There seems to be some sort of infection spreading across the backlot of the G-Star School, located just south of Forest Hill Boulevard off of Congress Avenue in Palm Springs, Florida. Instead of running away from it, however, thrill seekers from near and far are flocking towards the school for guided tours, led by dying teenagers trying their best to keep intrepid travelers from suffering the same fate as those around them.
No, this isn’t some sort of science experiment gone awry (or maybe it is?). It is the 6th installment of X-Scream Halloween, and celebrates it’s final weekend of the 2011 season on October 28, 29, 30, and 31st. The event not only features one of the largest “haunted attractions” in the world, but also includes a full line-up of food, climbing wall, bounce house, and a live stage show. New this season is the X-Scream Movie Makeup show.
The entire event is put organized, performed, and run by a team of student volunteers. The “master of scaremonies,” Mr. George Colavecchio, is the only “adult” in the mix, and he basically stands back and makes sure it doesn’t totally fall apart.
The rest of the team, consisting of roughly 200 student volunteers, is coordinated by a group of department heads. All of these department heads report to a young woman named Heaven Long. At the ripe old age of 17, Ms. Long already has a couple years of haunts under her belt, and manages every aspect of production, only turning to Mr. Colavecchio is there is a major problem!
The makeup department is made up of Emily Serpico, Zack Blauer, and Avery Mendel, and they truly outdid themselves at this year’s event. Be sure to catch their makeup show, which is reviewed later in the story.
The construction department is run by Jeremy Lacey, who oversees the narrow passageways, smoke filled rooms, and other special, unseen properties are really a big part of what makes this haunt work.
Zach Lambe runs the technical department. To be sure, it is the technical aspect of this, and every other haunt in America, that helps to keep you on your toes!
Jordan Nathanson supervises the children’s haunt. It was our every intention to try out the children’s haunt this year. We even brought a set of borrowed children with us, but we did not arrive in time. Maybe next year!
The props/tool room supervisor, Jared Strickland, probably has one of the hardest jobs of all, organizing all the various devices of torture, which are cleverly used to frighten, without causing lasting harm.
Clara Sandrin oversees all the costumes. Costuming, as well as makeup, are both incredibly important parts of any themed attraction. They are the first things that you notice, and if they are great, the rest of the attraction falls into place.
In 2011, the attraction consists of one fully immersive experience, instead of the six themed areas that were included in 2010. I will rate each section based on its level of theming, and general scare factor. The ranking will be on a scale of 1-10.
Haunts (description courtesy of X-Scream)
The Legacy: It all started with one evil man. Born Edgar Vincent Tull into affluence and wealth, no one could have foreseen the horrible turn his existence would eventually take. Patriarch, painter, inventor and, ultimately, mass murderer! It should have been the end -the murders of his wife and children – but as fate would have it things would get much worse. In the late 1880’s Edgar opened “The Facility”, a state of the art research and development laboratory, its purpose; to understand the chemistry of the human mind. Rumors lead all to believe they had succeeded when, without a word, the facility was locked down and abandoned. Three days later on October 31st 1889 Edgar entered his family estate and brutally killed his entire family! Legend has it that his victims souls return to haunt the halls of the family home every October while Edgar continues his murderous rampage, himself untouched by death for all time.
Foolish boys… A simple childhood prank. Break into the long abandoned building known to the townsfolk as “The Facility” just to have a look around. Three students from the local high school decided to do just that on October 1st 2011 – it was the last thing they ever did! It seems that in their bumbling “adventure” they stumbled upon the fruits of Edgar’s research – a simple compound designed to unleash mans deepest fears causing insanity followed by death, and strangely, followed by resurrection as mindless creatures with insatiable appetites for blood!
From a town left in ruins and occupied by an unlikely group of “squatters” to “The Facility” and finally through the decrepit remains of Tull Manor these creatures are now everywhere – along with the restless souls of Edgar’s family – ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY!
Scare Factor: 10
Review: This year, my wife and I temporarily kidnapped four children, 3 of them age 7, the other 9, and journeyed into the abyss that is X-Scream. We were guided by a young actress who helped us to survive the journey, and also explained a little bit about what we were experiencing at the time. This tour guide, if you will, added quite a bit to the attraction. There were more than a couple great scares, and although we were brought through, quite literally roped together, the hallways were wide enough to allow passage with ample room for scareactors to pass beside us. The only warning I would give is that there are moments where you cannot see your hand in front of your face, so be prepared!
X-Scream Rock and Roll Monster Revue, featuring “The Ladies of X-Scream”: This show should be amongst the first things you see when you visit X-Scream. It not only showcases some of the costuming, make-up, and humor that are the hallmarks of the experience, but it also sets a festive mood for the rest of the evening. It consists of some high paced dance numbers, and truly shows the talent of the students at the G-Star School of the Arts!
Scare Factor: 4 (only because some people may be scared a little by some of the dancers ghoulish makeup.)
X-Scream Horror Makeup Show: They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. If that is, indeed, the case, then the people at Universal Creative would be incredibly flattered by this show. Granted, the idea of a horror make-up show is great for an attraction that relies on makeup to complete the illusion. However, one would hope that the next generation of movie magicians would be able to come up with a few more original lines than they have. That being said, the show does give an idea of how some of the illusions are produced in Hollywood monster movies, and also features a brief bio of some of the icons in movie makeup design.
Scare Factor: 6 (effects and film clips)
The event also features roving scareactors, as well as numerous food vendors, souvenir boutiques, and a free bounce house. Every year, the students and staff of the X-Scream Halloween event at the G-Star School continue to push the creative envelope to the next level. One can only imagine what they have in store for us next year!
To read a little more about the history of the event, be sure to check out X-Scream Halloween at the G-Star School brings all your fears to life. For a review of last year’s X-Scream, point your browser to X Scream Halloween 2010: They’re dying to meet you! If you want to add more fear to your plans, check out this year’s review of Fright Nights.
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