Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Recap: Midsummer Scream 2017 - Day 1

Midsummer Scream 2017

Midsummer Scream returned for its second year of celebrating Halloween this past weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center. I attended last year, and I was really looking forward to their second annual event! With last year's experience under my belt, I felt like this year was going to be bigger and better than last year. I had already planned out the major panels and presentations I wanted to see, I was familiar with the layout of the convention center, and I was brimming with excitement at all the Halloweenie and horror goodness I was going to see! It was Halloween in July, and I wanted to share with you all the fantastically fun and seriously spooky stuff I got to see all weekend, starting with day one on Saturday, July 29th.

Midsummer Scream fuel at Berlin Bistro - this is their vegan tofu scramble!

Justin Rekt (aka Mister Spooky) and I fueled up for the first day of Midsummer Scream at Berlin Bistro, which had some great vegan options for breakfast (I got a delicious tofu scramble), and from there we walked to the convention center. We arrived about an hour before the convention opened and noticed that the general admission line was already snaking its way around the building. We went inside, checked in, and stood in the front of line queue, which was thankfully inside away from the sun (tip: arrive at the convention at least an hour early to allow time for parking, picking up wristbands/badges/etc. and wear sunblock/bring an umbrella in case you have to stand outside in line).

The front of the general admission line - which started inside the
 convention center, but spilled out and around the building! 
Photo by Justin Rekt (used with permission).

If you got it, haunt it!

Like last year, the convention had multiple areas and rooms where all the spooky action occurred - this year their signage and maps were much better at directing people where they needed to go. They also utilized the huge Terrace Theater for their larger presentations, which was great and allowed more people to attend. It was a bit of a walk to the Terrace Theater (outside, in the sun, shudder!), but it wasn't too bad.

Jason on vacation. Photo by Justin Rekt (used with permission).

Casual home decor for horror fans - Savage Productions

The kitties from last year found a new home in the Terrace Theater

Tower of Terror panel

When doors opened a little after 11AM, I headed down to the showroom floor to check out the Hall of Shadows and the vendors. I perused all the lovely Halloweenie items for sale and stalked through the Hall of Shadows a bit before heading back up for the first presentation of the day in the Terrace Theater, "Beyond the 5th Dimension: Creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror." The panel was hosted by Midsummer Scream's creative director Rick West and featured Tower of Terror creators Cory Sewelson (production designer/art director); Michael Sprout (show writer), Eric Jacobson (creative executive)  and Mark Silverman, the amazing voice actor who brought the persona of Rod Serling to life for the attraction. It was neat hearing stories about the trials and tribulations getting the Tower of Terror made and built at various Disney theme parks around the world from the creators of the iconic ride. Unfortunately, the Tower of Terror was recently laid to rest here in California and turned into a Guardians of the Galaxy ride (boo), so it really was cool to reminisce and fondly remember the ride through this panel. My favorite part of the presentation was hearing Mark do several monologues from the attraction in the Rod Serling voice - wow, was that a treat!

Entering the showroom floor

Hall of Shadows entrance - I loved these creepy dudes, one on either side!

Let's get Baba-shook!

 Haunted Manor Boutique had so many creepy-cute things that my spooky
heart desired!

This convention is to die for! Oh, oops...

After that fantastic panel I wandered back over to the main convention hall and returned down to the showfloor to check out the multitude of fantastic vendors, makeup artists, scare actors, haunts, virtual reality games, artists, and all the fabulous attendees who showed up in costume. There was never a dull moment and there was always something to look at! During this time there were also various performances, screenings, kitten adoptions, classes, demonstrations, and more going on - I couldn't squeeze it all in but wish I could because everything sounded and looked incredible!

Kitten Rescue LA was there, and I am so bummed I didn't get a chance to 
play with the kitties! Photo by Justin Rekt (used with permission).

Such detailed props! Photo by Justin Rekt (used with permission).

Zombie shooting gallery with THE most annoying screeching kid prop. Ugh. 
I feel bad for the poor vendors that had to deal with this all day!

Monster masks at VKult, a virtual reality company working on some pretty 
rad stuff! I was too chicken to try their VR teaser, but Mister Spooky did
and it definitely freaked him out a bit!

Such a softy, that Slenderman!

Haunted Memories - it was cool walking by this booth and seeing all these
portraits change with their eyes seemingly following your every move...

Ben Cooper panel with Dr. Rebekah McKendry, Micheline Pitt, 
Shifra Cooper, and Jon Miller

The next panel I attended was one on Ben Cooper costumes titled "Ben Cooper Costumes: The Vintage Halloween Classic Returns." The panel was moderated by's Rebekah McKendry and featured Shifra Cooper (social media manager and project manager at Ben Cooper Costumes), Jon Miller (Ben Cooper Costumes' historian), and Micheline Pitt (artist/designer). The look of Ben Cooper Costumes is iconic and their vintage boxed costumes are highly collectible, but I was interesting in hearing about how they are planning to get back in the Halloween game. The panel provided us with a rich history of the company, how the masks were actually made, how some costumes were breakout hits (like Darth Vader) while others were wacky and unusual (like their Astro Spook costume, which is highly sought-after today). We even got some personal and hilarious family stories told to us by Shifra (her grandfather started the company). Micheline spoke about her love of the costume company and how she is creating a Ben Cooper-inspired fashion line (it is gorgeous by the way, with men's fashions coming soon!). In early September, The Mystic Museum in Burbank will host a Ben Cooper show that will have a historical display of the evolution of Ben Cooper Costumes with original sketches, factory designs, rare costumes and more from the Ben Cooper family's collection along with tribute art exhibition from amazing artists. The show will run for several months, and I can't wait to check it out.

 Ben Cooper booth!

These new Ben Cooper oversized masks would make some amazing wall art!

Some beautiful baubles from Mystic Museum / Bearded Lady Vintage!

Oops, I think I entered the upside down! Demogorgon alert!

Are You Afraid of the Dark? panel

I headed back to the Terrace Theater for the retrospective panel "Submitted for Your Approval: Are You Afraid of the Dark?" hosted by filmmaker Scott Markus and featuring co-creator/executive producer D.J. MacHale and writer/director Ron Oliver. This was such a fun panel and it was so nice to go down memory lane and relive this show with fellow fans and the creators. D.J. and Ron talked about how this show was one-of-a-kind and really tread the line between being too scary for kids but not scary enough for teens. I know it was a formative show for many young horror fans (myself included) and it was a pretty sophisticated and even scary show for pre-teens. It was neat to hear how the show evolved (original concept was some old grandpa character reading spooky fairy tales) and how certain child actors were professional and a treat to work with (while others not so much). I was hoping for a re-boot announcement, but unfortunately the creators shot down that idea and said it wouldn't be possible with the licensing issues. Bummer. Long live the Midnight Society!

There were a lot of great cosplayers at the event, I kept running into these two
all day and finally got a pic of them!

Jason is a long way from Camp Crystal Lake...
Photo by Justin Rekt (used with permission).

Knott's Scary Farm went full-on gory this year at their booth!
Photo by Justin Rekt (used with permission).

Just chilling at the VKult booth. Photo by Justin Rekt (used with permission).

This creepy little lady is a regular at haunt events and is always a
terrifying treat to see. Photo by Justin Rekt (used with permission).

Photo by Justin Rekt (used with permission).

Did you know Elvira is coming out with a line of clothing in collaboration 
with Pinup Girl Clothing?! Just look at these gorgeous dresses I got to sneak
a peek at - the purple Haunted Mansion-inspired one was my fave!

The last thing I checked out was "The Terrifying and Titillating Burlesque of Peepshow Menagerie," which started as a panel with the creator and performers discussing their inspirations, where they got their love of horror, and how they marry horror and burlesque in their acts. Then the audience got a sneak peek at their show with an amazing performance by Eva Ziegfield inspired by the Haunted Mansion's Hat Box Ghost and a performance by Sheila Starr inspired by the Dusk 'Til Dawn snake dance. Peepshow Menagerie regularly hosts nerd- and horror-inspired burlesque shows in Southern California, and I can't wait to go to one of their shows! Upcoming themes include the films of David Lynch, Mystery Science Theater, and monsters.

Half Seitan Meats Jesus and half Vegan Veggie pizza, plus vegan garlic knots
and this yummy blueberry soda (it was so good!) at Pizzanista LB

After that non-stop day, we were both beat so we had some dinner at Pizzanista (we shared vegan garlic knots and a huge pizza), headed back to our AirBnB, and got our beauty sleep for the day two of Midsummer Scream.

Check out my Day 2 coverage!

Until then, stay spooky!


  1. Yay! I've been waiting for your review of Midsummer Scream. It looks like an absolute blast. Thanks for making me feel like I was there. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...