BLACKOUT Is Back: New Show, New Rules — Opens Oct 9 in NYC, Oct 16 in LA


Deemed the ‘the most terrifying of the United State’s 3,000 haunted houses’ (The Guardian), BLACKOUT celebrates its 5th anniversary this year opening this month in NYC (Oct 9) and LA (Oct 16) — with a new show, BLACKOUT: house and a new set of rules.

Preview trailer:

Infamous for its strict solo-entry policy, forcing participants to face their darkest fears alone, BLACKOUT: house will be a group experience this year. And if you think that means the experience will be any easier — think again. This year’s iteration takes the creators’ special brand of immersive horror to the next level by breaking even more conventions than previous years and incorporating group dynamics into the experience.

BLACKOUT: house will host groups on most nights. A handful of solo shows will be hosted on select nights (to be announced). All participants will have a safety word should they wish to be removed from the house at any time. BLACKOUT: house will run between 20-30 minutes and guests will encounter tight spaces, complete darkness, strobe lights, fog, crawling, stairs, loud noises, nudity, violent and sexual situations, and physical contact. Full rules to follow.

Since 2009, BLACKOUT has set the standard for haunted house experiences with its use of deep immersion, sensory deprivation and physical interaction to create ‘a probing, psychosexual thrill ride of the soul’ (LA Weekly) that ‘puts you at the center of your own story. Or nightmare’ (Chicago Tribune). The brainchild of film and experimental-theater veterans Josh Randall and Kristjan Thor, the show is produced by John Harper and this year announced a new partnership with Michael Cohl’s S2BN Entertainment.

In addition to stand-alone houses in NYC and LA, Blackout is also hosting a special sold-out event with the Queens of The Stone Age in LA on Halloween. Announcements for shows in Chicago and in Miami during Art Basel to come soon.

BLACKOUT: house 2014

When: NYC, October 9 – mid-November; Thursdays through Saturdays from 7-11pm
Where: 225 E Houston Street (at Essex St.), NY, NY
Tickets: $35+, (on sale 9.26 at 11:59pm)

When: October 16 – mid-November; Thursdays through Saturdays from 7-11pm
Where: Downtown LA
Tickets: $35+, (on sale information coming soon)

Voodoo and Special Ops: Infected are Winners for Knott’s Scary Farm


The haunt industry continues to get more saturated and competitive which means the original and still biggest, Knott’s Halloween Haunt has been trying new things to stay ahead of the pack. Two years was the debut of “Trapped: Lock and Key. This year it was the choose-your-own-adventure maze Voodoo and the zombie shooting attraction Special Ops: Infected.

Once again they brought in Elvira who is featured in “Elvira’s Big Top”. She’s the host for the show which features a guy who swallows swords as well as a contortionist. In between acts, Elvira played to the audience and told some pretty funny jokes.


Special Ops: Infected is situated in the Camp Snoopy area of the park where those with a special card are either part of Team Alpha or Team Bravo. The scenario is that people have been taken hostage by zombies during an infection outbreak and teams of up to twelve are there to help rescue them. They are given a laser gun and told to shoot the zombies in the head.


One of the two new mazes this year is “Tooth Fairy”. The premise is that the good tooth fairy has been captured by the evil tooth fairy. The evil tooth fairy visits the children at night who have teeth under their pillow and takes them to the dental chair where all kinds of cruel and painful dental work will be done. This maze is very gory and tells the story well.


The other new maze is “Voodoo” which had one of the longest lines. This maze sends visitors deep into the swamps of Cajun Country where voodoo priests and priestesses roam along with zombies. Depending on which path you take, you’ll either experience an exorcism or a sacrifice. This is one of the best mazes we’ve seen in a long time. We heard a lot of people talking about how well attention was paid to detail and how effective the lighting was.


Of course there are returning mazes such as The Gunslinger’s Grave, , Pinocchio Unstrung, Black Magic and Dominion of the Damned. The hanging was really good and funny this year, parodying everyone from mayor Rob Ford to Beyonce and of course Disney properties such as those from “Frozen”. This year this is actually a double hanging which we won’t comment on since we want everyone to have the experience of discovering it for themselves.

We really enjoyed Knott’s this year. The old mazes got some fresh detail added to them and Special Ops: Infected is a cool military/zombie attraction that we think should stay for a long while. Maybe next year they can add more of a specialized theme to it. “The Tooth Fairy” was a lot of fun. The lighting in it and “Voodoo” were really effective. The maze was well laid out and seemed as realistic as can be. “Voodoo” also had a realistic feel and a great Skeleton Key added attraction.

Universal Halloween Horror Nights Photo Review

We here at Golden State Haunts and Events were very impressed with the mazes at Horror Nights this year.  The special effects, make-up, costumes, actors and sets were overall the best we’ve ever seen here.  We felt the best maze was the true-to-the-movie “An American Werewolf in London”,but it could have just as easily been the “Aliens Vs. Predator” maze which was amazing and had us feel like we were really on the spaceship in-between the galactic battle.  The most fun we had in a maze was the “Clowns 3-D featuring Slash”.  The light on scares, heavy in campy humor reminded us of another long-running clown maze at another local theme park.







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Shriekfest announces Premieres!


(Los Angeles, CA) For Immediate release! Shriekfest Film Festival’s 2014 lineup includes such recognizable names as Brian Krause in the WORLD PREMIERE of “House of Purgatory”, Joe Adler in it’s WORLD PREMIERE “Kill Game”, Joanna Cassidy in it’s U.S PREMIERE “Zugzwang”, Ed Gale in it’s WORLD PREMIERE “Honey”, and Michael Berryman in “One Please”. The roster encompasses 42 films, 30 screenplay finalists, and 8 original song finalists.. Awards will be awarded in many categories, including an award for the Best Feature Film and Best Feature screenplay. Festival Director Denise Gossett oversees Shriekfest, now in it’s 14th year. For more information ( ( Shriekfest alumni include such indie icons as Travis Betz, Gregg Bishop, Kevin Greutert (Saw VI), Kenneth J. Hall, Olatunde Osunsanmi (The Fourth Kind), Tammi Sutton, Darin Scott, and many more!

Universal Studios Hollywood Invites Fans to Attend Coveted “Eyegore Awards”


Universal City, CA – Universal Studios Hollywood sets the stage for the eagerly-awaited arrival of Halloween Horror Nights on Friday, September 19, with the annual “Eyegore Awards,” honoring influential entertainment professionals for bringing the horror genre to life within the movie, television and music industries. And, for the first time ever, Universal Studios Hollywood is offering 500 Halloween Horror Nights fans a chance to attend the coveted “Eyegore Awards,” which will feature a roster of today’s leading Hollywood horror icons.

The 2014 “Eyegore Award” recipients include multiple Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker and Special Effects Make-Up Supervisor Greg Nicotero (“The Walking Dead,” “Galyntine,” “ Sin City:  A Dame to Kill For,” “Breaking Bad,” “Pain & Gain,” “Django Unchained,” “Predators,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Piranha 3D”), with the award presented by Chris Hardwick, comedian and host of AMC’s “Talking Dead” and Robert Kirkman, Creator and Executive Producer of “The Walking Dead” and “Outcast.”

Versatile, award-winning filmmaker and Founder & Chairman of El Rey Network, Robert Rodriguez (“Sin City,” “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” “Machete,” “Grindhouse”), will accept the award, presented by prolific actor, producer and last year’s “Eyegore Award” recipient, Danny Trejo (“From Dusk ‘Till Dawn,” “Heat,” “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” “Machete,” “Machete Kills”).

Renowned filmmaker John Landis, (“An American Werewolf in London,” Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Animal House”) will accept the award, presented by seven-time Academy Award®-winning Special Effects Make-Up Artist and previous “Eyegore Award” recipient, Rick Baker (“An American Werewolf in London,” “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Men in Black,” “The Nutty Professor,” “The Wolfman”).  

Celebrated Grammy® Award-winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist SLASH will also accept the “Eyegore Award.” Hailed as one of the 10 best electric guitar players of all time by Time magazine SLASH will also release his new album “World on Fire—with his band featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators—on September 16. Continue reading

Interview with The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride COO Melissa Meyer


GSHE: This is Erik Vanlier from Golden State Haunts and Events with Melissa Meyer and can you tell us your position with the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride?

MM:  I’m the COO of 1031 Productions.

GSHE:  Can you tell us where we’re at please?

MM:  Where we’re at right now?  We’re currently at the warehouse where we build and store most of our sets.

GSHE:  What can we expect this year as far as that goes?

MM:  As far as sets go?  Well we’re actually building two whole new sections of the Hayride; the Seven Sins Sideshow is one of them and the House of the Horseman is the second one.  So that’s going to be a completely new build and set that no one has ever seen, whose has frequented the  Los Angeles Haunted Hayride.

GSHE:  Can you tell us more about your position please?

MM:  So, I’m the Chief Operating Officer. I sit down on all the creative meetings and we have storyboarding with a team of us that work through the concepts and what we’re going to be doing for this upcoming year, all the way from the theme to the execution.  And then I’m still head of the special effects department and oversee the wardrobe department.  So, a lot of the choreographic elements of the show.  So just a few things.

GSHE:  How many people work at the warehouse?

MM:  Well the warehouse isn’t strictly for the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride.  So, it’s not too interesting of a thing.    Our full time staff is about eight people that are on for the entire year.

GSHE: How is this year going to compare with last year?

MM:  This year it’s going to be bigger and better like always.  We’re coming in to our sixth season “Echoes from the Rift” so we’re doing all things Hell related.  It’s a lot of giant Leviathon creatures as well as Greek influences.  Anything, you know, everything Hell related.

GSHE: Last year a lot of the Haunt was themed to the paranormal.  Is that going to be the case this year?

MM:  So last year we worked on things based on actual events.  And one of the elements that we were utilizing was the creepiness of Griffith Park itself, which is one of the most paranormal sites.  So, we will always have paranormal elements because Griffith Park and the Old Zoo are one of the most active areas in all of California.  But our theme, we’re definitely sticking to a very “Echoes from the Rift”, everything from Hell this season.

GSHE:  And where did you get that name from?

MM: “Echoes from the Rift” was a group decision.  Our creative director came up with different variations of Hell, and the word Rift  and all together we grouped the words together and “Echoes from the Rift”.

MM:  One main thing to mention this we’re doing because we’re building the two new attractions we have our first time all-season  pass with zero blackout dates and it’s a hundred and forty nine dollars and it’s an automatic upgrade to VIP so you don’t have to wait in lines.  That’s a pretty new and exciting element.  As well as we’re making everything larger than life this season.