Midsummer Scream 2023 Review, Part 2: Sunday Spooky Sunday

Throughout the 3-day weekend, the exhibit floor was packed with hundreds of vendors for all one’s spooky season needs, from 2nd to None Tattoo to ZombieLounge Boo-tique. There was Paranormal Pixie’s Pumpkin Patch for kids and a stage for performers from Pirates Dinner Adventure and a few magicians entertaining periodically. One was Selene Serene, which seems to be half dance troupe / half magic act. I came upon them as they danced into a version of the Metamorphosis trick. Selene was cuffed and locked in a box. Two female assistants stood atop the box, lifted cloth material that surrounded the box over their heads and then lowered it, slowly each way. On third lift, Selene appeared lowering the cloth and then revealed the assistants cuffed and within the box. Unfortunately, the illusion was diminished from my vantage point as I could see Selene’s head before she switched places.

Although located in Northern California, Walter Magnuson Executive Director of Winchester Mystery House gave a presentation about what they had coming up this fall in celebration of the season and the house’s 100th anniversary. Unhinged Housewarming plays with the house’s origin and picks up right after Sarah Winchester’s passing. They also talked briefly about Houdini going to the house in 1937 to debunk some of the supernatural claims, and allegedly left with more questions than answers.

Don Chaney, grandson of Lon Jr. / great grandson of Lon, was on hand for Beware the Moon: The Chaney Legacy to talk about his projects. A Century of Chaneys is a two-volume book series about his famous relatives that his grandfather started. Volume 1 ends with the death of Lon Sr. A Thousand Faces is a musical about Lon Chaney’s life in theater before he went into movies. Phantom Rider is a screenplay for a Western with a familiar looking character. They did make-up tests but never got the funding. Two graphic novels, Curse of the Wolfman and London After Midnight, are coming out soon.

Six Flags had a panel to showcase their Fright Fest, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Creepy, costumed ghouls greeted audience members as they entered and waited for the panel to begin. Some folks screamed like they were experiencing Beatlemania when panelists were introduced. Slides of the haunted houses were shown. Panelists talked how actors work with the make-up team to develop their character personas. Kids BooFest is being expanded and at the panel’s conclusion it was announced they were partnering with The Conjuring to make a new maze.

Haunted Mansion debuted in theaters this weekend and producer Jonathan Eirich and editor Phillip Bartell were on hand to talk about it. Got to hear how Jared Leto crafted his voice in the studio for the Hatbox Ghost. A panel moderator asked about earlier iterations of the film but Eirich wasn’t involved.

Barry’s Truth or Scare Game Show is basically the Hollywood Squares hosted by Barry Under Your Bed/Jeff Heimbuch. Two actresses, Peggy Magee and Naomi Grossman, played with three different pairs of audience members. Peggy was very silly and didn’t or couldn’t answer any question correctly. Naomi seemed to being trying. Many in the audience didn’t grasp the concept and would cheer when an actress gave a correct answer, defeating the purpose of the contestants determining whether the answer was correct or not. It was utter chaos that even Barry couldn’t get his mitts around, yet it was a lot of laughs.

I would highly recommend Midsummer Scream to anyone considering attending. Hope it returns next year.

Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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