Transworld 2016: Escape the Madness
By Noah Wullkotte
Transworld’s Halloween & Attractions Show is the mecca for all that is spooky and haunted. Haunters from across the country join together in St. Louis to check out the latest in haunt technology and services. 2016 marks City Blood’s 9th year attending Transworld and we honestly weren’t sure if we would make it this year.
But thankfully we were able to take a few days out of our schedule to travel to St. Louis. After a 6 hour drive, we finally made it to the Show Me State. Our hotel was a Quality Inn in Florissant, Missouri which is a small town about 15 minutes from the convention center. Check in time was at 3pm and we were a little early. So in the mean time we decided to get a bite to eat at Steak ‘n Shake before heading to America’s Center. That Guacamole Steak burger really hit the spot.
After a short drive, we made it to America’s Center to pick up our press badges. The trade show didn’t seem as crowded on Friday compared to previous years, but it was slightly larger because of the new Escape Room City. I’ve toured the 3 minute Escape Rooms at The ScareAtorium in Columbus, Ohio and overall I feel that they can be great side attractions for haunts wanting additional entertainment. Only time will tell if stand alone Escape Rooms can compete with your typical haunts.
The trade show floor wasn’t much different from previous years. There were some innovative products such as Gantom’s Color Piano, Dare to scare Android App, a musical tesla coil called the Zuesaphone, Vector Space Virtual Reality and 4D rooms from Morbid Entertainment. Hell, there were even detailed Robot Costumes from Robot Costumes USA. Scarefactory failed to impress and didn’t really bring anything new to the table. Pale Night Productions is the innovator of CGI animatronics, but they didn’t offer much new that would make your jaw drop. It was more of the same.
I’m always impressed with Poison Props since their animatronics are so damn quiet and they utilize some of the best sound effects of any animatronic company on the market. There were more mask companies than ever before. Everywhere you turn, there’s some type of silicone mask that would be perfect for just about any type of character you can come up with. Immortal Masks stands out among the pack.
Sunday is the best time to take videos of the various booths since it’s the least crowded day. It was surprisingly pretty crowded for a Sunday. There were companies that caught my eye like Halloween Productions with their use of Unit 70 Studios Christmas props. My favorite was Krampus holding the screaming boy. It was definitely the hit of the show.
(A Frighteningly Releastic Prop From Dapper Cadaver)
There are some products that aren’t talked about as much. This includes Mini Spot Lights interactive lab equipment and their amazing LED Warp Tunnel. These aren’t new products, but I think they’re sometimes overlooked. Skeletons and More always has a great booth with some kick ass looking skulls, skeletons and bones. The Gemini Company is a unique company that offers some creepy odds and ends including a replica of The Elephant Man’s Skeleton.
The Halloween themed ticket booths from Cavallaro Concessions were also quite impressive. The grim reaper with flashing eyes would be great for a family friendly haunt or any haunt for that matter. And of course I can’t forget Midnight Studios FX. This company has some of the best looking costumes and horrifying static figures that I’ve seen.
Througout the week there were a variety of events that took place. This included The Darkness Haunt Tour, Phobius Haunt Tour, Six Flags Tour, HHA Oscares Ceremony, parties, seminars, workshops and so much more. People could even explore the City Museum or check out Laclede’s Landing Wax Museum.
Transworld has been in St. Louis, Missouri since 2009 and it’s rumored that their contract with America’s Center ends after the 2017 show. Hopefully the organizers consider another area. Areas to consider include Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Atlanta or somewhere else that’s centrally located.
I didn’t see any new must have products. In previous years there was the claustrophobia tunnel, electric fire crackers, Pale Night’s Asylum Door, Gore Galore’s Actormatronics, advanced led lighting and more. I have to say that I was was impressed with how organized this year’s show was. The security was tighter, it was layed out better and it just seemed more professional. Haunters were not allowed to be in costume unless they were with a vendor and they had to stay at their booth.
As I finishh writing this article, I wonder how Transworld will be ten years from now. Will the haunt industry be more advanced or something entirely different? City Blood will see everyone at Transworld 2017 and I hope that more innovative products emerge.