Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Hallowe'en

It is here at last, Specters. Hallowe'en. The day we all look forward to so much. I myself will be spending the evening getting ready for the Hallowe'en party tomorrow, carving jack-o-lanterns, and... doing body suspension. That's right, today I will be performing body suspension for the very first time. I am very nervous, but I'm also looking forward to it. You can rest assured there WILL be video for your viewing pleasure. In the meantime, I hope you all have success with your haunts and above all - Happy Hallowee'en.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Keeper of the Watch

A photo I took on a walk the other night. Happy Halloween Eve.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ulalume

By Edgar Allan Poe:
 
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere —
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year;
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir —
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
 
Here once, through an alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul —
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
These were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll —
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole —
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.
 
Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere —
Our memories were treacherous and sere —
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year —
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)
We noted not the dim lake of Auber —
(Though once we had journeyed down here) —
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.               
 
And now, as the night was senescent
And star-dials pointed to morn —
As the star-dials hinted of morn —
At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn —
Astarte’s bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.
 
And I said — “She is warmer than Dian:
She rolls through an ether of sighs —
She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion
To point us the path to the skies —
To the Lethean peace of the skies —
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
To shine on us with her bright eyes —
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
With love in her luminous eyes.”
 
But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
Said — “Sadly this star I mistrust —
Her pallor I strangely mistrust: —
Oh, hasten! — oh, let us not linger!
Oh, fly! — let us fly! — for we must.”
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
Wings until they trailed in the dust —
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust —
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.
 
I replied — “This is nothing but dreaming
Let us on by this tremulous light!
Let us bathe in this crystalline light!               
Its Sybilic splendor is beaming
With Hope and in Beauty to-night: —
See! — it flickers up the sky through the night!
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
And be sure it will lead us aright —
We safely may trust to a gleaming
That cannot but guide us aright,
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night.”
 
Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
And tempted her out of her gloom —
And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of the vista,
But were stopped by the door of a tomb —
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said — “What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?”
She replied — “Ulalume — Ulalume —
‘Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!”
 
Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
As the leaves that were crisped and sere —
As the leaves that were withering and sere,
And I cried — “It was surely October
On this very night of last year
That I journeyed — I journeyed down here —
That I brought a dread burden down here —
On this night of all nights in the year,
Ah, what demon has tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber —
This misty mid region of Weir —
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.”
 
Image Source:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hooked

Well Specters, Halloween is drawing ever closer, and so is my first time doing body suspension! This Saturday, at the Sacred Ink Halloween Party. I'm really looking forward to it, in a "What the hell have I gotten myself into this time?" kinda way. As such, I found this short documentary on YouTube you all might find interesting. Happy viewing! (Warning: not for the squeamish!)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Film Suggestions

Looking for some Halloween viewing before the Big 31? The Opinionated Monsters have a few suggestions:
Check out the rest of their shows here:

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ramirez the Red-Nosed Night Stalker

I was at the mall the other day, trying to ignore the premature Christmas stuff, when I happened to notice a rather odd statue of the Bumble from the "Rudolph" cartoon. Looking at the way he was holding what I'm assuming is supposed to be a Christmas tree topper, I thought to myself, "Hmmm, where have I seen this before?"

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Blood is the Life

"It certainly makes sense that scholars and other readers have connected Count Dracula with the Wallachian warlord Vlad III, nicknamed "Vlad Tepes" or, in English, "Vlad the Impaler." After all, Vlad III was a member of the House of Drăculești, and is one of a handful of historical figures whose title is rendered as "Voivode Dracula" in English-language texts. And the fictional Dracula does share one key biographical detail with his historical namesake: they both fought against the Turks during their mortal lives. But how did these two connections turn Vlad III into the supposed basis for Count Dracula?"

Click here for details:

Friday, October 24, 2014

HAUNTERS - The Movie

"A life-long fan of Halloween and all things horror, Jon Schnitzer (co-owner of The Brain Factory & HAUNTERS Director/Producer) was inspired to document the world of haunting as it becomes increasingly mainstream and spawns a whole new wave of extreme - sometimes controversial full-contact - entertainment.  And, he was curious to explore what is driving the boom in demand for the wild spectrum of interactive horror experiences that have proliferated in recent years.
Over the last year, we gained exclusive access to some of the most popular, theatrical and infamous haunts in America - like Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, Knott’s Scary Farm, Delusion, Blackout and McKamey Manor, to name just a few.  We also have shot hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes and personal footage of a fascinating cast of characters, including professional and home-haunters, their families, the monsters and the fans who love them. If you're one of the 32+ million Americans who will attend a haunted house this year, we know you will appreciate the passion and professionalism that have gone into making HAUNTERS The Movie!"
Join the cause by clicking here:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Old Town Graveyard

Some wonderfully atmospheric shots of the Old Town Graveyard in Medina, OH, taken by Highbury at the Highbury Cemetery blog. Medina is my hometown; this brings back a lot of memories. Go check out Highbury's awesome blog, and tell him HalloweeNut sent you!







Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"VOODOO" at Knott's Scary Farm 2014

I love this. Having always enjoyed enjoyed the dark side of New Orleans (vampires, graveyards, zombies, voodoo, murder, etc.) I love seeing such a great maze dedicated to it as a theme; especially because of it's wonderful design (the BEAUTIFUL facade, and the indoor swamp Knott's grew for the haunt), but also because their are multiple pathways. Superb.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Torment

A photograph taken by my friend Sharon during my stay in Phoenix, AZ.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ghost in the Window

Whenever I'm able to have my own haunt, I will most certainly have a Pepper's Ghost somewhere in the haunt:
And click here for a behind-the-scenes.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Tonight's Viewing: "Masque of the Red Death"

Starring Vincent Price. Never seen this one before, so I'm looking forward to it. Will be painting some masks while watch the movie; it's going to be a fun night.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The truth is revealed

And it's making me wonder if perhaps ignorance really is bliss.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Haunted House - A Short Story By Damian Michael

Well Specters, since we are half way to Halloween, I thought I would post an original short story of mine to mark the occasion. I call it "The Haunted House". Enjoy!


Have you ever seen a haunted house? You know the kind I mean; the old, run-down house at the end of a street with its windows boarded and shutters falling off, and the paint peeling and the front porch sagging. Weeds choke the once beautiful gardens; the brick path is riddled with cracks. Hideous ivy climbs the side of the house, growing into it like some horrible infection. A tower looms over the center of the house, a wrought-iron fence winds around the over-grown yard. It’s the sort of house that, when you were a child on Halloween night, wearing your plastic mask and carrying a pillowcase full of treats, standing out in front of the house beneath the autumn moon, you knew, you just knew, was haunted.
All the other kids told all sorts of stories about it, didn't they? They said people actually used to live in that house, many years ago, long before you were thought of. It was a man and a woman who lived there, they would whisper, a flashlight below their face to make it even scarier. They tell you, as you sit huddled in your friend’s tree house, that it was a husband and wife. The woman was beautiful, the man was handsome. They were happy together, so the stories go. Until she died.
The funeral was well attended, the husband consoled by his friends. But his grief consumed him; it was too much for his mind. He’d had his struggles with many things, drink among them, but everyone thought his wife had tamed him. But this was too much. He was frequently seen drunk in public, flitting between quiet and furious at a moment’s notice. He took another wife a year later; poor thing, not even 18 yet. She was so sweet, so innocent. But he beat her. Blamed it on the bottle. And afterwards, he always came crying back to her, saying he was sorry, saying he would never do it again. And she believed him every time.
Within a year she was dead. The doctor said her heart gave out, but many suspected otherwise. They said the man had finally done her in, killed her with his bare hands. But no one could prove anything. He started courting another pretty young thing. Depending on which version of the story you heard, her name was either Sarah or Susan; let’s call her Sarah. Sarah was so sweet, so trusting, just like her predecessor. They were married fairly quickly, spur of the moment. But just like last time, it went bad fast. He started to hit her, just like last time. The people in town decided something should be done about this. They, however, never got the chance to act.
One night, late in October, Sarah ran screaming from the house into the street, dressed only in her night gown. She was being attacked by her husband when something unseen, something invisible had clawed out his eyes. He thrashed and screamed, and suddenly started to choke on something. By the time the police arrived, he was dead. Lodged in his throat was his wife’s wedding band, buried with her when she died.
The house was boarded up, but no one wanted to buy it. Who could blame them? Sarah, for as long as she lived, which was a very long time, said it was a ghost that saved her. Most couldn't help but agree. And so the house sat there, growing dark with age. Children threw rocks at its windows. The said a woman in white with a shadowy face and blue glowing eyes could be seen from the top window of the tower. And the house sat alone for many years, and the neighborhood children grew up with it as their “haunted house”.
But as they got older, and the challenges of life wore them down, they lost their belief in ghosts. It stopped being haunted and became an “eye-sore”, a problem for re-sale value. But you always had a certain nostalgia for it, I know. It was your tradition, after all, to stand out front on Halloween in your costume and wait to see the ghost in the tower window. But you never did. And so you too lost some, but not all, of your faith.
And now it’s Halloween again. You've come back after all these years. You've moved back to your old town after your divorce, your marriage in ruins, and your mind in a state of despair. You wanted to re-kindle your memories of Halloweens past to boost your spirit, and with no children of your own, you thought you’d carve a jack-o-lantern and hand out candy. But as a cool breeze caressed your shoulder and darkness fell, and no children came, you found yourself drawn to the haunted house. You stood at the gate and looked up towards the window, hoping to see the ghost. And after all these years, you finally decided to go inside.
You opened the rusty gate, walked up the old brick path, stepped onto the creaky porch, and forced the warped front door open. You stepped inside and saw the furniture draped with sheets, and cobwebs festooning the chandelier. And as you walked through the darkness, you learned this house that has always been haunted.

Because after all these years, I can tell you that while you didn't see me, I always saw you from my window in the tower. You weren't like the other children; you weren't cruel or disrespectful, you didn't throw rocks at my windows. I know life has not been kind to you, and I know love has not been kind either, but I see you now as a man, and I long for you. After what my husband did to those women… I could never love him again. And so I ask you now, as the moon rises on this Halloween night: will you join me in my haunted house?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Summoning - Scarehouse 2014

An excellent video walk-through of The Summoning, the newest edition to Pittsburgh's The Scarehouse. SOOO wish I could see it this year! (Video by Outside the Magic):

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Review of Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare 2014


On October 4th, I, Damian (HalloweeNut) and my friends Sharon from Ghost Hunting Theories and Julie from Above the Norm attended Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare in Scottsdale, AZ. Before going we had obtained press passes (one of the benefits of a having horror blogs), and were let into the mazes early and allowed to take photos of the horror within. This is my official review of Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare:

WARNING: SPOILERS!!!!!!

Arrival:
Leaving Sharon's apartment, Sharon, Julie, and I climbed into her car and made our way to Westworld in Scottsdale, where the event was being held. The only problem was that we almost didn't find the event. There was literally zero signage; no billboards, no giant posters screaming "This Way to Rob Zombie!" This was odd and a bit annoying. You'd think that, given the prominence of the event and the sheer size of Westworld there would be all kinds of signage pointing you towards the entrance. No such luck. Eventually, we found a large cluster of parked cars and decided to see if this was in fact the entrance. Lucky for us, it was. We had printed out our VIP tickets before hand, but there some confusion there as well, as there were two lines: one for people buying tickets on site, and one for people picking up their wristband after buying tickets online. However, we didn't know which was which, and ended up waiting in the wrong line. Even when someone did announce which line was the right one for us, we still had to wait for people at the ticket booth, as they didn't have their scanners for the receipts we printed out before hand. This is really my biggest gripe with GAN: lack of signage, hard to find, a malfunctioning website, and too many management screw ups. Now I get it, haunts are VERY stressful business and shit happens, so I'm not too upset about the scanners missing and the website; I'm more annoyed at lack of signage. Enough said.

Eventually, the time came for my crew and I to enter the GAN. We made our way through the midway, here known as Bloody Blvd. - an interesting mix of animatronics, roaming monsters, live entertainment, and vendors to browse after you went through the haunts. As we were media, we got let inside early. After stepping through the front door, we entered into what I call "the Arena": a huge, very dark queue line with stage props from Rob Zombie concerts on display, such as a giant boombox and an evil robot. The soundtrack from the Devil's Rejects maze bleed into this area and got our blood racing. We were led by the GAN's publicist into the first stop of the evening's adventure: The Lords of Salem.

The Arena



The Lord of Salem:
OK, I'm going to be brutally honest here: I hated this maze. I didn't have high hopes for it anyways, having heard negative reviews of from last year when the event debuted in LA. The facade was kinda cool, being a two-story replica of the apartment building, although when compared with the version of the facade for the Chicago version of LOS (Chicago being home to the other version of GAN), it look kinda hasty, like they ran out of time. Also, they had a prop of a witch being burned at the stake (a very cool prop!) but it was hidden off to the side. I think it would have made more sense to have this in the center of the queue line and have the line wrap around it. Also, the lighting for the facade was kind of odd - just a white spot light. I would have thought some more ominous lighting would have been nice.





As for the maze itself, it was split into two sections: a door maze and a black maze. The door maze was fun, being dressed to look like the the interior of the apartment from the movie, with multiple pathways to choose from. However, this was spoiled by one actress, dressed as the character of Heidi from the movie, breaking character and dropping a snide remark as we walked away. I have no problem with haunt actors being rude/mean/vulgar, as long as it's in character. This actress breaking character and being rude to guests was really unprofessional, and a total buzz kill. The rest of the haunt was a black-out maze, which is really just black plywood walls, no lighting, and loud music; in this case, the "cursed" record from the movie Lords of Salem. I really, REALLY don't like black-out mazes. I think they're just completely annoying, and neither creepy nor scary. Plus, they're a bit of a cop-out; it feels like the haunt owner said "Oh, we want to have three mazes, but don't have the time/money/imagination; I've got it - I'll build a tiny black rat maze!" What was really bad was that I managed to actually walk out of the maze using of the security exits and walked straight into the backstage area. Not good. Nothing personal Rob Zombie, but I really was not impressed with the LOS maze (but I did dig the movie!)


Captain Spaulding's Clown School in 3D:
Following right on the heels of LOS was the Captain Spaulding maze, which I think was probably the best haunt we went through that night! Although I'm not a huge fan of 3D mazes (or evil clowns, for that matter - they just don't scare me), this maze was a total blast. More funny than scary, the queue line was themed as a circus camp ground with a stage for the "Booty Call Circus" where sideshow freaks would perform stunts like sword swallowing or the human blockhead while you waited in line.










Upon entering the maze, you were given 3D glasses and allowed to walk through the technicolor world of Captain Spaulding and his clown minions. What followed was awesome 3D artwork, some truly demented clowns, raunchy humor, and a few nice startles to punch it up. The highlights included the opening Vortex Tunnel, the Cotton Candy Room, the Balloon Room, and the Upside Down Room, wherein a clown bounced an enormous strap-on in my face while dance music played in the background. Only in the world of Rob Zombie!






Anyone recognize this clown art?
The Cotton Candy Room

A clown with a strap-on: pure nightmare fuel!

I was a little bummed that the character of Captain Spaulding only made one appearance right at the beginning, but overall I had a complete blast, and it more than made up for the highly disappointing LOS maze before it. Also, I have to give a shout-out to the actor in the queue line; this guy was no more than two feet tall and in a wheelchair, and he scared the absolute shit out of everyone who crossed his path, myself included! 1) He was very fast, and you literally did not see him coming, and 2) he had an ENORMOUS battle ax which he would swing at the feet of patrons, then cackle like a madman and zoom off into the dark. Really intense, and an awesome performance. If you're reading this review, then kudos to you!


From Captain Spaulding's, it was onto the climax of the evening: The Devil's Rejects!

The Devil's Rejects:
As a huge fan of The Devil's Rejects movie (I consider it to be Rob Zombie's masterpiece), I had very high hopes for this maze, especially when I saw the photos released of the facade (an exact two-story replica of the Firefly homestead from the movie) and learned that the opening scene was a reenactment of the shootout that opens the movie. A lot of my friends who were fellow Rejects fans told me how jealous they were that I was going to see the maze, and we all agreed that we hoped the character known as The Chicken Fucker would make an appearances, as he's easily the funniest scene in the whole movie and beloved by the fans.

The Firefly Abode


Upon entering the queue for The Devil's Rejects, my jaw hit the floor: I was no longer in a haunted house, I was in the movie. Above me towered the Firefly house, looking just as it did in the movie, while behind me half a dozen 1970s cop cars from the Ruggsville Sheriff's Department sat, with Sheriff Wydell and his deputies clutching their rifles waiting for the battle to begin. Crickets chirped and the wind howled as guests filed in, waiting for the show to start. A Deputy who looked like he just stepped out of the movie gave us all a good tongue lashing before the show began (and my god, that man's breath - it REEKED! Talk about being in character!)

When the show started up, the actors playing Sheriff Wydell and Lt. Dobson lip-synced to dialogue from the movie, setting up the shootout to follow. Finally, the music kicked in over the sound system, the red lights on the cop cars started spinning, and Wydell began shouting through his megaphone at the Rejects to "Come out with your hands up!" Lights started turning on in the house windows, and you could hear the Rejects putting the ammunition in their guns and putting their armor on. Finally, Wydell counted down from three, and all hell broke loose. The bullets began to fly, and I was in the craziest, coolest scene I've ever witnessed in a haunted attraction. You could feel the bullets whizzing past you, smell the gunpowder, see bullets holes forming in the side of the house. At one point, the tires on of the cop cars got shot out. The shootout ended with Lt. Dobson throwing tear gas into the house, and fog rolling out of the windows. From there it was time to enter the lair of the Devil's Rejects...
Sheriff Wydell and Lt. Dobson discuss the situation.


The battle begins.
Following the shootout, we were sent into a second queue line (created no doubt to allow guests to witness the shootout without creating traffic problems). However, it was completely undecorated - just unpainted plywood walls rope barriers, with one rusty trailer sitting in the back. No music, no actors, nothing. Kinda lame. From there we entered the Firefly house, home to such memorable characters as Baby, Spaulding, Otis Driftwood, Mama Firefly, Tiny, and even Fishboy from House of 1,000 Corpses (alas, no Chicken Fucker). To be honest, while the maze was very good, with highly detailed sets, gory props, and demented actors, was extremely good, and certainly the scariest of the three mazes, it didn't really *feel* like the movie. It just felt like your typical killer hillbilly maze, only it just happened to have Rob Zombie characters. Again, it was very good, and very well done, it just wasn't I was expecting. I liked how in some rooms, the set of rotting flesh wafted through the air, helping the maze to come alive as a waking nightmare.


Baby's room.


Behold - Fishboy!
Towards the end of the maze, you entered the motel scene from the movie. What was unique about this scene, is that there are multiple rooms you could choose from to enter, with a different member of the Firefly family trying to get you to come into theirs (even Grandpa, who was supposed to have died between House and Rejects, made an appearance here). We of course went into the room with Otis, and I have to say the actor playing him in this scene NAILED it. Perfect casting, he was extremely believable and dead on as the murderous Charles Manson-lookalike. Following the motel, I assumed we would move onto Charlie's Frontier Fun Town, the wild-west themed whorehouse run by Captain Spaulding's brother seen towards the end of the movie. Instead what we got were some dark rooms continuing the killer hillbilly theme. The final scene involved an appearance by Tiny wielding a shovel, and I gotta say, the actor playing Tiny was fucking HUGE! I don't know where they found this guy, but he was great; very intimidating, and had some neat tricks with his shovel. From there, we were spat back out into the cool evening air, having barely escaped the murderous crazies inside the Firefly lair.

Bloody Blvd.:





Gary Busey?



The GAN's midway, called the Bloody Blvd., was a motley assortment of vendors, a taco stand, animatronics on display, roaming monsters, and a stage for live performances. That night they had Blood Drums, a percussion group dressed as post-apocalyptic warriors that also used a 10-foot homemade didgeridoo, and a sideshow troupe that consisted of cute chicks in clown paint doing dangerous stunts such as fire breathing, fire dancing, stappling dollar bills to themselves, the bed of nails, and walking on broken glass (in fact, after coughing up $5, I was given a piggy back ride by the glass walker; so now I can say I've ridden a woman on broken glass).












Me riding a woman on broken glass.
Is it wrong that this turns me on?
Of the actors roaming the Blvd., the ones that stand out are the clown masked chainsaw maniac, the inmate with cage over his head, a very cool character with a skull mask and crutches covered in doll parts, and Karl the Eyebrow Licker (yes, you read that right).






Pussy Liquor!
One of the coolest monsters of the evening.


Karl the Eyebrow-Licker
He's real popular with the ladies!
He actually got Sharon's eyeball!
Me and Sharon catching our breath after escaping the Devil's Rejects.
After taking the sights and sounds for a while, Sharon, Julie, and I decided to head home for the night. We left the grounds, after being given a flyer promoting Zombie's upcoming movie "31", and piled into the car to head home.
The Unholy Three
My final thoughts on the event:

  • They do need more signage directing people to the entrance, especially if the location is as big as Westworld. 
  • They need to scrap the Lords of Salem maze and replace it with an actual haunt. It completely didn't work, and needs something to take it's place. If they want to keep the LOS theme, perhaps start with the door maze themed to Heidi's apartment, then have guests go into Apartment #5, and enter the hallucinogenic nightmare world of the movie's finale, with characters like the demonic dwarf, the zombie priests, the Black Metal band from the beginning of the movie, and of course the witches. Otherwise, just do something VERY different from what is there now. Perhaps an original theme that wasn't in a movie? 
  • The Captain Spaulding maze doesn't need much more tweaking; it was really good as it was. I do think Spaulding needs to make a few more appearances in the maze, and that they need to reinforce that this is a school for evil clowns; perhaps have chalkboards, desks, and lockers scattered about through the maze. The last scene could even be graduation themed, with Captain Spaulding himself trading you your 3D glasses for a diploma saying you are certified as an evil clown. This would be a great free souvineer, and one that would get the fans talking. But all in all, this was a really good, strong maze that worked great. The artwork was terrific, the actors were having a blast, and so were the guests. Top notch. 
  • I do wish The Devil's Rejects maze was a little closer to the movie. As I said above, while the opening shootout was mind-blowing, the rest for the most part felt like a typical hellbilly maze. I would like to see the maze gain two things in particular: 1) the whorehouse from the end of the film; how cool would it be to walk around in that environment? and 2) the character of the Chicken Fucker MUST make an appearance next year! He would make an excellent and hilarious distraction for a scare. Picture this: you walk into a room filled with caged chickens. The air reeks with the smell of chicken shit, and feathers cover the floor. On the other side of the room sits a potbellied redneck, tissues and bottles of lotion laying on the floor around him, and he pretends to fuck a rubber headless chicken. Distracted by this, you don't see the character of Clevon sneaking up behind you, ready to scream "I DON'T FUCK CHICKENS!" in your ear. That would be a great, very memorable scene, and something the fans would go on and on about. 
  • It wasn't as intense or extreme as I was hoping. I heard a lot from last year about how shocking, intense, offensive, and extreme it was - to which I said, "HELL YEAH!" Apparently, not many were as enthusiastic as I was (which doesn't make sense - it IS a Rob Zombie event, shocking, tasteless, and extreme is what he does best!), and as a result the event was toned down to a PG-13 level. Personally, I think the best way to get around this is to have certain nights be PG-13 (such as Fridays and Sundays), and have every other night be "X" rated, with an age limit, so that the haunt and the actors within can be as extreme and vulgar/offensive as they want. I would love to see this implemented, I'm all for bad taste in horror (it's called horror for a reason), and I think this way they could be as extreme as people like me want, while still roping in the younger fans. 
  • Apart from LOS, the only thing that needs major improvement is the Bloody Blvd. It was good, the monsters roaming the area were fantastic and very in character, and the lives shows were very entertaining. The biggest things are that I felt it was under-decorated, and that there weren't enough vendors. The animatronic creatures on display didn't go off often enough (I would see people just standing around with cameras waiting for the monsters to turn on, but they wouldn't). Also, one had a huge tear in his shoulder exposing the foam padding beneath. So as far as decor for Bloody Blvd., more of it, please. Also, I heard that last year when the GAN was in LA, they had a movie screen showing classic horror movies such as Nosferatu, Phantom of the Opera, Carnival of Souls, House on Haunted Hill, and of course, White Zombie. They should definitely bring that back, it's a great way to add to the entertainment value of the evening. Regarding vendors, really all there was was a ecigarette stand, t-shirt booth, and a taco stand. That's it. They really need more shops and booths for people to peruse afterwards, perhaps a few places selling horror movie merch, heavy metal gear, and so on. They could also have mini attractions like a horror movie museum with props from some of Rob's movies on display, zombie paintball, carnival games with horror-themed prizes, anything to make the Bloody Blvd. feel like an evil carnival. Sharon and I hit on the idea of a Devil's Rejects themed photo op: the convertible from the end of the movie, with Free Bird playing over it's stereo, with actors dressed as Otis, Baby, and Captain Spaulding inside. For say, $5, you could be given a prop gun, maybe a little stage blood, and allowed to climb into the car with them and pose for a photo recreating the badass final scene of the movie. Finally, as far as midway actors, as I said before the ones there were fantastic, and were great at scaring and entertaining the guests. The only problem was, their needed to be more of them. They were spread a little thin, and I think the more monsters roaming the Bloody Blvd., the better.
All that said, Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare is still one hell of a good haunt, and one that you should definitely see if you can. I rate it 3.5 Skulls out of 5.