There are big changes taking place in Long Beach for Halloween 2009. Shipwreck Productions' old "Queen Mary TerrorFest" has morphed into "Shipwreck Halloween at the Haunted Queen Mary." The new incarnation bills itself as "15 Nights of Terror," featuring "Haunted Attractions & All-Night Parties." The Queen Mary has long offered one of the biggest Halloween events in Los Angeles county, but in terms of sets and props it never matched Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood or the Knott's Berry Farm Halloween Haunt. Hopefully, the new branding represents more than a mere face-lift, and this year's production will kick up the Halloween haunt a notch.
Here is a rundown of the changes:
By the first week of September, the old website for Shipwreck Productions, the company that previously put on the Queen Mary TerrorFest, had disappeared, reduced to a splash page with a spooky image of the ship.
Meanwhile, the website for the old Seaside Haunt in Ventura morphed into an advertisement for the “Haunted Queen Mary.” Seaside Haunt was one of several Halloween attractions, including Spooky House, owned or co-owned by Bob Koritzke, who died in July; the Spooky House and Seaside Haunt names were sold to the Queen Mary for their Halloween event.
By September 16, the Shipwreck URL was redirecting to a page on the official Queen Mary website, with details for Halloween 2009, while a brand new website (www.shipwreckhalloween.com) was dedicated to the new version of the haunt. This website lists Matthew Gavin Enterprises, Gridlock Events, Spooky House, and Costume Bob's Halloween World among their "strategic partners." The Seaside Haunt URL now leads to this new website.
Along with the new website come new mazes and new, lower ticket prices: $29 for General Admission, as opposed to $35 in previous years. There are also deals for preview nights and fast passes:
- $19 for preview nights (the first weekend, October 2 and 3)
- $40 VIP Fast Pass (cut in line privileges)
- $69 Month pass
- $99 VIP Month Pass (cut in line privileges)
Tickets are now on sale at the Queen Mary Ticket Office (open 10:00am through 5:30pm) and through WantTickets.com.
The number of mazes has dropped from seven to five. The best mazes were always the ones on board the Queen Mary, taking advantage of the ship's long dark passageways, so we hope the deletions have been made from the land-bound mazes:
- Vampire Village:This haunted village dates back long ago, with twists and turns and fog below. Located to the north of the Shipwrecked Queen, some villagers have been known to scream. Alas, have no fear, for there are friendly Transylvanians near.
- The Graveyard:The Un-dead have awoke from a long blissful sleep, to chase those who’s footsteps will not give them peace. Tread lightly if you dare, and are so bold, for from out of the fog may pop-out something cold!
- Isolation ward There is no escaping this straight jacket of a maze, patients may enter and exit in a haze. Handle them with care with good bedside manner, or be forced to answer to the dreaded Nurse Slasher!
- Blackbeard’s Revenge (Pirate Maze): Angered Pirate Spirits haunt the sea, from years of trying to overthrow the Queen Mary. This maze will delight the scurviest of mates, with a dozen or so Pirates that will give chase. AAAAAARRRRGGG!
- Paranoia’s House of Horror:Take a trip down memory lane, where Classic Haunted Characters are ready to bring the pain! Thru the dark depths of the ships bowels you will be, restrooms are nearby if you need to pee. So run, hide, scream all you want, nothing will stop these Masters of Haunt!
The Haunted Queen Mary has also cut back on its overnight "RIP" packages. There used to be four or five, now only one - which allows you and your significant to spend a night aboard the floating hotel, attend the Halloween event, enjoy breakfast, and see some of the regular shows. The prices is $225; add an extra $20 for VIP fast passes.
We have always enjoyed the Queen Mary's annual Halloween attraction, even though it fails to earn respect among some haunters because its lower budget prevents it from matching the production values of other theme park Halloween events. They seem to be striving to offer something new and different this year. If they can avoid throwing the briny baby out with the sea water - keep the long dark mazes on ship and improve the land-bound mazes - they could really have something special this year.