Halloween Haunts Scream Park SCAM? What REALLY Happened at the Grand Opening Epic Fail
Two Angry Mobs and Zombies: What REALLY Happened at the Halloween Haunts Scream Park Grand Opening Epic Fail
I’m writing this just to spread the information that I have about the grand opening (fail) for Halloween Haunts Scream Park last November 20, 2013.
I immediately realized how long of a story this was as I try to verbally re-tell it to friends, and as I re-read this article. So instead of making you go through all that, here’s a short summary of the Halloween Haunts Scream Park story.
1. Halloween Haunts Scream Park is NOT a scam (as far as I can tell)…. Just a very poorly organized business venture but with lots of potential to be great!
2. The “unpaid workers” was more of a misunderstanding. From what I got, they were supposed to be paid on Monday as banks were closed on Saturday, but this new group of workers were expecting to be paid that Saturday evening and the park did not have the funds on them at the time.
3. Yes, the grand opening was an EPIC fail, but they tried their best to continue with the opening, which is why they did not inform crowds outside until around 7:30pm that they would not open.
4. The Halloween Haunts Scream Park seems to have a lot of potential and the parts of the park that are ready look REALLY good, but I personally recommend going maybe in January instead when the park is fully operational.
5. I think we should give them another chance. They’re just normal people with big dreams for this park. If you’re not up for giving them another chance, they are giving back full refunds on tickets from what I understand.
So those are the main points I have. To get more details on the story of what happened at the “Grand Opening EPIC Fail” and as to who I am in this whole fiasco, read the full story below.
Last November 30th, Saturday, I was asked to host the “Grand Opening” of the Halloween Haunts Scream Park. My call time was at 4pm, for an approximate start of 6pm. I was tasked to help guide the media and VIPs through the grand opening and give them a mini tour of the facilities. This was my first time being there and my first time meeting the owners.
Upon arrival at around 3:30pm, I was given my own tour of Halloween Haunts Scream Park.
I was initially impressed as the first sight upon entrance from the back gate as I saw the haunted Vigan & Ilocos inspired alley that really looked legit. I thought it had a very authentic feel to it and I was already creeped out, despite the bright sun still blazing overhead; so I imagined how scary it would actually be at night. I was also impressed when I saw the outside of the first haunted house, the “White Lady” house, as well as the cemetery behind it. Furthermore, my goosebumps really started going as I saw the full view of the “Amazing Show” theater, supposedly the venue where 500 people died during construction as the roof caved in. That theater is supposedly haunted, and coincidentally (or intentionally) right next to this Halloween Haunts Scream Park attraction.
The Amazing Show, location where 500+ people died after the roof collapsed
This haunted scream park was supposedly the brainchild of David Willis. From what I was told, David is a professional makeup artist from Hollywood who worked on blockbuster movies like Superman, the Matrix and more. He wanted to bring over his talent and love for special effects to the Philippines!
I met David Willis at the Halloween Haunts Scream Park on November 30th before their “Grand Opening.” He was a very nice and laid back guy who seemed to love what he was doing. He sounded so excited when he told me about the plans they had for this park and for the curious Filipino park-goers.
So those were the good things, but then, there were also some not so good things…
In my personal opinion, David was more of a “creative” type of guy, being a top Hollywood make up artist and all. Unfortunately, I don’t think he was the best type of guy to handle the business side of things. It seemed that there was just too much responsibility laid on David’s shoulders. I think he should have found a better partner to manage the business side of things.
Other than the initial good impressions, to my surprise, it seemed as if NOTHING was really ready at the park yet. There were supposed to be three haunted houses, and the workers there were still barely finishing the first one. Also, the stage area was there, but literally just there. All the parts for the stage were laid out on the ground: the stage itself, the roof, the pillars, the lights and everything was on the floor, at roughly 4pm, when they expected to open doors at 6pm.
Stories of delays for materials at customs and of workers refusing to work because they saw REAL ghosts started to emerge as I inquired about the venue.
As the clock ticked closer to the grand opening of 6pm, that’s when thing really started to unravel.
The crowds outside started to grow. This included invited VIP’s and media, as well as the regular thrill seekers who bought tickets to see this scream park. Many media personnel, from TV, print, online and more, as well as regular patrons, were excited and already outside waiting from 4pm.
On the other side of the covered gate (from outside the park you could not see in), things were going downhill. The park was nowhere near ready, and the 100 or so (my own guesstimate) carpenters and workers started to huddle by the back gate and by the main entry to the haunted alley.
Halloween Haunts Scream Park SCAM? What REALLY Happened at the Grand Opening Epic Fail
At first, this wasn’t much of a concern, but as the night came, we started to notice the workers getting agitated and angry. Some started screaming “Bayaran mo na kami” (pay us now) as well as screams of “welga” (strike). This started to get me a bit nervous.
I am not aware of the complete story, but upon speaking with the staff, I was told that there was a mixup and misunderstanding, as the workers were supposed to be paid on Monday, but they wanted their pay right there, on a Saturday. Park staff said that they did not have the payroll on them and that banks were closed, so they could not do anything.
As the workers stopped working, the final touches to the park also came to a halt. Although I still believe these should have all been prepared weeks before the grand opening, it now seems that the last minute finishes to parks of the park were not going to happen.
The “grand opening” time of 6pm came, and….. nothing. No gates were opened and no one was allowed in.
The park staff scrambled around to try and get things together, but it was more and more evident that things were not ready. Upon checking the first haunted house, staff realized that it was not even half way done, and that there was no power. Moreover, the stage was still not built, and the cafeteria still did not have the chairs and tables set up.
So there was literally nothing that people would see at this park, other than a half done haunted alley, with an angry mob of carpenters.
Outside, the crowd grew restless.
Patrons, media and VIPs all waited. Some there since 4pm, others arriving right at 6pm. They started to scream “papasukin nyo na kami!” (let us in). I guesstimate at least 300 people were outside, anxiously wanting to get into the park.
Even the priest who was there to bless the park and lead the ribbon cutting was getting impatient as he was waiting for quite a while. I was asked to go out and try to stall the crowds, which I did, but I could only do so much with the limited info I had.
So there I was, in between everything.
There was an angry mob of thrill seekers outside, wanting to get in the scream park. While inside, there was an angry mob of workers and carpenters wanting to get paid. Oh, and let’s not forget the zombies!
Around 30 (my guesstimate) or more actors were there, fully dressed and already with full make up, to look and dress the part of the living dead! I must admit, they looked REALLY scary! The makeup was really top notch and they could really get you screaming in the middle of a dark alley or haunted house.
But honestly, it wasn’t the zombies that scared me, it was the two angry mobs.
Two angry mobs and zombies… what a story!
Finally, staff had to face the reality, that they were not ready to open the park. Not only was there nothing to see there, but there was also an angry mob of carpenters and workers who had quite a misunderstanding.
So it was time to face the music, and the zombies.
Thankfully, the event organizers, (who had nothing to do with the park opening or preparation and were just there to coordinate the media and VIP formalities) laid it out to the scream park bosses.
They pretty much told it how it was. They told David to head out there and offer his apology, and to inform the crowds that they were not going to open. David headed out there and offered his apology, along with the promise that all those who bought tickets can either get a refund, or get upgraded to the VIP tickets (has extra perks, am not sure but I think you get a buffet, drinks and no lines with VIP tickets) which were pretty much twice the price of normal tickets. Also, those who were there and had bought VIP tickets, they were also given a choice for a refund, or to be given extra VIP tickets for free so they can bring their friends on another day. (please confirm with park as this is just what I heard and not an official statement)
The crowd was of course, annoyed and angry. But overall, I was just happy no one tried to ram the gates or retaliate in any violent way. Crowds and mobs can really get out of hand quick.
As far as the workers, some people were called from the Mayor’s office and the NBI, and I assume things were sorted out somehow.
Oh there were of course some jerks in the crowd who decided to deflate tires of cars parked in the carpark area. My car unfortunately was one of them. I hope that deflating tires and inconvieniencing total strangers made you feel better about yourself and somehow made up for the park not opening, which the cars out there had nothing to do with. Also hoping that maybe made you popular with your friends out there and possibly got you laid, assuming that the people you were trying to impress are as shallow and sadistic as you. (sorry, had to rant about this)
Anyway, Halloween Haunts Scream Park is not a scam, as far as I can tell, as they still paid the security, event organizers, myself (the host) and others, despite the failed event. Again, the reason the carpenters weren’t paid was supposedly because they were going to pay their agency (or something like that) on Monday.
I have no affiliation with any of the staff or owners of this park and just met them on that day. I repeat, they seemed like nice people who really had a big dream of putting together this cool idea, but uncontrollable delays really just forced them to an EPIC fail of an opening.
Hopefully, you have the heart to forgive some “dreamers / entrepreneurs” and give them another chance. If not, they have said that they would give back a full refund on tickets.
I do recommend going to the park as it looks like it has a lot of potential, but I personally recommend going in January when everything is really ready.
And that was my parable of the two mobs and the zombies…. =)
P.S. … if you’re wondering what happened to the zombies there… I heard they’re still there… waiting… on some fresh meat to come by the park =P
Halloween Haunts – Scream Park Manila
The first in Asia opening this Halloween season in Manila, Philippines to bring real US style halloween haunt attractions to the philippines. 3 terrifying haunted mazes, Deadly street performances and chilling live shows.
Thu – Sat: 6:00 pm – 2:00 am
Sun: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Diosdado Macapagal Avenue cor. Gil Puyat Avenue
(near World Trade Center, Manila)
+63 9277126772 +63 9274930287