Day One of Midsummer Scream 2019 offered a plethora of sinister attractions, displays, and vendors. Multiple events were running simultaneously all day long: panels, theatrical events, and how-to demonstrations - so much, in fact, that a return visit on Sunday is almost mandatory for those who hope to see (nearly) everything.
The highlight of the panels was John Murdy's presentation regarding Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, in which he revealed that one of this year's new mazes will be based on Creepshow, both the 1985 movie and the new television series overseen by Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead). Other panels included a look at the 50-year legacy of Disney's Haunted Mansion, a discussion with the creators of Creep Los Angeles, an exploration of horror-themed art and prop collections, and a presentation on "Spooky and Strange Themed Bars of California."
The latter was especially nice, extending Midsummer Scream's reach beyond Halloween into year-round entertainment and events. Guests from The Phantom Carriage Brewery (reviewed here), The Cauldron (reviewed here), Beetle House L.A., Lost Spirits Distillery, and The 4th Horseman explained the inspirations for their diverse establishments. After the panel, we took advantage of the 4th Horseman's convenient proximity (only a few blocks from the Long Beach Convention Center, where Midsummer Scream takes place) and can vouch that their "apocalyptic pizza" truly is the bomb.
This year's Hall of Shadows featured another smorgasbord of haunted attractions: eighteen displays, walk-throughs, rides, and shows. This mini-versions serve double duty, previewing the full-scale haunts that will be available in October and providing an opportunity to visit attractions too far removed from Los Angeles to visit. Cal Haunts provided an imaginative Tiki Terror Portal Experience at the entrance to the hall. Haunts on display included Sinister Valley, Hyde Street Massacre, Riechland Asylum, Wicked Pumpkin Hollow, and Rosehill Haunt. Gothic Hills Cemetery, a home haunt that had been reduced to a yard display since moving to a new location a few years ago, previewed their new walk-through, which featured an incredible, pro-quality facade and a clever concept about discovering previously hidden vaults in a tomb, where unexpected things happen.
Other events included Fox Searchlight's Ready or Not Experience (promoting the upcoming horror film), Vinyl Conflicts: A Godzilla Toy Auction, and theatrical presentations from Urban Death, Fallen Saints, and Dr. Zomba's Ghost Show of Terror. All will return on Sunday.
Sunday's panels include presentations on the Knott's Berry Farm Halloween Haunt, Queen Mary Dark Harbor, Winchester Mystery House, and Tales from the Crypt. Doors open at 10am. The last panel ends at 6pm.
The Long Beach Convention Center's address is 300 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802. Get more information at Midsummer.org.