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The Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival Celebrates VR!

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Midsummer-Scream

VR (virtual reality) is becoming more and more affordable, and the technology is coming home in a big way. Why are we so excited? Because this tech lends itself to the horror genre like no other! Who wouldn’t want to explore haunted locations or dodge zombies without leaving their homes!

At the upcoming Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival, these uses will be fully explored.

Used by architects, theme park designers, and video game developers, virtual reality is an impressive tool that allows users to experience places and situations that they normally never would. The horror industry has taken notice of VR applications such as Oculus Rift, incorporating high-tech digital terror into haunts, movie promos, and location-based entertainment.

Join Dread Central’s Jon Condit as he discusses this new frontier in terror with Robyn Tong Gray of Otherworld Interactive, who will discuss their creepy VRexperience “Sisters”; Josh Randall, one of the masterminds behind BLACKOUT, which is developing a terrifying version of their experience with Oculus; and well-known horror writer/entertainment personality Jill Killington, who has created a nightmarish stalking/murder experience called “KILLVISION.”

UPDATE: We will also be joined by Robert Sexton, a critically acclaimed director and Emmy Award-winning producer. Recently Robert has released the world’s first 360° VR narrative-driven heavy metal video check it out below:

VR

Created by David Markland, the fest looks to be a “must visit” for haunt enthusiasts and Halloween aficionados alike and is set to include presentations by top Los Angeles theme parks previewing their upcoming 2016 Halloween attractions (Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, Knott’s Scary Farm, and Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, to name a few), nine stand-alone professional haunt experiences erected on the 90,000 square-foot show floor, a performance by Oingo Boingo Dance Party, and much more.

From the Press Release:
Bringing an incredible array of haunt and horror icons to Southern California for two fear-filled days of chills and thrills, Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival is set for its terror-soaked debut July 30 and 31 at the Long Beach Convention Center. Featuring more than 100,000 square feet of artisan vendors, live entertainment, specialty workshops, makeup demonstrations, screenings, haunted attraction previews, and a darkened scare zone, Midsummer Scream is the brainchild of the minds behind CreepyLA and Theme Park Adventure.

“Halloween is no longer hostage to the fall, and a growing number of consumers are beginning their shopping prior to September 1,” said David Markland, Midsummer Scream Executive Director. “Halloween is an over $7 billion business in the United States, and nowhere is it more popular than Southern California – home of the most diverse haunts and popular events in the nation. Midsummer Scream has not only found the perfect timing but also the perfect location.”

A highlight of Midsummer Scream will be its main stage auditorium, which will accommodate more than 1,000 horror fans gathered to witness a world-class lineup of panels and presentations, including exciting reveals and announcements for the 2016 Halloween season in California.

Highly-anticipated panels and attractions include:

Henson: Creatures with Heart
Jim Henson’s Creature Shop has been creating family-friendly scares and whimsical creatures around the world for 37 years. Midsummer Scream will welcome this incredibly talented team as they discuss the history of their craft, as well as what the future has in store for their style of puppetry and design.

Reservation Confirmed… “American Horror Story: Hotel”
Some of the sinister minds behind the acclaimed anthology series “American Horror Story” check in at Midsummer Scream to discuss the gritty world of “Hotel,” which aired from October 2015 to January 2016 on FX. From makeup design and effects to stunning character development and overall look, the panel will celebrate the terrifying beauty of the Hotel Cortez and its other-worldly residents.

Winchester Mystery House
An unprecedented 60-minute presentation and panel discussion on Sunday, July 31, will feature rare photographs, never-before-seen footage, and ghost stories from the sprawling 160-room Victorian mansion in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the spirited presentation, Winchester Mystery House representatives will discuss the history of the property, an upcoming episode of “Ghost Adventures,” their recent James Van Praagh séance, brand-new Halloween Candlelight Tours, and feature film Winchester by Michael and Peter Spierig, starring Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren. The Museum of Paranormal History, a curated section of the show floor featuring all things paranormal, will also feature a Winchester Mystery House booth.

Museum of Paranormal History
The Museum of Paranormal History will be a unique collective of vendors, experts, authors, and local tour guides specializing in all things supernatural and including more than a dozen exhibitors. Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum will showcase their vintage Ouija boards, ParaXplorer Project, Dearly Departed Tours, Haunted Vegas Tours, Planet Paranormal known for their wide variety of fantastic radio talk shows, Orange County Ghosts and Legends tour and paranormal investigation group, and the Winchester Mystery House will have actual pieces from the famous Northern California mansion on display – some for sale – at their booth. To ensure nothing gets out of hand, members of the Southland Ghostbusters cosplay group will be present throughout the weekend.

Theme Park Panel Presentations
Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights will host a presentation by the guiding force behind Halloween Horror Nights in Los Angeles, John Murdy and Chris Williams. Knott’s Berry Farm will lift the veil and share some of its spine-tingling plans for Scary Farm 2016. Walt Disney Imagineering will give fans an intimate look at The Art of Illusioneering, featuring a historical retrospective of creating special effects and illusions for its classic attractions including the Haunted Mansion, as well as how that tradition has continued today, and where it’s going tomorrow. Six Flags Magic Mountain will provide fans an amazing preview of things – and screams – to come this Halloween at Fright Fest, and Queen Mary promises a major new character and maze reveal, giving Midsummer Scream fans an exclusive look at the horrors rolling in with the tide this fall at Dark Harbor.

Other Panel Presentations
Rounding-out the paranormal offerings at Midsummer Scream will be two additional panel presentations:Haunted Theme Parks on Saturday, July 30, will delve into infamous ghost stories surrounding the attractions at Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Universal Studios Hollywood. On Sunday, July 31, Spirits with Spirits: Haunted Bars of Southern California will be on tap, serving up a round of blood-chilling stories about the most “active” drinking holes in the region.

Oingo Boingo Dance Party Headlines Noche de los Muertos Celebration
Oingo Boingo Dance Party will headline the Noche de los Muertos (Night of the Dead) celebration and ‘80s costume contest on Saturday, July 30. With an underlying thematic style commonly centered around Dia de los Muertos, the band became synonymous with Halloween in Southern California in the ‘80s and ‘90s, performing shows at Irvine Meadows each October. Tickets to the 21 and over event, as well as a limited number of passes for a personal meet-and-greet opportunity with the band, are available now at the Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival website.

Hall of Shadows
Hall of Shadows will occupy more than one third of the Halloween festival’s 90,000-square-foot show floor this year, giving thousands of fans the opportunity to preview nine stand-alone home and professional haunt experiences each day. In addition to the haunted attractions, the Hall of Shadows will feature Toxicity, an immersive experience by Larry Bones (creator of makeup applications and prosthetics at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights.) Set within the walls of a genetics lab that has suffered a toxic explosion, twisted, mutated scientists will “attack” guests from all sides. Meanwhile, high-energy performances by the Decayed Brigade slider team will take place three times each day; “sliding” is a scare tactic created approximately 40 years ago at Knott’s Scary Farm where performers push their bodies and the laws of gravity to the limit to create a heart-stopping fright.

For more information regarding dates and times for panels and events and to purchase tickets, log on to the Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival website. Fans may sign up on the site for email notifications and announcements, including discounts and other special offers. Follow Midsummer Scream on social media – Twitter/Periscope, Instagram, and Facebook.

Former producers of ScareLA, Midsummer Scream creators are David Markland, Executive Director; Gary Baker, Executive Producer; Rick West, Creative Director; Johanna Atilano, Producer; and Claire Dunlap, Associate Producer.

Midsummer Scream

Midsummer-Scream

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Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls Announced for iOS

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There’s a new Castlevania game coming our way, and whilst you might be a little disappointing that it’s not a fully fledged console release, you’ll be glad to know that it’s not a Pachinko either. It’s actually an iOS game by the name Castlevania: Grimoire of Souls, and it takes the series back to its classic 2D roots.

Dracula, who has been a staple of Castlevania since day one, probably won’t be showing up in Grimoire of Souls, as the game takes place many years after his true and final death. Things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows following the demise of the Lord of Darkness, however, as you’ll have to hunt down a cursed Grimoire with the power to bring Dracula back into the world. Throughout the story mode, you’ll pay as a character named Genya Arikado, a newcomer to the series, as you team up with Lucy, a member of a mysterious research organization, to prevent Dracula’s resurrection.

Grimoire of Souls will also have a co-op mode which can be played by up to four players, in addition to a four-versus-four competitive mode. For these modes, players will be able to choose from a selection of popular Castlevania characters, including Simon Belmont, Maria Renard, Charlotte Aulin, and Dracula’s son, Alucard.

There’s currently no word on when Konami will publish Castlevania: Grimoire of Shadow on the iOS, although you can sign up for the Japanese closed beta right now.

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Channel 4’s New Series True Horror Opens With A Warning For Nervous Viewers

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If you live in the UK, now has never been a better time to renew your TV license. That’s because Channel 4 are broadcasting a new dramatized documentary series called “True Horror”, which will take you into the heart of four terrifying true horror stories.

In pure Channel 4 style, each episode will open with a disclaimer reading “scenes of paranormal activity may disturb viewers”, before heading straight into a mix of both real life interviews and scripted segments. The first season of “True Horror” will consist of four episodes, with a special called “The Witches’ Prison” also being broadcast on Halloween. Today’s episode will be called “Hellfire Farm”, and will recount the tale of a couple who moved into a supposedly haunted farm in the Welsh countryside. This installment was directed by BAFTA nominee Tom Kingsley, and will be shown at 10pm.

“True Horror” was produced by “The Enfield Haunting’s” Jamie Campbell and Joel Wilson, and stars James Dryden, Charlotte Eaton, Sammy Williams, Katie Jarvis, Adam Leese, Amy Morgan, and James Tarpey. And you really should watch the series, because it needs the ratings. If not, we’re just gonna get more of the soap opera and singing competition garbage that usually dominates British TV.

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Agony Had To Be Censored To Avoid An Adults Only Rating; PC Version Can Be Played Uncut

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Agony looks like one of the most explicit games we’ve ever seen, so it comes as no surprise that it had to be slightly censored in order to avoid an Adults Only rating from the ESRB. Now, before you go bitching about how much you hate censorship, keep in mind that the changes made to the game were minimal, with the camera having to be slightly obscured during some of the most extreme sequences so that it could secure an M-rating.

As AO-rated games are never released on consoles, the version of Agony coming to PS4 and Xbox One will be the slightly altered M-rated edition, whilst the PC version will come with an optional patch to remove the censorship and to experience a fully uncut version of the game.

As anyone familiar with the history of the ESRB will know, this isn’t the first time that a non-pornographic game ventured into Adults Only territory. The Punisher and Manhunt 2 both had to be censored in order to avoid an AO rating, whilst Hatred was released uncut on Steam with the rating intact.

Agony, which takes place in Hell, was developed by Madmind Studio, and will be published by PlayWay later this year.

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