Over 8,000 fans showed up for the debut of the Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival last year, and this year’s festival is set to be bigger and better, with more scares and all things horror coming to the Long Beach Convention Center from July 29-30.
Midsummer Scream brings more than 100,000 square feet of vendors, haunted attraction previews, film screenings, live entertainment and more, as well as a dark zone known as the Hall of Shadows. The festival is a joint effort from the teams behind Theme Park Adventure and CreepyLA.
“We are thrilled to return to Long Beach this summer after such an exciting first year in 2016,” said David Markland, Midsummer Scream’s Executive Director. “Halloween and horror go hand-in-hand, and nowhere is the fan dedication to both more intense and heartfelt than right here in Southern California. Building on everything we learned from last year’s convention, our team has worked tirelessly over the past 12 months, preparing to take Midsummer Scream to a whole new level for this community.”
The highlights of this year’s festival will definitely be its lineup of panel presentations. This year’s biggest stage is the Terrace Theater, with a 3,000 seat capacity. The lineup of panels include:
Submitted for Approval: Are You Afraid of the Dark?
- Co-creator and executive producer D.J. MacHale joins alumni from the classic Nickelodeon show to discuss their work and love for the show that sparked the love of all things scary for kids everywhere
Master Creature Makers: From Dinosaurs to Fantasy Worlds
- Hosted by Jeff Tucker of 91 Reasons podcast, this panel takes a look at some of the best practical creature creators. Tucker will be joined onstage by Emmy award-winning creature designer and filmmaker Kirk R. Thatcher, Erich Grey Litoff from the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, and more special guests
45 Years of Knott’s Scary Farm
- This 90-minute panel takes a look at the past 45 years of the Halloween event that started in 1973, hosted by author Ted Dougherty. Panelists will include former Entertainment Design Manager at Knott’s Todd Faux, Halloween haunt legend John Waite, magician and entertainer Ed Alonzo, current Knott’s Scary Farm Design Specialist Jon Cooke and current Knott’s Berry Farm Vice President of Entertainment Ken Parks
Beyond the Fifth Dimension: Creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Key members of the Walt Disney World attraction’s development and design team will discuss the inception of the original ride, and every new version that followed. Joining them will be Mark Silverman, the voice of Rod Serling in the ride.
Midsummer Scream’s second stage, which can seat 750 guests, will also offer its own lineup of presentations:
Tales and Tribulations: The Delusion Retrospective
- Pioneers in horror theater, Delusion returns with a retrospective on their five previous productions, as well as a first look at their newest collaboration with Skybound Entertainment, “Delusion: Lies Within – VR.”
Stage & Scream: Immersive Horror Theater
- Noah Nelson of No Proscenium hosts this discussion on the world of horror theater, and will be joined by Jonathan Josephson of Unbound Productions and Wicked Lit; Anna Mavromati of Shine On Collective; Zombie Joe of Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group; and Landon Zakheim, Co-Director of the Overlook Film Festival.
Ben Cooper Costumes: Past and Future
- This panel focuses on the costume history and future of Ben Cooper Costumes, founded in 1937.
Shock Waves Live!
- Blumhouse.com‘s horror podcast arrives at Midsummer Scream for the first time, with hosts Rebekah McKendry, Robert Galluzzo, Ryan Turek and Elric Kane as they record a new episode in front of a live audience
Winchester Mystery House: “Explore More” of Hallowe’en and Other Surprises
- The Winchester Mystery House will host a 60-minute presentation featuring never-before-opened areas of the mansion that are now included on the Explore More Tour.
Into the Black: First Look
- Fans will get a glimpse of Southern California’s newest haunt, Into the Black. Hosted by Shawn Marshall of Parks and Cons Podcast, this presentation will screen the attraction’s backstory film, as well as a teaser for the haunt’s “making of” documentary set to premiere at the end of this year’s Halloween season.
Theme parks will also be represented at this year’s Midsummer Scream, with Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights, Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest, Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor and Knott’s Scary Farm are set to join in on the presentations.
Also coming to Midsummer Scream this year are two unique theatrical productions by Los Angeles-based companies Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group and Force of Nature Productions. Zombie Joe’s will present a special version of their “Urban Death” show, while Force of Nature will make their debut with “Fallen Saints: Dia De Los Muertos,” which explores the origin of one of Mexico’s greatest folklore tales.
As an added element of fear, the Hall of Shadows will take over one third of the convention show floor, allowing guests to experience and preview more than a dozen home and professional haunts every day.
Celebrity guests will also be available for meet-and-greets throughout the weekend, including Cassandra Peterson (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark), Kane Hodder (Jason Voorhees from four of the “Friday the 13th” films), among others.
“In just a few weeks,” said Markland, “the Halloween season officially begins here on the West Coast; Long Beach has proven to be the perfect home for us, and we’re incredibly excited to lead the charge with the best fans in the world.”
For more information on the festival, and to purchase tickets, visit midsummerscream.org.