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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Great Horror Campout A Preview To Die For

It's getting ever closer.

A new darkness is descending in LA.

Something no other city has ever experienced.

What will happen when a horror movie becomes real in the form of a camp?

The Great Horror Campout starts its fledgling run in LA for two nights next weekend in the LA Historic Park. Ten Thirty-One Productions, the company behind the event and the Haunted Hayride that's been scaring LA for the last three years let a small group on a preview of the event. Your editor of all things LA, including scary stuff, even though Murder LA should probably be covering most of this, was one of the lucky few. That night still haunts me, but for bad driving reasons. A trip to the Thirty One Productions home base is now a secret for me to share with you.

The Great Horror Campout
June 7 and 8
LA Historic Park

The evening started spooky enough with passing the LA Zoo at night.  A mysterious parking lot somewhere in Griffith Park was where I was to meet up. There, a bus of poor driving would rock my soul and leave my stomach wanting antacid. As other guests and myself were chatting about horror films on our night cruise we were suddenly taken over by a trio of thugs. These nightmarish thugs would be our guides for the rest of the trip. After being bagged and tortured with compressed air cans we made our way to the mysterious Thirty One Productions hideout. Damn you, my one weakness, compressed air with no keyboard to clean.

After going past some interesting architecture and design sense of how offices should look if we were in an 80's movie about rich people we found ourselves in a mini-indoor campout. The few lucky guests and I were to see what would be scaring campers before they know what scares them.

Getting Your Blood Boiling

You are in for some of the best ideas on a modern haunt if you attend this event. Forget the zombie paintball missions, forget the small group led tours of haunted spots, this is an all new type of horror event. The level of entertainment that Ten Thirty-One is trying to produce is by far one of the more complex events, more grand in scale than anything you've tried or heard of. I'm a cataloger of such events and so was the crew of the SS Bad Driving Bus and we could not compare it to any other haunt event on this earth.

You'll be in your own horror movie. The sub-genre is horror camp. You will not get much sleep. What I believed to be a simple night of horror movies with a few screams is an all out living nightmare. Those who choose the Hell Hunt will put themselves in a deadly game set with traps, finding creepy items, braving through some bad experiences and overall lasting the night. You'll be facing all types of monsters of myth and I don't mean cheap costumes, this is studio quality masks and make-up you're up against.

Bones will break, fingers will snap, guts will be touched. You're going to get dirty with all the different mission and riddles you'll have to solve. You'll be on a fetch quests figuring and deciphering clues all while monsters are trying to get you in the woods at night. It doesn't have to be the woods, it could be a maze or abandoned car park or just about any scene from a horror film. There are different areas to explore and lose yourself too. The crew has been working with ideas about the camp out since January and they've brought so much to life.

What frightens you? Perhaps a bath in blood due to the Pope lick? How about a voodoo dance? Digging through road kill or the mud for parts of someone or something. Crawling on your hands and knees through an abandoned land. All that sounds like fun to me as a horror fan, if you are too than this event may trump whatever your plans are for Halloween even thought that's many months away.

For video game aficionados it's almost like a  playing and collecting items in a horror title, but with the use of your legs. The writing sounds better too, no Japanese plot lines that make no sense. Oh, Resident Evil games.

How To Not Die!

Under the care of President Melissa Carbone and talking with Melissa Meyer head of special effects, props and make-up left yours truly with some tips on how not to get yourself... let's say taken out.

There's a Headmaster of the camp, listen to what he has to say, the rules your given for the Hell Hunt can change and you can be disqualified from becoming a Hell Master. 

What's a Hell Master? That's someone whose braved the course, kept their cool and stayed alive throughout the Hell Hunt. You'll have to get the Scag for that honor.

Scag, a play on swag are the items you need to become a Hell Master. Some insane number like over 9,000 items are up for grabs and can be broken off or ripped out of your Hell Hunt surroundings. The stuff shown to be eventually stuffed in your complimentary scag bag was gross.  Body parts, bugs all the goodies from nightmares past has to be collected to count yourself as a Hell Master.

Scag does have different levels, some items are rarer than others, that means they're harder to find. Your dossier will outline what you need, but you will need at least one Level 1 item to clear Hell Master and it won't be simple. Over do it for these items.

Think better than someone in a horror movie. If you want to be a Hell Master plan ahead. More than likely you've seen horror films and you need to learn from the victims' mistakes. You could maybe just avoid the monsters and mayhem all together and just watch some horror films in the screening area or stay in your comfy tent. Wrong!

Monsters our everywhere! Nowhere is a real safe zone. Your tent, the screening area, it's all a lie. Monsters, demons and myths can collect you and take you away at any time even if your not part of the Hell Hunt. You don't want one of them collecting you. The Hell Hunt has obstacles in itself where monsters can get you at anytime too and a old creepy van might pull up too. Run from that van!

If you do get caught guess what is now a barter system? That's right, the scag. You can trade what you've got for freedom. It's a terrible cost, but unless you want a night in car trunk or jail cell you best give up your sweet bugs or brain meats. Getting hungry from that, but food will  be covered in the next section.

We've covered listening and hunger slightly, but how about your other senses and needs? It's going to be dark, bring a flashlight, bring multiple, but turn off that cell phone. Cells have no place at the Hell Hunt, turn them off or suffer whatever they have planned. You might pee yourself or in another case you might get blood on you, so a change of clothes is recommend. The Hell Hunt does end at a point and you might want to spend the rest of the night in unhampered clothing. I was told outright an extra set of clothes was a good idea.

 Lastly, as always your mind is your best weapon, think about what you need to do to reach morning. There is a safe phrase you may let out if things get to intense. "I want my Mommy", will save you, but also make others look down at you.

Times are Dying

For those attending, let's go over what you will be doing from the get go. 1st you'll be parking or arrive via the Gold Metro line. There should be plenty of free parking for the night so don't worry. Being walking distance from the Gold Metro drop-off you might want to just to take that route.

You'll be checking in, getting a dossier on what you'll want to collect and who to avoid, be given your scag bag for item collection. A assigned color-coded wrist-band connects you  to where your tent is located.
The buffet is open until 11pm. The food I sampled was more Home Town Buffet than Vegas Buffet. You got camp food. Mac and Cheese, beans, sausages and for some reason salad. Healthy salad in a LA camp, it was bound to happen.

At around 9:30 the Headmaster will be giving orientation, as written earlier don't miss it. Use your time wisely, though the Hell Hunt ends a 2 am. It starts at 10pm , so you only have four hours. Don't use your finger to count the time left you might lose one in the Hell Hunt.

After the Hell Hunt, I suggest marshmallows by the fire or not sleeping, because they'll get you if you're sleeping. The films by the campfire will be enjoyable and will be featuring some trailers and some of the new horror films that just came out. They even got the new Come Out and Play.

The morning has buffet breakfast and the announcement of who won the Hell Hunt.

Will you become a Hell Master?

I doubt it.

The people behind the Great Horror Campout have such sights to show you. Will you be ready for them?

Get tickets or maybe miss out forever.