Terror sets sail on the Ghost Ship for Halloween 2011 [Updated]

(Ghost Ship)
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The Ghost Ship, sailing out of Newport Beach in October for Halloween, with monsters, mazes and nightly “executions,” promises to be an unusual haunted attraction at sea.

The premise is simple: On a calm and clear fall night in 1939, a luxury ship serving as a floating asylum for the criminally insane disappeared 100 miles off the California coast. Now the ship has been found, and you’re invited for a 75-minute cruise helmed by the inmates.

Inspired by the “Ghost Ship” horror movie, the Halloween on the high seas attraction will naturally draw comparisons to the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor haunted event in Long Beach. The difference is that the Ghost Ship, a 150-foot-long yacht, will actually set sail on the open ocean with 400 passengers on board.

Passengers will have free reign to leisurely explore the ship at their own pace, but organizers promise an unrelenting 75 minutes of non-stop, heart-attack-inducing scares.

Ghost Ship will feature three decks of haunted attractions crawling with 35 criminally insane inmates. No spot on the ship will be safe.

Event organizer Melissa Carbone said the Ghost Ship will be “the scariest thing ever.”

The new haunted attraction will enter a crowded field dominated by Knott’s Berry Farm’s Halloween Haunt and Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights.


“I don’t think Halloween Horror Nights is that scary,” said Carbone, who also runs the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. “It’s not dark, you can see all the scares and there’s too many people. However, Universal Studios has amazing production values with intriguing characters and sets.”

For the Record, 1:30 p.m, July 1: This post has been updated to more accurately reflect event organizer Melissa Carbone’s comments on the Ghost Ship haunted attraction and Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights.

Ward 7 on the lowest deck will take visitors through a haunted maze of treatment facilities, including a shock therapy room, a hydrotherapy tank, a sleep disorder clinic, an examination lab and a morgue.

On the mid-deck, visitors can sip cocktails at a 1930s-era cash bar , but be wary of the waiters, who are inmates in disguise. When the room goes dark, the lounge chairs will literally come to life and wrap their arms around the guests.

The top deck will feature a public “execution” that will give new meaning to interactive experiences. Visitors will bear witnesses to the event in a live 4-D theater setting until the power goes out and the inmates start running wild.

Ghost Ship will sail on Friday and Saturday nights from Oct. 14 to 29, with departures each evening at 6:30 p.m., 8:15 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets, which are $59 per person, will go on sale July 15.