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Howl-O-Scream 2014: Busch Gardens brings back fan favorites and adds new scares

Busch Gardens has brought back some old favorites and created new scares for Howl-O-Scream 2014.
Busch Gardens has brought back some old favorites and created new scares for Howl-O-Scream 2014.
©Busch Gardens

New frights, fan favorites and a haunting tune are ushering in the 16th season of Busch Gardens’ Halloween event, Howl-O-Scream. The Williamsburg, Virginia park opens its annual season of thrills and chills on Friday, September 12. Howl-O-Scream attractions, shows and special events start at the stroke of 6:00 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October 26.

An all new song has been produced especially for Howl-O-Scream. Guests will hear the song as they walk through the haunted villages around the park. The rumor is that the song curses anybody that listens to it, subjecting them to a night of paranormal adventure. Listeners must survive the night in order to lift the curse.

Entertainment Vice President Scott Gasparich has given guests a piece of advice to survive the night,

“Don’t listen. The song is an integral part of this year’s Howl-O-Scream offerings. It is said that strange things start happening when guests hear that haunting melody.”

The wildly popular Terror-tories – expertly themed scenes in the various “villages” around the park – of last year have returned along with one brand new section. The New France village has become Wendigo Woods, which explores the frightful nature of the unknown. The story behind Wendigo Woods is that it was a research facility where scientists could study the nature and wildlife of the northernmost forests. The camp was named after a creature called the wendigo. Thought to be nothing more than a legend, the mysterious creature has recently been spotted in the woods. A security team has shut down the compound to contain whatever is out there. Don’t fall prey to the terror in the trees.

According to Scott Gasparich,

“The startles in Wendigo Woods are more psychological than physical. Sometimes it’s what you don’t see that scares you the most.”

Along with Wendigo Woods, the four returning terror-tories include Ripper Row in England, Vampire Point in Germany, Ports of Skull in Italy and Demon Street in France. As a fan of themed entertainment and scary stuff, this Theme Park Examiner must give kudos to Busch Gardens on the implementation of this aspect of Howl-O-Scream. The terror-tories are brilliantly executed. Whether it’s the smell of Paris burning, the sound of haunting music or the sight of Jack the Ripper, vicious vampires and swashbuckling pirates, terror-tories offer something for all of the senses.

Six haunted house mazes include Catacombs, Bitten, Cut Throat Cove, Deadline, Root of all Evil and 13: Your Number’s Up. Yes, there are no new haunted houses this year, but I have no doubts that there will be plenty of surprises. My personal favorites include Deadline and Root of all Evil. Which haunted house is your favorite?

Monster Stomp on Ripper Row

A favorite live show that has been absent from the Howl-O-Scream lineup since 2011 is making its return in 2014. Monster Stomp on Ripper Row is a modern rock-and-roll extravaganza that will feature percussion, dancing and singing amid the backdrop of London’s East End.

Carl Lum, Park President, said … “Our guests tell us time and time again to bring back Monster Stomp. Monster Stomp on Ripper Row is a complete revision to the classic production with high-tech thrills that can only be created on the Globe Theatre stage.”

Video mapping technology, 3-D soundscapes and other high-tech formats inside the state-of-the-art Globe Theatre will transport guests to London’s East End where Jack the Ripper’s horrifying acts occurred. Parents should take heed …

“Monster Stomp on Ripper Row is not for the faint of heart,” said show production manager Phil Raybourn. “Monster Stomp in 2014 has a much darker theme than any production we’ve ever produced.”

Returning live shows include Fiends and Night Beats.

A new dining option during Howl-O-Scream is Igor’s Fright Feast, a buffet dinner and live show along the lines of the amazing Blood Banquet at Vampire Point, which will be returning. Spirit bars and drink stations include Pirate's Baarrgh, Demon Drinks, the Inoculation Station and OPEN CASKet.

Guests can purchase a spooky gift and Howl-O-Scream merchandise at Captain Barghbie's Booty and the new Vampire Vogue shop. There's no word on whether ear plugs will be available for the aforementioned haunted song ...

NOTE: Please use caution when bringing young children to Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream event. The World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park takes a decidedly dark turn after 6:00.

For more information on Howl-O-Scream attractions, events and experiences, please click here.