is the place to go. Not only does Halloween Horror Nights bring horror from the screen to life in amazing detail, they change all of their walk through mazes each year. They do bring back a lot of the same characters but usually, the mazes are very different, each time.
Go in early
The main reason we get the early entry tickets (2 pm) is to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and check out The Wizarding World of Harry Party before it closes. It is not a part of the event so we like to slip in a little magic before the horror. The other reason to go in early is some of the maze lines open early. This is the only way to do this event… take our word for it.
What was different this year at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights?
You can LEAVE THE PARK one time. In the past, this was not an option. It’s nice to be able to leave the park to eat or drink or check in to your hotel. We did all of these things. There is a time, between 7-9 pm, when the park can get really full. People with early entry are in the park and at 7 pm, everyone else start to flood in. The lines get long during this time. Later in the evening the lines will get short again and you will be able to get through the line queues at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights much quicker.
If there was anything we were dying to see this year, it was the Stranger Things maze! If you want to see this and all the mazes in one night, this is where the early entry ticket is a must. With it, we were able to get in line early for Stranger Things. Be sure to get down to the lower level by 5 PM because the attraction will open by 5:30 PM. This is the most popular maze so this is pretty much the only way to get through it quickly without a front-of-the-line pass.
It had all the feels
The maze definitely included all of the elements you would expect; Will’s abandoned bike in the woods, the mysterious facility that kept Eleven captive, Hawking’s Middle School, and of course, The Upside Down. Everything in the maze was very well done. You could tell that a lot of love went into every detail of this attraction. It was so good, in fact, we wonder if they might make this a permanent attraction, like they did The Walking Dead.
Just one thing…
Our only complaint is that although The Upside Down was fairly well done- it was far too small! It was roughly 12 feet high to give some height to the trees but the whole room’s footprint was probably only about 16′ x 16′. We were really expecting this part of the maze to be enormous. You didn’t really get to walk through it, in an immersive way, like you might expect; it was mostly just along one wall. We might be too harsh here because the rest of the maze is really, really good, but seriously, I think we speak for the fans here, “We wanted more!“
Trick ‘r Treat
This was a pretty faithful recreation of a horror favorite. Trick ‘r Treat had one of the best facades of any of the mazes. (Speaking of which, Stranger Things had absolutely NO FACADE!) There were plenty of great scares but the best part was the perpetually vomiting kid on the stairs. So gross and yet so fun to watch! The werewolves are great, even though they looked reused from American Werewolf in London. Over and over you can expect the Voodoo doll faced Sam to keep you on your toes throughout the maze. This one is in the lower lot but you will probably want to hit it on your way back from down the hill.
Poltergeist turned out to be our second favorite maze at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. It was very popular with everyone else, too so be sure to get to this one, right after Stranger Things. The static playing on the TV with Carol Anne’s little hands on the screen was such a haunting scene to see in real life! There’s a great projection effect they use with the static screen that we are pretty sure you’ll get a great scream out of! When we walked into the kitchen, it felt exactly like we were in just about anyone’s kitchen we had ever been in during the ’80s.
We don’t mean to make too much of a thing out of this, but it was really so well done, it felt like we went back in time. It added to just how creepy everything in the maze felt. They did such a great job recreating the “mirror” scene- very freaky. The best part is near the end with a barrage of the dead in open, standing caskets. You have no idea which is real or a dummy and it’s terrifying all the way through! This maze is so good! Don’t miss it!
Our most favorite of all the mazes takes us back to the classics, Universal Monsters! Here is where you get to see all of Universal’s classic monsters come to life! Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Phantom of the Opera, and even The Invisible Man, are all waiting inside for you! There were amazing scares throughout this maze and lots to look at, too! These are really all the “classic” monsters that we think of, when we think of horror & Halloween. You could really tell that Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights put a lot of love and care into this maze. A really awesome and supersizing scene they incorporated was from The Invisible Man; all done with black-light effects. It really looked like he was invisible! The monster payoff scene at the end of the maze (we won’t give it away) was amazing and one of the best we’ve seen HHN ever do!
The First Purge, The Horrors of Blumhouse & Halloween 4 were all pretty good. If you have the time, you should check them out. Each one of them had some really good stuff, but honestly not too much that was notable. We did really like seeing all the different ways the victims got “Unfriended” in the Blumhouse maze and Halloween 4 had some really fantastic sets, that were faithful recreations from the film. All throughout these mazes, you are sure to get some good scares from them, too!
The Terror Tram
The tram was fun, as always. Universal revisits Hollywood Harry, a clown infamous for terrorizing the backlot. We love the story build up on the tram and the best part is when you get off and walk right into a band of freaky dog-faced assailants that chase you with chainsaws! You will also get to venture through the REAL Bates Motel set and can have your picture taken on the porch of the REAL Psycho house with Norma Bates, himself. The walk-through at the end has some good scares, too. Watch out for those clowns!
Your favorite part?
If you were lucky enough to go this year, we want to know; do you have something that was your favorite part of Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights? Please tell us in the comments below!
A little hit & miss
We’ve always enjoyed Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest but this year, we were honestly a little disappointed. Not to say though, that there weren’t some bright spots. We started our night by getting our maze wristbands then heading over to the new Metropolis area and had a beer at the Metro Park Pub. We recommend going on a Sunday and not bother buying the Flash Pass, as the lines will be fairly short (unless it’s the last week of October).The weather was perfect and we were ready for a good night of fright. We decided to head up to the front where there are 3 of the 6 mazes in the park. This is a great strategy to start there first and get those mazes in while the lines are short.
Condemned, Forever Damned.
We were really impressed with this first maze we hit up. This had a lot of really great distractions that led to some great scare opportunities. They were really short staffed on just the second night (on a Sunday) of Fright Fest but they were able to pull off some great scares in here- very impressive. We loved the projection effects of bugs scurrying around and there’s a great “gotcha” where someone is waiting for you in a cupboard, in just the right place. For the claustrophobic, there’s a great “alternate” path you can take to push your fears to the edge.
And here’s were our disappointment starts… This was a really great maze like 10 years ago, when they first put it in. There was pretty much nothing done to this maze to even try to update it. It’s the same as it ever was. We like the concept, but seriously, why can’t you change it up to make it different Magic Mountain? It would be great to see the giant statues animated somehow with some simple puppetry. And the giant spider could use some serious help to be more terrifying. You won’t miss much by skipping this one.
So this one was kind of like the old Vault 666 maze from last year but it was really not better at all. In fact, we really liked the old Vault 666 maze. All this one seemed to be was a really terrible tie-in to a b-horror movie that Six Flags got conned into to promote. I’m actually curious to see the movie just to see how much this maze had absolutely nothing to do with it. To be fair, we did see some of the stuff in the trailer in the maze but not much more than a couple of rooms where they really seemed to miss an opportunity for a good scare. You can skip this one too, if you like. Ride Goliath in the dark, instead.
Sewer Of Souls
This is the second completely new maze in the park and it’s definitely worth your time! We love the 3D mazes in general but this one had some really good surprises. There is one room that uses a projection effect that works really well to convince you that you are about to fall into an abyss if you step off of the edge of a very precarious path. It’s a fun maze with some originality and a few good scares; go check it out.
Aftermath 2: Chaos Rising
This was another one that Fright Fest has kept each year for a while and this time it was actually quite a bit better. We aren’t sure what was done differently with the layout, but it felt much more confusing (in a good way) and paced out well. It also felt like a longer experience. We love the apocalyptic scenes mixed with the great scares from all the zombies and other mutated monsters in this one. Plus, there’s huge fireballs being blasted the whole time, and that’s always awesome to see!
This is one of our favorite mazes Fright Fest has kept around over the years, and in this case, we like that they do. Mostly because the building they set this up in lends itself well to the beautiful large interiors they have created for this Victorian era haunt. We really liked the projection effects throughout. We love the carriage and various other authentic props you will find inside. The Attic was especially impressive. It was a great maze overall but almost nothing in it had changed from last year; a little disappointing that they couldn’t change up a room or two. We also felt that it was a little under stocked with monsters. Perhaps on busier nights it would be better.
Fright Fest’s Scare Zones LOOKED great and we were delighted to see that there were two new ones– except that 3 of them were empty of monsters when we got to them! Yeah, so apparently the last hour of the night, all the monsters come up to the front. Well perhaps that makes for a great send off to the crowd leaving but it makes for a terrible experience in the rest of the park. We really can’t understand why at least a few monsters couldn’t have stayed behind in the scare zones. We missed out on 2 of the scare zones because of this. If we had known that this would be the case, we would have made sure to hit up all the scare zones earlier. This fact is not printed anywhere on their materials, so be sure you know about this, before you go. We reached out to Six Flags Magic Mountain to let them know about this so we hope they fix this issue before you get there, or at least before next year.
Worth it? Well, just barely
We would say that if you are already a season pass holder or member, you should definitely come see Fright Fest. If you bought your admission just to see this though, you might not feel that you got your money’s worth. We really think that Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest should really consider investing in a couple more new mazes. It seems like there really should be about 8 instead of 6 to offer a bit more variety. The scare zones are fine, as long as they keep the monsters in them. The rides in the dark are great; so if nothing else, skip a few of the “meh” ones we listed here and go ride a few of those; Goliath and Batman are fantastic in the dark!
Knott’s Scary Farm was better than ever this year!
What made Knott’s Scary Farm better you ask? Well, I always say the park just has a special feel the other parks don’t have and that makes it perfect for a Halloween event. The way they work with the themes that exist in the park makes a huge difference in blending your experience together. The differences this year are subtle. There is an extra scare zone, more lighting effects, photo ops, more interactive actors mixed in with the scare actors, and could it really be possible there was even more fog this year?
Is it really worth it?
For the price you get a big bang for your buck. With the Fright Fast Lane pass you get front of the line access to mazes AND rides. I am not brave enough for all the rides but I always like to throw a ride in if I can. The bonus of being able to add on the Boo-fet dinner, for me, really pushes this event over the top. Knott’s Scary Farm was my favorite theme park event this year as well as previous years. I admit I missed Elvira, though.There IS entertainment! I didn’t catch much of it but you should check out the shows. I heard good things.
Tell me about the scares you say?
As I mentioned before there is a nice blending of park and zone and sometimes maze that is always happening at Knott’s Scary Farm; that doesn’t happen anyplace else.
The CarnEVIL area has the boardwalk type rides and games and it is filled with clowns and other carnival-esque scarers. If you happen to be afraid of clowns or carnies, this is terrifying! This is also where the Dark Ride walk through is located. Dark Ride replaced a maze that was not complementary to the area. In my opinion, Dark Ride is a perfect fit. I will admit this is not my favorite walk thru but it was better this year! So I don’t recommend skipping it as I have in the past. Not the best scares though.
Trick or Treat: Lights Out
They still have Trick or Treat, a Knott’s Scary Farm classic walk thru, but with a newer “Lights Out” twist. You are given a flashlight as you enter. Other than that light, it is completely dark, which makes for some good scares here! There are also some neat effects in this maze and the flashlight.
Special Ops: Infected
You get to shoot zombies; well shoot them with lasers, anyway. It’s not really scary but it is an enormous amount of fun! This one is totally worth it so put it on your list!
It hasn’t changed much. If you’ve never done this maze, it’s neat to experience but not super scary. I heard some people scream so there are a few good scares for some. There’s some really great effects and monsters at the end! Watch out!
A new one this year, The Depths was a completely new walk through. I was confused by the mine entrance and the nautical interior and never did figure out what the story was. That said, I didn’t care, I loved this walk through. It replaced an old walk through, Voodoo which I was very fond of but I didn’t even care about that. That’s how good it was. I don’t want to give it away but there are some very fun effects in this maze. Yeah, they got me! They will get you too, so don’t miss this one.
The Red Barn
It’s not new to Knott’s Scary Farm. Skip it if you’ve done it before and are low on time. If you haven’t been to this one it has some okay scares. Definitely a few disturbing scenes to walk through.
Imagine you were Peter Pumpkin Eater’s wife and you were locked in a pumpkin shell; that’s this maze. It smells like pumpkin, it has gooey insides and I enjoy it a lot. The scares are decent.
Another new one is Dark Entities it had some good potential. It was interesting, some stuff is gross, again not that scary. If it is busy and you have to choose maybe skip it unless you are really into space ships and aliens.
This maze has a unique samurai theme and the landscaping leading up to to entrance matches. The walk out is loooong. It has some good scares, I was scared a few times. Don’t miss this one. Side note: there are some very sexy costumes if you’re into that sort of thing.
Fantastic Scare Zones!
Have fun in the scare zones ghost town streets and the hallow the same as past years. They are both a scary good time. I have to say I absolutely loved this years new scare zone Forsaken Lake. Mostly because the costumes were amazing. It’s near the water and it’s to die for.
Museum of Death cost:
Was it worth it?:
Yeah, but only if you’re into that kind of thing. Which I am.
What Do They Have?
They have a lot of stuff, so much stuff you can’t take it all in. Or at least when we went it was too hot, stuffy, and crowded to want (or be able to) take it all in. They had a lot of fans going but it wasn’t great. I do not suggest going on a very hot day.
People Do Pass Out!
We’ve heard the stories that people puke or pass out at the Museum of Death. It’s true they do; we saw two different people being assisted while we were waiting to get in. Due to this, my expectations were high. After my walk through I wondered if it was from the heat. Even though I was hot and bothered it was still worth my time and money because, as I said, I’m into this kind of thing. If you aren’t fascinated with serial killers, murder, morgues, funerals, car accidents, taxidermy, poison, a mummified head, or just death then it’s not for you.
Creepy Stuff Galore!
The 1st room is full of the art of serial killers and was maybe the most interesting of all the rooms in my opinion. Some of it was disturbing, some not great, some really good. I would have loved to get pictures for you, however, no phones are allowed so you will need to go check it out for yourself if you want to see it. Also, no backpacks are allowed they make you check them in the front. I was able to take in my purse though.
There Is Something For Every “Body”
The set up is a lot like a museum so “don’t touch”. There are literally odd and curious things everywhere. Some of it you have seen, like crime scene pictures of the Black Dahlia Murder. Some of it you haven’t but I don’t know the depths of your obsession so you’ll have to check it out for yourself.