Reviews of frightening films, games, scary things on the internet & anything else frightening to say.
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!
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.
I was ready for an adventure!
I got there right when they opened. The doorway is small, Gothic, and perfectly fitting. Once you are inside the lighting is dark and the mood changes. I knew I was in for an adventure and I was ready for it. Going up the stairs I was bursting with anticipation and I wasn’t disappointed when I reached the top. It wasn’t crowded at all but we did get there right when the doors opened. We were early for dinner so I was able to look around and take in all the amazing atmosphere. Believe me, Oogie Boogie and the chalk door are just the tip of the iceberg. The artwork is really impressive.
Drinks, drinks, drinks
At the bar, I ordered the drink named Alice’s Cup of Tea. Alice’s Cup of Tea was peach flavored, good, and strong. I spent $50 for 3 drinks so, though I could hang out here all night, I could not afford to drink here all night. They have several, really great, themed drinks so save up so you can try them all.
I made dinner reservations at Beetlehouse LA. The bar is open to anyone but you want reservations for the restaurant. Our dinner party included a vegetarian, a vegan, and a meat eater; the set menu had something for everyone. The meal price ranges from $40-50 depending on your choice. Everything I ate was delicious and the food is served with props.
We had Jack Skellington on the floor which is a large puppet and watching it make its way around the room was magical. The floor performers vary so you may get someone else. The best part was the freak show performers. Want to see a beautiful balloon swallower? Yes, you do. You just don’t know it yet. Want to see an adorable bearded lady who doesn’t feel pain? Again, the answer is yes.
This place had all the things I love. It’s a bar, it’s a restaurant, it’s a show, and it’s burton-esque. Yes, it’s a little pricey but it’s themed dinner theater. I will go back many many times!