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Dark Harbor returning to Queen Mary this Halloween

On Tuesday evening, April 30, a special media event was held in the Britannia Salon of the Queen Mary to announce the return of Dark Harbor for Halloween 2024. Details were scarce, but there were sly references to past attractions, and a brief promo clip offered silhouetted glimpses of familiar characters such as Graceful Gale, Scary Mary, and of course The Captain. Though most of them were not confirmed during the announcement (the presenters dropped hints but avoided naming names), some are identified in the official press release posted online immediately after the event. From what was said that night, the strategy is to resurrect these past favorites while also offering new characters and surprises.

Dark Harbor 2024
The Ringmaster celebrates the return of Dark Harbor to the Queen Mary.

One familiar fiend guaranteed to be haunting this Fall is the Ringmaster, who was on hand to emcee the evening’s presentation. Representatives from the Queen Mary and 13th Floor Entertainment were also present to tout the return of Dark Harbor, which ran from 2010 to 2019, before the 2020 pandemic lockdown put it on hiatus. Since then, the aging Queen Mary was out of commission while undergoing extensive repairs. In 2022 and 2023, the venue hosted a different Halloween event, Shaqtoberfest, which took place almost exclusively on land (there was one maze and a short walkthrough experience in 2023).*

The announcement of Dark Harbor‘s return contained pointed references to the Queen Mary now being ship-shape, implying that a major portion of the event will take place on board (past incarnations of Dark Harbor featured four mazes on the ship). It is also clear that the assembled representatives hope that resurrecting the established Halloween event will draw attention to the fact that the Queen Mary is back in business year-round: the preamble to the main announcement name-checked the ship’s year-round events such as Haunted Encounters, Paranormal Shipwalk, The Grey Ghost Project, and the 57 Ghosts seance experience.

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor: Spirits Will Rise (as it is identified in the promo materials) will open on September 20 and run through November 2 on select nights. Tickets go on sale this summer. Like the old Dark Harbor, the new incarnation will feature special VIP experiences (for additional cost), though their exact nature remains under wraps. In the past, these upcharge experiences included private tents, access to VIP bars, and small-group tours guided by each maze’s star character. The Queen Mary is located at 1126 Queens Highway in Long Beach.

We will be back ASAP with further details, including a short interview with 13th Floor Entertainment’s Director of Special Projects, Brett Bertolino. Meanwhile, check for updates on the official website: darkharborhalloween.com.

Footnote:

  • Tuesday’s night’s announcement contained no mention about the future of Shaqtoberfest. The Shaqtoberfest website and Facebook page have not been updated since Halloween 2023.

 

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.