Monday, October 6, 2014

Creepiest Halloween attractions of 2014

Travel Channel has announced its picks for "Travel’s Best: Halloween Attractions" - haunted house attractions and a few other scares. Among them:

* The Queen Mary attraction, in the Los Angeles area.

* A festival in Salem, Mass., that cashes in on the town's historical reputation with events that have nothing to do with that history.

* A scarefest at Florida's Universal Orlando theme park that has a tip of the hat (well, maybe not) to North Carolina's Roanoke Island

* The attraction that makes the closest stab at reality? It's at a former mental institution in West Virginia.

Here's the Travel Channel list:

Queen Mary’s Dark HarborLong Beach, Calif.
The Queen Mary was built in the early 1930s as a luxury trans-Atlantic ocean liner, but for decades has been permanently moored in Southern California. It's a tourist attraction with restaurants, a museum and a hotel. Through Nov. 2, it operates an elaborate haunted house that has a nautical flair. 

13th Floor HauntedHouse Denver, Colo.
What's billed as "the largest and longest indoor haunted attraction in Colorado" is staged through Nov. 9. Besides ghouls and monsters jumping out, expect high-tech monsters and other tricks.

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights – Orlando, Fla.
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando plays off  hit horror  programs ("The Walking Dead") and blockbuster movies ("From Dusk Till Dawn," Halloween") Other attractions include a haunted house titled "Roanoke – Cannibal Colony."

Here's how that is described: "The inhabitants of this lost Virginia colony have resorted to cannibalism to survive. Take a trip back in time and explore the remains of this settlement where you’ll get a history lesson you’ll never forget."

The theme park photo at the top of this post relates to Universal Orlando's "From Dusk Till Dawn" haunted house -- not to something apparently connected to the Los Colony... which their storyline places in Virginia.

This haunted house, open through Nov. 8,  has more than  200 animated monsters and 100 live actors. Travel Channel says, "... ,unlike other Halloween attractions, Netherworld’s creepy characters greet patrons in the parking lot before they purchase tickets." 

13th GateBaton Rouge, La.
The elaborate haunted house, open through Nov. 8,  offers live animals ‑ including snakes and gators ‑ in addition to 100  jump-out actors and special effects. It has  13 themed indoor and outdoor areas. 

Festival of the DeadSalem, Mass.
This is a multi-venue festival (Oct. 18-31)  staged in the town made infamous for its 1692 witch trials. The two weeks of events include a Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo, and  a Witches' Halloween Ball."

Bennett’s Curse – Jessup, Md.
This haunted spectacle outside of Baltimore - one of horrormeister Edgar Allen Poe's, um, haunts - has three haunted houses: Medieval Underworld, Inferno 3D and Sanctuary of Insanity. It continues through Oct. 31.

Fright DomeLas Vegas
The  Circus Circus’ Adventuredome is temporarily retooled to hold  haunted houses in a darkened venue illuminated with special lighting and fog effects. The 5-acre attraction on the Strip includes 25 rides and attractions live shows at night and four scare zones. Dates: Oct. 10-31.

ScareHouse Pittsburgh
ScareHouse - running through Nov. 1 in suburban Etna, Pa. -  is staged in a bank building built in 1915, and produced in part by Legendary Entertainment, a film production company that had a hand in "The Dark Knight," "Pacific Rim" and "Godzilla."

Trans-AlleghenyLunatic Asylum Haunted House – Weston, W.Va.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is actually staged in the former Weston State Hospital, which functioned as an asylum until 1994. Historic tours are offered at other times of the year. Tours - called "Ghost Hunts" - are offered at various dates.