October Horror-Fest at Las Vegas Drive-in Theater

Retro outdoor theater screens dozens of spooky comedies, bloody shockers and romantic chillers for safe Halloween fun…

The effort to successfully reopen indoor theaters has been such a struggle that eleven movie theaters in the Las Vegas valley closed once more this month. Some, like Eclipse Theaters in the downtown area and Tropicana Cinemas, a second-run bargain house, never unlocked their doors. Nevertheless, West Wind Drive-ins have been thriving!

West Wind Las Vegas is one of seven in California and Nevada operated by their parent company. I told you about this six-screen outdoor theater here. With budget-friendly prices on tickets and snacks, you can pack up the family (or a hot date) into your car and have a fun night out without breaking the bank. Even better, physical distancing is NEVER a concern at a drive-in, since you’re in control of your environment. You don’t have to interact with anyone if you choose not to (online ticketing is coming soon). 

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Modern conveniences like digital picture and stereo FM sound enhance the movie-going experience. Snacks and meals can be ordered from your smartphone for quick pick-up at the concession stand. You can smoke, bring your own food, turn up the volume as loud as you like on your car’s sound system and chat about the movie if you want to. It’s your own private universe under the stars.

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All of those advantages are why the drive-in theater has surged in popularity this year. Not only has the retro concept become a place to rediscover classics on the big screen, but locations around the country have been showing new concerts and hosted comedy and drag shows. Even Jennifer Romas and the cast of Westgate’s SEXXY revue performed drive-in shows this summer at a special location.

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COVID-19 is still affecting seasonal activities like sporting events and holiday parties. Depending on your neighborhood, even trick-or-treat might not happen. But nothing is tastier than freshly-buttered movie popcorn, and you can still dress the kids (or yourself) in costumes to see a great Halloween hit, double-feature, or even a trilogy….all for one low price.

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From now through October 31st, West Wind is lighting up their six massive screen with dozens of horror titles. From franchise hits of the 80’s to the latest spooky titles. there’s something for EVERYONE.

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Click here for the latest schedule, and check back often. 

Family-friendly Spookers – 

Romantic Vampire Films – 

Franchise Horror Films – 

Tim Burton Favorites – 

John Carpenter Classics –

Low-Budget Shockers –

Big-Budget Titles –

Groundbreaking Classics –

There are plenty more films to be added to the list, and the festival runs through Halloween night. Click here for updates, and check back often. 

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West Wind Las Vegas Drive-in Theater is open year-round, rain or shine. They’re located at 4150 West Carey Avenue, northwest of downtown. Call  (702) 646-3565 OR (702) 647-1379 for more information.

 

Face the Spirits of Downtown’s ‘Apache Hotel’


Binions’ long-shuttered original rooms dare you to spend the night…

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You know the feeling of silent dread that creeps up your spine, tickling the back of your neck? How about the compulsion to suddenly do something with no rhyme or reason? Toss those sensations into a trick-or-treat bag, along with an intense need to get the hell out of the house, shake well, and that’s how I found myself checking into the eerie Hotel Apache this past weekend.

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Many of you may remember that Binions Casino once operated as a hotel, too. Its tower, topped by a digital thermometer and rotating letter “B”, is a familiar landmark. Previously known as The Mint, it was the second-tallest building on Fremont Street until the under-construction Circa Hotel. Closed since 2009, Binion’s 366 rooms reportedly require expensive asbestos removal before they can ever be reopened to guests.

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In a clever shifting of plans, owner TLC Casino Enterprises, which also operates 4 Queens Hotel Casino, decided to refurbish and open Hotel Apache, the long-hidden original structure above Binion’s Casino. Opened in 1932, those 81 rooms have remained unoccupied for 69 years.

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“There are secret tunnels…escape routes. It is a hotbed for activity. Deaths, suicides, murder…you name it. It happened right up here. One of the most haunted locations in Nevada.” So claims Zak Bagans, owner of Zak Bagans: The Haunted Museum. Early last year, Bagans and the Ghost Adventures Crew shot an episode at Hotel Apache, hoping to get a glimpse of the paranormal beings who reportedly occupy those rooms and corridors.

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The full “Binion’s” episode of Ghost Adventures is available for you to watch above. So, I won’t spoil anything here…but be sure to visit The Haunted Museum next time you’re in the Arts District.

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While nearby Golden Gate Hotel Casino (above) has downplayed decades of paranormal activity claims, Binion’s wears its dark reputation like a ghostly white sheet:

Historic Haunted Hotel Apache at Binion’s

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The Hotel Apache was originally opened by the Silvagni family in 1932. The family came to Las Vegas as a cement contractor for the Hoover Dam project and realized the workers needed a place to get away from their work and the heat of the desert. It was the first in Las Vegas to air-condition its hotel lobby and have air curtains at the entrance to the hotel. The hotel was eventually acquired by Benny Binion and was the place to stay for many Hollywood movie stars like Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart and Lucille Ball. It was also the first in Las Vegas with an electrically operated elevator, fully carpeted casino and made poker a mainstream casino game.
Over the course of over 90 years, the historic Hotel Apache and Binion’s Gambling Hall have had many reports of spirited guests in residence who make it clear that the Hotel Apache and Binion’s Gambling Hall still belong to them. Several employees have been touched, nudged, report sightings of figures; and ghost hunters have reported high levels on their EMF meters and motion sensors along with mediums seeing actual images of past owners’ family members.
Book your next stay at the Historic Haunted Hotel Apache and let us know what you experience.

You might remember when Binion’s hosted their own horror attraction during the annual Fremont Street Halloween celebration:

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Binion’s Haunted Casino is a high-tech, theater-of-the-macabre attraction. Guests make their way through three distinct “haunts” — Club Dead/Casino RoyHell, The Hotel Diablo and the 3-D Toxic Martini Lounge — loaded with state-of-the-art animatronics and live “scare actors” in full make up and costume. This attraction is recommended for those 12 years and older.

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So, why not go full-throttle and open those notorious hotel rooms to the public, too? You’ll certainly get a chill when you pass vacant casino tables on your way to the quiet rear portion of the casino. That’s where you’ll discover the reservation desk, situated above the forgotten Binion’s Original Coffee Shop.

Check-in was swift, as I was the only guest (I saw no other patrons in the hotel during my entire stay). You can take the adjacent stairs or a creaky old elevator that deposits you right into the maelstrom of supposedly unearthly beings.

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Don’t expect anything fancy at Hotel Apache. The rooms are bare-bones, extremely small (normal for the era) and…shall we say…”rustic”. But the air conditioner is effective, wi-fi is strong (and free), and the shower works great. Bedding and towels are better-than-average quality, the mattress is firm and comfortable, and the closet is almost as large as the bathroom. There’s even an exhaust fan, something rare in Downtown Vegas bathrooms.

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The room has an electronic safe (no surcharge), plenty of power outlets, and a bedside USB charging jack. The vintage framed photos, rotary telephone, and retro Victrola clock-radio are awesome touches. Amenities include free parking in the ample (but rundown) garage, as well as access to a 25th-floor rooftop pool with one of the best views in Downtown. Forget any scenery from your window, though, as the sole pane was of stained glass. But at $45 plus tax on a Friday night (with no resort fee!), it’s a steal.

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As for any bumps in the night….the only unsettling event I experienced took place while preparing for an evening at The Garden with friends. As I was showering, a loud thud in the bedroom startled me. It turned out to be my smartphone, face down on the floor and several feet away from the flat surface that I’d placed it on. Yikes!

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As mentioned above, there were no other guests to be seen the entire time. Thanks to the silence, this “paranormal investigator” slept like a baby, uninterrupted by rattling chains or shadowy specters. Before I knew it, the sun was up and it was time to have an inexpensive breakfast downstairs. Don’t worry if you’re a late riser, as checkout is a generous 12pm.

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If you’re set on communicating with the dead, you might have to wait until celebrity medium Thomas John returns to Caesars Palace. But if you’re looking for a simple, clean, and convenient stay that won’t put a dent in your wallet, Hotel Apache is an honest-to-goodness trip back in time.

Hotel Apache is located at 128 E. Fremont Street Las Vegas, NV 8910. Phone Toll Free: 800-937-6537 or 702-382-1600

Photos: Sam Novak, screen caps from Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures”

‘Scare at Town Square’ is Halloween Fun With A Twist


Two-level seasonal attraction remembers that adults love Halloween, too…

It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.” – Sheriff Leigh Bracket, John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN (1978)

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We’ve made it to the first week of October, when awesome Halloween attractions pop up all over the city. From Mandalay Bay‘s Hallow Reef and Freakling Brothers to HallOVeen at Opportunity Village, there are fun events for every family member. Adults get their share, too, by way of Fetish and Fantasy Ball at Hard Rock Hotel and various costume-contest nights at Strip nightclubs.

Alas, there is very little, if anything, that brings both of these things together into one place…until now. Scare at Town Square is an innovative and elaborate two-story concept at Town Square near McCarran Airport that’s a ground-level all-ages thriller and full-on nightclub madness on level two. Something tells me that this is where you’ll find me several times the season….because, you know, it’s freaking HALLOWEEN!

Scare at Town Square follows a tried-and-true tradition of seasonal pop-ups like Spirit Halloween and Halloween City. Utilizing empty retail spots, they breathe new life into venues that have been ghoulishly abandoned, dusting away most of the cobwebs but perhaps leaving a few spiders intentionally around…

In the case of SCARE, we’re talking about moving into the massive former NECHE Restaurant/Ultra Lounge which has been transformed into “Stage Fright” live entertainment zone, “Zoe Escape Room” and an array of “Selfie Sets.” Drink service and amazing signature cocktails are provided by Born and Raised, the official bar of the Golden Knights.

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The main level, once home to Killer Shrimp, is where you’ll find a free family-friendly pumpkin patch, Haunted Maze, Phobia Rooms and a hidden speakeasy. The entire experience encompasses 15,000 square feet of chills, thrills and fun. Yes, this is a pretty big undertaking. And it’s all done on a Hollywood-sized scale with amazing effects, costumes, actors and props. From alien autopsies to a room filled with towering clowns and a 12-foot walking jack-o-lantern, your mind will surely be blown.

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                               Mark Trevino, Bonnie Pascua and John Good (l to r)…

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                       Andrea Dupper (Sales and Marketing) and a sinister Joker…

The concept of Scare at Town Square comes from the creative geniuses at Experience Productions, a local production/management/marketing firm. John Good, Bonnie Pascua and Mark Trevino are behind a wide variety of interactive experiences, production shows, exhibitions and festivals. They’ve brought in my super-ambitious colleague (and animal-rescue activist) Andrea Dupper, who heads up SCARE‘s marketing and sales. Together they’ve delivered what should be the surprise hit of the season.

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                                Fantasy film director Joe Lujan faces his clown phobia…

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                     Heartthrob Mark Justice and “Cole” of Heartbreak Hotel in Concert…

Andrea game me a personal tour this week during a sneak peek that was attending by a wide variety of celebrities, actors, horror/fantasy film director Joe Lujan (the Immortal Wars series). Lujan was accompanied by cast members including mega-hunk model/action star Mark Justice and lovely actress/talk show host Corey Taylor.

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                                                  Myself with Ricardo Laguna…

Heartbreak Hotel in Concert’s Cole accompanied his daughter to the festivities and joined Justice for a selfie in front of the giant Jack-O-Lantern. BMX pro, philanthropist, model and all-around good guy Ricardo Laguna came by to check out the thrills. Rumor has it that Jason Egan of Saw Escape Room and the legendary Fright Dome at Circus Circus made an appearance as well.

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       John Di Domenico, Andrea, Michele Rothstein, Ricardo Laguna and Amber Ramsay

No opening would be complete without an appearance by two of the brightest smiles in the city. Award-winning Trump impersonator John Di Domenico enjoyed some fun photo ops with companion Michele Rothstein, whose Balloons With A Twist can be seen at the biggest and most spectacular events in Las Vegas. They and others enjoyed sleight-of-hand by funnyman magician Michael Mayfield.

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                             Brittni makes the best “Witches Brew” in the city…

Throughout SCARE‘s 40 days and nights of…er….scares, there should be plenty of opportunities to see celebrities. Fridays will play host to “FANTASY FRIDAYS”, at 21+ costume party beginning at 10pm. It’s one of various add-on experiences you can enjoy. Rates vary based on weekday/weekend and escape room adventures require advanced reservation.

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The attraction runs through November 10th. You can get all the details including hours and pricing by visiting ScareVegas.com. Die-hard Halloween enthusiasts will appreciate the VIP unlimited passes which deliver the entire season’s excitement for only $125.00. Buy online and save 20% by using code “1ST2SCARE”.

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            Nobody does Halloween like the folks of Las Vegas…even after they’ve passed…

Photos: Sam Novak, Mark Justice, Ira Kuzma, John Good, Andrea Dupper, Michele Rothstein, Ricardo Laguna, Scare at Town Square