Aiden Sinclair’s Ghosts of Christmas Passed aboard the Queen Mary – CA

Aiden Sinclair’s Ghosts of Christmas Passed aboard the Queen Mary – CA

GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PASSED (ILLUSIONS OF THE PASSED)

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Conjuring Spirits may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when those familiar holiday carols begin playing on every radio station, but chances are you’ve crossed paths with at least one version of A Christmas Carol. Actually as Aiden Sinclair explains at the top of Ghosts of Christmas Passed, sharing stories of the dead was a large part of holiday tradition once upon a time. Attending this event at the haunted Queen Mary in Long Beach California is a great way to begin bringing back that tradition.

Sinclair has a masterful way of combining historical facts with compelling storytelling. He both entertains and educates his audiences, while also leading them to ponder important questions about life, death and beyond. This theatrical séance is so personal and beautifully executed that even though I didn’t participate onstage, I felt included and affected by each special moment. The participants were so relatable that I could easily imagine how they felt upon interacting with our conjured spirit through haunted items on stage.

Everything about the performance surpassed my expectations from the haunted items in the lobby, to the performance, to the special drink menu based on actual spirits reported to be aboard the ship. Sinclair’s ability to make everyone feel at ease in a situation that requires several participants was one of the moments that stands out the most to me. I was quite impressed that he explicitly tells the audience that they are not obligated to be onstage and he was very respectful to those that were. As someone that is often around magicians and other stage performers, it was refreshing to see this attitude.

Ghosts of Christmas Passed is not to be missed! It is an incredible intimate theatrical séance that not only will entertain, but could even change the way you think about a few things.

Get your tickets HERE

 

 

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HAUNTS – The Scream Zone – CA

THE SCREAM ZONE 2018

The Scream Zone in Del Mar California is a fun fairground haunted attraction with two walk through mazes and a hayride. There are also food trucks, merchandise and a mini escape room. You can purchase each maze individually or as a combo.

My husband & I ended up here after attending two other events in the area on a Saturday night. Unfortunately due to heavy rains the hayride was closed. We had done the hayride here years ago and were looking forward to seeing if it had changed, but safety is always most important.

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House of Horror is the larger of the two walk through mazes. Both are a fun time. There are a few really impressive moments with set decor and ideas, but overall the set, props, costumes and actors are just good. Neither really tell a story, but are rather a bunch of scenes thrown together. At least KarnEvil has strong theming throughout. They do a pretty good job of purging the lines. They put us through in a group of about 10 at a time in House of Horror and a bit smaller group for KarnEvil.

Overall it was fun. It is the perfect type of event for the location and crowds. It’s a professional fairground haunt worth checking out if you’re in the area.

 

HAUNTS – Los Angeles Haunted Hayride – California

LOS ANGELES HAUNTED HAYRIDE


Growing up in the midwest hayrides and tractors were a bit more commonplace, but the idea of a haunted hayride in the middle of Los Angeles is unique. The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is located in Griffith Park near the old zoo area. The hayride, dark maze and trick or treat area are the three main haunted attractions at the event. There are also food vendors, psychics, entertainment and a creepy carousel.


LA Haunted Hayride is a fun event, however 2017 was not their strongest year. The clown theme was interesting enough, but not very original. I liked their use of the old zoo area and incorporating the animals. The oversized marionettes were fun. The guy on the motorcycle looked cool. Overall the hayride didn’t deliver those stunning staged scenes I have come to expect from this event. This year it seemed a bit lighter on actors and the scares seemed to be focussed primarily on jumping on the wagon or stalking guests a little too long along a sparsely decorated path.


The House of Shadows maze is a dark maze with a handful of actors that work very hard at jump scares. It’s a fun place to get lost with your friends. There are a few dimly lit scenes within and some writing on the walls to “help” you to the correct path. There was a half deflated airbag effect that was less than effective. It isn’t the scariest or prettiest maze I’ve seen, but the idea of getting lost in an actual maze is quite fun.


Trick or Treat was the only attraction that made me put away my camera specifically saying “no lights, photos, videos, snapchat, instagram, etc while inside”. I wondered if that was so the poor quality of the attraction wouldn’t get plastered all over social media. It was a lot of fun the last time I did it…actually one of my favorite things in Los Angeles because of the creativity of trick or treating at the homes of different creatures. This year the set looked like it needed some touchups, the actors weren’t behind their doors to answer the knocking and there was no candy for the trick or treaters. It was a series of awkward moments where we would knock on a door and wait, then an actor may or may not appear to try and do some sort of jump scare that we were literally standing around waiting for. It seems to have lost motivation for Trick or Treat when they removed the Trick or Treating element from the attraction.

​Overall this year was disappointing, but I still look forward to seeing what they do next year. I hope it is a fun theme and they reignite that spark of creativity that I have enjoyed so much from them in the past years.

House of Shadows Maze

HAUNTS – Factory of Terror – Ohio

FACTORY OF TERROR


Factory of Terror is a good standard haunted attraction. It makes a lot of top haunt lists, but I wouldn’t say it’s really worth a special trip. It’s got some great visual moments and really elaborate puppets, set and tech at points and then there are large sections lacking creativity.


I did enjoy the mirror maze and some of the moving floor and wall effects. I felt the use of vertigo tunnels and airbags was excessive and ineffective. There were A LOT of very loud sounds throughout that eventually became less of a jump scare and more of a headache.


Factory of Terror claims to be one of the longest haunted houses so we expected much more, but it was simply multiple small haunts. One of the most frustrating things about the event was the theming inside each walkthrough. It was very difficult to figure out what was going on because they were divided up as if to have distinct themes but once inside each maze seemed to change within itself as if they didn’t really know what story they were telling. Stronger theming within each maze could help the actors make stronger character choices.


There were a handful of very talented actors, but overall most had no idea what they were doing. It really felt that they lacked proper training. One entire walkthrough was basically growling. The maze with the large gargoyles in front had some of the best actors and one incredibly unprofessional actor (the first scare when you walk in) was literally playing on her cell phone and looked up annoyed when we stared at her waiting for her to do something and then waved at us as if to say, “move along, stop bothering me.”


Overall Factory Of Terror seemed to be run by nice people that have a passion for haunting, but need some tweaking and the actors need training. If you’re in the area definitely check it out, but I wouldn’t drive far out of your way to see it.