Posted on August 28, 2014
Topics: Entertainment, Special EventsTags: , , , , ,

This year ScareHouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania aims to attack the most common complaint among popular haunted houses: crowds.

Recognizing that the “conga line” style of walking through a haunted attraction removes so much of the scare factor, this year ScareHouse is actually purposefully reducing the number of people that can see their scares, making the experience better for each of their guests.

“Our new approach is designed to maximize the experience for a smaller amount of customers,” explained ScareHouse creative director Scott Simmons. “We’re actually trying to REDUCE our throughput instead of increase it.”

It’s an unusual move for an industry where more bodies generally means more business. Simmons admits it’s a big risk, but feels the reward will be seen in their fans’ reactions as they enjoy a much more personal experience.

This year, ScareHouse guests will actually make decisions and interact with characters instead of passively walking through the sets. “No two trips through ScareHouse will ever be the same, and the choices each customer makes will lead to different outcomes and consequences,” said Simmons.

To begin to explain how this inventive approach to their haunted houses will work, ScareHouse has released a short teaser video:

It’s a complete overhaul to their attractions. “We really went nuts,” elaborated Simmons. “Tore out all the walls, even tore down parts of the permanent building in order to make room for the massive sets.”

Two years ago, we brought you inside The ScareHouse for the first time. Last year, we offered a first look at The Basement, their extreme adults-only experience.

This year, we’ll be giving Outside the Magic readers an exclusive look at how this year’s new ScareHouse experiences are being created. Throughout Halloween season, we’ll stay with ScareHouse to continue to share their new scares. I will personally be visiting and experiencing their attractions this year, reporting back on what this leading haunted attraction has to offer.

For 2014, ScareHouse features three high-quality haunted attractions intended for ages 13 and up as well as one available only to adults age 18 or older.

The Summoning (new for 2014, replacing Forsaken): This all-new highly immersive attraction is set in October 1932. Guests will uncover sinister secrets and twisted characters lurking within their most elaborate haunted attraction ever.

Pittsburgh Zombies: Black Out! (new for 2014): ScareHouse’s expanded tribute to Pittsburgh’s Living Dead Legacy surrounds guests with hordes of the hungry dead. The lights are going out and the zombies are getting in.

Creepo’s Christmas in 3-D: A fan favorite at ScareHouse, Creepo returns with an even more twisted tale of Holiday Horror. Guests wear 3-D glasses for an eye-popping journey through a world of killer clowns, evil elves, and nightmarish toys.

The Basement: In this most extreme ScareHouse experience, Fear researcher and sociologist Margee Kerr, PhD brings the science of scaring to the creative team of the Basement. Building from research on what scares people from a social, psychological, and physiological perspective the Basement takes customers on an interactive journey built to push them outside their comfort zone, challenge their expectations, and scare the hell out them each step of the way.

All guests of The Basement must be 18 or older and must sign waiver before entering The Basement. Guests will be touched, hooded, and restrained. This attraction contains high voltage effects involving electricity, sexual content, very low lighting, tight spaces, strong scents, profanity, moments of complete darkness, water, physical contact, violent situations, and high impact scares.

Despite the planned decrease in customers, ScareHouse hasn’t increased their prices much. General admission tickets are $24.99 (up $5 from last year), which includes and include admission into The Summoning, Creepo’s Christmas in 3-D, and Pittsburgh Zombies: Black Out.

The Basement is a separately ticketed experience at $29.99 for one guest to enter alone, $49.99 for two guests to enter together.

ScareHouse opens September 19 and is open on select dates through November 1.

Tickets, dates, and more information are available now at www.scarehouse.com.


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Posted on August 25, 2014
Topics: Disney, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Entertainment, Special Events, Theme Parks, Walt Disney WorldTags: , , ,

When has Disney ever described one of their theme park shows as containing content “too intense for young children?”

That’s exactly the disclaimer they attached to Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show, a performance prominently featured in this past weekend’s Villains Unleashed event at Walt Disney World.

Villains Unleashed event at Walt Disney World

The show included provocative fire dancing, wild sword swallowing, horror themed crossbow shooting, and even a bit of sexual innuendo. Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse definitely wasn’t your average Walt Disney World show – and Disney should be applauded for that.

Just what was so outrageous to prompt Disney to add such a disclaimer? Watch the show in its entirety in the video below to see what all the talk was about.


Video: Full Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show in Villains Unleashed event at Walt Disney World

(Note the video above has some music swapped out for royalty-free tracks due to YouTube copyright issues. A complete unedited version is available here, but may not be viewable in all countries or on mobile devices.)


Sitting in the audience during this 30-minute performance, it was clear that the crowd was divided on whether or not it was appropriate to be included at a Disney park. Throughout the presentation, it was easy to overhear a few quiet whispers of disgust. “I can’t believe this is Disney!” said more than one audience member. Reactions online afterward ranged from calling the show “awkward” to “disturbing” to… well, this tweet:

Admittedly, Disney did step way outside the comfort zone for some conservative fans with visuals like these:

Villains Unleashed event at Walt Disney World

Villains Unleashed event at Walt Disney World

Villains Unleashed event at Walt Disney World

Villains Unleashed event at Walt Disney World

Villains Unleashed event at Walt Disney World


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Posted on August 21, 2014
Topics: Entertainment, FoodTags: , ,

A staple of themed entertainment in New York for many years, the Jekyll & Hyde Club provides a bit of a Halloween experience year-round.

Its original location closed in 2012, but another popped up in Times Square in 2013, now open as the flagship restaurant and bar. But this isn’t just any eatery, dimly lit and filled with freakish fun around every corner.

The Jekyll & Hyde Club could be lifted as is and fit in perfectly at, say, Universal CityWalk. In fact, for a while there were rumors that one would open at Universal Orlando. The comparisons fans make to some of the most popular theme parks in the world say a lot about the quality of the entertainment presented at Jekyll & Hyde.

After years of hearing about this experience, I finally had a chance to step foot inside while in New York covering Toy Fair a few months ago. I wasn’t disappointed.

Jekyll & Hyde Restaurant and Bar Times Square New York

Its entrance is disguised as a phone booth which, sadly, was not operational when I visited. I ended up entering through the gift shop, intended as the exit. But when the phone booth is working, patrons are expected to supply a password and take an oath before entering.

Once inside, the familiarity of being engaged in a highly themed environment set in instantly. I felt like I’d been magically transported away from the LED-lit sensory overload of Times Square into a rather subdued club that was much more my speed. But there is nothing subdued about Jekyll & Hyde, as exciting moments occur regularly from surprising places.

Jekyll & Hyde Restaurant and Bar Times Square New York

Anything eye-catching inevitably moves, talks, scares, or a combination of all three. Jekyll & Hyde is not a haunted attraction where creatures jump out of dark places, but it does evoke some of those same feelings while remaining rather lighthearted.

I quickly found myself lounging by the bar as other tourists interacted with a talking skeleton who was cracking jokes at anyone within eyesight. Jekyll & Hyde is indeed a tourist trap, but it’s the best kind.

Jekyll & Hyde Restaurant and Bar Times Square New York


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Posted on August 20, 2014
Topics: Entertainment, Special EventsTags: ,

The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride has announce their new Halloween offerings for 2014, sending attendees into The Underworld.

Located in Griffith Park’s Old Zoo area, Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is celebrating its 6th year with new experiences including two Apocalyptic-themed mazes, a 40-foot long Leviathan, an interactive theatre production, and more.

In this year’s Purgatory haunted village, two new experiences include:

  • “House of the Horsemen” is approximately a 15-minute experience sending guests face to face with the four Horsemen of The Apocalypse, embodying Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death.
  • “Seven Sins Sideshow” is a maze where the most depraved and deadly lurk from flesh and furniture melting into one, a human pig-machine vomiting riches from its muzzle, to even a race of carnivorous celestial Entities thriving on the fat from human hosts.
  • On the main stage, “Theatre Macabre,” where will present an interactive stage show featuring famous scenes from iconic horror films such as The Lost Boys, Exorcist, Carrie, Psycho and more.

    Returning is the “In-Between Dark Maze”, a black labyrinth that sends guests into the darkness with nothing but a low voltage lantern, and “Death Row,” an interactive room that allows guests an up close and personal look at devices of death.

    Los Angeles Haunted Hayride will be open from October 3rd –31st. Tickets are now available for purchase.

    The event will also host its annual “Black Carpet Premiere Night” on October 9th featuring celebrity arrivals that in the past have included Katy Perry, Demi Lovato, Jillian Michaels, Nikki Reed, Megan Fox, Sarah Hyland, Lucy Hale, Chris Colfer, Chord Overstreet, Stephanie Pratt, David Beckham, Emmy Rossum, Sarah Silverman, Ryan Gosling, Kristin Ritter, Giles Nissan and more.

    Visit www.losangeleshauntedhayride.com for complete details.


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    Posted on August 20, 2014
    Topics: Artwork, Entertainment, Special Events, Theme Parks, Universal Studios HollywoodTags: , , , , , ,

    As tickets go on sale for Halloween Horror Nights 2014, Universal Studios Hollywood has let loose a gallery of ghouls on its web site, featuring maniacs from several scare zones and one maze.

    Clowns 3D: Music by Slash

    Dark Christmas

    Skullz

    Mask-A-Raid

    More can be seen on the Halloween Horror Nights web site.


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