Friday, June 14, 2013

Great Horror Campout Let's Lament

The Great Horror Campout can be judged like a horror film. The first ever event where you act out a horror film in the subgenre of sleep away camp had some great scenes, but those scenes didn't fit together. The director was trying for too much, when she should have stuck closer to what the camping experience is. The Hell Hunt had some great laughs, but went by too fast. Finally, I heard the catering gave the crew problems such as hunger.

Let's go through my experience from dark night to bitter breakfast morning. On a fairly nice night I rolled into the campout parking lot around 8:30 pm with a good friend in tow. We grabbed our gear and headed off for check-in. Now the process for check-in was long. Tents are divided by numbers and so was check-in, but you would only find that out when you got up to the front of the line. Which created a very long line for my friend and I. It took a good twenty to thirty minutes to get in while carrying heavy supplies. There was also a search of our bags that wasn't mentioned with check-in. We did get a cute Insidious 2 lantern for the night, it's just adorable in red.

As I slowly made it in carrying supplies, I was greeted by no one but the security that had searched my stuff. No greetings from monsters at the gae, no creepy counselors, lame I say.

A call came for campers to meet the Head Master. The head master went right into a speech about the night. A big fire was set and a bunch of clowns rode in on motorcycles while laughing around all us campers. Now this scene was great and was a great way to start the night, but in-between that and the Hell Hunt little else happened.

My friend and I made it to our tent, but not without being spooked by some creatures. Many of the monsters, maniacs and just downright creepy things were great spooking fellow campers and us. Seeing those same motorcycle clowns go into a tent of girls and hearing their sorrowful screams of terror made me laugh. So great horror moments would come ang go far an in between.

Skip past the forgetful and food and straight to the Hell Hunt which had lines. Not lines again! Not lines! That was the scariest part other than the Vegan food I'll keep mentioning. The second scariest was when we switched ourselves over to the homestead section of the Hell Hunt. The homestead was more of a trailer park,  a trailer park and a waiting room ,it be a while before we entered. I turned white as a ghost when I saw the Hell Hunt's line dissolve into nothing, but the homestead standing still. Lucky, some fiends kidnapped a camper to ease the boredom in line. The boredeom would come again in the Homestead.
The jungle gym area of crawling around trying to miss used condoms was not as fun as it sounds.

Let's bring up "scag" while talking about used condoms. Used condoms were a collectible item of the evening as were many items like a cockroach, severed-head and vial of blood. These items were scag and we had a certain amount, some being rarer than others for us to become Hell Masters. Winners would get unlimited free rides on the Haunted Hayride and have the title of Hell Master.

Backed to used condoms, let's say there was an overabdunance. What wasn't overly abundant were scary monsters in this area. The jungle gym are lacked scares. The chainsaw maniac on the roof of the ice cream truck should get an oscar and the creepy man by the swings some other award, but of lesser value. Those were the end of the ghouls in that area I can remember. It was a slow obstacle course and one of the weaker parts of the Hell Hunt was how slow it would go.

Used condoms  collected we head for the Hell Hunt proper. Differenet areas with different spooks to scare us. This is where it may have gone bad. The monsters meant to scare us were fun and had their acts down, but if campers had already been in the area they picked it clean of scag. Searching, but finding nothing is a huge let down when you know where to look and have the right answers. How many corpses did I look through for a rib to find none? How many mouth did I stick my hand into and find no bugs? How much dirt did I dig up and find nothing?

Blood did cover my body in the poplick searching through blood for teeth was gross. The area still could have been managed better it was getting low on teeth in the huge barrel there were being held in. Creepy spider creatures had a webbed ball to stick your hand in and perhaps get better scag.

The Voodoo Dance Ritual with coffin burials was a fine way to dance your butt off. You could feel the mood change when you a fellow campers would try and copy the dancers of the night.

The game of red light green light with the Chupacbara's did stop you in your tracks, it made for a fun game when having to get past some statues. What awaited my friend and beyond the statues was a new surprise. We were in a temple of sorts. The Hell Masters, demons of sorts made us kneel and asked us what was our pleasure. Pain, we answered and thus it was written on our foreheads in blood. Then they opened up a doorway on the basement and we had to crawl on our hands and knees out. Not before feeling like the walls were hugging us. This was one of the best parts of the camp.

In between that the Hell Hunt died over being scag empty. We retreated to our tent with little to do. Monsters came and went for us. The make-up and acting done quite well. That was almsot the end of our night.

 My favorite moments were the camp actives by groups a tug of war between my color-coded tents and another was made much better by the rope being cover in blood. It also made the grip much harder to get. My side won quite easily and with it received tickets for a drawing that was never explained well.
from Horror Camp Facebook
Later there was a movie trivia contest not held near the outside film area, but the big great camp fire. These moments of rivalry and camp togetherness were what was lacking from the experience. The Hell Hunt though having some great moments, never really tied together. It was all random, there was no overall story tying it together and that's was the campout suffered. Watching one of the films out late was Sleep-Away Camp 2. I noticed everything that our camp missed. It missed bonds, campy stories and the feel of being at camp. There should have been bad songs. There should have been ghost stories by the fire. There should have been a more controlled camp schedule. I know the freedom of being able to do what you wants sound enticing, but you could have still had it and had plans for camp related activities.

When I previewed the event I didn't really think about how much time would be spent at the camp and that it could use a camp feel. Instead of scag bags, maybe bad camp t-shirts should be traded in. The camp-out had some fun thrills, but when the ended then night was over.

 The movie night was also cut shorts in some aspects as the DVD reader couldn't finish showing the new Come Out And Play, we didn't even get to kids killing anyone! The rest of my night I laid underneath the lack of stars near the projector watching movies

Breakfast was inedible, I heard a camper threw a vegan muffin in the fire and it didn't burn, woah. On the subject of food. I know Ten Calorie Sunkist and such was a sponsor, but they were awful, just awful. Then you have the lack of water. You had to buy water by the the dollar to fill you canister. If you had a canister. At the very least hook up a water fountain for free. That was inexcusable for people who paid $149 not to have access to water unless they brought it. The only reason I don't think food was sold during the night is it would require a temporary license, which is annoying to get in LA.

A grandiose ceremony of being near a truck was the end of the camp with the Head Master announcing the winners by number and not by name. No almost got you moment?

The great Horror Campout has some great thrills that don't go anywhere. A hodge podge of different horror movie scenarios make it seem unbalanced like a dog with different length legs. I know the people from Ten Thirty One Productions can do a much better job, but they need your feedback. Tell them what you liked and what you didn't on their Facebook page here

On Facebook right now the current main problem for campers was the location. The LA Historic Park wasn't isolated enough. It seems like Griffith Park would have been a much better choice. Being able to see the city around you takes you our of the realism of the place. It made the camp seem fake.

Unless I hear of a major overhaul I say stick to the Haunted Hayride.