Author - Jerry Paxton

Fenix PD35 TAC Flashlight Review

A product that should ALWAYS be in your airsoft pack, go bag, or general everyday carry bag is a good flashlight. You never know when you might need to light up the darkness and, when you do, you want a light you can depend on. Fenix has been in the light game for a long while – and makes a number of different models and styles for several categories. Recently, we got the chance to look at the Fenix PD35 TAC flashlight. Based on the PD35 flashlight, but with more tactical options, it’s definitely one you’ll want to check out.

While the Fenix PD35 TAC is very similar in design to the PD35, the tactical model does boast a scalloped front end. The biggest difference between the two is actually what Fenix calls “Tactical Mode”. This mode gives the wielder of the flashlight a much more streamlined control. In this mode, there is a momentary on/off function, then three output settings (1000 lumens, 60 lumens, and a 1000 lumen strobe). In contrast the standard mode of operation for the PD35 and PD35 TAC is “Outdoor Mode”. In this mode, the flashlight can cycle through five levels of brightness as well as one strobe setting. It is definitely a handheld flashlight, but isn’t so small as to be able to comfortably conceal in a standard pants pocket. Thankfully, the FD35 TAC easily fits in a tactical or cargo pocket and it includes a nylon belt pouch which makes carrying the light very convenient. The FD35 TAC is made from aircraft grade aluminum and feels extremely robust.

I actually ran around several airsoft games at night in the desert using the FD35 TAC as my primary light – both for navigation as well as tactical use. The light easily disorients and distracts other people and makes for a great self-defense tool because of this. Its turbo mode is rated at lighting out to 635 feet away from the wielder and that seems pretty accurate. When wielding the flashlight, I had to be very quick to change light output modes depending on the situation. The turbo mode is so bright it will give away one’s position (which in a game of airsoft can be important). The FD35 TAC is also water proof up to 2 meters for 30 minutes, so it is very resilient. Fenix also sells an optional picatinny rail mounts and pressure switches for the light, which would allow it to be used as a gun or helmet light without much issue.

In terms of maximum brightness, the Fenix FD35 TAC is more than capable of blinding an attacker or lighting up large swaths of land with its maximum, 1000 lumen turbo mode. According to the manufacturer, it can output this level of brightness for about three hours. Powering the FD35 TAC are two CR123A batteries. One smart feature of the light is that, if you insert the batteries backwards, there are safeguards in place to not damage the circuitry of the unit. Speaking of power, if you opt to use rechargeable lithium ion polymer batteries in the FD35 TAC, it will let its user know when the batteries are starting to die by slowly decreasing the brightness level leading up to a power loss.

Overall, Fenix has done an outstanding job with their FD35 TAC flashlight. For just shy of $80 dollars, you get a flashlight with the performance and quality of units selling for two times as much. The Fenix FD35 TAC is available now from various online retailers.

LA Haunted Hayride 2019 Review

The 2019 Los Angeles Haunted Hayride brings with it a new production company as well as design firm. Will these changes be enough to raise the hayride up from the slump it has been in the past few years? In many ways, yes. However, there are still several, some serious, issues that the LA Haunted Hayride must address in order to keep in the haunt community’s good graces.

The biggest change to the LA Haunted Hayride in 2019 is that “The In-Between” midway area has been completely overhauled, becoming the fictional town of Midnight Falls. Set in the 1980’s, Midnight Falls is putting on a Halloween carnival and its residents are roaming the grounds. These residents, in a Ghost Town Alive style, are not really scaring anyone. They certainly interact with guests, giving lore about the town and other residents, and generally entertain. But this is a mixed bag as, on one hand, the interaction is fun! On the other hand, there is a distinct lack of scaring going on in Midnight Falls. They need some residents that solely scare guests. The Scary-Go-Round, a skeleton Merry-Go-Round ride, is on the premises but not functioning for some reason. This was a sorely missed aspect of past hayrides. They need to bring this attraction back in order to help sop up some of the crowds. There is a stage setup where, on our visit, Monte Ravolta performed, and there may be other acts throughout the run – I can’t speak to that.

 

The food offerings of the 2019 Los Angeles Haunted Hayride have improved, with plenty of meat and vegan based options at a new food tent. Also on-site during my visit was Auntie Anne’s pretzel truck and a cinnamon roasted nuts kiosk. Something I did miss was more of the Halloween-oriented fare like caramel apples and pumpkin spice flavored options. It would be nice to have some more sweets on the menu. While past LA Haunted Hayrides didn’t do the main dishes very well, they did have the sweets.

Of course, we need to discuss the hayride itself. Unfortunately, this year’s hayride is really spotty in terms of quality and narrative. In past years, the hay wagon would briefly stop at each vignette, allowing guests to take in the scene. This year, the hay wagons just kept driving – which wouldn’t be an issue if the scenes were engaging enough to make a positive impression. There are only a few scenes that make sense in the overall theme of Midnight Falls. There are also large areas without any decorations or monsters where there should be. In fact, it seemed like the hayride monster cast was a fraction of its former number.

As a whole, the various mazes of the LA Haunted Hayride have definitely gotten better this year. The Darkness is now a more traditional haunted house experience called Roadkill Ranch and Trick or Treat is back with some houses giving out candy again (which is the way it should be) – just remember to say “Trick or treat!”. Midnight Mortuary is a new haunted house for the LA Haunted Hayride and was built, in part, with help from some of the folks from Sinister Pointe. It is a great haunted house and features various, fun, physical elements as well – things like crawling through passageways, etc.

The night we attended was severely overcrowded. Guests waited for hours…. Some just trying to get through the security checkpoint at the entrance of the LA Haunted Hayride and others mired down in the line for the hayride ride itself (even the VIP line was long). The maze lines were practically nonexistent and there was barely any wait for the food options. If you are not going to purchase a platinum pass (which is very pricey for what you’re getting access to), I suggest getting to the site at least an hour early to line up. Then, once you get inside, go immediately to the hayride attraction and ride it. After that, you should have smooth sailing as you enjoy the mazes, food, and shows.

Overall, the 2019 Los Angeles Haunted Hayride feels like a beast in transition, trying to throw off the shackles which weighed it down in previous years while not quite being able to achieve its sky-high goals. There are several ticket options available to attendees – from hayride-only passes at $35 dollars all the way up to the platinum pass for about $110 dollars. General Admission is $45 dollars and I can definitely see paying that for the event. Despite its shortcomings, there are fun and scares to be had within its mazes and Midnight Falls area. This year’s hayride is not worth the platinum level pass unless you have plenty of money to burn. For $110 dollars, you can pay for two Knott’s Scary Farm tickets (with money left for parking and food) or one Halloween Horror Nights general admission ticket.

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Cross Roads Escape Games The Seance Interactive Horror Experience Review

Recently, Cross Roads Escape Games announced an immersive horror experience called The Seance, and we got to check out one of their early performances. Made for groups of up to eight guests, The Seance sees its “players” (which is not quite an apt description) sit around the table of medium “Madam Ruby” as she contacts the spirit world. The plot and narrative of The Seance is key to enjoying it – there are plenty of twists and turns along the way which I will not be spoiling in this review.

Immersive horror experiences are fast becoming the new thing for people to do during the Halloween Season. From humble beginnings with mysterious invitations and day-of location reveals, you can now find them at more mainstream establishments like horror theme parks and escape rooms. Cross Roads Escape Games in Anaheim, CA is one of these places. With escape room challenges like The Hex Room and The Psych Ward, Cross Roads Escape Games has long established itself as a top escape game providers in Southern California.

While The Seance is not an escape room by any means, it is definitely interactive, with guests being asked to perform certain tasks during the show. Also, feel free to interact with Madam Ruby where appropriate. There is an element of improvisation to The Seance which I am sure will make the actors in the event happy to break things up during their shows. Speaking of Madam Ruby, Geovanna Flores (the actor portraying her in our show) should be commended for a very believable performance. The thing about The Seance which impressed me most was the various effects employed by Cross Roads Escape Games. The Seance features a ton of practical, in-your-face effects elements which, once you figure out how it is done, seems rather simple. This simplicity, however, is just why it all works so well when you’re sitting at Madam Ruby’s table and everything seems so real.

Overall, The Seance is an outstanding immersive horror experience with just enough spooks for veteran haunters while at the same time not being too extreme for newbies. The Seance runs until November 2 and I highly recommend you go over to Cross Roads Escape Games website for ticket and booking information. Get your date and time set as the time slots are filling up quickly.

Knott’s Scary Farm 2019 Review

The granddaddy of haunted attractions, Knott’s Scary Farm, is bringing some serious heat to the scares this Halloween season. We got the chance to check out their opening night and were blown away by their two new mazes and dynamic street monsters. This year’s opening rope drop is more than the usual monster charge – instead, it is a three minute long opening show moment complete with actors and audio-visual effects. This mini show moment sets up the green witch’s cursing of Calico and ties directly into one of the new mazes at this year’s Scary Farm. Speaking of which, the two new mazes at Knott’s Scary Farm this year are Origins: The Curse of Calico and Wax Works.

Origins: The Curse of Calico is one of the best haunted houses the park has ever offered up – partly due to its outstanding set design and its use of Knott’s Berry Farm history/lore. The maze takes guests back to Calico at the time they were cursed by the green witch character. The curse changed the town’s inhabitants into monsters. Throughout this maze, guests get to see things like what the Catawampus originally looked like! Not that little statue in Ghost Town (what historians think it might have looked like) – oh no, we’re talking the real, in-your-face Catawampus! Guests also get to walkthrough the remains of the Haunted Shack (a great big smile spread across my face when I saw this) and even get a peak at a familiar-looking skeleton. Calico: Origins of Ghost Town is simply outstanding.

Wax Works is more standard fare for a Knott’s Scary Farm haunted house – but that’s not a bad thing in any sense. Wax Works features crazy monsters (with a really awesome prop that had to be inspired by John Carpenter’s The Thing) and some creepy narrative beats (with some fun easter eggs referencing the Movieland Wax Museum – a classic Buena Park attraction that, sadly, is no more).

Last year favorite maze The Depths returns and is still an outstanding with some very surprising sights and narrative elements. Guests undertake a journey to the deep and encounter undead pirates, a kraken, demented miners, and huge sharks – all wanting to eat them for dinner.

Walking through the various street zones offered up by Knott’s Scary Farm, we were very impressed all around and several members of my party were scared multiple times in each. Ghost Town Streets, CarnEvil, Forsaken Lake, and The Hollow all deserve kudos for their energy and commitment to character on opening night. Knott’s Scary Farm monsters tend to be of a different breed in comparison to more regimented monsters at other haunts. At Knott’s, monsters are encouraged to develop their scares throughout the run and there is usually a marked improvement from the first day to the last. With what I saw on night one, the bar has been set pretty darn high.

Shadowlands, a maze which brought some seriously impressive set design in its last couple years, is ready to be put out to pasture. Despite some very eager monsters, the maze simply wasn’t working right when we ventured through and it seemed like they were limping it along until its replacement in the next spooky season.

Venturing towards The Hollow (or Camp Snoopy), we walked through Pumpkineater. A favorite of mine last year, the maze doesn’t seem to have changed much. It takes guests through the guts of a demon pumpkin spreading pestilence through a small village. And yes, I mean pumpkin guts! It’s a solid scare and well worth venturing into.

Unfortunately, the park still puts three mazes in the internal parking lot area where employees used to park a long, long time ago. Park management needs to push to get haunted houses back into the Scary Farm proper – especially in Camp Snoopy. Ever since the demolition of the Knott’s Beary Tales Playhouse (which served as an excellent and unique haunted house structure with its narrow corridors and overhead bridge) there just isn’t enough back there to bring guests towards that side of the park. Seeing the Scary Farm mazes and entrance decorations in the normal park during the day before the event only served to build my excitement of the scares to come. They are not even doing anything to theme that parking lot. There is a disjointed DJ booth now and just rows upon rows of stanchions leading guests to the warehouses containing the mazes. It’s not in keeping with good showmanship in any respect and needs to be rectified.

Dining options at Knott’s Scary Farm are very solid, with not only a full service restaurant in the Ghost Town Grill (where guests can even sit on the patio in Ghost Town’s “fog alley”) but also a full-size Panda Express near the Calico Mine Ride. Near the CarnEvil area, you’ll find the Bordwalk BBQ and a Johnny Rockets to boot! This is actually a cutdown list, with so many other options to be discovered. Hands-down, Knott’s Scary Farm has the best dining options of any theme park haunted attraction in Southern California.

Knott’s Scary Farm has shows too – including Brian Henson’s Puppet Up! Uncensored at the main Charles M. Schulz Theatre. This was a head-cocking announcement during their media event. A puppet show at a haunted attraction? From the son of Muppet’s creator Jim Henson?! Well, the good news is that they are hilarious. The bad news is that it’s still not a great fit for the Scary Farm. They need a spooky show in the main theatre.

Elvira was always a great choice but that’s not a real option anymore for them. There has got to be something they can come up with for that stage. Not to make wardrobe work too hard, but what about a version of “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”? They do a take on “A Charlie Brown Christmas” during the Merry Farm, why not double-down on the Peanuts goodness for Scary Farm? I digress… The Hanging, a long-running parody show at the Calico Stage, is doing the same thing it has for a long time now – that is, being sort of funny at times maybe after you’ve had a couple beers? The Hanging needs to be given to some new writers next year – maybe take that show in a different direction if suitably-funny material cannot be created. Again, I’m digressing… Despite my critiques, both shows are entertaining enough in their own ways.

Ticket prices start at $43 dollars and can go up to about $158 for a Scary Farm season pass. They also offer hotel packages, dining passes, and a lot more. Knott’s has a ticket tier for just about anyone, so you shouldn’t have any issue finding an option to fit your needs.

Overall, Knott’s Scary Farm 2019 is a good success and a terrifically scary time. The park’s new mazes are incredible and the overall vibe of the event is fun and scary. If you have never visited the Scary Farm in the past, you owe it to yourself to do so. If you have, visit again, because this is a great year for the park.

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Corsair Unveils Virtuoso RGB Wireless Headset

FREMONT, CA, September 26th, 2019 – CORSAIR®, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today launched its new flagship line of premium gaming headsets with the CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless and VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE. Bridging the gap between gaming headsets and high-fidelity headphones, VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless provides uncompromising sound and voice quality, delivering an astounding audio frequency range of 20Hz-40,000Hz alongside a detachable broadcast-grade microphone. Crafted and styled for exceptional comfort and refined looks, VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless is available in black, white, or SE gunmetal, with plush memory foam earpads and headband for all-day, all-night listening. Connecting via your choice of hyper-fast SLIPSTREAM WIRELESS, high-fidelity USB wired, or universal 3.5mm, the VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless sets a new standard for gaming headset audio, comfort, and versatility.

The VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless is engineered for the most accurate and impressive sound quality CORSAIR has ever offered in a gaming headset. Thanks to a pair of high-density 50mm neodymium audio drivers, carefully hand-matched to within +/-1dB of tolerance for exceptional performance, the VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless boasts double the frequency range of typical gaming headsets at 20Hz – 40,000Hz. This allows for incredibly detailed and accurate reproduction of sound, from the deep rumbling of tanks in the distance to the whine of jet engines flying overhead, and everything in-between.

Of course, hearing your teammates is crucial, but making sure they hear your calls clearly is just as important. That’s why the VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless features a detachable, omni-directional broadcast-grade microphone with up to 10,000Hz frequency response, nearly double the range of typical wireless gaming headsets. Exhaustively tested and Discord-certified, VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless captures more of your voice, and delivers it just as you hear it, for clear communication and outstanding sound.

While traditional headsets are limited to one connection type, the VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless offers three different ways to connect to a vast variety of sources, however you play or listen. Connect to your PC with SLIPSTREAM WIRELESS technology for a hyper-fast, unwavering signal, letting you play completely untethered from anywhere in the room with up to 60ft of range. For the utmost sound quality, plug in via USB to enable both high-fidelity 24bit/96kHz audio and immersive 7.1 surround sound. Finally, a universal 3.5mm four-pole connector ensures compatibility with the widest range of devices, from DACs and audio players to consoles and mobile devices.

Its lightweight machined aluminum construction means the VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless can sit comfortably on your head for hours at a time, while the soft cushioning of its plush memory foam earpads creates a luxurious listening experience for gaming, streaming, or media. An integrated battery provides up to 20 hours of wireless battery life, aided by an accelerometer-based smart-wake function that preserves power when you put the headset down, and automatically turns it on when you pick it back up.

When connected via USB or SLIPSTREAM WIRELESS, the VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless harnesses the power of CORSAIR iCUE software, giving you complete control over your headset’s audio and lighting. Choose from a range of pre-tuned audio profiles or precisely adjust equalizer settings to your exact specifications. Customize the integrated RGB lighting with near-limitless colors and dynamic effects, synchronized with all your iCUE-compatible devices for system-wide light shows.

While the standard VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless already sets a new bar for gaming headsets, the SE model raises it even further with several enhancements. The VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE features a larger, 9.5mm microphone element for even better vocal clarity and pickup. Additional aluminum trim throughout the headset perfectly accentuates its gorgeous gunmetal color, while subtle micro-perforation on the aluminum ear cups allows its RGB lighting to shine through or fade out for a seamless look. Finally, the SE model includes its own padded, cross-stitched storage pouch, sealed with a magnetic clasp.

Whether you’re taking command on the battlefield or listening to your favorite album, the VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless delivers incredible sound and impeccable clarity.

Feature Description
Headphone Frequency Response                       20Hz – 40,000Hz
Headphone Impedance                      32 Ohms @ 2.5kHz
Headphone Sensitivity                                                  109 dB (± 3 dB)
Headphone Drivers                                                      Custom 50mm neodymium, matched pairs
Microphone Type                                                   Omni-directional
Microphone Impedance                      2.0k Ohms
Microphone Frequency Response                       100Hz – 10,000Hz
Microphone Sensitivity                    42 dB (± 2 dB)
Wireless Connection SLIPSTREAM CORSAIR WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY 2.4GHz
Wireless Adapter                        USB Type A
Wireless Range                          Up to 60 feet (12m)
Battery Life Up to 20 hours
USB-C Charging Cable 1.5m
3.5mm Stereo Cable                          1.5m
Dimensions                     70mm x 100mm x 195mm / 6.69” x 3.94” x 7.68”
Product Weight (w/o cable and accessories) 360 g / 0.79lb
Warranty                                                     Two Years

Availability, Warranty and Pricing

The CORSAIR VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless and VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE are available immediately from the CORSAIR webstore and the CORSAIR worldwide network of authorized retailers and distributors.

The VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless and VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE are backed by a two-year warranty and the CORSAIR worldwide customer service and technical support network.

For up-to-date pricing of the VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless and VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE please refer to the CORSAIR website or contact your local CORSAIR sales or PR representative.

Web Pages

To learn more about the VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless and VIRTUOSO RGB Wireless SE please visit:

https://www.corsair.com/virtuoso-wireless-gaming-headset

Screamfest Horror Film Festival 2019 Unveils Second Wave of Features

(HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – September 25, 2019) The 2019 Screamfest Horror Film Festival unveils its second-wave of feature films lineup and will showcase new work from American and international independent horror filmmakers. The 2019 Screamfest Film Festival will take place October 8 – October 17, 2019 at the famed TCL Chinese 6 Theatres located in Hollywood, California.

“We are excited to bring audiences the best the genre has to offer from the independent horror film community.” —  Founder & Festival Director Rachel Belofsky.

Awards are given in the categories of Best Feature, Directing, Cinematography, Editing, Acting, Makeup, Special Effects, Visual Effects and Musical Score. In addition, there are special categories for Best Animation, Best Short, Best Documentary and Best Student Film.

The second-wave of the 2019 feature film lineup is as follows:

A Good Woman Is Hard To Find (UK/Belgium) US Premiere

Directed by Abner Pastoll

Written by Ronan Blaney

Produced by Guillaume Benski, Junyoung Jang

A dynamic killer thriller with its finger firmly on the pulse of stark social commentary and shattering suspense. Recently widowed mother of two Sarah is desperate to know who murdered her husband in front of her young son, rendering him mute. Coerced into helping a low-life drug dealer stash narcotics stolen from the local Mr Big, she’s forced into taking drastic action to protect her children, evolving from downtrodden submissive to take-charge vigilante.

Cast: Sarah Bolger, Edward Hogg, Andrew Simpson, Jane Brennan, Susan Ateh, Josh Bolt, Siobhan Kelly

City of Ashes (Columbia) World Premiere

Directed by Jhon Salazar

Written by Jhon Salazar

Produced by PRODUCCIONES VERDEBICHE SAS

A Colombian farmer, faced with the sterility of his wife, wants to adopt his orphan niece, but in order to achieve this he must destroy the demon of the town who is opposed and who, without knowing, had always intervened negativity in his life.

Cast CATERINE ESCOBAR, ALEX ADAMES, LUIS FERNANDO HOYOS, PATRICIA TAMAYO, JORGE HERRERA, PATRICIA CASTAÑO, ISABELLA GARCÍA

Hanna’s Homecoming (Germany) 

Directed by Esther Bialas

Written by

Produced by

After three years at boarding school, Hanna is returning home to her little village to help her father’s butcher’s shop during her break. Soon she learns that she is not welcome in the village. Everyone remembers the horrific news story about her mother’s death which was followed by the discovery of three dead men in the marsh. While superstition rules the village, everyone believes her mother was a witch and had lured these men into the marsh directly to their death. While struggling to make friends, she meets the extroverted city girl Eva. Thinking she has finally found a friend, scary accidents are starting to happen around her … while Hanna’s confidence and with that her “power” starts to grow.

Cast:  Valerie Stoll, Milena Tscharntke, Godehard Giese

Here Comes Hell  (UK) LA Premiere 

Directed by Jack McHenry

Written by  Jack McHenry, Alice Sidgwick

Produced by Olivia Loveridge

A 1930s dinner party descends into chaos and carnage when the evening entertainment accidentally leads to the opening of Hell. Rivalries and old friendships are put to the test as the guests must battle ghosts, ghouls – and one another – before it is too late.

Cast Margaret Clunie, Jessica Webber

Porno (USA) LA Premiere

Directed by Keola Racela

Written by Matt Black, Laurence Vannicelli,

Produced by: Chris Cole, Sarah Oh

When five teen employees at the local movie theater in a small Christian town discover a mysterious old film hidden in its basement, they unleash an alluring succubus who gives them a sex education…written in blood.

Cast Evan Daves, Larry Saperstein, Jillian Mueller, Glenn Stott, Robbie Tann, Peter Reznikoff, Katelyn Pearce

RABID (USA) North American Premiere

Directed by: Jen & Sylvia Soska

Written by: Jen & Sylvia Soska, Jon Serge

Produced by: Jon Vidette, Paul Laldone, Michael Walker

Aspiring fashion designer, Rose Miller, has her dreams torn away into

a nightmarish reality when a freak accident leaves her horribly

disfigured. After receiving a miracle procedure involving an

experimental skin graft from the mysterious Burroughs Clinic, Rose is

transformed into the beauty of her dreams. But nothing comes

without a cost and Rose begins to feel terrifying side effects that tear

at her last threads of sanity. Still driven by her ambition she struggles

to keep up appearances as the procedure reveals that something

much darker than she ever could have imagined is being brought to

the surface. What price will Rose have to pay to have everything she

ever wanted? It may just cost her her humanity.

Cast: Laura Vandervoort, Benjamin Hollingswoth, Phil Brooks, Stephen McHattie

Red Letter Day (Canada) LA Premiere

Directed by Cameron Macgowan

Written by Cameron Macgowan

Produced by Jason Wan Lim

While adjusting to a new life in a quiet suburban community, a recently divorced mother and her two teens receive mysterious red letters instructing them to kill or be killed.

Cast: Dawn Van de Schoot, Hailey Foss, Kaeleb Zain Gartner, Roger LeBlanc

The Soul Conductor (Russia) North American Premiere

Directed by Ilya Maksimov

Written by Anna Kurbatova, Alexander Topuria

Produced by Mikhail Kurbatov, Anna Kurbatov, Grigoriy Podzemelnyy

Katya is a conduit between the world of the dead and the world of the quick, and she helps earthbound souls to regain peace. It’s difficult relationships, between Katya and her ‘guests’, for ghosts, too, like real people, have human emotions, habits and sentiments, and they long to find eternal peace.

Cast: Aleksandra Bortich, Evgeniy Tsyganov, Vladmir Yaglych, Aleksandr Robak

The Wave (USA)  West Coast Premiere

Directed by Gille Klabin

Written by Carl W. Lucas

Produced by Joshua Bunting, Robert Dehn, Carl W. Lucas, Monte Young

Frank, an opportunistic insurance lawyer, thinks he’s in for the time of his life when he goes out on the town to celebrate an upcoming promotion with his co-worker, Jeff. But their night takes a turn for the bizarre when Frank is dosed with a hallucinogen that completely alters his perception of the world, taking him on a psychedelic quest through board meetings, nightclubs, shootouts, and alternate dimensions. As Frank ping-pongs between reality and fantasy, he finds himself on a mission to find a missing girl, himself… and his wallet.

Cast: Justin Long, Donald Fiason, Tommy Flanagan, Sheila Vand, Katia Winter, Sarah Minnich, Bill Sage

We Summon The Darkness (USA) West Coast Premiere (Closing Night Film)

Directed by Marc Meyers

Written by Alan Trezza

Produced by Kyle Tekiela, Mark Lane, Christian Armogida

In 1988, Three best friends Alexis (Alex Daddario), Val and Beverly embark on a road trip to a heavy metal music festival where they bond with three guys in a band. After the show, the group heads off to Alexis’ parents’ secluded country home for an afterparty. What should be a night of fun and youthful debauchery instead takes a dark and deadly turn. With killers on the loose, can anyone be trusted?

Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Keean Johnson, Johnny Knoxville, Logan Miller, Maddie Hasson, Amy Forsyth, Austin Swift

Wounds (USA) West Coast Premiere

Directed by Babak Anvari.

Written by Babak Anvai

 Produced by:  Lucan Toh, Christopher Kopp 

Will (Armie Hammer) is a bartender in New Orleans. He has a great job, great friends, and a girlfriend, Carrie (Dakota Johnson), who loves him. He skates across life’s surface, ignoring complications and concentrating on enjoying the moment. One night at the bar, a violent brawl breaks out, which injures one of his regular customers and causes some college kids to leave behind a cell phone in their haste. Will begins receiving disturbing texts and calls from the stranger’s phone. While Will hopes to not get involved, Carrie gets lost down a rabbit hole investigating this strange malevolence. They’ve discovered something unspeakable, and it’s crawling slowly into the light.

Written for the Screen and Directed By Babak Anvari the Award-Winning Director of Under the Shadow.

Wounds made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2019 and screened at the Cannes Film Festival in the Directors Fortnight section in May 2019.

Cast:  Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz , Karl Glusman, Brad William Henke

Passes and Tickets for the 2019 Screamfest Horror Film Festival:

Advance selection ticket packages are now on sale. All packages can be purchased online at https://screamfestla.com/festival-passes

Single tickets cost $11.00 and will go on sale at the end of September.

About the Screamfest Horror Film Festival:

Formed in August 2001 by film producer Rachel Belofsky, Screamfest Horror Film Festival is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that gives filmmakers and screenwriters in the horror and science fiction genres a venue to have their work showcased in the film industry. Among the numerous films that have been discovered and/or premiered at the festival include “Tigers Are Not Afraid.”, “Paranormal Activity,” “30 Days of Night,” “Trick ‘r Treat” and “The Human Centipede.” For more information, visit https://screamfestla.com or email info@screamfestla.com

Hashtag: #ScreamfestLA

Twitter: @screamfest

Instagram: @screamfestla

Facebook: /Screamfest

YouTube: /Screamfestla

About 2019 Screamfest Partners:

Screamfest is sponsored by Birns & Sawyer, Panasonic, ELMA, HorrorPack, Simple DCP, Dapper Cadaver, Screenplay.com and InkTip. Screamfest is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.  Screamfest is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs.

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2019 Review

The spooky season is upon us and it is time once again to review Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. Located in beautiful Hollywood, CA the Halloween Horror Nights event has long been lauded as a must-see haunted attraction in Southern California. How does 2019 stack up to previous years? Read on to find out more!

Universal Studios is, as the name suggests, a studio. So, it is no surprise that once again that the haunted houses (or “maze”) offerings at Halloween Horror Nights are based on a movie or television program. The top maze of 2019 is, hands-down, Ghostbusters. Based on the 1984 Ivan Reitman film of the same name, Ghostbusters takes guests through various scenes from the film. From the fire station all the way to Dana Barrett’s Central Park apartment building. This haunted house isn’t scary in the traditional sense but does an outstanding job of bringing the laughs and scares of the movie to life (or unlife). I especially loved the use of projection mapping to create proton pack beams along the walls of various scenes.

The next best haunted house in the bunch has to be Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Taking various scenes from the cult-classic film, Killer Klowns is scary and fun, with lots of carnival fog scents to go around. It was such a good maze that it made me want to rush home and watch the movie again – it’s been way too long since I got the chance to view it.

Unfortunately, instead of taking the Terror Tram in a new direction this year – or – just running evening studio tour trams, the event designers have opted for it to be entirely dark. I would have rather seen them utilize the tour trams as transport to take guests the quarter of a mile (one way) journey from the lower lot to the back lot. Speaking of the quarter mile walk to the backlot, the park needs to do something with The Toxic Tunnel. It’s like a psychedelic nightmare from which you can’t escape – and not in a good way. I walked out of the tunnel feeling overstimulated and not-scared at all. It’s simply headache-inducing and it needs to go.

Also, it seems like Halloween Horror Nights designers still just can’t get enough of empty black hallways, empty black switchbacks, and “boo boxes”. With the budget and design power of Horror Nights, I expect more creativity from them and this has become a trope of their own making. I fondly remember the days when these tropes were nowhere to be found at Halloween Horror Nights mazes and I hope they move away from them in 2020.

Over in the backlot, you can walk though All Hallow’s Evil, an outstanding maze/street zone hybrid (with no roof allowing ample air flow) with amazing characters and props. This was probably my second favorite thing to experience in my entire evening at Horror Nights. There is so much breathing room that I wish Universal would consider adding more of these maze/street zone hybrids.

My third favorite maze in the Horror Nights lineup is Creepshow. Taking scenes from the 1982 George A. Romero/Stephen King film, the maze integrated some elements from the upcoming Shudder streaming service TV series. Seeing Tom Savini’s “Fluffy” creature from Creepshow segment “The Crate” come to life before my eyes was an absolute treat.

Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man left me with an interesting mix of feelings. On one hand, I LOVE classic Universal Monsters and the 1943 film this maze is based on. However, the narrative of the Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man haunted house seems to go in different directions. The maze introduces Frankenstein very quickly while, in the film, he doesn’t present himself until chipped out of a frozen cellar by the Wolf Man. Also, because many guests have not seen this film, some of the people we spoke with outside the maze seemed ambivalent about the whole thing.

Jordan Peele’s Us does an outstanding job of taking guests through some of the scenes from the acclaimed film. It is creepy, visceral, and has some terrific music and audio cues. Also, the “Red” masks worn by some of the actors are super creepy with their bulging eyes.

House of 1000 Corpses has returned to Halloween Horror Nights and, in honor of the late Sid Haig, I wanted to be sure and mention it in this piece. Universal Studios has done a great job with the maze and fans of the franchise will be sure to notice a ton of easter eggs scattered throughout. The maze starts out with guests entering The Museum of Monsters & Madmen and then into the Firefly house (and eventually below it). The costumes are terrific and the masks featuring character’s faces from the film are very realistic. It’s also a real treat to hear Haig’s laugh throughout the maze. Rest in Peace, Sid.

Stranger Things is back, unfortunately, with an afterthought of a maze from event designers. The maze covers various scenes from both season 2 and 3 of the Netflix series. However, it doesn’t cover them very well, leaving me confused as to why they didn’t focus more on the kids or Eleven and her battle with the Mind Flayer or even the epic chase between the Mind Flayer and the kids or the Russian connection with Hopper and Joyce. The maze misses so many beats and feels like a rehash of last year’s maze without the cohesive narrative and most of the actors. Couple this with an over-reliance on the Horror Nights boo boxes and I would not recommend bending over backwards to wait a long time in line for this one.

Universal Studios is offering various ticket packages for Horror Nights – including their R.I.P. Tour package. We did not get to experience this high end ticket, but hear it features special dining and a private tour. As far as dining goes, the event does have numerous snack kiosks setup around the studio as well as the regular theme park food stops. I still think Universal Studios needs an in-park, full restaurant – perhaps one built on a second floor, allowing guests to overlook the scares below, but I digress…

Here’s part one of our Horror Nights vLog series (you can find the others on our YouTube channel):

Overall, Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights 2019 is a fun, energetic haunted attraction with average to very good haunted houses. Losing the studio tour tram (as a haunted attraction or evening tour) is a big loss to the event. However, there is still a lot of production value in most of the new mazes for 2019 and they are well worth the price of admission. The wait times can get pretty long if you don’t upgrade your ticket to the express/front of the line option, so just keep that in mind.

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Disney+ Pre-Orders Now Live

BURBANK (September 22, 2019) — Consumers residing in the U.S. can now sign-up early for Disney+ and be among the first to start streaming on November 12 when the service makes its debut. Pre-order is now live for the general public through launch on Disneyplus.com with both monthly and annual subscriptions available for purchase at $6.99 and $69.99, respectively, with a seven-day free trial beginning November 12.

Consumers signing up during the pre-order window will be among the first to start streaming the never-before-seen original programming being created exclusively for the service from the company’s iconic entertainment brands, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more. In its first year, Disney+ will release more than 25 original series and ten original films, documentaries, including “The Mandalorian,” from executive producer and writer Jon Favreau, and “Lady and the Tramp,” a timeless retelling of the 1955 animated classic – both streaming on November 12. Subscribers will also enjoy unprecedented access to Disney’s vast collection of films and television shows.

Subscribers will be able to stream Disney+ on a wide selection of mobile and connected TV devices at launch, including gaming consoles, streaming media players, and smart TVs. Subscribers will enjoy high-quality and commercial-free viewing, up to four concurrent streams, unlimited downloads, personalized recommendations, and the ability to set up to seven different profiles, including the ability for parents to set Kids Profiles that have an easy to -navigate, child-friendly interface to access age-appropriate content.

Subscriptions are priced at $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year. They automatically renew, with the option to cancel at any time before each renewal date. All new Disney+ subscribers will be eligible for a 7-day free trial.

As previously announced, on November 12, consumers in the U.S. will have the opportunity to purchase a bundled offering of Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu (with ads) for $12.99 per month. The bundle offers an exciting value proposition with access to all of the Disney+ programming plus thousands of live sporting events, sports-themed original series and award-winning sports documentaries from ESPN+; as well as Hulu’s award-winning original content and on-demand streaming library. Consumers interested in the bundle should wait until it becomes available at launch on November 12.

For more information and/or to sign-up early to Disney+, visit disneyplus.com.

About Disney+

Launching on November 12, 2019, Disney+ will be the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and more, together, for the first time. From The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment, Disney+ will offer ad-free programming with a variety of original feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series and short-form content.  Alongside unprecedented access to Disney’s incredible library of film and television entertainment, and 30 seasons of “The Simpsons” in the U.S., the service will also be the exclusive streaming home for films released by The Walt Disney Studios in 2019 and beyond, including “Captain Marvel,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Aladdin,” “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King,” “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” “Frozen 2,”and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” The service will launch in select geographic territories, including U.S., Canada, and The Netherlands, followed shortly thereafter by Australia and New Zealand, with the expectation to be available in all major markets within the first two-years. Visit DisneyPlus.com to learn more.

The Surge 2 Launch Trailer

9/20/2019 – Hardcore Action-RPG The Surge 2’s blend of limb-chopping combat and post-apocalyptic exploration releases September 24 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Developer Deck13 and publisher Focus Home Interactive are delighted to deliver a sequel enjoyable by all – either for its incredible standalone story and gameplay, or how it builds and improves upon The Surge in every way. Check out today’s launch trailer for just a taste of the fast-paced action.

The Surge 2 presents a harsh, sci-fi, dystopian world to explore and survive. Create your own character and decide how to approach the hardcore melee combat, putting your reactions and RPG character-building skills to the test. Deep character progression and customization lets you decide how to equip yourself and handle enemies – with many additions over the original game, including challenging but rewarding directional parries and companion drones with dozens of uses. Limb-targeting and executions return new and improved, so get ready to target, loot, and equip everything you see on your enemies.

Pre-orders are now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, and come with the URBN Gear Pack, which includes a new armor set, two new weapons, and other cosmetics and equipment. The Surge 2 releases September 24.

The Surge 2 releases September 24 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Halloween Horror Nights Unveils Retro Thursday Plans

Universal City, CA, September 18, 2019 – This year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood, like totally, time travels to the 1980s with Throwback Thursdays in celebration of the decade’s bad to the bone darker side featured in a host of all-new terrifying mazes.

From classic 1980s movies such as GhostbustersCreepshow and Killer Klowns from Outer Space to contemporary shows and films inspired by the decade, including “Stranger Things” and Us, there is something totally gnarly about this era that comes to life during “Halloween Horror Nights.”

Highlights of Throwback Thursdays include a not-so-friendly welcome from Chucky himself, live tribute band and DJ dance party hosted by Beetlejuice, classic ‘80s music videos and songs played throughout the event as well as themed food that will have guests spazzing and saying, Eat my Shorts!

To help guests capture the spirit of the ‘80s, they are invited to sport their finest decade-worthy attire trends, from leg warmers and high waisted jeans to scrunchie hair ties, fanny packs and shoulder pads.

Throwback Thursdays will take place every Thursday night during “Halloween Horror Nights” and is included as part of admission to the event.  All dates are: September 19-22, 26-29; October 3-6, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27, 31; and November 1-3, 2019.

Tickets are available at Hollywood.HalloweenHorrorNights.com and advance purchase is recommended as event nights will sell out.  Following are the various tickets options:

  • Universal Express One-time priority access to all mazes, Jabbawockeez performanceand theme park rides.
  • Multi-Night Passes
  • Ultimate Fear Pass:  scare all event nights

Frequent Fear Pass:  scare 25 select nights

  • After 2 p.m. Day/Night Combo Experience the park’s popular daytime attractions, and

remain for the terror that awaits at “Halloween Horror Nights.”

  • R.I.P. Tour Groups of up to 12 can scare in style with the new R.I.P. Tour

featuring a VIP guide, unlimited Universal Express access to all mazes, attractions and Jabbawockeez show, private VIP trolley transportation to backlot mazes, interactive themed photo ops and special tour of the Universal backlot, gourmet buffet dinner at the VIP Dining Room & Lounge, access to lounges for drinks and desserts, and complimentary valet parking.

This year’s “Halloween Horror Nights” maze and attraction lineup includes:

  • “Us,” an all-new maze based on the blockbuster film from Universal Pictures and visionary Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele
  • “Ghostbusters,” Sony Pictures’ classic 1984 film comes to life for the first time ever in this all-new maze
  • “Stranger Things,” based on seasons 2 and 3 of Netflix’s critically-acclaimed supernatural thriller
  • “Killer Klowns from Outer Space,” the popular 1980s horror sci-fi film lands at “Halloween Horror Nights” in this all-new chilling maze
  • “Creepshow,” maze inspired by the 1982 cult classic movie directed by George Romero and Shudder’s brand new anthology series, reimagined by acclaimed make-up artist, director and executive producerGreg Nicotero
  • “Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man,” inspired by Universal’s original cinematic monsters and the movie studio that invented the horror film genre
  • “House of 1000 Corpses,” inspired by Lionsgate’s 2003 cult classic film and directed by multi-platinum recording artist and filmmaker Rob Zombie
  • “Holidayz in Hell,” an all-original maze featuring demented versions of everyone’s favorite seasonal celebrations
  • “Curse of Pandora’s Box,” an all-new original maze based on the twisted Greek mythology tale
  • “The Walking Dead,” Universal Studios Hollywood’s permanent attraction inspired by AMC’s popular television series
  • The Jabbawockeez award-winning hip hop dance crew returns by popular demand with an all-new, high-energy performance created exclusively for “Halloween Horror Nights”

For updates and exclusive “Halloween Horror Nights” content, visit Hollywood.HalloweenHorrorNights.com, like Halloween Horror Nights – Hollywood on Facebook; follow @HorrorNights #UniversalHHN on Instagram and Twitter; and watch the terror come to life on Halloween Horror Nights YouTube.