Here is the Haunted Attraction Industry News for August 15th.
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Theme Park Announcements
Howl O Scream returns to Seaworld San Diego with three ‘reimagined’ houses and two more TBA. Explore a lab experiment gone wrong in “Nightmare Experiment“; navigate an abandoned meat-packing plant in “Simon’s Slaughterhouse“; evade the curse of the evil Swamp Witch in “Death Water Bayou.“
Universal Studios (Hollywood, CA) unveiled “Scarecrow: The Reaping” during Midsummer Scream. Originally from Universal Orlando Resort, it’s getting a fresh take for Hollywood. Set in the dust bowl of the 1930s it tells “an ecological horror story” of Scarecrows and Crows seeking revenge after being abandoned. A varied assortment of scarecrows including Skelecrows, Seepycrows, and Beastcrows will set out to reclaim the land. Leading the madness is the ‘Kingcrow,’ a large crow likely played by a stilt walker.
Busch Gardens (Williamsburg, VA) also revealed details for their annual Howl-O-Scream event, beginning September 9, 2022. Fan-favorite houses “Witch of the Woods” and “KILLarney Diner” return in 2022, as well as two signature terror-tories, “Ripper Row” and “Meat Market.” The three NEW haunted houses are: “Lucifer” – Escape before the underworld’s demonic horde finds you; “Death Water Bayou” – beware of the bayou or fall victim to the horrors cast by the swamp’s sinister citizens; “Nevermore: Chapter 2” A disturbing new chapter in the Nevermore saga has been unveiled, wreaking horror and havoc for the nobility and townsmen alike; and three new terror-tories: “Dead A-Head” – beware of your surroundings– one wrong move and it could be your head on the chopping block; “Scary Tale Road” – once upon a time, these fairy tale fantasies lured you to sleep with picturesque places and harmonious heroes.
Knott’s Scary Farm (Buena Park, CA) announced Bloodline 1842, their first new maze for 2022. Armed with ‘Bellatorian weaponry,’ guests will journey through the busy city streets of ‘Valdonia’ while hunting the bloodthirsty Valhymphri in an all-out war! In the post on social media, Knott’s challenged guests to “Bring light into the darkness and survive the vicious onslaught of vampires and bring honor to your order!” Knott’s Scary Farm returns on select nights from September 22nd – October 31st.
Six Flags Entertainment‘s revenue declined by 5% during the second quarter. In response, the company plans to implement several changes across all its parks to increase attendance, including rolling out a new dining plan, expanding its Fright Fest events through wearable technology, and launching a new Oktoberfest event. CEO Selim Bassoul described how the chain will try to shift its ideal customers from teenagers to families, explaining “It was a cheap daycare center for teenagers during breaks and the summers… We realized we had discounted too much and were filling the park with the wrong kinds of customers.”
Disney surprised analysts during their last earnings report. Revenue grew to $7.4 billion from $4.3 billion during the same period a year ago and per capita guest spending improved by 10% over last year. Total Disney+ subscriptions rose to 152.1 million (Combined, Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ have over 221 million streaming subscribers). Disney Parks saw revenue increase 72% to $7.4 billion during the quarter.
CityWalk at Universal Orlando has implemented a 9 p.m. curfew for guests ages 17 and under on Friday and Saturday nights. Underaged guests will need a parent or guardian to accompany them in CityWalk after 9PM; it’s unclear whether this policy will remain in place during Halloween Horror Nights. A spokesperson stated, “This protocol is among the pre-pandemic operational procedures we are reinstating as part of our return to normal operation.” Underaged guests staying in a Universal Hotel or those attending a movie at CityWalk’s Cinemark theater will be allowed to enter unaccompanied.
U.S. Haunts & Events
13th Floor Entertainment Group shared new details around SHAQTOBERFEST at Midsummer Scream (Long Beach, CA). The six themed areas will be Shipwreck Graveyard, Pirate’s Cove, Diesel’s Pumpkin Patch (a nod to Shaq’s DJing career), Deadman’s Wharf, Midway Madness, and Lost City Boardwalk. While each area will be uniquely themed, the overall aesthetic will be a “creepy village by the sea.” Shaqtoberfest will open late September through Halloween.
Castle Park (Riverside, CA) announced three new mazes and an overhauled look for the park’s Halloween experience, Castle Dark. Under the park’s new direction, the event entrance and houses will take on more of a narrative approach. Jinxx’s Funhouse of Terror (a funhouse with a mirror maze), The House Next Door (80’s Nostalgia Horror), and Morgana’s Revenge are the three new houses. Morgana’s Revenge is the primary focus and ties into the park’s main roller coaster Merlin’s Revenge and the Merlin character in the park. Castle Dark opens September 23 and will run on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Halloween.
Kellogg’s Rice Krispies is turning Orange for the Spooky Season. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies now comes in a fun, festive fall color: Shocking Orange. “Our new Shocking Orange cereal offers the classic flavor and crispy crunch of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Cereal, plus, the festive color of Fall. From breakfast creations to treats and tricks, we cannot wait to see what kind of creativity this product will inspire,” commented Sadie Garcia, Director of Brand Marketing. Look for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Shocking Orange Colored Cereal at a retailer near you starting in August.
Auditions / Casting Calls
Pirates of Emerson Haunted Themed Park (Pleasanton, CA)-August 20 & 21
Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream (Tampa, FL) – Various Dates
Creatures of the Night (Canby, OR) – Various Dates
Cutting Edge Haunted House (Fort Worth, TX) – Various Dates
The Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, OH) – Various Dates
Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia, PA) – Various Dates July 11 – August 25
Fear Factory SLC (Salt Lake City, UT) – August 20, 27, September 3, 24
The Haunted Forests (Newfane, NY) – Various Dates
Lake Hickory Haunts (Hickory, NC) – Ongoing
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride (Los Angeles, CA) – Various Dates
Netherworld (Stone Mountain, GA) – Various Dates
Red Vein (Ashland, VA) – August 17, 26
Reign of Terror (Thousand Oaks, CA) – Various Dates
SHAQTOBERFEST (Long Beach, CA) – Various Dates
Stalker Farms (Snohomish, WA) – August 17
Thrillvania Haunted House Park (Terrell, TX) – Various Dates
Upcoming Haunt Events
Podcast Episodes You Might Be Interested In
Earnings from Universal and Cedar Fair, Plus Tokyo Disney Ticketing Changes
We discuss the earnings reports from Universal and Cedar Fair – plus changing ticketing policies at Tokyo Disney.
Haunted Attraction Industry News for August 9th
A Chat with the Hocus Pocus Cast
we hear from the cast as they reflect on the movie’s legacy. It’s been 29 years since Hocus Pocus was released and 30 years since the Filming.
A Retrospective: 30 Years of Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre
Part walk down memory lane and part exploration of art – we’ll sit down with the creators of Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre to discuss their past 30 years.
How CalHauntS Created Midsummer Estates
We’ll learn about how CalHaunts created “Midsummer Estates,” the immersive entryway experience for this year’s Hall of Shadows at Midsummer Scream.