by Martin Becerra and Alene Masse
The Halloween season could not be complete without a bit of Rob Zombie’s twisted and demented creativity. Zombie appeased Halloween fans and granted them a peek into his world, his Great American Nightmare.
The event is not for the meek or easily offended, as Zombie brings to life three haunted maze attractions from three of his greatest film works; “House of 1,000 Corpses,” “The Haunted World of El Superbeasto,” and “Lords of Salem.”
“The plan is to do this every year and in different markets,” Zombie said. “We tried with the idea of touring this [event] but it’s just not mobile in any way, shape or form.”
Zombie’s vision could not be complete without the help of maze producer Steve Kopelman.
“This is the first project I’ve done with Rob,” Kopelman said. “Whatever we did I wanted it to be quintessential Rob Zombie.”
Zombie chose the Pomona Fairplex as the home for the Great American Nightmare, which not only includes the maze attractions but a concert as well.
“The first time I came to scope it out was when the Warped Tour was here,” said Zombie. “It’s a perfect layout. There’s so much space which is great for expansion.”
Construction of the attractions took 10 days, a miracle according to Kopelman. They raced against the clock to have it all done by opening night. For the short amount of time they had to set up, Kopelman believes their event is more detailed than any other attraction in California.
“He [Zombie] is somewhat of a perfectionist,” Kopelman said. “I’ve done other attractions with other well-known names that had no input whatsoever and he was definitely involved and very helpful.”
True to its name, Great American Nightmare terrified on opening night.
The night began with a red carpet ceremony as musicians and actors, such as Andy Dick and “The Walking Dead’s” Lew Temple, stopped for pictures and interviews before they entered Zombie’s pre-celebration party.
The gates opened up for guests to walk down Bloody Boulevard. As they lined up for the opening of the mazes it was a free-for-all for Zombie’s monsters to come out and play.
The event is similar to a carnival and has enough entertainment to keep guests amused and occupied throughout the night. If guests grew weary of the torment from the monsters, they could enjoy classic horror films showed throughout the night. The bar was also open for the public to get off their feet.
Each night will host a concert from a wide selection of artists. Zombie emphasized that music is a complementary to the event. He understands that not everybody will like his music, so reached out to bands from other genres to appeal to different kinds of audiences.
Each night will have different artists performing. Opening night had pop/hip-hop band Wallpaper. followed by crowd favorite and headliner 3oh!3.
In the “Lords of Salem” in Total Black Out, guests were thrown into the maze with a hood over their faces and in complete darkness had to find their way out. The fear of the unknown here was extremely high as not only were guests lost in the dark, they could also imagine the experience of being Zombie’s helpless victim in one of his horror films.
In the Haunted World of El Superbeasto 3D, guests experienced a more cartoonish and salacious maze that provided phenomenal 3D effects. Guests entered the maze through a woman’s legs and were provided 3D glasses that enhanced the experience of the maze and allowed interaction with the characters from the film.
In Haunt of 1,000 Corpses, guests experienced what it is like to be in the mind of a serial killer. Plug your nose and shield your eyes because this maze is not for the faint of heart.
This maze offered guests the opportunity to explore the demented, twisted world of infamous serial killers while providing a unique and one of a kind experience equipped with CGI and transparent TV’s.
Each room is styled for a particular serial killer; Charles Manson, Richard Ramirez, Ed Gein, John Wayne Gacy, and many more. Guests learned just how these serial killers quenched their thirst for blood.
“We’re a lot more extreme and scarier, if you want to get scared you’ll come here,” Kopelman said. “Like our slogan says, if your easily scared or offended go to an amusement park.”
Tickets start as low as $30 and can be purchased at the box office or on the website: www.greatamericannightmare.com.
Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare runs Thursday through Sunday from now until Nov. 2nd. The Pomona Fairplex is located at 1101 W. McKinley Ave.