Thursday, October 30, 2014

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #11 – Callson Manor

DISCLAIMER – I’m spoiled.  I think that’s the basic fact as we come to the ending of the 2014 Halloween Season.  I started October on an extremely high note and it was followed with some surprises, but never reached that high note Knotts placed.  Knotts had long mazes, well themed mazes, and you got to go through them as many times as you want.  Everything else…well, it’s good, but I just keep comparing things to Knotts and that’s not fair.

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #11 – Callson Manor
  Callson Manor was one of my favorites in my Sacramento haunt history.  I would say at the top of my list would be Gyro’s, and I don’t think anything here in Sac has really gotten to that level of creativeness and scares that Gyro’s brought me back in the 90’s.

  First, finding the place is a bit tricky.  It’s in the Placer County Fairgrounds, and while I had been there just a couple of years ago, they have moved the entrance and it’s kind of confusing to get there.  You have to enter the gates, then drive to the back side of the fairgrounds to park and enter the event.  We passed it the first time, as others did, so beware and make sure you have it on your phone so you have at least a general idea where you are going.

  The event itself is fantastic.  I think if they put a carnival out front like Heartstoppers, maybe an old western carnival, that would be amazing.  Ticket prices are pretty good, I think we got in for 13 bucks each.  The event is all on dirt, so I think when it starts raining on Friday, this might turn into a mud pit.  So be warned.  But the dirt adds to the environment, which is an old western town with wagons, buildings, stores, and a couple of vendors.

  We were told to hang out in the main area until a cannon would go off which signaled the opening of the event.  I of course was picturing either a real cannon, or one of those fire launchers that has been popping up around California.  Right before the cannon blast, the scareactors came out for the clown maze and the psycho maze.  I didn’t care for this, I don’t want to know what, or who I will be seeing in the maze.  But what was cool was the four or five scareactors that waited for us past the rope.  If I had a good camera, it would have been an amazing picture.  As for that cannon blast, more like an air cannon, and I think if you were in front of the group, you were blasted.


  With the rope dropping, you went through a main street of sorts with old western buildings on each side.  The scareactors used more noise to scare, which I didn’t care for.  Don’t mind screaming or jumping out at you, but using electronics with loud noise is a bit annoying.  One guy slid on his knees on a wooden platform which was pretty cool.  All the scareactors were well dressed and their makeup was freaking awesome.

  For me, they just needed to add fog.  If they did, it would be like a miniature version of Knott’s Ghost town and I WOULD LOVE IT!!  But with no fog, it’s still a pretty cool place to check out.  And the scareactors were fun.  Saw one guy jump out at a girl who threw herself to the ground with her friend falling to the ground laughing her ass off.  That’s what haunt is all about my friends.


  The signature haunt.  First, I might get some of these haunts a bit mixed up.  We hit them back to back with no lines, so some scenes might have been in other mazes but in my memory makes sense that they would be in the maze I’m discussing.

  Callson Manor is a creepy walk through of a house that is filled with doors opening by themselves, creepy spectors, and like most of the other mazes, bloody individuals. 

  I believe the gunshot victim was in this maze.  It was probably a good effect but I missed it and only came upon a female that was bent over a shotgun with blood on the walls.  There were a couple of times during these mazes that I had to stop and wait to see what the effect was, because I missed it by seconds.

  Sadly, I don’t really remember much of this maze.  I remember leaving for a second then going back in.  Other than that…hmm


  Panic was freaking crazy.  First, you were introduced by a German dominatrix who was kind of hot.  You got your card stamped then you entered her waiting room which had monitors of the maze you could watch.  The first room was a guy banging on barrels.  Loud, annoying, but nothing like what the rest of the maze was like.

  For me, it was like walking into a Saw movie with each person being tortured in some way.  It was bloody as hell, but pretty cool.  And unfortunately pretty short.  There was some kind of disco back theme, like Panic at the Disco, but I didn’t really get that.


  Another one of those café’s that cook up human meat…and apparently road kill too.  The maze was filled with awful smells.  The first room was one of the clearest memories I have there.  The lady said that she got excrement from the toilet and painted the walls with it.  “That’s how I keep the flies off the food, they stay on the walls!!”  Gross, but very creative.  Around the corner, there’s the toilet and it’s disgusting.

  We heard the sound of what could be a contraption, so we hung back to see if the toilet was going to do anything.  But it turned out to be the pipes on the other side which blew hair at you.  Besides bad smells, dead animal carcasses on the floor, and characters that seemed to be from the backwoods in some southern state, was a pretty gross, and unfortunately another short maze.  But it had some cool effects, some gross theming, and I enjoyed it.  Guess I’m a sicko.


  There’s a really cool demon animatronic in the queue line.  Tried getting a picture of it but it didn’t come out as cool as the figure.  It’s a simple figure with few movements, but it’s still awesome to see.  I think it was there the last time I was here, but can’t remember the haunt that it hovered over.

  Darkness is what the name says it is, it’s dark.  Sometimes you had to feel your way around, other times you were in a darkly lit area.  It’s well done with some cool actors.  I prefer the quiet creepy scareactors that filled this maze compared to the screaming loud ones of others.  There were a couple of really cool caves that you got to walk through that I thought was pretty cool.  A scantily clad female said welcome to the meal, and a predator looking guy came out to “eat us.”  Then we walked through a tomb like cavern and we were out.  Not too scary, but it was entertaining.


  The Tavern reminded me of the bar scene in Gunslinger’s Grave and the opening room in An American Werewolf in London.  The guy asked what happened to my hair and heckled me for a little bit.  Guess I had a stupid shit eating grin on my face.  The lady on the piano played the keys with her toes.  That was pretty cool.

  In the brothel room, the lady on the bed beckoned me closer.  I thought my friend Tiffany was watching at the doorway, so I stayed a little longer than I probably should have, only to realize that it wasn’t Tiffany, but another actor watching from the doorway, with another actor in the shadows.  It was a pretty cool scene, and hey, I love those old western brothel rooms so why not stay a little longer, right.  Alright, alright, I’m moving on, jeez.

  There was a small maze area of fences with a boy that followed us.  He was kind of creepy, but didn’t do anything but stare at us.  There was a jail in the final rooms and some other things that have left my mind then we were out.  I’m sorry, a hot lady on a bed beckoning me, it kind of takes over the memory. 


  I don’t like sideshow crap.  I think it’s gross.  It doesn’t scare me, but I don’t need to see mermaid skeletons, Siamese twins, someone who was born with an extra toe, or leg, or 15 extra legs.  I just don’t, it’s not fun for me.  So I kind of walked through this area quickly, wasn’t my cup of tea.  I’ll wait for you in the brothel room, I think she’s still beckoning me.


  “Please no food, or drink allowed in the Asylum, some of our patients are doing without and this would screw up their treatments.”

  Asylum’s opening scene was kind of like TRAPPED at Knotts which was kind of cool.  We entered as a group of 6 and led into a room with 6 chairs.  We all were told to sit down and that some electricity would electrify the chairs.  Then the lights went out and the chairs started vibrating while the animatronic in front of us got fried.  Then a scareactor came from the right side and harassed anybody who screamed or looked scared.  A cool first room.

  The following rooms were filled with patrons of the Asylum in white jackets.  There was a sheet room that reminded me of the sheet maze at the Psycho Circus in Cemetarium, but was less confusing.  I actually found the way out pretty quickly.  A room of doors leading to psycho wards with the patients either hanging on top of the doors, or opening the doors to get their victims.  We were then out, from the screaming girl behind us “oh, is that all?”  Kind of what I was thinking.


  They provided the 3D glasses for us for free, which was a nice treat…well, I’ll explain later.  The maze was full of black lit rooms where the walls were painted in a way that made them look 3 dimensional.  Some of the scareactors would hide in the paintings and then jump at you.  Like a swinging clown, a lady in a colored mask and a black outfit.  Why the maze started with nutcrackers, I have no clue.  Spent a lot of time looking at the paintings and the strange ways they jumped out at you.

  At the end, we dropped off our 3D glasses in a box…wait, do they recycle them?  How many people used the ones I wore…wait, what?  Now wait a minute…best to not think about it.  Lady on bed, brothel, I’m good, moving on.


  When we left Cirque we had about 10 minutes until the firedancer show so we stuck around.  The opening scene was the lady eating fire over and over again.  I kept thinking if this is 15 minutes of a lady eating fire I’m leaving.  But the show kept getting better and better and it was very entertaining with 4 fire dancers in all.  Definitely worth the wait.  I like that each segment was only a couple of minutes long, and that the show didn’t go on and on and on.  Because I could see how something like this could get boring after awhile.  But the creepy music and the talent really made for a good show, definitely worth checking out.


  I enjoyed Callson Manor.  I think Heartstoppers and Callson Manor are both equally good and worth checking out.  They both have something worth checking out, and both have actors that seemed to care about what they were doing.  The creators also put some time into the creation of their mazes and made for a very good time.  They are on a whole different level than say Fright Planet.  And for the price, it’s pretty good.

  Also, I wouldn’t recommend spending the money for the front of the line pass, get there early, it’s dark, and just hit them all in the first hour with little to no lines.  I think we were there for just over an hour. 

  My biggest recommendation is go in a large group with different kinds of people.  You know, the brave, the screamer, the scared male who is manly but whimpers in the maze, get that kind of group.  Or go in a small group and take your time in the maze, check everything out.

  My biggest complaint is the one time only in these mazes.  I want to see them a couple of times, so I can remember all the details, and see effects that I might have missed.  Fright Planet was the only one in Sacramento that you can go through multiple times, but wasn’t really worth going through multiple times.

Monday, October 27, 2014



  First event in a long time that I got to go with some newbies.  Forgot how much fun it is to be with people who have no idea what to expect.  Put a smile on my face that didn’t go away until we left, awesome time.

  Heartstoppers holds a special place in my heart because of it’s location.  It’s located in Rancho Cordova where the old Mine Shaft Mini Golf place use to be.  It’s a great location.  In the old days, you started downstairs for the first couple of holes then you went up and out to finish the course.  A great environment and I’m sad to see it sitting there not being used…well, until the haunt season.

  I went two years ago, and missing this year was the old guy who would walk up and down the line in his happy, freaky way entertaining the crowd.  This year there was a zombie gold minor with a bullet hole in his forehead.  He was helpful, but not really the nicest guy of the bunch.  There was also a huge puppet like creature walking around, something I had seen at Dark Harbor.  Again, I get so into these events I forget to take pictures, kicking myself.

  Before we begin, be aware that we did get the fancy pants tickets which got us front of the line access.  There weren’t too many people in lines so we probably could have done without for most of it, but they were nice to have.  Kept Amy and Aunt Nikki on their toes <evil laugh>.

  Before entering, there is this cool window into the building.  Now I’m not sure if it’s a video wall, or just a window that shows shadows from the other side, which I think it was because I never saw the same thing twice.  There’s a guy with a hook who starts attacking another figure, then the figure falls on the glass/video screen smearing blood all over the place.  Very cool to watch.  And sometimes when people would take a picture in front of it, the people on the other side would seem to react.


  So the dead have risen to exact their revenge on their killer.  How cool is that right?  You started the maze by walking through a long hallway with candles on both sides.  Very cool.  We had a lady follow us the whole way without us realizing it.  She let us enter and we walked pass a jail cell with a guy following us making as much noise as possible.  Walked into a bar where “the shots were on him” and he shot an air gun at us.  The best room, well for me, was the spider room.  At this point Amy was tangled up in my jacket and either pushing me forward, or pulling me back.  As she saw the huge spider on our left, she pulled me back revealing a switch on the ground.  So of course, I stepped on it and the spider came running forward.  So Amy pushed me forward, and that’s when we saw another spider up on the shelf running towards us.  Fun room, for those that aren’t scared of spiders that is.

  The exit to this one wasn’t as memorable, but there was a guy sitting in a chair waiting to pounce which sent you out and into the line for the next maze. 


  First off, this is the BEST blackout maze I’ve ever been through.  The maze was pitched black with a little bit of light showing above.  You felt the walls for guidance, but the walls were either just plain wood panels, furry walls, or rubbery walls.  Sometimes there would be fabric hanging from the ceiling, so you weren’t sure what was hitting your face.  Then from above, there would be actors whispering.  Unfortunately, I had no idea what they were whispering, but it was creepy. 

  At two points, the strobe light would come on and some kind of devil would come screaming at you.  These scenes, while simple, really added to the creepiness of the maze.  And the strobe light wasn’t so intense that you left with a headache.  Very well done.


  The problem with this maze is it’s outside and there’s a lot of space to fill, so it doesn’t surprise me that it isn’t filled with scare after scare.  It was kind of a casual walk through the old golf courses.  There were some ladies in white who liked to scream, some lightning bugs hovering over a stream, and some guy who hung himself.  My favorite part of this maze was the witch doctor on the far side.  You couldn’t get too close to him, but he would hit his staff against the ground and a flash of light would come from the tree above you with the sound of thunder.  Very awesome.

  The last scene of the walk through was an indoor room which I thought was a cool idea.  Had a small voodoo scene and then you were out again.  Not my favorite voodoo maze of the year, but that witch doctor scene was pretty powerful.


  Probably the worst maze of the bunch, and not because my Aunt was terrified by clowns either.  It seriously felt like we entered the Sideshow, then left shortly after.  The only room I really remember was the last room which two clowns were in.  You had to push buttons and pull down levers to get out.  That room depended greatly on the scareactors to be interesting, and the two we had weren’t very exciting.

  A couple of things do come to mind in that maze like the bearded lady, a lady on a bed of nails, and a couple of things that could be clowns?  I just remember short…too short.


  Sadly, the last maze because I wanted more.  You enter the Asylum and a lady is at the desk asking for your name.  Then she yells your name for the whole maze to hear…but nothing is ever done with it.  You go from room to room full of patients getting tested on and then the doctor, or whoever will come at you with whatever device he is holding, either a saw or an air gun mechanism.  At one point I was following a deranged patient crawling telling me not to pass him.  Then he enters a room, lies down and does nothing.  Very strange. 

  Asylum had a lot of potential, but lacks the theming that Deadlands had.  Hopefully they will keep adding more money into it and make this even better.


  I must have enjoyed myself because I didn’t really want it to end.  I wish there were either more mazes or the shorter ones were longer.  Hanging out with Aunt Nikki and the very terrified Ms. Amy was fantastic and a fun experience.  While I don’t think it’s as good as Cemetarium, which is a labor of love, Heartstoppers is up there.  And hopefully with continued work and funds, it could be another great haunt for the Sacramento area.

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #9 – Fright Planet (Cal Expo)

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #9 – Fright Planet (Cal Expo)

  Second of my local haunts, and with a low expectation, I was surprised to find a couple of things that I actually enjoyed.  But it really does say something when you finish an event like this within 45 minutes, have the ability to do the haunts again, and don’t really want to. 


  The music is catchy, annoying, and I kind of like it.  I’m not sure if it’s the same music played at Great America, but it’s definitely close.  The problem with this maze is that it’s full of young kids who don’t seem to have any real direction.  They wander the maze, not really scaring, just walking aimlessly around.  There was one really cool hallway where the light would flash and a creepy scareactor kind of walked slowly down the hall.  I thought that was really well done.


  I think I mentioned in another post that all haunts have to have a maze dedicated to capturing humans and turning them into food, bbq style.  This is pretty much it.  Same thing as I mentioned earlier, dead bodies hanging, guys with cleavers, and a freezer walk through.  When we first walked in, a scareactor told Tiffany to have a seat, so she did.   Apparently yes was the wrong thing to say.


  I do love a spooky cabin.  The outside of this maze is actually really well done.  The first time we came up to it, it was covered in fog and really had a cool creepy feel to it.  Inside, more creepy cabin which was pretty cool.  The scares weren’t much, and the environment was interesting enough.  Just nothing memorable.


  Not as dark as I remembered, same people running around in black costumes whispering or yelling at you.  They also hit the walls to creep you out.  Nothing much to it.  I’m pretty sure I could put one of these together.  Funny, I actually lost a contact in this maze.  Not sure if it rolled up into my eye or fell out.  Mix of fake fog and darkness, as well as being tired from the previous haunts, made me one eyed.


  These are more like headache inducing experiences.  It’s a maze with fences as walls, characters walking around, and a strobe light and loud noise.  Not my favorite of locals.  You wander around until the character thinks you’ve had enough and opens up the exit and we go the hell out.  You end in a dark tunnel with a scareactor or two.


  Another voodoo maze, I’m seeing a pattern.  This one was really well themed with some scareactors that really enjoyed working in this one.  We went through caverns, spooky rooms filled with voodoo rituals, and even walked by a house with people on the roof and in the bushes.  Plenty to look at.  The last scene had a witch doctor stabbing a man, which I stopped to enjoy both times I went through.  If nothing else, spend money on spooky candle lighting and I’ll enjoy it.  Definitely my number one maze at Fright Planet.  We went through this one twice.

RED (18+ ONLY)

  If you follow me on Facebook, you saw that I vented quite a bit about a dumbass mother who sent her 13 year old daughter to Universal Studios Hollywood Horror Nights and the girl got called a slut and put up for auction.  The mother is looking for an apology, and my guess will be suing Universal shortly, which I think is ridiculous.  Here’s an idea, research what you are putting your kids into before sending them off on their own.

  That being said, this maze is 18 and over.  They check ID, it’s legit…well, after going through the maze I would put it at PG13 at best, come one people, make an R rated maze already.  Before going in, we were behind a mother with a 10 year old boy.  The guy took the mom’s id, made sure she was okay that a 10 YEAR OLD BOY WAS GOING THROUGH AN 18 AND OVER MAZE, mommy dearest said yes, and off they went.  Seriously?  I don’t understand people.

  The “janitor” took us into RED and asked if we liked clowns.  Then said, welcome to my hell f&^ckers and off we went.  Each room filled with a clown doing something menacing.  In one room, I had a feeling I was back in Trapped at Knotts…I know, I’ll write it up after Halloween.  A clown wanted to put makeup on us to turn us into clowns.  He was sad, and demented.  Another room had a clown on a couch watching tv.  Another room had a sexy clown asking if we wanted to join a clown orgy, apparently yes wasn’t the answer.  Down some strobe filled hallways with blood dripping clowns and we were out.  Besides the small amount of language and the orgy suggestion, nothing that would give it an R rating compared to the other haunts. 


  We didn’t do the BURIED ALIVE, or see much of the NIGHTLY ENTERTAINMENT.  We had some fun with some scareactors, one who said we smelled nice and a couple that slid around on their knees.  Some of the scareactors would weave in and out of different haunts, which I think is a great idea, as long as their costume fits.  Gives that feeling that you are being followed.  We skipped the movie too, saw that two years ago and it was a huge waste of time.


  New to haunts and want to see if you like them, Fright Planet would be good for you.  I think that’s really the only time it would be good for someone to go there.  The lines are short if you go early enough so you don’t have to worry about long lines.  Later in the evening it probably got busy, but not while we were there.   For it’s location, they need to put a lot of money into it and really make it big…I’m thinking Gyros from the 90’s.  That would be cool.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #8 – California’s Great America Halloween Haunt

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #8 – California’s Great America Halloween Haunt
  It’s been some time since I went to Great America’s Halloween Haunt, but it’s better late than never, right?  Yeah, I guess.  Before I begin, let me tell you at the beginning of this Haunt, I was starting to see signs of burnout.  The first maze we went through, I wasn’t thrilled, thought here we go again, and “yep, same thing as usual.” 
  But that being said, I have to say I was very, very impressed with the haunt at Great America.  And if I were you and only wanted to go to one haunt this year, this is the one you need to jump on.  It’s not at the same level of So Cal…YET, but it’s dang close and I was pleasantly surprised by the event.  My favorite maze so far this year was at this event, and one of my favorite moments of this year so far also happened at this event.  Plus it had the best opening show ever!! 
  I will do some research to find this gentlemen’s name, but he’s the lead for entertainment for haunt and he was amazing.  Gave us some history of the haunt and some of the issues of doing haunt every year.  He made us drink blood…more on that later. 
  But the reason why I mention this interview, and why I think you need to go straight to The Season Pass Podcast on Itunes and listen to the episode…when it comes out, is what he said about running a haunt.  Due to laws within California, it is mandatory that all scareactors get a break.  Due to this law, there are times when you go through a haunt and it may seem empty, well, this is because the scareactors are on a mandatory break.  Of course my mind went to then you need to hire more actors.  But that really doesn’t fix things either because then you would need to have two actors for every scene and they would swap, and that could get expensive.  You can’t really have the same actor do breaks for other actors, because that would require a different kind of makeup.  So I no longer complain about empty areas in the haunts, and I don’t think any of us should.  It’s just a cause of the system.
  I really have no idea what they call the opening show, but it was amazing.  Now, please remember that we were behind the lines that were holding people back.  I got to stand above the crowd and look down on them to see their reactions, which made it even more awesome.
  So first, a junky, creepy RV drives up next to the crowd that is waiting for Haunt to open.  The RV stops and then just stays there.  The crowd turns to see what exactly is going on.  Some people see us and try to pass the ropes but the few people that hold the ropes tell them to get back behind the lines.  Then the RV starts rocking from left to right and eerie music is played.  Then the rocking stops, the door opens, and the undead climb out of the RV and line up right in front.  They stare at the crowd, make sounds, point, jeer.  It’s all very creepy.
  After a couple of minutes of staring back and forth, a siren comes on from the speakers.  I’m not sure if anything is said, like a warning or the undead have risen.  The lines are then dropped, and the undead sprint at the crowd.  This causes the crowd to run straight towards us like a tidal wave of people.  The undead are sprinting after them while people scream in terror.  It is a surreal feeling watching pure fear and laughter erupt from this wave of bodies.  I’m shocked that nobody is trampled on because people are hauling ass past us.  It’s an amazing visual, and an even better way to start this great evening.
  Even after that amazing introduction to the event, my burnout of Haunts started here.  It was a 3-d maze, which to my amazement, you have to pay $1 for the 3-d glasses.  Now, we had the Fright Lane pass (aka front of the line pass) and the Skeleton Key, and there was no booth to buy the 3-d glasses where we lined up.  In my opinion, those that pay the big bucks should get the 3-d glasses for free and maybe given to them when they got their pass.  Just my recommendation.
  The maze was fun.  Crazy colors, crazy clowns.  There was this weird cotton candy hallway that was just full of fuzzy pink walls.  Very strange.
  The Skeleton Key room consisted of multiple tv’s that each person stood in front of.  You watched a series of images and videos, then a scary figure would pop out in an attempt to scare you and you moved on.  Been victim to these types of jokes before, so it didn’t scare me.  In my opinion, the Skeleton Key room’s are supposed to inform you more of the storyline of the maze, and this didn’t do anything to enhance the maze.
  One of my favorites of the event.  No Skeleton Key in this room, but the artwork and the environments were simply awesome.  This is a maze that I knew I had to go through again, but with the Fright Lane, you only get to go to the front of the line once, which I thought was ridiculous.  At Knotts, I would do mazes multiple times to see everything, one time through?  Not good.  I can see going through the Skeleton Key rooms once, but the mazes?  My first dislike of the evening, possibly the only one.
  Dia de los Muertos is the Mexico celebration that follows Halloween.  Tons of cool costumes and neon lighting.  Doug got yelled at for recording audio, but after a 5 minute detour, we finally finished the maze.  Hard to describe the awesomeness of the jungle, the town, and the building that you go through.
  Another Voodoo maze.  It seems like this is the thing this year, even though this is a returning maze.  Now this maze didn’t have any swamp like scenes like the other ones did, but it did have a creepy house full of weird voodoo art.
  The Skeleton Key room is in the middle of the maze, like CarnEvil.  It’s spooky as hell.  You walk into the séance room, grab onto a crystal ball and hold on for dear life.  Now I was expecting a zap from the ball, but no such thing happened.  The table starts moving, the lights go out, then a strobe comes on and a freaky girl appears in the middle of the table staring at each person.  It’s pretty awesome and definitely gets you in the mood to finish the maze.
  Room after room after room of craziness.  Again, one I wish I could have gone through to remember more and seen it all.
  This is considered an event rather than a maze.  Fun House Express is the other event, but we didn’t go to that.  The guys said it sucked.  Mirror, Mirror was something that I didn’t experience last year at Knott’s, and it was disappointing here.  You put on plastic gloves so you don’t get the glass dirty, then you get sent in as a group to find your way out.  Clowns/masquerade characters haunt the mirror maze to confuse and frighten you, plus there’s this crazy strobe light that gives you a headache.  It’s a timed experience, and it didn’t feel like we were in there for long until we were escorted out.  Very disappointing, even more disappointing if I had to wait in the hour line to get in.
  Follow this up with this best maze I’ve been in this year.  I LOVED Wax Museum.  The idea is simple, you walk through a Wax Museum full of wax sculptures, some have a human in it, some don’t.  There’s a mix of serial killers and monster movies in the maze.  My favorite moment was coming face to face with a live Jack the Ripper, gives me the chills.  Loved it.  There was an African expedition room, a monster room, a western room, a room filled with kings and beheadings, just fantastic.  Startled a couple of times because I was admiring some of the great details.
  After the Wax Museum, you enter the backstage area where the wax sculptures are made.  Some animatronic figures move you along from room to room as the sculptures get less and less decorated.  Then in the final room you find that some poor victims have been captured and been waxed for the museum. 
  Great storyline, great idea, I love this!!  I hope Knott’s gets a version next year.  Would love to see how that group can make it even more insane.
  The one thing I remember about Toy Factory?  The song!!  I loved that stupid annoying song.  I have no idea why.  The toy factory had a lot to see in each room, which again would have been nice to see a couple of times to see everything.  They had play on names like “Build A Bear” they called “Kill a Bear”, not sure if that’s right, it’s been awhile.  This is a haunt that didn’t really need people in it, it was just cool to walk through and see all the imagination that went into creating it.
  The Skeleton Key was very disappointing.  You walk through a long hallway with those weird air bubbles on each side so you feel like you are going through a birthing canal.  Then at the end of the one hallway, you do a u-turn and do it again.  Then back into the maze.  Very disappointing, and not worth your time.
  Like Toy Factory, this one didn’t need actors, just cool to walk through.  You went through chemistry class, English class, history class, and each time you left a room, you walked through a hallway created by those old school desks which made it really creepy.  Some good startles, but it was really awesome just walking through the scenes.  They did have one guy in the bungee cords who jumped down and startle you.  I think the scene I would have like to have seen more of an NC-17 rating was the locker room and the shower room at the end.  Felt like I was in a teen movie, but the fact that everybody was in a swimsuit kind of took you out of the story.  Bring on the boobage, lol.
  THE WORST MAZE HERE!!  God, I was disappointed in this maze.  Walking through a corn maze with people in the corn to jump out at you with some redneck stuff to walk in.  There were long areas where there was nobody in the maze, breaks?  Not sure but it seemed empty.  We went by 6 outhouses that I really thought someone would be in, but there was nobody.  Weird maze, not very fun.
  BUT THE SKELETON KEY ROCKED THE HOUSE!!  The Skeleton Key room was the first thing you went into and it was so awesome that we talked about it for the first half of the maze.  It was that awesome.  I’m hoping to get an unedited copy of it so I can share with everybody, but we laughed so hard.  We kept the characters going and at one point, the actor stopped the act and thanked us for being so awesome.  The gist: Two red neck boys, the older one follows his woman around with a cup once a month, then takes the…stuff, and puts it into pumpkins.  To get out, you need a key, and the key is in one of the pumpkins.  After diving through the pumpkins, you are allowed to wash up.  Everything that happens in between, pure humor.  I’ll post a link to the recording when Doug uploads it.  Man that was a good time.
  Final maze of the night.  Also new for this year, but we’ve seen it all over the place.  The story is that you enter a restaurant that serves meat and you find out that the meat is human.  This maze is as common as the clown mazes.  Nothing new if you’ve been through this: dead bodies hanging, ground meat from bodies, cleaver wielding people chasing you, all the same.
  But the Skeleton Key room is a bit different.  You enter the room and the cook tells you that you have two things to choose from, the blood or the bug pie.  Now I mentioned earlier that I had the blood back in one of our interviews and it wasn’t as bad as the urine I had to drink back at Knotts…again, something I haven’t talked about yet but will after Halloween is over.  Doug thought it was grosser than the urine, but I had a little bit left in my cup so I drank a little more (ingredients: water, salt, ground up iron tablets and some kind of stuff that makes it thick).  So we went for the cricket pie, which tasted like sunflower seeds except for the leg that got stuck in my teeth. 
  The rides were open which was cool.  Gold Striker was awesome at night, great ride.  Didn’t go on anything else because we ran out of time.  We also didn’t get a chance to see any of the shows.  We got a special dinner in the employee café which was awesome.  Great America brings down the prices and serves decent food behind the scenes for it’s employees, bravo.  The scare zones were fun.  Iron Works was just a bunch of guys banging metal around.  Underworld Alley was apparently awesome the year before, I thought it was fun.  The Gauntlet was a fog filled area like Ghost Town, but it was just okay.  Didn’t have the building of Ghost town.
  I did a lot of comparing between Great America and Knotts, because they are run by the same company.  But the So Cal parks still have a leg up on us Northern California parks.  But Great America is the best even within a 3 hour drive and I strongly recommend checking this out.  Loved it and will be returning…with new victims next year.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #7 – Opening night of Cemetarium

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #7 – Opening night of Cemetarium
  Cemetarium is the number one event that I’m always looking forward to check out with The Season Pass gang.  The event is amazing, entertaining, and really close to my house.  Plus everybody that helps run that place is freaking awesome. 
  We went the first night of the Full Scare events and we were told that some of the special effects weren’t working yet and they would continue to add things throughout the month.  So that being said, you can bet your ass I’ll be there again later this month.  Because our trip through Cemetarium this year…WAS AWESOME!
  Okay friends, what is up with Clowns and why are they at everybody’s haunt?  The weekend before, we went through a couple of haunts where clowns were covered in blood killing people.  Robert told me that if they took real clowns that were funny and then put them in insane situations, that would be scarier than anything.
  Then we go to Cemetarium, AND THAT’S WHAT THEY DID!!  There was this one clown, brought to creation by Mr. Randy, that honestly made us nervous.  The first time we saw him, he stared at us and ran his bat against the fence as he slowly walked over to us.  Robert, being the protective elder that he is, pushed me forward and told me to go and make a friend.  Well, this is where Mr. Helsel started messing around with us with crazy laughter, jumping, dragging along that damn bat of his. 
  When we entered Psycho Circus, Randy was ready.  He was coming after me, until he realized that Robert was the screamer of the group, and he left me behind to mess with “ROBERT.”  In all honesty, I don’t really remember the first part of the maze.  Why?  Because the majority of the maze was going through these “white, then black, then white” sheets.  It was so disorienting that I got lost very easily.  The clowns kept saying “wrong way”, “white, then black, then white”, “wrong way I said.”  It drove me nuts.  When we finally got through the white, then the black, then the white, one clown said “wrong way” and the group turned around and headed back.  Not realizing that we were almost at the exit, which I was told later.  Around and around we went, how to get out, nobody knows.
  When we went from white to black to white, then white to black to white, then white to black to white a third time I disconnected from the group in an attempt to find my way out.  It was truly driving me nuts.  When I finally did, I went to find the group only to scare another clown, who didn’t see me escape. 
  That maze was so freaking awesome, full of laughs, frustration, and joy that I would recommend it for everybody.  My face hurt after words because I was laughing so hard.  It’s everything Robert wanted…and we were just beginning.
  Cemetarium has the same front as before, but whatever they did inside was insane.  The maze is SOOOO long, that I’m not sure what the walk through is, which is why I can’t wait to do it again.  But the clowns decided to follow us through this maze too.  And in every room, all we heard was “Robert…oh Robert”; “Hey, something smells, it really stinks…oh, HI ROBERT”; “Hmm, Robert smells good.”  And on , and on it went. 
  Doug’s sister Callie is hiding in this maze and we were all looking forward to seeing her in makeup.  She jumped out at us at one point then ran ahead, then snuck up on Robert to get a scare. 
  The environments are all incredible: Christmas time, chain link imprisonment, rooms to a house, and some barrel walk ways to name a few.  I don’t remember many mechanics going on do to those dang clowns constantly entertaining us, and I do mean entertaining because my face hurt even worse with all the laughing we did in that maze.  So I’m looking forward to return to see what else Cemetarium can bring me.
  Forgot one thing, the lady with the screaming doll was freaking awesome.  LOVE that doll.  She actually came out with us and we got to spend some time with her.  Would love to have that puppet for trick or treating to scare the kiddies with.  Randy’s clown also joined us, and he liked to sniff Robert’s hand.  LOL, that night was good times.
  This is really an early review of one of the best haunts in Sacramento.  Please check them out and show your support.  These guys are great and I’m sure I’ll be getting more surprises throughout the month.  Sadly, Randy left the production the night we were there and went home.  But there are tons more scareactors who do an amazing job.

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #6 – Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s Fright Fest

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #6 – Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s Fright Fest

  Holy smokes…6 events so far and we aren’t even half way done with the month.  Got some catching up to do so I’ll have three posts today or over the next couple of days.  See how I do with the typing, the writing, and keeping my eyes awake.

  Discovery Kingdom’s Fright Fest was probably the weakest of the haunts I’ve done so far.  And the crazy thing is, I have nothing but compliments for SFDK for what they accomplished this year.  You can tell they put a lot of money and heart into this event and I’m sure that it will continue to get better with each passing year.

  The fountain in the center of the park is still absolutely amazing.  The blood water, the skeletons, and now a huge burst of flame from the center is freaking awesome.  It’s one of my favorite things to check out each year. 

  The scareactors that roam the park have doubled, possibly tripled since last year.  And some of the scare zones have even more props than last year.  It’s the first sign that SFDK has turned a corner from just a simple event, to one they are putting some love into.  Unfortunately, the scare zones are still lacking, and the big spider one we were looking forward to seeing wasn’t even working. 

  Non-haunt related, Superman at night is still freaking awesome.

  I think the most shocking thing of Fright Fest was the lack of people.  We didn’t really need our front of the line passes, most had no lines.  Even Superman was a walk on.  Now this might be because it’s still early in the month, but it was still surprising.


  A very creative haunted house themed maze.  Before you go in, they take your picture with a little scare, which of course we had to take.  Robert ended up buying the picture which was sold for only 10 dollars.  Not too bad.

  Inside the maze, you went through rooms and hallways, stuff you would see in a house.  Of course this house is filled with creatures and blood covered spirits.  I remember a baby carriage with a skeleton that jumps out of the carriage, some large animatronic creature…but my memory is unfortunately vague when it comes to this maze.  I know it was in my top 3 at SFDK.


  This is my favorite haunt at SFDK this year.  The boathouse is actually a building for the queue line of one of their water rides.  They added some rain effects which I thought was a cool idea, but it stops and goes so there’s a chance you might miss it.  Inside the maze, you go through the boathouse with victims and killers.  Some begging for help to be released, others trying to trap you.  There’s one really cool room with tv’s on showing static and rain falling down with a guy just outside of the windows.  It was an awesome effect, if you know me water scores a lot of points.

  At one point, a head falls down from above and hit Doug on the head.  Thought this was pretty cool, but that head was hard!!  The maze continues outside with a moss monster, limbs in a tub, and the family that owns the boathouse selling some chum in buckets at the exit.  Nicely themed maze, we actually went through this maze twice.


  This maze is themed inside of the Shark Experience in the back corner of SFDK.  The first thing that caught my eye was a skeleton head that pops out of a chest and talks.  It was amazing, but I unfortunately missed most of the introduction.  But what I saw of it was really well done.

  The maze seemed familiar from the year before, but the scareactors seemed to stay with us longer and continue to freak Robert out.  Also this year, I felt like even though I was in the back, I still got to see all of the scares because the scareactors waited for the whole group to be in the room before attacking.  I thought this was really cool, I’m just not sure if they did this because the clouds were so small.

  Through the maze we went, close to the aquariums surrounded by pirate ghouls with blood all over their bodies.  At one point, we came upon two boys that we thought were scareactors but turned out to be just two teenage boys scared out of their minds.  “You got to man up if we are going to this”; “No you go to man up, you are being a sissy”; “sissy, we can’t be doing these if we can’t even walk through them.”  The boys snuck into our group and held on to me at times just to get through.  Ahh, love haunt season.

  The finale was pretty cool.  A large Squid Man, probably 9 feet tall.  He was supposed to be scary and we were supposed to run out of there, but instead we stood and admired the figure.  Probably confused the poor kid inside the costume.


  I think what amazed us about this maze this year is that they extended the maze walk without adding any space to it.  The same junk cars with crazy mechanics running through the maze, but there’s a point that you go back and forth in this small area, filled with fog, so you easily get disoriented.  Then you get chased by a guy with a chainsaw and you are out.  A fun maze filled with loud noise and music.


  A free maze, and we skipped it this year.  Had some large crocodiles and maybe zombies and a moss monster, who we ran into while walking around.


  When you walk up to this maze it was completely dark.  AND I MEAN COMPLETELY DARK.  You weren’t really sure where you were supposed to go, and you haven’t even entered the maze yet!!  In the maze, you see some butchers, have a walk through outside with a car that starts up and the lights come on, and some creepy walkers.  Inside the Slaughter House you come upon rednecks in overalls, knives, and usually cutting something up.  In one room there was a head on top of a grinder that turned the body into ground beef.  Outside again, more walkers and a chainsaw guy.  Pretty entertaining, but I thought it was longer last year.   Doug said that the maze went backwards this year.


  The queue for this one was filled with creepy guys.  Some running far faster than we the customers are allowed to walk.  The mine was cool but I think it would be far more effective inside a building to give it more of a creepy walk through.  We met up with a guy and his pet spider, which was cool.  The bouncing guy from last year was missing, but we did have a couple of miners that walked with us a majority of the way, slamming against walls and screaming at us as much as possible.   Another fun maze.


  On the way out of Massacre Mine we ran into a bunch of kids caring these light sticks in front of them.  I asked the Six Flags Rep that was with us and he told us about No Boo Sticks.  These sticks can be bought for $5 from any store and kids, as well as adults, can carry them in front of themselves to prevent any monsters from attacking.

  Now normally, I thought this idea was absolutely stupid.  If you are going to an event like this, leave the kiddies at home.  But if you really think about it, this park is open all day for families and doesn’t close for a hard ticket event like other parks.  Families can stay the whole night and skip the extra fee haunts.  With a father of two who are interested but still a little frightened of these events, it would be cool to bring the boys with me, get them the sticks, and let them experience the event in a safe and scare free environment.  So bravo Six Flags.


  As mentioned earlier, this isn’t an event that you are going to walk away with your head blown.  But if you only experience this one event every year, then you are definitely going to see some major improvements and I’m REALLY looking forward to what the event holds for us next year. 

NEXT UP: Opening night of Cematarium

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #5 – Mickey’s Halloween Party (Disneyland)

Haunt Season 2014 - Event #5 – Mickey’s Halloween Party (Disneyland)

  First off, this is not event for my fellow haunt friends.  This is definitely a family event full of rides, trick or treating, and some entertainment that wasn’t worth my time.  That being said, I’m doing this review on my full day experience.  Then you can make the decision whether this is an event for you.


  The reason why I signed up for this event is the price.  Now Annual Passholders can complain that the price is too much.  But for a non passholder, the price is great, especially if you REALLY want to go on two rides that got some attention, Thunder Mountain and Alice in Wonderland.

  The price is $65.  Included in this price is parking, which runs about 17 dollars.  Take out the price for parking, you are paying $48 for the event, which I think is a great deal.  Plus you get into the park 3 hours before the park opens and get some extra’s that I’ll go into in a second.  Considering the price for a one day, no park hopping pass is about 100 dollars, paying half that for 8 hours in the park is a great deal in my book…well, a great deal at Disney that is ;-).


  My brother and I arrived at Disneyland around 1:00 PM.  Jay got some backlash from his parking attendant regarding him being there way too early, but I didn’t have an issue.  Parked in the Donald parking lot and met Jay by the escalators.

  We then had a great lunch at Rainforest Café…who has said that, right?  Our waiter was awesome, coming from the fine state of Florida and he worked at Disney World in the entertainment field.  He kept coming back to us to refill our drinks and talk about his old days in Florida.  Very nice guy and made for a nice experience.

  Afterwards, I took Jay over to Trader Sam’s for his first experience at the bar.  Jay says it was one of his favorite things to do that night.  We both got two drinks, and they were good stuff.  I like how the special effects moments didn’t go on so much that you couldn’t have a conversation.  You could just chill, talk, and get sprinkled on from time to time.  I think it will be a place that Jay and I will hang out at for years to come.  The Python drink was UNBELIEVABLE.

  Like I mentioned earlier, we got in the park at 3 pm.  The rest of the public was already in there so lines were long and the fast passes were gone.  We decided to see the extended preview of Big Hero 6, which looks fantastic.  A great way to relax and get air conditioning.  After that, we took the train around to Toon Town.

  Toon Town was opened as a Pre Party location for the party guests.  It was our first experience with trick or treating, and boy did we get a lot of candy.  There was three Trick or Treat trails located in Toon Town.  One around the fountain by Roger Rabbit, one through Mickey’s house and Minnie’s house, and then one around Goofy’s boat.  With just those three trails, we almost filled our bag up with candy.  We also went on Roger Rabbit for a spin through Toon Town.  Or just to see Jessica Rabbit, but you didn’t see my write that ;-).

  After Toon Town we went over to Big Thunder Ranch for their Pre-Party Trick or Treat areas.  There were some art areas, pumpkin carvings and I believe some snacks could be bought back here.  Really miss Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.  This was their home, at least recently.


  The main reason for me to sign up for this party was to go on Big Thunder Mountain and Alice in Wonderland.  So first up, we went on Thunder Mountain.  Thanks to only those with tickets for the party able to ride, we walked right on.  Boy is it smooth, and that ending was really awesome.  Fun riding a ride while protecting your candy, lol.

  For the next 30 minutes, we hit a couple more Trick or Treat trails, tried to ride Splash Mountain but it was down, walked over to Haunted Mansion but Jay wanted to wait for it to be dark, and ended up walking over to Space Mountain – Ghost Galaxy for a ride.  Took about 20 minutes in line, then we were on.  Jay’s first ride through, fun as always and I didn’t see any real changes from previous years.

  Headed back to Haunted Mansion Halloween layover and rode that.  I think the ginger bread house this year is my favorite.  It’s an Iron Maiden type device with balls over the nails, I think?  I think there was a Ginger Bread man inside too.  Other than that, I think the ride was the same as last year…I think.

  Splash Mountain was on so we went on for a ride so we could get our 2.99 digital picture.  We did a great pose, coming to Instagram shortly.  At the scene where brer fox is pushing Brer Bear and an alligator has Brer fox’s tail, we stopped.  And the ride went 101.  Pretty cool to walk through the last scene of the ride, then out the back onto backstage, then back in again.  They gave us fastpasses, but none of the rides were really using fastpass and the lines were okay.  So I still have it.

  Oh, and that 2.99 digital copy?  Apparently they stopped doing that and it’s now 14.99.  That sucks majorly.  BOO DISNEY!! 

  Walked Jay to Main Street and he headed home.  I went over to ride Alice but it was closed for the fireworks.  Did some trick or treat trails, watched the new Halloween overlay video on Small World, and then headed over and rode Pirates.  After Pirates went back to Alice, which had a long line, and finally got to see the new scenes.  The ride does look beautiful and there’s tons more to see thanks to the video projection.  But the Queen still looks the same, I thought she was being upgraded too?

  Finished the night with a ride on Thunder Mountain at night, which looks a lot better than the day.  Ended up with 3 bags of candy, some souvenirs for the kiddies, and headed home, arriving in Manteca at 6 AM. 

  An amazing weekend with friends and family.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to see everybody I wanted to in So Cal, just not enough time.  But I’ll be back soon, love it down there.