I love, Love, LOVE Halloween. I cannot get enough of the all-night cheesy horror movie marathons. Then there’s the over-sized monster merchandise and candy displays at your local everything-mart. You can also enter crazy costume contests throughout the month of October just for my favorite holiday of all, Halloween. Now, granted, there are times during the rest of the year when I run into the occasional costumed freak out at the mall; but then, I have a feeling that’s just me getting older and lacking a sense of today’s teen fashion sense. BUT, returning to my story. Now that I’ve warmed you up to my love of this fantastic holiday season, I would like it noted that I was the perfect choice to be sent driving down to the docks to cover The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2011.
I arrived at the Queen Mary port, camera in hand and notebook at the ready. I was completely thrilled knowing that not only before me in all her glory was one of the most magnificent displays in her own right (the Queen Mary!) but that on this visit she had been transformed into very possibly the largest “haunted house” there has ever been. The Queen Mary herself looked a little different this evening as I approached her bow, snapping a few preliminary photos of her magnificence as I went. She seemed more ominous somehow, as though she were watching my approach and almost smiling at me from above, knowing why I had come to visit her that night. I beamed a grin right back; and hopefully no one noticed the nervous twitch that suddenly sparked into my left cheek.
“Nothing to it,” I muttered to myself and kept right on marching up to the press table. A sign greeted me: “Welcome to Dark Harbor, the 17th Halloween haunt fest hosted by the Queen Mary.” I was soon greeted by my contacts for the evening’s media event and taken to the press meeting area.
We were allowed to meet a few of the zombies for that night’s festivities, which is always disturbing. Then we were welcomed by a most disturbing figure. She was Bundara, the she-demon hostess of the entire Queen Mary Halloween fright event. Her shiny black horns and black feathered wings served only as accents to her horribly misshapen face, skin torn back to reveal a hideous grin. She seemed pleasant enough; that is, until she told us she had come to collect our souls! She was soon joined by her horrid sisters, Mattenoot and Searer, who more than enjoyed laughing hysterically at us and at our newly faded pallor. Only then were we allowed out of the confinement of the press area and escorted down to the parking lot to line up for entrance to The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2011.
Impressive! That’s the word for it. Impressive!
What I saw before me, waiting to swallow everyone whole, was the gaping maw of a fog-engulfed, eerily lit tunnel made from actual shipping crates! The tunnel’s entrance had been splattered with the skeletal remains of what I could only hope were not last year’s press! Above the tunnel’s entrance stood a master of ceremonies who beckoned us all to join the denizens of the dead inside. Making my way through to the event grounds, zombies at every turn, I remember thinking a trip to the restroom would have been a great idea…it’s always wonderful to realize this too late!
The grounds of The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2011 were also quite the display! Massive shipping crates were piled 30 feet high with flames shooting out of them up into the night sky. A stage had been erected where live bands dressed in their Halloween best played fitting eerie tunes for the crowd. Food was available. Fright was available. Monsters, magnificent mortifying mazes and mayhem awaited us at every turn! All the while, the Queen Mary herself watched and smiled over me.
I cannot say whether I survived that night completely intact. Driving home afterward, I couldn’t help but think about all that I’d seen. I had witnessed undead children searching for their mommies in a maze called “Submerged.” Then there was the confusing, endless maze of mirrors and groping hands that tried to get me in the newest maze, “The Vortex Tunnel.” I had also gazed upon other horrors inside “Containment” and “Hellfire” that are not something to describe here in print. My thoughts then turned to my big, safe bed and the huge pile of blankets I jumped under once I arrived safely home. I left the lights on in my house that night. I also found myself praying for sound, nightmare-free sleep as I drifted off toward another waiting dark harbor.
The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor 2011 awaits you all October 14–16, 20–23, and 27 through Halloween night. Hours are 7pm to midnight. Ticket discounts and promotions start as low as $20 online if you visit their website at queenmarydarkharbor.com. Also, as an option, don’t forget to inquire about ‘Fast Fright’ front-of-the-line passes available online and at the door of the event, which can be well worth the additional $20 upgrade on the event’s busier nights.