Scare LA brings an early Halloween to Los Angeles

Halloween is two and a half months away, but don’t tell the thousands of horror lovers who attended the inaugural Scare LAhorror event this past weekend in Los Angeles.

Thousands of individuals attended this weekend’s Scare LA to get their fix for dismembered body parts, eerie gravestones, undead soldiers, monstrous transformations, and coffin rides. Whoever thinks that only Christmas comes earlier every year has clearly not encountered the plethora of zombies and werewolves that took up residence at the LA Mart over the weekend.

Scare LA is a horror enthusiast’s delight. The weekend comprised of panel discussions featuring industry professionals who design Halloween attractions, special-effects makeup artists, and independent horror filmmakers. They gave insight and advice from their years of previous experience working in the horror industry. Some special effects artists set up shop and turned their talents into performances by applying various types of makeups on patron’s faces in front of everyone to see.

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And then there were the rows of booths across the showroom floor. A myriad of vendors sold Halloween accessories ranging from premium smoke machine fluid to dismembered, bloody limbs that seemed to come from a mad scientist’s lab. Rows of masks that resembled demons, ghouls, and werewolves could be seen down every aisle. Venders were dressed in all sorts of costumes to both terrorize and attract visitors to their booths.

But one of the biggest draws of the weekend event were the panel discussions featuring designers and engineers from one of Southern California’s premiere horror attractions: Knott’s Berry Farm Haunt.

During the discussion the designers for this year’s Haunt shared their experiences and inspiration for the new mazes. Interestingly, moderator Eric Lynxwiler asked the panel who had originally started working at Knott’s Haunt as a monster. Three of the six raised their hands.

“You have to know how to be a scare actor to design a maze,” said Gus Krueger.

“I went out as a crazy bird thing once or twice every year. You can’t forget to scare,” added Brooke Walters.

The panel also made an exclusive announcement to the eager audience at Scare LA. For the first time in Haunt history Fiesta Village would make its debut as a scare zone for Knott Scary Farm. Reimagined as “Fiesta de los Muertos”, the area promises to have entertainers, monsters, and actors on stilts all inspired by the Dia de los Muertos holiday.

Other announcements by the designer team included the Skeleton Key, a special VIP pass available for purchase that gives guests a front line pass and a bonus interactive room in five mazes. They also revealed that Elvira’s return to Halloween Haunt to perform her wicked routines would include opportunities to meet and greet the “Mistress of the Dark”.

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But for those who may be interested in a slightly more scaled down horror experience, especially those who have the creative desire to design their own, Scare LA had something for those individuals too.

A booming niche during the Halloween season is the opening of small but equally frightful haunted houses and scare experiences put on by avid horror enthusiasts. Workshops were held for these spooky entrepreneurs who once a year put on an entertain experience and share their love of fright. Topics ranged from branding their experiences to the best strategies of promoting their events.

And for those who dream more about making the next great horror classic than building a haunted house for only one day a year, there was something for those individuals too.

Filmmakers and producers weighed in on a variety of film production and distribution strategies. From writing the script to gaining funding through venues such as Kickstarter to assembling press kits, the workshop had it all. By the end of the presentation, it was clear that the presenters understood the hard work it takes to create a successful low budget horror movie.

In all, Scream LA managed to provide a nice diversity of entertainment and information for all sorts of horror enthusiasts despite the smaller venue in which it was held. Clearly the horror culture has a loyal and devout following that will certainly help this event grow in the future.

Halloween should come earlier and earlier every year.

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Aaron Zamora

Aaron grew up in Whittier, California and is currently finishing his master's degree in Human Communication studies from California State University, Fullerton. His interest in journalism began in high school where he served as the Editor-in-Chief for his school’s newspaper and participated in their inaugural broadcast journalism program. An avid world traveler, Aaron has a wide array of interest that include a passion for cinema and television. He is also a sports fanatic.

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