Author: harknell

2015

What I Wish For My Birthday…

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My birthday is Sunday and people are asking me what to do. The only thing I want is to make good cons so:

Register to attend Intervention

– Donate and I’ll use the $ to fund my events:





The (Re)Generation Who / Intervention Wishlist

My wishlist

My Contact address

If you feel you’d like to get me something I’d rather you spend on something that will help me continue to make good conventions. As you can see from the prices on the event Wishlist it is VERY EXPENSIVE to run events. I need to buy 10 laptops to run our reg system and I do not have the $ for that. Or just get me good coffee. Because that does that, too. :)

2015, Haunted Attractions, Pennsylvania

Upcoming Haunted Attraction Announcement: Friday the 13th Zombie Skate presented by Terror Behind the Walls

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We’ve received some information on a new Haunted Attraction event that will be announced today by the people from the Eastern State Penitentiary Haunted Attraction “Terror Behind The Walls”: “Zombie Skate”.

They passed along the following information on the event:

To celebrate Friday the 13th, Terror Behind the Walls presents Zombie Skate at the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park! Join us on Friday, February 13 from 7:00 to 10:00 pm, skate to spooky music, win prizes, and get your photo taken with a TBTW zombie right outside City Hall! Admission is $4 for adults; $3 for kids 10 and younger. Rental skates available for $8.

For more information about the Rothman Ice Rink, visit http://ccdparks.org/dilworth-park/rothmanicerink

They also gave a few more details on the event stating that they’d have a group of TBTW zombies roaming around, ice skating, photo bombing, and giving away some TBTW gear to attendees.

It sounds like a neat way to continue the Halloween and Haunted Attraction spirit in a different season.

You can also read some of our reviews of their main event on our Haunted Attraction Review Page.

2014, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, New Jersey, Reviews

Augusta, New Jersey Haunted Attractions: Scareland Stadium

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Oni and I were invited to check out a brand new Haunted Attraction happening in Augusta New Jersey at the Skylands Stadium called Scareland Stadium. This event is a co-production between the stadium and the group that produces State Scare. We’ve been to a similar concept before (placing a haunted attraction inside a stadium), but in this instance, the idea was to actually embrace the idea of the haunt being related directly to the stadium.

The attraction is an outdoor haunt, which was built with “rooms” but is open to the elements (just a note in case it is rainy). They fully embraced the notion that this takes place at a baseball stadium, and you, as the attendee, are placed in the roll of a “rookie” trying to get a place on the team. Of course, all of the member of the team now are either dead, or working to make you dead.

The budget on the event isn’t the starring role here, since given it’s setting and location they couldn’t make overly elaborate sets, but they did something else which I’ve always suggested in these cases: they went for a bit of comedy. While it is certainly scary, with people jumping out and being creepy–they really had a ball (ha!) with the idea of making each room have a bit of humor and the actors did a great job with the one-liners and other interactions. They even had a few really inspired setups (like a “Press Conference” that you were the star).

Overall I’d suggest this haunt as a fun family experience. It’s scary enough to be a haunt, funny enough to entertain, but not as rough or overwhelming as some of the more intense haunts we visit–so I can easily see this as a great all ages destination. They also have a food service location and bench area that you can hang out at and have some stadium food before or after your trip around the bases. (oh, and that was a fun bit as well–they set up a “zombie” team on the field which was a neat touch).

2014, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, Pennsylvania, Reviews

Yardley, Pennsylvania Haunted Attractions: Shady Brook Farm Horrorfest in Buck’s County 2014 review

Oni and I have visited Shady Brook Farm’s Horrorfest on a previous occasion, but apparently did not do a review of it. At that time we liked the event being it was an average quality event for it’s type. Unfortunately this trip did not have that same quality.

Horrorfest has 4 attractions:
Hayride of Horror, Barn of Horror, 3-D Alien Encounter, and Carnage.

horrofest_gate

Barn of Horror:

This attraction was actually not bad. It had a decent number of scare actors, and they were not just doing lunge and scream. The biggest issue we hit though was they were overly focused on chasing a group of younger kids back and forth through the attraction, and ignoring us.

We all know that some scare actors like to focus on people who freak out–with the idea that this makes the haunt seem more scary to others. In most cases though, this is a negative since it basically throws other people in the event out of the equation. If they hadn’t done this I think this attraction would have been a nice walkthrough experience, as it was we sort of just walked through most of it without much interaction.

Hayride of Horror:

The standards for hayrides in the PA/NJ area are pretty high: Bates Motel, Field of Screams, Shocktoberfest, and many more have huge budget rides that have elaborate and expensive set pieces. Horrorfest does not look like they have that type of money to spend on their ride, so they basically scaled down many of the scenes you’d find at these other locations to their lower budget (to be fair, most hayrides have the same type of general scenes–I’m not implying that Horrorfest is simply copying the others). The biggest issue though, is when you can’t match up in raw power (i.e. throw money at it), you need to do something else to add back in the spectacle. This sadly wasn’t true at Horrorfest.

The ride itself simply felt like it was less and a boring repetition–like buying a knock off toy version of a real doll with a sound alike name (not “Batman”, but “Knight Man”). When you don’t have the budget for effects and sets, what you need to do is either have great actors, make it funny, or throw a ton of people at the ride. That would be my suggestion–with the easiest being just go from 4 people in each section to 10 or more (yes, I know, budget–but you either do something or it basically is a boring experience as it is).

You can’t just have a few people jump out and scream, it just doesn’t work to make a fun ride.


3-D Alien Encounter
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Part of the issue I see with Horrorfest is that they aren’t seemingly making any changes or updates to their set up. Most of the industry has dropped the “3-D” stuff since it really doesn’t add to attractions (the glasses are irritating, and most attractions relied on the 3-D as a gimmick with nothing else really going on of interest, and it actually slows down throughput as people stumble around). This particular attraction has some of the most unfortunate elements of what the industry did with 3-D; the 3-D painted walls basically look like weird 70’s side-of-van drawings that don’t really inspire much fear or interest and have little to do with the theme.

As Scott Swenson of Busch Gardens Tampa’s Howl-O-Scream said to us–you have to make your attraction great first, then add to it with 3-D–which isn’t really the case here.

Looking back on things this attraction is basically unchanged from our last visit 3 or 4 years ago.

Carnage:

Carnage is Horrorfest’s Corn maze. This, like the Barn of Horror, had more potential than the other 2 attractions. There were a few nice bits, with an area (essentially a small building that attendees had to walk around that let actors come out or over the structure in multiple places) that I haven’t seen done in a maze before.

The only big disappointment was that the maze was exceptionally short compared to other corn mazes–when we were done we were quite surprised that it only took a few minutes to go through.

I was overall a bit disappointed with this return visit. In addition to this, the loud karaoke in the midway made being at the event unpleasant. The midway had some great relaxation areas with bonfires but undercut all of that with the auditory onslaught in the middle of the event.

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To be clear, Horrorfest isn’t terrible, but compared to other events of it’s type, it’s a bit below average in quality.

2014, Florida, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, Theme Parks

Orlando, Florida Haunted Attractions: The Purge: Anarchy comes to Halloween Horror Nights for 2014

The Purge: Anarchy will be one of the street experiencea at Halloween Horror Nights 24 in Orlando, Florida.

I love the idea of themed scarezones that are treated like an actual haunted attraction! :D

“We’re actually going to be bringing a combination of both the first movie and the new movie to life in this scare zone, so you’ll be met face-to-face with the iconic masked characters from both films. You’ll find yourself in the middle of the turmoil and chaos of The Purge taking place.

Everyday citizens will be transformed into violent psychopaths, chainsaw wielding paramilitary men and an elegant women ready to auction off the unsuspecting during this period of government-sanctioned lawlessness. But be careful… for you might find yourself becoming the target of those looking to Purge.”

For more details click here.