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Fear Factor at Festival Of Souls Is "Legendary"

There is nothing more awesome than being followed by a creepy monster in complete and utter darkness. And obviously by awesome, we mean terrifying in the most titillating way possible. The second annual Festival of Souls promises tons of those good scares from now until November 1.

Last year's popular FOS at Gulfstream Park provided an 8,000 square foot haunted house, aka Demon Mansion, and a zombie safari. Apparently, Brandon Kittendorf, chief executive officer of FOS, decided that scaring the pants off of his visitors wasn't enough -- he wants their suffering to "be legendary." Oh, and don't let his last name fool you, this Kittendorf's got claws. When we mentioned how terrified some visitors were last night, he grinned and said, "I enjoy that."

This year's Festival of Souls is located at the Pop Up Las Olas Riverfront, a 254,000-square-foot entertainment facility, and it houses not only a larger Demon Mansion than last year's, the zombie shooting gallery, and zombie dunk, but also a PitchBlack the Maze. Yes, we mean pitch black as in you can't even see your hand in front of your face. Scary enough? Well, there are also "things" that go bump in the dark. "This attraction will test your will and mind as you make your way through a labyrinth in the pitch dark," says Kittendorf with glee.

He's right. Although we made it through the entire labyrinth, we witnessed grown men quitting and asking to be let out. The most common phrase uttered from people exiting FOS's attractions? "It was better than Halloween Horror Nights."

Aside from the scary attractions and themed weekends, expect added scares this year. Says Kittendorf, "This year patrons can dress up as their favorite characters on different weekends. They will also enjoy a larger Demon Mansion -- over 10,000-square-feet -- which has been completely redone with even more scare rooms."

One of FOS's most popular attractions last year was the Zombie Safari. In fact, people were calling Kittendorf as early as May to find out when they could take out more members of the walking dead. "People cannot get enough of shooting zombies, so we retrofitted one of our trailers from the Zombie Safari and turned it into a Live Zombie Shooting Range. Shoot live zombies with UV rounds. Always a hit," says Kittendorf. For those of you unfamiliar with UV rounds, under the blacklit shooting range, you can actually see your bullet's trajectory and watch it hit the zombie - how cool is that? As cool as the Zombie Dunk, maybe? We'll get back to you on that.

Since FOS attracts so many visitors, Kittendorf made sure there were plenty other things to keep you occupied while you make your way through the lines. This year, expect live bands, food truck nights, bike nights, three full-liquor bars, and other 'surprises.' Also, lines are sheltered, so you can get your creepy-crawly, heebie-jeebie, Halloweenie dose, rain or shine.

One of the additional treats is the return of the Festival of Souls' resident evil DJ, Maximus 3000. Bringing back his signature audio and visual assault, Maximus 3000 will be catering to the 21 and over patrons at FOS party headquarters. "I've been harvesting the creepiest, most visually stunning, obscure, and interesting stock videos -- along with familiar iconic horror images -- all year long, prepping for FOS's themed weekends. This event allows me to spread my wings artistically through my video collages and custom-made mashups, especially with each weekend representing a different horror theme like killer clowns, vampires, werewolves, and zombies. I'm looking forward to the granddaddy of all themes during Halloween week -- iconic horror movie characters. That's going to add a whole new new layer to this already multilayered Halloween event," he explains.

"Along with weekly scheduled bands and live performances, Brandon and I have collaborated to introduce a new element on Fridays and Saturdays which run until 2 a.m. EDM fans can enjoy the 'DJ Collective of the Dead' aka DJ Maximus 3000 and Fiends. I've reached out to a stellar list of colleagues from multiple genres and scenes here in South Florida, and I'm excited to pull them into the mouth of madness," Maximus 3000 says. The roster of guest DJs includes DJ Josh Riptide, Irish transplant DJ Ed Whitty, and South Beach legends DJ Chuck Knowles and DJ JRNY, among many others.

Considering all the entertainment, added attractions, and the very high freak factor, we wouldn't be surprised if Festival of Souls is named Best Haunted House in South Florida for the second year in a row.

Get scared at the Festival of Souls from now through November 1. Tickets cost $15 - $40. Visit festivalofsouls.com.

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Ily Goyanes

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