Another year, another issue at a Halloween Event.
Last year it was kids complaining about the Auctioneer in The Purge Scare Zone at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Sadly this year it's gone even beyond that with a post about an actress at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando being physically and mentally abused by patrons of the event.
Below is the text that somebody named Sarah posted in a HHN Facebook group. There was also a picture attached but we've chosen not to share that portion of it to make sure we keep the anonymity of this individual intact. But if Sarah see's this and you'd like to add more to this please let us know.
"It breaks my heart to say that I will no longer be with the event. That being said please always keep your hands to yourself. I'm leaving due to the physical sexual and verbal assault that I experienced every single night as well as my fellow scare actors. There is no excuse to put your hands on me or any of us. I was hospitalized, slapped, shoved, screamed, and berated this entire run. Although my coordinators did everything they could to keep me safe, some guests just don't know how to behave. I'm going to miss being the Camp Crystal Lake camp counselor and the purge girl, but when your dad cries when you get home with a swollen eye and bruises, you know you made the right decision."
So first of all, what the hell? When would this EVER be acceptable behavior for somebody to have?
I'm a father to a 19 year old daughter and a 17 year old son. To think that my daughter or son could be working at an event, something they would LOVE doing and be treated this way is unfathomable, disgusting and really get's down to the very core of what you would do to protect your child.
On the other hand, if I EVER found out my son or daughter had behaved liked this at an event or in their personal life it really get's down to the very core of what you would do to knock some sense into your child.
Luckily I've never had to deal with either of these issues. But I can't imagine how Sarah's father reacted. Anybody knows that defending your child goes to the very core of what you are as a parent. And sending your daughter to work at a Halloween event isn't something you should ever have to worry about.
It's also important to point out, these weren't incidents of people getting scared and instinctively reacting to that. These were incidents of intentional verbal and physical abuse.
Before we get to the causes we must stress that this is only one incident that took place at one event, and we certainly aren't calling out HHN. Sadly this type of incident isn't unique to that event, sadly similar things happen at EVERY event. But it certainly is something that we can start a dialogue about.
Alcohol: Sure, alcohol could (and likely did) play a factor in these incidents. It's inevitable when you combine a group mentality along with alcohol things can go wrong. So sure, cutting out the sale of alcohol at these events could be something that is needed. To be fair though, it's not like people couldn't drink at CityWalk or other establishments prior to attending an event.
We've been known to have a few drinks before going into an event, or at an event. And never once has it turned into "I can do whatever I want now". I guess I'll just never understand going to some kind of event whether it's a Halloween event, concert or sporting event and getting so drunk you don't remember it or start acting belligerent and getting kicked out. Just not in my DNA I guess.
Security: First and foremost, Sarah said emphatically that her handlers did everything they could to keep her safe. And this is true of every event. Security and those in charge of the event make sure their talent is safe first and foremost before anything. These events are one big family. I've only worked one event (last Saturday) but I've gone to enough events and know enough people who work these events to know this is the case. And this applies from the major haunts like HHN all the way down to Home Haunts. The safety of the talent and employees at any event, at any theme park at any place of business should be the #1 priority at ALL TIMES. ALL TIMES!!! And this is the case here, no question.
But obviously security can only do so much when they are faced with somebody who is determined to do wrong.
Locals: HHN Orlando is usually $90+ per night to get into the park. That's a lot of $$ for any event but by all accounts it's also worth it. They also offer a resident pass that allows locals to have repeated visits. Again, we don't know if these were locals but we've all seen and heard stories from other parks where those who visit a park on a weekly/daily basis can develop a certain affection for certain individuals at the park. 99.99999% of the time this is harmless, wanting to take a picture with their favorite princess or character. And there's nothing wrong with that. But it's that other 00.0000001% that could be the issue here.
Also, to be fair, HHN isn't the only park that offers this kind of pass. We have a Knott's Scary Farm pass this year, so once again it's hard to just pinpoint this to one thing.
So what's the answer here? Because it's not just one thing.
Well first, it's time to stop looking at women as objects that are there for our entertainment and ogling. No more shaming girls and women into being what we want them to be and making sure they don't wear clothes that can "seduce impressionable young men". Because boys that are taught in school that it's ok to treat women a certain way based on the way they are dressed become men who think it's ok to do this at a Halloween event.
At the very least trying to minimize the amount of alcohol consumed at events is probably a good idea. This would have to be done by only allowing people to buy 1 drink at a time, no buying multiple drinks to give to friends that may be overly inebriated. This means giving the bartenders the authority and help they need dealing with those they have to say no to.
This also means giving security the authority to kick people out and make sure they don't come back to the event. And perhaps some kind of "panic button" for the actors and actresses to press to alert security at any time. (again, not sure if this is a thing already or not)
Last but not least, it's up to us the people who like to go to these events and have a great time to point out behavior to those in charge. Obviously taking matters into our own hands is out of the question but we must step up and not be silent when we see abuse happening. This means finding one of the blackouts in the mazes, security in the scare zone and alerting them. Maybe parks need to have some kind of "text number" where people can report an incident to at any time. To be fair, I'm not sure if any parks have this, but I've seen them at sporting events so it's technology that is available.
Because at the end of the day, if these incidents continue to happen they aren't going to be around or they are going to have to be severely limited in what they are.
So what do you think the answer is? We have a lot of people who work Halloween events who are fans of this site, what would you the experts like to see done to make sure these types of things don't happen?
In celebration of the day Marty McFly came to the future in Back to the Future Part II, the versatile small town of Fillmore, California became Hill Valley. Here are some pictures from the event on October 22nd, 2015.
Written by Amanda Condon
Fillmore took on the persona of Hill Valley for the weekend.
The town hall became the clock tower, and the band the Flux Capacitors played at certain times of the day.
Attendants could even get a photograph in front of the clock from the tower.
There were two Toyota Pick-Up's as well that resembled those from the movie.
There was also a police car from "2015" that served as an actual prop in the 1989 film.
There were several different Deloreans complete with Flux Capacitors.
One of the Deloreans was complete with the times of travel on the dashboard.
Of course, there was the future Delorean from part II.
Attendees could also sit in a very close rendition of the film's car.
Inside the old bank was a display of props from the three films that are set to be auctioned off on Friday the 23rd. Clara's dress from Part III was standing pretty.
The almanac that Biff used to become a millionaire had a backup cover.
The newspapers from Part II were also seen side by side.
There was even the phone book page with Doc Brown's address on it.
A futuristic California license plate and other small props were also up for auction.
A future police baton was set beside Biff's desk photo.
The actual hoverboard from the movie was also present, beside the sports almanac.
In 2015, all people are fired through fax.
The local movie theater was playing Jaws 19: This Time, it's Really Really Personal.
There was a premier of a documentary about the trilogy and they played Part III of the trilogy - the first time the locally owned theater had been opened in over 10 years.
Griff's gang (with George McFly and Marty McFly Jr.) were seen at the event.Obviously someone meddled with time again.
There was also an event where you could ride a Delorean on the train tracks and take a trip on a hoverboard supported by a crane.
Fillmore is a very small town but the event was put together in a spectacular way. They are currently filming parts for a new film for Back to the Future in Fillmore but it has not been confirmed whether it is a documentary or a continuation of the series.
Something a bit different today as we talk about something beyond our normal Theme Parks and Halloween stuff. Something that's been hyped up a lot this week ...
Unless you've been living under a rock you'll know that there is a new Star Wars movie coming out this December, and that this week a new trailer was released and that online tickets went on sale and broke all kinds of records and the internet (sorry Kim Kardashian).
And along with all the posts that are excited about the movie you will inevitably see some post from somebody asking the very legitimate question "but what if it sucks".
And this is a very fair question. Afterall, in six Star Wars films there are pretty much 3 good movies. Episode IV - Great. Episode V - The best. Episode VI - Great moments, a few missed opportunities (especially in the "Special Editions").
And then there are those other 3 movies we don't like to talk about. But let's face it, they are part of the Canon, they are part of the history of the franchise and they aren't going anywhere ... although from what we've seen on The Force Awakens they aren't really referring to those movies at all. But we won't know for sure until December 18 (17 for us hard core nerds).
But there's one huge reason why Episode VII isn't going to suck. And that's the fact that George Lucas isn't involved. AT ALL.
Let's run down the career of one Mr. George Lucas so I can make my point.
THX 1138 - This is pretty much a student film, has some interesting moments, more a must-watch for the future references made to this movie in Star Wars.
American Graffiti - A fun movie, easily his best non Star Wars movie, but if this was all he'd ever done we wouldn't be talking about George Lucas today.
More American Graffiti - Full disclosure, I didn't even know about this movie until I Googled it.
Red Tails - We're going to skip ahead a bit and just look at the movies he directed, and this was the next non Star Wars one. I tried watching this once, it looked like a video game. Sad because the story is a good one.
Indiana Jones Series:
Raiders of the Lost Ark - My favorite movie all all time. Hands down, no question, end of story. Speaking of the Story, it was George Lucas' idea, but the Screenplay is all Lawrence Kasdan. And of course directed by Stephen Spielberg. He would continue to be credited as "Story by" for The Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade and that other one we don't talk about Nuke The Fridge, er, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Obviously we aren't sure what happened there, but I'm guessing Spielberg gave him a bit more control than he had on the previous 3. Just speculation on my part though.
Episode IV: A New Hope - The one movie that George Lucas both wrote and directed that is a masterpiece. It introduced us to the Star Wars universe, to these characters we've loved for almost 40 years and pretty much changed cinema forever. So a billion kudos to Lucas on this one. He deserves the praise he gets.
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back - Widely accepted as the best of the original Star Wars Trilogy and by default the best Star Wars movie. Why? The darker story? Sure. The characters growing a bit? Absolutely. A director that wasn't a George Lucas "yes man" and was willing to push back and make the movie he wanted to make, undoubtedly. So really, we have Irvin Kirshner as well as writers Lawrance Kasdan and Leigh Brackett to thank for that one as they made an absolute masterpiece.
Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi - The last of the original trilogy, not directed by George Lucas but by Richard Marquand who really didn't have the balls to push back to Lucas and make his movie. Coincidence that Lucas was back as the primary screenwriter on this one? So the Ewoks, the yub-nub song, etc ... all Lucas.
And of course, this doesn't even take into consideration the "Special Editions" that Lucas took control of. But if you look back on the original trilogy which film has the least bit of additions? That's right, it's Empire Strikes Back. Which is also the one Lucas was presumably the least involved in. Hmmm ...
Which brings us to the Prequels. All 3 George Lucas directed, executive produced and was the head writer on.
Episode I: The Phantom Menace - This is where people start bringing in their comparisons of the hype for Episode VII because, really, the only thing that can match the hype that we are experiencing right now is the hype we experienced in the months leading up to May of 1999. It was huge. Which meant the let-down was also huge. I remember seeing this movie 4 or 5 times in the theater, hoping each time it would get better. Even going to the "all new digital projection" showings they added a few months later. It didn't help.
Episode II: Attack of the Clones - Finally, after all this time we were finally going to see the Clone Wars Obi Wan referred to back in 1977. Oh wait, flat acting, more CGI than any other movie ever and a love story that, well, makes most Jennifer Lopez romantic comedies look good.
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith - Finally, clone wars, a fantastic battle sequence, clones and ships and heads chopping off. Sure, a lot of CGI, but whatever. And then, wait, Darth Vader became Darth Vader because he had a bad dream? And he's the one that killed his wife? And he never put two and two together that the Emperor was manipulating him? I will give this movie one thing, the fight between Obi Wan and Vader is amazing, it's just too bad that wasn't the end of the movie.
Where George Lucas' true genius lies is in innovation. Yes, he went overboard with the prequels, but the creation of Industrial Light and Magic, the things they have been able to do since it's inception, without ILM and Lucas, movies today wouldn't be like the movies of today. And nobody should ever try and take that away from him. The sheer amount of films he's had a hand in from a technical standpoint is simply staggering, far too many to get into here.
Which brings us to Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
Now, on Wikipedia it lists George Lucas as a writer, he's not. I'm guessing that was something with the Disney purchase of LucasFilm that any future releases have to have him credited that way due the the "Characters created by George Lucas". And that's fine. But he's not involved at all. And this is a VERY good thing.
Look at JJ Abrams track record. Alias (one of the best TV shows ever). Lost (amazing until it was ruined not by JJ Abrams but by Damon Lindelof). Seriously, look at Lindelof's track record ... Tomorrowland anybody? Star Trek, yes, Star Trek. The first one is amazing, the second one, well, it's not as good, but it's still a really good movie. I don't know how you ruin the character of Khan, but they did manage to pull it off. Super 8, fun and exciting. Give this one a re-watch if you haven't seen it lately.
And the last reason this is going to be great, the cast. No, not Luke, Han and Leia, although having them back is going to be amazing. The panels for Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher at Star Wars Celebration were amazing, and they seem genuinely excited to be back.
No, I'm talking about the new cast. Their reactions to the trailer that came out the other day, priceless. They are as excited to see this movie as all of us are. Sure it's going to be life changing, their lives will NEVER be the same. But they are fully embracing this.
We haven't seen some of the other cast members out in the public eye as much as we're seeing Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaacs, something tells me that's being carefully managed due to their roles in the movie. And the fact that there is still so much mystery surrounding the plot of the movie is amazing.
I can't wait for the lights to go down on the evening of December 17, seeing that "LucasFilm" logo, the theme, the scroll and then being fully immersed in the Star Wars universe I grew up with.
And when that's done, I'll get right back in line and watch it again. I won't be alone ...
So what do you think? Are you approaching Episode VII with caution or are you fully on the hype train?