A Ghost Ship Launches for Halloween in Southern California - Dread Central
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A Ghost Ship Launches for Halloween in Southern California

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Official Ghost Ship Website

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As a full-blown haunted attraction junkie, I’ve spent years covering every October-themed event Los Angeles has to offer. One of the best of the bunch was last year’s “LA Haunted Hayride”, and the twisted minds behind it are returning with an attraction that, truth be told, even I’m a little scared to go on.

This fall GHOST SHIP will kick the usual trend of haunted mazes by taking guests off the mainland for a 75-minute night cruise that promises all sorts of demented sights. October can’t come soon enough! Read on for full details!

From the Press Release
From the creators of the popular Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, Ghost Ship is the first haunted attraction in the country to take place on a ship that sets sail into the dark, open ocean at night.

Departing from Newport Beach, California, and comprised of three levels of highly interactive content, Ghost Ship will send guests on a 75-minute ride of pure terror where not one corner of this ship is off limits.

The plot behind Ghost Ship starts in the early 1930’s when the State of California became responsible for the residents of Psych Ward 7. These were the most dangerous inmates in the country, so dangerous that no walls on land were considered adequate to keep society safe. It was decided that these inmates were to be housed on a ship anchored over 100 miles off shore that was to become the country’s first floating asylum. One fall night in 1939, without so much as a cloud in the sky or a ripple in the water, the ship disappeared off the Coast Guard’s radar and has never been found…until now.

The gut of the ship will bring guests through the abandoned hallways of what once was the treatment deck for those in need of Electro Shock Therapy, Hydrotherapy, and Sleep Disorder Rehabilitation as well as the old examination rooms and morgue. The middle floor will appear to provide a moment of calm where patrons can grab a cocktail and take in the old ballroom vibe of the 1930’s. However, appearances can be incredibly deceiving as this may just be the most disturbing floor of the ship with some severely twisted surprises that guests will never see coming. Lastly, the top deck will bring gluttons for punishment through an interactive execution experience that just may make them wonder “who” is actually getting executed. This will be an experience you will not want to miss if you are someone with a high tolerance for fear. And we must warn you that once you have stepped onto Ghost Ship, you are fair game.

Once guests enter the ship, they are able to move through the floors at their own pace. Melissa Carbone, Executive Producer of Ghost Ship, states that “obviously, content is very important to haunted attractions, but I believe that of equal importance is the environment in which you place that content. That’s what makes Ghost Ship special. It’s another exercise in isolation…this time in the ocean. And that to our knowledge has not been done before.”

Ghost Ship has also adopted a “Fur Free” policy prohibiting guests from bringing garments made of fur onto the ship with an apropos slogan for the season of “We have enough blood and guts inside, NO FUR PLEASE.”

Parent company, Ten Thirty One Productions, owns, produces, and promotes attractions internationally, including the successful Southern California based “Los Angeles Haunted Hayride,” while using them as a vehicle to create social awareness and fundraising for Animal and Wildlife Preservation as well as Environmental Conservation. Additionally, Ghost Ship will be a presenting sponsor at the “Stan Lee and Comikaze Expo’s” Comic-Con Private After-Party event on Thursday, July 21st, at the Bristol Hotel in Downtown San Diego.

Ghost Ship’s maiden voyage is October 14th and operates every Friday and Saturday through October 29th. There will be three voyages per night at 6:30pm, 8:15pm, and 10:00pm. General Admission is $59. Only 400 tickets are sold for each voyage so space is very limited.

Tickets are currently available for purchase online at Ghost Ship!

A Ghost Ship Launches for Halloween in Southern California

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?

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Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler


While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can

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It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis


Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
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Summary

Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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