Event Report: Reindeer Manor Halloween Park - Dread Central
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Event Report: Reindeer Manor Halloween Park



I was absolutely convinced I was going to be murdered.

Reindeer Manor Halloween Park is a collection of four haunts on one estate/farm just south of Dallas.  As is usually the case in Texas, you can drive 15 minute away from a bustling urban downtown and be in the proverbial sticks.

I’d followed Waze’s instructions south on 35, to a small road.  That road was paved and of decent width.  I then turned onto a smaller road.  It was narrow, and hadn’t been maintained since Ronald Reagan was president.  I then followed one of those old-fashioned signs with the flashing arrows on top.  No text, completely blank, but the arrow was flashing.  This turn put me on a gravel road, nothing but weeds or trees on either side.  After several twists and turns in the pitch-black countryside, I followed a spray-painted sign and left the gravel to start driving through a field.

This is when I became convinced I was going to be murdered.  It was only the presence of some parking staff in reflective vests that gave me hope this wasn’t some hillbilly cannibal cult’s way of filling their larders before winter.

Reindeer Manor sets the mood before you even enter the park itself, that’s safe to say.  Once you’ve parked in the field, you have a bit of a hike to find the actual entrance to the former Sharp Farm that houses the Halloween Park itself.  Inside, it’s laid out how one might imagine the Spahn Ranch looked during the Manson Family’s residence there.  A few old school buses, a couple of tents, some outbuildings, and the four actual haunts.  Random weirdos roaming amidst them, most of whom actually work for the haunt. I hope.

The original Manor is easy to consider the focus point of the park.  Located at the far end of one side of the property, the large, brick manor house has a graveyard in front of it and a picket-fence queue that wraps around said graveyard, leading up to the entrance.  Two different shows happen here while people wait to enter the manor.  One is a graveyard dance sequence set to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” with various spooks literally climbing out of the graves to get down.  The other involves a man who really loves his chainsaw performing Jackyl’s “Chainsaw Song” while slicing up a body on the roof.  The geysers of blood that fly off the roof as he throws the body parts into the crowd certainly assist in setting the mood for what’s to come inside the house.

The fire roars during the rooftop chainsaw show

The Manor itself is a large, roaming building, and so is the haunt inside.  Continuously operating since 1974, it’s the oldest haunt in Texas and it is said to actually be haunted by the ghosts of a murder/suicide.  The theme is loose, although the haunt’s website describes the victims and perpetrators of a mass murder looking for vengeance.  This is a classic, old-school haunt, and I say that in the best way possible.  It’s a very, very old building (around 150 years old, I believe) and the sets work with that and set the tone of the haunt. The actors are in character, entirely makeup-driven (no mask work) and good at what they do.  You wander outside of the Manor into the back yard and farmland, so the haunt is much bigger than it appears to be on the outside.  A big finale features someone I’ve chosen to call “Bubbles”.  He looks great in pink chiffon.

The Manor itself

Near the Manor is the most recent addition to the Park, Shadow House.  This is a very strange little haunt, and I do mean little: this is a very small building and it only takes a few minutes to complete.  The owners seem to know this, and this haunt is only available with a general admission ticket.  (You can buy entrance to only one or two of the haunts, but Shadow Room isn’t an option for those tickets.)  It’s a bonus add-on for a full admission, and that’s really the only way it’d work.  A complete blackout maze, you’re given a glow stick on entry that’s a little too glowy.  I’d prefer a much dimmer stick like the ones Dark Hour uses for their Valentine’s Day blackout show.  This also doubles as the Park’s all-clown maze…and odd combination, as clowns are so visual, yet this is a pitch-black maze.  I’m not saying it doesn’t work, it was a fine little haunt, but it is definitely just a quick add-on to the three bigger haunts.

Heading back to the middle of the Park, you have Dungeon Of Doom.  This haunt originated in Arlington, some miles to the northwest of the Park’s location, and moved here in 2008.  The website describes this as an 80’s-style fun house.  I don’t know about that, it’s just a good, classic haunt.  The walls were rattling with the Van Helsing’s Curse album as we moved past scenes of various themes.  Everything from clowns to medieval torture appear in this one, and it works.  It’s not a narrative maze, it just wants to scare you.  It does a great job of that, with a strong cast and a fantastic gag at the end involving…well…lawn tools.  I’ll leave it at that.

Rounding out the haunt list is my personal favorite, 13th Street Morgue.  The name is downright strange: there are no streets anywhere near here, and the haunt is in the large, stone barn from the original Sharp Farm.  (Also said to be haunted.)  That oddity aside, the theme here is strong: this is an old-school morgue and mortuary you’re traveling through, and strange things are afoot.  Everyone from the reanimated dead to malevolent undertakers and gravediggers are here to threaten you.  This maze featured the best acting, the strongest narrative, and the best scares of the four.  It’s a strange haunt, to be sure.  At one point, I asked if everyone else in my group saw the pig man who had briefly appeared in a doorway.  I was afraid one of the substances I’d been sprayed with minutes earlier was laced with peyote.

The front of the 13th St Morgue

The Park has amenities other than haunts.  A food truck selling Tex-Mex goodies is available, with some covered outdoor seating.  One of the school buses has a photo service within.  There’s also a gift shop/snack tent with haunt merch and drinks available.

Reindeer Manor lives up to its reputation as one of the finest haunts in the DFW area.  They’ve been doing this for some time, and are on the second generation of family owners.  It shows, and they’re at the top of the game.  It’s worth the drive to parts unknown to spend a few hours roving the park.  Definitely forget about the partial ticket options: just buy the whole show and take the ride.  You won’t regret it.

Tickets and information are available via the Reindeer Manor website.


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Filthy and Fine! The Best Shots of Ash vs. Evil Dead



The Evil Dead franchise is my all time favorite horror series, which evolves its mythos with each entry. Of course, the original Evil Dead has been just a straight-up horror film, but thanks to the fateful meeting of filmmaker Scott Spiegel, director Sam Raimi took the franchise into a strange comedic territory, using slapstick while still keeping the tones of sheer terror. What makes this terror stay with the franchise even with Ash’s loudmouth persona is it’s influential and inspiring camera work that Sam Raimi makes a legend behind the camera.

After years of waiting for the master of horror to return to the Evil Dead franchise, our palates were satiated with “Ash Vs Evil Dead” which continued the inspiring cinematography. With two seasons of a television show under Raimi’s watchful eye and a third season on the way, I took a look at every episode in the series to see if each director on board the project kept that eye for cinematography and shooting style. The series was notorious for it’s over the top gore and gags and I could’ve sat here and just gushed over the geysers of blood emitting from every orifice in the show, but, what I found in each episode brought more and more to the table. There are still horrifying shots to balance out the comedy of the show, but there are also amazing character moments within that foreshadow and evolve each character.

Think about it, other than Ash we’ve never had a cast of characters that survived more than two minutes but now there’s a crew of Ghostbeaters! Don’t worry as we still have randoms coming in and out that leave you to ponder, “How long can this poor Shemp live?” as they burst into blood and viscera. There are shots that revel in the grotesque, but there are also shots that revel in who our heroes are and delve into their psyches, the specialty of the Deadites! For those who’d like to follow along with the shots in the show, I’ve given you the time these shots show up if you’re watching the show on Netflix skipping the recaps.

To see the images in their full-size glory, give them a groovy little click!

S1E1: “El Jefe”
Directed By Sam Raimi
The flashlight twirling on the ground illuminating the scene as it spins on the two detectives faces gives way to one of the best sequences in the series. As Amanda’s deadite partner attacks her, the light spins furiously with the actions of the scene as she tries to retrieve her gun. When she retrieves the gun and aims it at the deadite the audience member would get a sigh of relief that she would triumph but is then tricked into terror. The flashlight spinning becomes slower and slower on both their faces as the man cries in pain pleading to his partner. The light illuminates his transformation back into a deadite horrifyingly for a slow dread filled shot. This shot and sequence show Sam still has it and sets up the series for what’s to come.

S1E2: “Bait”
Directed By Michael J. Bassett
As Ash brings down the cross upon the ground the camera pans to Pablo and Kelly with a bright sunrise upon them. While the horrors of the night are over it is this sunrise the signifies the dawning of Kelley’s new life and her dialogue over this shot swears her vengeance.

S1E3: “Books From Beyond”
Directed By Michael J. Bassett
Up until this point, Ruby has remained a mystery and not given us a sense of danger. Against the howl of the windmill in the background bathing in the moonlight we see her unleash the Kandarian dagger upon the already impaled deadite with a smirk on her face. This shot unravels her mystery bit by bit hauntingly as the first person besides Ash to stare down a Deadite with no fear.

S1E4: “Brujo”
Directed By David Frazee
The Brujo’s entire set up is pretty creepy with all sorts of totems that he utilizes for good but look haunting. When Kelly steps into the barn possessed by Eligos the totems come to life and react to the evil stepping before them. The best one though is the face that quickly begins to disappear bit by bit as Kelly approaches. It utters the word Mentirosa, Spanish for a liar, as she steps forth, giving way to a visually striking and terrifying warning.

S1E5: “The Host”
Directed By: David Frazee
Pablo bids farewell to his youth and tutelage under the Brujo while stepping into a new life with Ash that is more in tune with his family’s spiritual upbringing. With each totem lighting up as Pablo walks by the shots build Pablo’s feelings of loss toward a teacher as Pablo emerges a warrior that foreshadows his importance later to come as the first magical force of good in a fight that’s only ever cast spells of evil.

S1E6: “The Killer of Killers”
Directed By Michael Hurst
This is one of the most hilarious yet meaningful shots of the episode. Amanda’s boss has become a deadite ready to kill her. Ash shoots Amanda’s boss in the head, making her question the authority she had adhered to so much. Her idea of Ash as a villain changed with that charming Smile and look to Amanda in a gory pose over the lower jaw of her former boss. Ash looks to her like Uncle Sam simply saying join us! Blood and viscera flowing around him like a fountain. Dangling legs in the background as an added bonus!

S1E7: “Fire In The Hole”
Directed By Michael Hurst
Actions in combat can tell a story just like any dance. The compatibility between our heroes is evocative of Ash and Amanda’s budding romance during the entire sequence. However, it is this one masterful shot of the two working in unison dodging hellfire that tells the story of warrior’s love lit by demon fire!

S1E8: “Ashes to Ashes”
Directed By Tony Tilse
Ash can never escape the past it seems as the series goes on. He is hesitant to trust Pablo and Kelly as friends in his adventure for fear of losing them like he has lost so many others. This infamous shot from Evil Dead 2 is one of the few things that could make him question his machismo. This time he doesn’t even bring the chainsaw down on his beloved Linda but is forced to watch as an invisible chainsaw comes down upon her head forcing him to be reminded of what he did. This plays heavily into his decision making near the end of the season.

S1E9: “Bound In Flesh”
Directed By Tony Tilse
We finally get to see the book speak and beg Ash to not destroy it. This is something we’ve become accustomed to in the comic series, but have never been treated to the book itself speaking to Ash otherwise. We as the audience become the eye of the book and in true Evil Dead fashion watch, Pablo scream as the camera rushes toward him and he fuses with the book. This moment is the change in Pablo that clashes with his new direction discovered in the shot in Episode 5, which then tortures him internally until the end of season 2 where he is constantly being pulled by the necklace of the Brujo and the evil of the books spells.

S1E10: “The Dark One”
Directed By Rick Jacobson
A dreary moonlight shot of blues against the cabin looking ominous as Kelly stares on drenched in blood and anger. It’s a hauntingly beautiful shot. Kelly has fully embraced herself as a ghost beater and is done being tormented ready to start saving her boys. For a lot of characters, this could easily be a breaking point, but this shot affirms Dana Delorenzo as Kelly among some of the most powerful and able Final Girls on the rise.

S2E1: “Home”
Directed By Rick Jacobson
This shot is very telling of Ruby’s betrayal to evil. As her children surround and attack her, she is obscured by darkness and where she lies in terror a bright light emanates from behind her illuminating the scene as if to show her becoming a hero against evil.

S2E2: “The Morgue”
Directed By Tony Tilse
When this episode aired it was one of the most talked about and disgustingly depraved things to see. A simple Camera rig in front of Ash as he struggles to get out of a corpse, pubic hairs and dick swinging in his face. If Dead Alive wanted to take Evil Dead’s title of biggest gross-out scenes, then “Ash Vs Evil Dead” took the title back with excrement and body fluids all over our hero.

S2E3: “Last Call”
Directed By Tony Tilse
There are a ton of great shots of the evil Delta but perhaps the best one is this single frame of Lacey telling her boyfriend she loves him as he is splattered across the windshield. Blood and glass between them as they try for one last kiss against the fire and demonic lighting coming from the Delta and then splat! It’s a small touching moment that makes Lacey’s character a bit more sympathetic as the show goes on. As for her boyfriend? Well, I told you there would be plenty of Shemps to kill off.

S2E4: “DUI”
Directed By Michael J. Bassett
After splattering Ash’s dad across the street, The Delta pulls up with a camera spin into the grill revealing an eye stuck in it. Ash’s one true love, his car, that’s survived everything has turned against him and killed his father just as they had reconnected. A perfect role reversal as Brock William’s severed eye is now staring down Ash through the grill of the car. No longer a window into Brock’s soul, but a sick vision of Ash’s love turned enemy.

S2E5: “Confinement”
Directed By Michael J. Bassett
Flashing between light and darkness as the skin is ripped and blood is splattered gives us a horrifying look for the first time at the main antagonist of the season. Baal emerges from the flesh of humanity showing how we are all merely tools for his psychological deceptions.

S2E6: “Trapped Inside”
Directed By Mark Beesley
The moon reflects an eerie light upon Cheryl’s picture as it begins to bleed like the statue of Mary. The innocence of Ash’s sister was never saved and her soul weeps as the flesh is resurrected for evil’s bidding.

S2E7: “Delusion”
Directed By Mark Beesley
This entire episode is about breaking down Ash’s spirit and character, making him think he’s truly insane. As he’s at the breaking point he sees his friends and his love for them saves him. It’s a really simple shot that’s amplified by Bruce’s performance, but that disturbed look against the shadowy bars across his face in the dreary room give him his eureka moment where he comes down from his insanity and understands what he has to do to win.

S2E8: “Ashy Slashy”
Directed By Tony Tilse
Throughout the season the town builds up a boogeyman mythos in Ashy Slashy that we know as an audience member isn’t true but this shot brings Ashy Slashy to life. That boogeyman becomes real as the straight jacket becomes Ashy Slashy’s costume and the fire created by the chainsaw shows a side of Ash we’ve never seen. In this shot, we are convinced he had become a mindless killer.

S2E9: “Home Again”
Directed By Rick Jacobson
We’ve only ever heard his voice and seen his ghost save for a few shots of him discovering the Necronomicon in Evil Dead 2. Professor Knowby watches his student, Tanya, bleed out on the floor. She looks up at her mentor with horror as light swings back and forth casting shadows on his face. He is almost serial killer in nature and the shot reflects how his quest for knowledge outweighs his humanity. We see Professor Knowby and his daughter Ruby are not too dissimilar.

S2E10: “Second Coming”
Directed By Rick Jacobson
The finale brings Ash back to the cabin having to completely confront his past to change the future. With Pablo dead, because of Ash’s own follies, it is in the ashes of Ash’s dark past that Pablo is reborn, no longer tormented by the Necronomicon he takes his first breath as a new human. The evil within him gone and his life ready to begin anew.


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McKenna Grace Snags Lead in Rob Lowe’s Remake of The Bad Seed



Okay so, evidently Rob Lowe is remaking The Bad Seed. Meh, I’m interested. But wait, evidently it will be a Lifetime original film. Urgh, interest is waning.

All jokes aside, I’m intrigued by this remake. Not only is it set to star Rob Lowe, but the man will be directing and executive producing as well.

Another interesting variation is that this film will follow Lowe’s father figure dealing with the evil child, instead of the original film’s mother character played by Nancy Kelly.

And on top of that, today we have news via Deadline that McKenna Grace (Amityville: The Awakening) has been cast as the titular bad seed, Emma, and Patty McCormack – who played the evil little girl in the original, and received an Oscar nomination for performance – will co-star as the psychiatrist who treats Emma.

Grace will next be seen in the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House from director Mike Flanagan (Hush, Gerald’s Game).

The Lifetime remake is directed and executive produced by Rob Lowe from a script by Barbara Marshall. Lowe as executive produces with Mark Wolper and Elizabeth Stephen and stars alongside Patty McCormack and McKenna Grace.


Lowe plays a single father who seems to have everything under control. But when there is a terrible tragedy takes place at his daughter Emma’s (Grace) school, he is forced to question everything he thought he knew about his beloved daughter. He slowly begins to question if Emma’s exemplary behavior is just a façade and she played a role in the horrific incident. When more strange things begin to happen, he’s faced with keeping a terrible secret to protect Emma, but ultimately must stop her from striking again.


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Buffy Is Back in New Buffy the Vampire Slayer Comic Miniseries by Joss Whedon



Buffy is back!

Joss Whedon (Angel, Serenity) and Christos Gage (Angel & Faith) return to unite the Buffyverse for a four-issue Buffy the Vampire Slayer series this June!

This action-packed miniseries from Dark Horse Comics, called Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 12: The Reckoning, reunites the Buffyverse with the return of Angel, Faith, Illyria, and Fray, the Slayer from the future!

On top of that, Buffyverse alumnus artist Georges Jeanty (Serenity, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) also returns to lend his illustrative skills to the next installment.

Issue #1 (of four) boasts three variant covers by Stephanie Hans, Georges Jeanty with Karl Story and Dan Jackson, and Karl Moline. You can check out one to the right and the other two below. Give them a look-see, and then let us know what you think!

You can pre-order the first issue at your local comic shop in March before the series hits June 20, 2018.

Following the world-altering finale of Season 11, Buffy and the Scoobies have had a laid-back year in the saving-the-world department. But as they’ve learned over their years of fighting the forces of darkness and thwarting many an apocalypse, nothing stays quiet for long.

When Dawn and Xander’s housewarming party is crashed by some familiar faces with news of an amassing force that must be reckoned with—Wolfram & Hart, a legion of demons, and Harth, a vampire from the future—Buffy finds herself in a time warp that could alter the fate of the world and could spell the end for Buffy, her friends, and the Slayers forever.



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