It’s not all sunshine and palm trees in Southern California. Okay, much of the time it is, but there’s also a dark side to Los Angeles and a new Halloween industry convention, ScareLA, premieres this August to explore those dark shadows permeating the southland.
Created by the frighteningly fine folks at Creepy LA (headed David Markland) and Theme Park Adventure (my pals Rick West and Johanna Atilano), ScareLA has positioned itself to be “the first Los Angeles convention dedicated to celebrating Halloween.” While the professional haunt industry is often a seasonal business, recent trends show an increasing number of haunts opening for stints in the off-season to satisfy horror fans’ hunger for live, blood-chilling terror beyond Halloween. Leading SoCal haunters like Sinister Pointe have been expanding their schedules and attractions into semi-year round events, while others like Jon Braver’s excellent Delusion had to extend their October 2012 run well into December just to accommodate their undying crowds of devotees. Clearly ScareLA’s time has come to gather all these ghouls into one LA-centric convention!
ScareLA has scheduled the southland’s scream of the crop in haunt masters to open this convention with gusto, not to mention guts. Representatives from the SoCal haunt biz set to attend include:
- John Murdy, creative director of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood
- Garner Holt, owner of leading animatronic and design house Garner Holt Productions
- Jason Blum, producer of THE PURGE, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and the Blumhouse of Horrors
- Jeff Schiefelbein, owner and operator of Sinister Pointe Haunted Attraction
- Bob Burns, a legend in home haunt ‘extravaganzas‘, film prop collector and ‘trainer’ of Tracy the Gorilla
- Melissa Carbone, producer of the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride
- Leonard Pickel, veteran haunt industry creator and consultant and founder of HAuNTcon
…just to name a few. There will be plenty more heavy hitters from Knott’s Halloween Haunt, Chambers of the Mausoleum and elsewhere to pack this August weekend with top shelf pro haunting advice shared in group panels, presentations and workshops. While LA’s sunny weather may belie our status as the West Coast haunting capital, our Hollywood connections and professional talent pool give Southern California a razor’s edge in producing terrifying entertainment on a scale other regions can only dream about in their nightmares.
So what can attendees expect for the price of a ticket to ScareLA’s inaugural con? A collection of exhibitors filling the 60,000 sq. ft. LA Mart venue along with expert panels, local haunt sneak peeks for 2013, haunt-building demonstrations, hands-on workshops and classes, a gallery of Halloween-themed art, screenings of attraction walkthroughs and films, games and other entertainment. Of course these are just the early announce highlights with more details to come, but so far this sounds like a powerhouse debut for ScareLA that could ensure the new con’s return as an annual haunt industry event in the southland.
ScareLA debuts on August 10th and 11th this summer with tickets expected to go on sale sometime in May. Their newly unveiled website has the opening details with continued updates on more appearances, exhibitors and events as they are arranged. Sign up there to get first word on ticket sales, then put your social media platforms to ghoulish good use by following ScareLA on Facebook and Twitter for instant news feeds as well.
SWSC is truly looking forward to seeing this Grand Guignol experiment unleashed on Los Angeles and I hope to see you all there in August — let’s hope they crank the AC to keep our blood running cold at ScareLA all weekend long!
I’ll be following up on ScareLA developments as I get them from the organizers, so stake yourselves down on the SWSC blog for the latest news.