Midwest Haunters Convention, 2014: Part One

Never has three days gone by in such a whirling, dizzying flash. A nonstop ride with the pedal pushed firmly through the floorboard, head out the window screaming for more. And this was our trip to the 2014 edition of the Midwest Haunters Convention in Columbus, Ohio.

In sitting down to pen this entry, I'm still scratching my head, trying to piece together a coherent timeline of what happened to who, what, where and when. We'll start at the beginning...

Good friend Jimmy T and I made our way down the construction- and accident-filled highway towards Columbus. A routine two hour drive quickly became a five hour headache, but after arriving late at the hotel and checking in for the weekend's events, we were more than ready to get the party started. We made our way to the waiting buses ready to escort us to the Friday night tour.

A short trip through Columbus took us to our first destination of the evening: The ScareFactory, the world's largest manufacturer of animatronics for the haunt industry.

As we entered the main doorway, we were greeted by an absolutely amazing cast of figures filling the front hall and offices. Classic monsters and instantly recognizable characters from a large array of horror classics:

An ominous sculpt of Boris Karloff as Im-Ho-Tep in The Mummy:

Stare deep into the eyes of Vincent Price as Nicholas Medina from The Pit and the Pendulum:

Boys and girls of every age, Wouldn't you like to see something strange?

After staring in amazement at the collection of figures in the front hall, we were then able to tour the real gem of ScareFactory: the enormous, open warehouse studio in the back. It was really cool to see the inner workings of the studio and to meet and talk with some of the employees who worked there. It was great to get info directly from the creators of the amazing pieces that were on display:

Chh chh chh, ahh ahh ahh...

A T Rex head that was actually used in the film, Jurassic Park:

Some of the craziest animatronic armatures I had ever seen:

And there be plenty o' pirates, mateys:

This demon towered above the full size gate entrance. It must have been at least 20 feet tall:

A hallway full of animated corpses:

After completing the tour of the ScareFactory, it was then time to hop back on the bus and head out to our second destination, the ScareAtorium, one of Ohio's best and largest haunted attractions.

Unfortunately, we were one of the later buses to arrive, which meant that we had plenty of time to talk about the ScareFactory tour. And that is because we were at the end of a very, very long line. It took us well over an hour before we were able to get in and tour the haunted attraction...

And pictures were prohibited inside, so here is the lone shot I was able to get:

All joking aside, the ScareAtorium was a great haunted attraction, with two separate haunts inside. The Northland Asylum was ominous and creepy and Rip's 3D Funhouse took insanity to the third dimension. I had been through a couple of 3D attractions before, but some of the scenes in Rip's 3D Funhouse (especially some of the mazes) popped out way more. A great haunt that I'd love to go through again during peak season.

After touring the haunt, we were all allowed to see the ScareAtorium costume room to see the vast collection of costumes used throughout the haunt. That was quickly followed by a visit to their incredible makeup room, where we had the chance to meet and speak with Slappy the Clown, who also happened to be the haunt's head makeup artist.

The final treat (I guess...) was a couple of sliders and a drink from the friendly neighborhood White Castle food truck. I hadn't eaten at a White Castle in a long time. But hey, it was free and my stomach was empty, so it was worth it. Thanks, White Castle!!

We then boarded the bus, bound for our final destination of the night: the afterparty at VUE. It was the perfect end of the tour, having the chance to regroup with friends over a couple of cold beers to talk about everything we had seen.

ActionJax, Jody, Jimmy T and the fine gentleman whose name I completely forgot (sorry!)

They even had 2 x 4 Jenga. And when it crashed down, everyone in the bar could hear it:

After a few rounds, it was closing time, so we hopped a cab back to the hotel, ready to call it a night. That was, of course, before we walked past the hotel bar and saw a large group of friends that weren't quite ready to call it a night...

So we joined them!

Everyone was toasting a good start to the weekend's activities. Although the friendly police officers didn't seem to be sharing in our joyous mood...

After the final round of the night, we staggered up to our room, crawling into bed well after 2am. A good start to the weekend, indeed...



HalloweeNut said...

Sounds like it was a great time! Wish I was there!

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