Here’s Johnny! The Shining Gushes to Life at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Studios and Hollywood have just announced that ‘The Shining’ will be axing it’s way through blood soaked hallways and snowy hedge mazes at this year’s HHN events on both coast. We’re very excited about this news as we know that with ‘The Shining’ they will be able to create some uniquely terrifying settings. What we really look forward to seeing is how they’ll be able to pull off the elevator blood flood scene. Universal is known to like to get guests wet in their parks and mazes so be prepared!

The twisted minds behind the nation’s best, most intense Halloween events will bring every gruesome moment and paranormal haunting that fans have seen in the film to life in original, disturbingly authentic mazes.

“The Shining” maze at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights will provide guests with a unique opportunity to relive some of the film’s most iconic, and sinister, moments. While venturing through the eerie Overlook Hotel, guests will be thrust into the hotel’s tragic history of murder and madness, bearing witness to caretaker Jack Torrance’s spiraling descent into insanity. Nightmarish visions will come to life in this macabre maze, overwhelming guests with the “shine” of the murderous, ghostly entities that lurk around every turn – all while trying to escape the wrath of Jack Torrance as he violently succumbs to the hotel’s paranormal forces.

The Shining has been regarded as “a masterpiece of modern horror” by critics and fans alike. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, the film’s enormous influence on pop culture has been captured throughout a multitude of films, television shows, music and more since its disturbing debut in 1980.

Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 20 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando and Hollywood to become victims inside their own horror film. The streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing “scare-actors” lunge from every darkened corner. Multiple movie-quality haunted houses are erected throughout the event, based on everything from iconic slasher films to hit horror television series to haunting original stories.

Additional details about Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” will be revealed soon. For more information about Halloween Horror Nights at either Universal Orlando Resort or Universal Studios Hollywood, visit www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com.

Drunken Devil Presents “Curse of the Jungle Drums”

A couple years ago, Drunken Devil made its entrance into the haunt world with “Sinner’s Soiree,” which was part walk-through haunted house and part nightclub/bar scene. It was a creative idea, but the first-year reviews were mixed at best, and our experience was disappointing. However, Drunken Devil has persevered and found a new niche in creating horror-themed parties and events that revolve around alcohol. (Their name is Drunken Devil, after all.) Their parties have garnered good reviews on sites like HorrorBuzz.

Their newest incarnation looks like an intriguing Tiki-infused night of fun and terror, which they’re calling “Curse of the Jungle Drums”:

 

THE DRUMS WILL DRIVE YOU MAD!

Drunken Devil presents an evening of exotica, dance, theatre, and horror in a brand new, one-night-only immersive soireé: Curse of the Jungle Drums.

Find yourself transported to Pele’s Hideaway, a lavish tiki bar in Hollywood, circa 1954. Back from an exotic expedition, a famous explorer has brought a mysterious idol to the bar’s owner as a gift; the idol, however, is cursed, and causes the club-goers to go mad, killing each other. You will arrive moments after the massacre, and, if you choose to, will be able to interact with some of the newly undead patrons, piecing together a horror-fueled narrative throughout the evening.

Partake in an open bar, presented by Lemon Hart & Son Rum, featuring a host of tiki cocktails as well as other spirits, beer, and wine; experience mystifying tarot readings and magic; snap a photo in an interactive photo booth; enjoy live music and steamy, exotica-inspired burlesque acts, and, as per Drunken Devil tradition, dance under the flicker of a disco ball to end the night.

Tickets are $75 and “will increase” as it gets closer to the event. Check out Drunken Devil’s website for more information as it becomes available.

Midsummer Scream Announces Hall of Shadows 2017 Participants!

Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival, the West Coast’s premier Halloween, haunt, and horror convention returns July 29-30 to the Long Beach Convention Center for a weekend of world-class thrills and chills. One of the stand-out components of Midsummer Scream’s impressive array of entertainment is the Hall of Shadows – a large portion of the convention’s show floor that is shrouded in darkness and filled with billowing fog, and roaming monsters on an unprecedented scale. For 2017, the Hall of Shadows will feature 14 highly-themed “mini haunts” representing professional and home-made attractions that fans can look forward to visiting this Halloween season here in Southern California.

“Hall of Shadows is a substantial component of Midsummer Scream,” says the convention’s Creative Director, Rick West. “Last year, we featured 9 mini haunts within the Hall; this year, we are upping the count to 14. We are thrilled with the diversity of participating groups this year, from extremely popular pro haunts, to some of the greatest home haunts in existence. Add the awesome spectacle of the Decayed Brigade slider team into the mix, and you’ll find that we have a Hall of Shadows experience this year that is truly epic. Hall of Shadows is a cornerstone of Midsummer Scream, as there is nothing that defines Halloween in America more than haunted houses and lurking monsters. It’s going to be a blast, and all of our participants are raring to go!”

A Unique Challenge
Creating the Hall of Shadows is a unique and exciting challenge. Nowhere has any convention featured such a large “dark zone” with so many haunted attractions for guests to experience. Taking up approximately 1/3 of Midsummer Scream’s 92,000 square-foot show floor, installation of the Hall takes careful planning and coordination well before the doors open to the public. For months, haunters plan their attractions and fabricate them off-site; once it’s “GO time”, each group drives onto the show floor of the Long Beach Convention Center and drops off their haunts in pieces before set-up begins. With 14 attractions being installed at the same time, it’s a virtual ballet of large trucks, haunt build crews, and Midsummer Scream staff members all communicating and working in unison for 48 hours leading up to the opening of the show. Each light above the Hall must be manually turned off once the haunts are installed. To make the area even darker, an extremely large black curtain measuring roughly 325 feet in length (almost the length of a football field) is raised more than 20 feet above the show floor, creating an ominous “wall” between the living and the dead!

Hall of Shadows Entry Façade/Portal
This year’s Hall of Shadows entry portal is being designed and built by CalHauntS (California Haunting Society), a group of talented Halloween enthusiasts responsible for creating some of the most elaborate home haunts anywhere. Sleepy Hollow is the inspiration for this year’s entrance to the Hall of Shadows. Guests will transition from the show floor into the Hall of Shadows as they pass underneath a gothic archway into an eerie cemetery, complete with weathered tombstones and macabre scenic elements.

14 Haunted Attraction Experiences in 2017
For 2017, Midsummer Scream offers guests 14 haunted attractions, each measuring roughly 20’ x 20’. All attractions within the Hall of Shadows is included with a Midsummer Scream day or weekend pass. Guests with Front of Line passes to Midsummer Scream will find express queues at each attraction within Hall of Shadows, expediting their wait times.

2017 Hall of Shadows lineup:

  • Hall of Shadows 2017Dead Zone 805
    You are part of a special crime unit sent to investigate the work shed of a suspected killer. Once inside, you discover much more than you ever could have imagined! You think you’ve seen it all? Think again.
  • Gorlesque presents: Peep Show
    The twisted minds behind The Weltschmerz Society return to Midsummer Scream with “GORLESQUE presents: PEEP SHOW” – a bizarre showcase featuring the kind of lovelies Dr. Weltschmerz obsessed over. Because of the event’s multiple options for each presentation, guests are encouraged to return again and again to see them all!
  • Gothic Hills
    Legend tells of an old crypt, hidden away from the rest of the Gothic Hills Cemetery, that holds the remains of Julius Fitzroy, a once powerful and temperamental tycoon whose soul was cursed to be trapped for the rest of eternity inside a crystal skull. Adventurers who disappear into the undergrowth of the cemetery in search of the tomb are never heard from again! In 2017, join us as we go way back and see where it all started on the night Julius died, and how his soul was trapped in the skull by his spurned mistress, Winifred!
  • Hall of Shadows 2017Higgins Manor
    The walls of the Higgins estate have grown cold and silent since the disappearance of William P. Higgins III. But evil still resides inside his crumbling manor. There’s a suspected traitor… and his vicious henchmen are looking for answers.
  • Hyde Street Massacre
    The Hyde Street Massacre Haunted House is what your worst nightmares are made of. Go ahead and take a step through the doors of this nightmare-induced fright house… The only question is, will you survive the massacre? You’ll quickly realize the challenge you have accepted may be your last. You will then be lost within the haunting walls of Otis Hatcher’s killing chambers; a man so obsessed with Halloween, he lost his mind and became an infamous serial killer. It was a very bloody night.
  • Immersive Parties’ MAC: Mutation Analysis Center
    Enter this facility and encounter mutations of the undead. The zombie apocalypse is over, and all that is left are the experimental test subjects that now occupy this bizarre Mutation Analysis Center. Do you dare enter?
  • Hall of Shadows 2017Mable’s 6 Feet Under
    Motel 6 Feet Under “Scream Tests” are happening in the Hall of Shadows… Except this year, our little Mable will be waiting for you! Yes, it’s true – Mable has taken over the motel. And she is ready to squeeze the life out of the party. It’s Mable’s Motel now. Check in. Then get lost.
  • Nightmare Productions presents The Gate
    The Gate is a place of unimaginable horror. Rumored to be a sacred place – a portal between the living and the dead. It is said to have existed since the beginning of time; a dark, brooding place inhabited by the damned and those simply lost along their spiritual journeys. Mortals that venture into The Gate never return. The hellmouth stands open and waiting, its temptation too great for the foolish…
  • Opechee Haunt’s Apparition Adventure: Terror Twins
    Follow in the footsteps of the Specter Inspectors paranormal investigation team as you venture through the historically haunted Edwards Family Home. There are many secrets in this house; some are meant to be left undiscovered…
  • Hall of Shadows 2017Phobia Productions presents: Grimm’s Hallow
    Just when you thought it was safe to read old fairy tales… Come face the fears of the Old World. Monsters, nightmares, and childhood fears wait around every corner. Heed what the storyteller says, or you may never return from Grimm’s Hallow!
  • Pumkin Jack’s Haunted House
    Are you afraid of the dark? Beware of what lurks in the mist of Pumkin Jack’s; you may just find yourself face-to-face with your nightmares. The family that lives there – they can be deceiving, luring you to your final moments of life. You have been warned!
  • The Fleshyard
    It is the year 2320. Welcome aboard the USS Abyssma! As security detail for the Nexus Science Research Station located on Kepler Prime, your journey through interstellar space starts now. Using the Alcubierre warp drive, your trip will take approximately 9 months. 24th century world-class amenities await you, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight!
  • Hall of Shadows 2017The Haunted Rose presents: The Maritime Horror
    The Haunted Rose presents another chapter of H.P. Lovecraft-inspired horror. Enter the seaport village of Innsmouth, where something sinister is lurking beyond the shadows. Discover the long-kept secret of the Marsh family, and see if you can escape its lure.
  • Unhallowed presents: The Last of Man
    Gain access to an abandoned facility that once was home to a government project known as “The Last of Man”. It is believed that an airborne virus is still trapped inside…

World-Class Slider Exhibitions
Returning to the Hall of Shadows for their second year is the Decayed Brigade slider team of Southern California. Several times each day, the Brigade will take to their designated “runway” in the middle of the Hall and perform breathtaking feats of strength and agility as they run, slide, jump, and launch themselves through the air with absolute precision.

The Hall of Shadows will be open Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30, during show hours. It is not intended for small children; it is recommended that only guests age 13 years and older venture into the Hall itself. Each haunt will be closed periodically throughout the day for necessary crew breaks.

Tickets are now on sale! Visit MidsummerScream.org 

Fans may sign up on the site for email notifications and announcements, including discounts and other special offers. Be sure to follow Midsummer Scream on social media as well – Twitter/Periscope: @MidsummerScream, Instagram: @MidsummerScream, and Facebook: facebook.com/midsummerscream. Please use #MidsummerScream to tag all social media posts regarding Midsummer Scream 2017. Halloween – It’s not just a season… it’s a lifestyle!

About Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival

Midsummer Scream is a large-scale summer festival celebrating the spirit of Halloween, haunts and horror, drawing thousands of guests to Southern California for a weekend of thrills and chills. Featuring a massive show floor of vendors and exhibitors, haunted attractions and experiences, live entertainment and world-class panel presentations, Midsummer Scream is the West Coast’s premier Halloween/horror event, offering something for fans of all ages. More information can be found at MidsummerScream.org.

Fans can follow Theme Park Adventure via social media on Facebook, Instagram (search our posts with #ThemeParkAdventure), Twitter, and Periscope for live streams of our travels and special events!

A New Season of Horror Begins at HHN 27 in Orlando!

In one of the earliest announcements of the season,  Universal Studios announced today that another American Horror Story themed house will terrorize guest for a second year at HHN 27 in Orlando!  This time around the maze will feature three of the show’s seasons – “Asylum,” “Coven” and “Roanoke.”

In “Asylum,” guests will venture through the decades of Briarcliff, where they will evade Dr. Arden’s human “Rasper” and meet serial killer Bloody Face. Next, guests will find themselves in “Coven,” where they will encounter Madame Delphine LaLaurie, Marie Laveau (the voodoo Queen of New Orleans), and the descendants of Salem witches. Finally, in “Roanoke,” guests will find themselves reliving the horrific story of the Millers, where they will encounter and be at the mercy of Piggy Man, the Polk family and the ghosts of the blood moon.


“We are thrilled to bring the incredible storytelling and iconic characters of ‘American Horror Story’ back to Halloween Horror Nights for a second year,” said Michael Aiello, Sr. Director of Entertainment Creative for Universal Orlando Resort. “Last year, ‘American Horror Story’ was the highest guest-rated haunted house in Halloween Horror Nights history – and we can’t wait to immerse our guests in all-new horrors from the show.”

This year HHN in will run for 34 nights beginning on Friday, September 15 through Saturday, November 4.  For more information, go to halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando.

We expect to see AHS returning to HHN in Hollywood too…

Special Haunt Event: Regin of Terror Open on March 4th

It’s already been four long months since we’ve be able to go through a haunt. Thankfully, Reign of Terror haunt, located in Thousand Oaks, CA, is hosting special event is tomorrow night (Saturday, March 4th). Doors will be open from 7:00pm – 11:00pm. Come out and enjoy a pre-springtime night of haunt stalking.

 

Event Details

A FULL PRODUCTION special event on Saturday night, March 4, 2017.
Doors will open from 7PM – 11PM.

ALL 8 ATTRACTIONS with 95 ROOMS, ALL SPECIAL EFFECTS, and ALL CHARACTERS will be active.

Remember, all 8 attractions are interconnected. Once you leave one attraction, you immediately enter the next.

Tickets at the Box Office all night starting 6:30pm or buy online at www.ROTHauntedHouse.com

Special REDUCED Ticket Price only $15 each general admission or $25 each VIP entry
(sorry, due to the reduced special price, no other discounts can apply)

** Ticket proceeds from this event will benefit ANIMAL RESCUE CHARITIES **

2016: A Haunt Year in Review

There’s a general consensus out there that 2016 was “the worst.” In many ways, we feel that, too. But on the flip side, 2016 was actually an excellent year for haunts. So cheer up, kiddos, and take a look at our year-end review of the best haunt moments in Southern California this year!

Top 5 Haunt Moments  of 2016

5. Walking Dead Year-Round Attraction Opens at Universal Studios Hollywood 

At first, we were a bit worried how this new year-round walk-through might affect Halloween Horror Nights in the fall, and we were also concerned that it might be a watered-down, bland version of an HHN maze made more palatable to the masses. But Universal struck an impressive balance in this attraction by maintaining a high scare factor without overdoing the intensity for the average guest. It feels great to be able to experience a maze year round. We’re also hopeful that with The Walking Dead, Universal might be pioneering a trend in theme parks toward including more attractions with darker, scarier elements. We hope the other parks get inspired by this brave move from Universal.

 4. Home Haunts Take It to the Next Level During Halloween Season

What a great year for home haunts! Although we don’t typically do full reviews of home haunts, we were lucky to experience a few this year. What blew us away was the fact that many times, these home haunts had better scares than the pros! Rotten Apple 907 terrified us with their “Not So Enchanted Forest,” the Backwoods Maze had another impressive run, and the classic, not-to-be-missed House at Haunted Hill returned from a hiatus. Home haunters are an essential branch of the haunt industry  and are often the most creative folks out there (evidenced by the fact that many haunt prop catalogs  brazenly rip off their prop ideas every year–see the Cauldron Creeper and Faceless Spectre, for examples). If you don’t have home haunts on your Halloween to-do list, they’re a must for 2017!

3. Haunted Theater Has Another Strong Year

After being sorely missed due to a hiatus in 2015, Delusion roared back to the afterlife this year with “His Crimson Queen.” Once again, we were impressed with the production and set design work of this beloved attraction. We felt this was one of the best installments of Delusions, with a strong storyline, natural-feeling interactivity, and some real scares. Zombie Joe’s returned with their “Tour of Terror” and another great year of Urban Death performances.  And finally, Creep LA made it near the top of our review list with this year’s “darkness” themed event. The acting and “creep” factor in this attraction was top-notch, and we hope they come back bigger and badder next year.

2. Halloween Convention Wars Heat Up the Summer

How lucky are we in Southern California that we have not one–but TWO–Halloween conventions?? Midsummer Scream and Scare LA duked it out over as the offered competing conventions just one week apart. We attended both and felt that Midsummer Scream came out on top but just a few factors, but if you’re a die-hard Halloween fan, attending both is a great option. We can’t wait to see what both events have in store for 2017!

1. Halloween Horror Nights Presents the Best Maze Lineup EVER!

As the maze announcements trickled in over the year for HHN Hollywood 2016, we couldn’t believe our ears. One iconic property after another was announced. Although the big four–Jason, Freddy, Michael, and Leatherface–had mazes at HHN before, they’d never been presented together in the same year. And on top of that, we got a delightfully devilish Krampus maze and an impressive incarnation of American Horror Story, a maze fans have been requesting for years. HHN also broke ground with their Purge outdoor walk-through experience, which replaced the standard scare zone format. We had a fantastic time at HHN this year. The bad news is that we can’t imagine how HHN will top that in 2017. It’s going to be a hard act to follow, but if anyone can do it, it’s the creative team at Halloween Horror Nights.

We hope you were able to get out and experience some or all of these great moments. Be sure to check back with Scare Zone throughout 2017 for the latest haunt news, reviews, and in-depth analysis and opinion pieces about the haunt industry.

Happy New Year!

There’s a CHILL in the air….

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Hard to believe that only 3 weeks ago we were going through haunts and trick o treating and now it’s time for the truly horrifying time of year… the holidays. Fortunately there are still a few haunted attractions open and many of the popular haunts have transformed into elaborate holiday playgrounds. We have to admit that with the almost never-ending warm weather here, it’s hard to get into the mood to listen to songs like “Let It Snow” or “White Christmas”. But Queen Mary is going to help us cool things down by adding a little ‘Chill’ to the air.

The terrifying spirits of Dark Harbor just sailed away and now the holiday spirit is taking over with the return of CHILL at the Queen Mary. CHILL offers seasonal fun with ice skating, ice tubing, sleigh rides, and visits with Santa. Southern California’s coolest holiday adventure will also unveil a new interactive and immersive experience, Alice in Winterland.

Light up the night and follow the Queen down the rabbit hole this holiday season with Alice in Winterland. The newest attraction at CHILL brings an inspired re-imagination of the classic Lewis Carroll story to life through the magic of an interactive and digitally immersive 14,000-square foot walk-through experience. Guests can unlock the hidden secrets of the adventure with RIFD technology to make each individual visit truly unforgettable. Alice in Winterland features stunning, larger than life lanterns as you follow Alice and her adventure into the Hall of Doors, the White Rabbit’s Kitchen, Mad Hatter’s Work Shop, the proverbial Tea Party, the Hedge Maze and visits from the Caterpillar and the new Queen of Diamonds.

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The fifth annual CHILL welcomes back Glacier Glide Ice Tubing with six lanes of glistening ice slides standing two stories tall and 100-feet long. Ice skate under the stars on the 6,000 square-foot ice skating rink with the backdrop of the picturesque Queen Mary ship.

Stroll through the North Pole Village and stop by the Queen Mary Village’s post office to send a letter to Santa. Take a spin on the Swinging Sleigh Ride, the Giant Rocking Horse or play Prancer’s Paintball for holiday thrills. A trip to CHILL is not complete without a stop by the Gingerbread House to make a festive edible creation, and a visit to Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Claus Cottage. The holiday fun is endless.

CHILL runs on select dates from November 23, 2016 through January 8, 2017. Pricing starts at $39.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids (ages 4-11), now available online. Tickets include entrance to Alice in Winterland, Ice Tubing, CHILL Village and access to the Queen Mary ship. Hotel and VIP packages are also available.

Sinister Pointe’s Holiday Haunt Returns

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Sinister Pointe is spreading a little Christmas Fear to all you horror fiends with our 4th-ish annual “NOT So Merry Holiday Haunt”.

Sinister Pointe will revamp their current Halloween attraction to bring you a brand new “Choose your own adventure style”, interactive, Rude, Crude, comical and terrifying XMAS nightmare! Which includes plenty of inappropriate behavior, language and insults. If you are easily offended then this specific holiday event is NOT for you.

This Event is NOT for children!

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ATTENTION:
This attraction breaks off at various points to give the guests a “Choose your own path” type of experience. Guests can experience all that the NOT so Merry attraction has to offer by venturing through the attraction 2 times as opposed to the 4 separate paths offered during our Halloween Event. This attraction is slightly longer than the Halloween experience and contains more INTERACTIVE elements.

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And YES! Everyone will get to take their picture with a NOT So Merry SANTA! (Photo Sold Separately)

Please buy your tickets NOW to avoid missing out on this special Christmas gone bad event.

Dates:
December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17

Times:
7:00pm – Midnight (Fridays and Saturday)

Haunt Review 2016: Creep LA

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About three-quarters of the way through 2016’s incarnation of Creep LA, we wondered, “Is this performance art disguised as a haunt, or is this a haunt themed to a piece of performance art?” And we also wondered, “Does the fact that we’re asking ourselves this question mean that Creep LA has elevated itself to a higher level than a standard haunted attraction?” And the answer is Yes. Yes, it does.

For 2016, Creep has moved from Downtown to Glassell Park, a better location with better parking. The exterior this year is once again a simple warehouse, with the words “CreepLA” projected on the outside of the building serving as the only indication there’s a haunt inside. Tickets are sold by time slots, and our group had only 5 people. When it was our turn, we were taken inside and lined up against the wall, where we met the first few creeps.

In this room, we signed a waiver, were strongly urged to use the restroom, and then were given a bit of the backstory by the actors. This year’s attraction features the story the “controversial artist” Erebus Burwyck who sought to explore “the dark side of humanity.” The first part of the haunt feels part prison, part art gallery, as Burwyck’s art is hung around on the cinder block–style walls. The actors portray creepy hipster artist types, which is perfect fit for this part of town.

The first part of the experience is a stop in a lounge–a medium-sized room containing works of art, couches, tables, and chairs, and different performers wandering around and interacting with the guests. While some might see this as an attempt to grab more dollars by offering alcoholic beverages before the actual haunt begins, we really felt that the lounge was part of the show and helped set the mood and tone. The performers fantastically engage every single waiting guest with their slightly uncomfortable and invasive conversations, all while providing small details of the backstory.  We actually wished our stay in the lounge could have been a bit longer, but our group was soon called, and we proceeded to the main attraction.

*Note: Slight spoilers ahead, but we never give too much away.

After receiving a bit more of the backstory and some of the standard pre-haunt warnings (for example, “You’re about to lose your mind, and by the way, don’t touch the creeps although they WILL touch you”), we were led to another warehouse where we entered the first scene. Here we were told to face the wall with our backs to the room. After a minute or so, each of us was led by the hand to a chair, where a lace cloth was placed over our heads. An audio recording of Erebus Burwyck was played while two cult-like Burwyck fans performed a strange ritual in the center of the room. Eventually, the lights go out, and we’re in the darkness. The scene builds suspense, closely follows and elaborates on the backstory, has some freaky performance art to witness, and even manages to get in some traditional scares. It was a very good opening to the attraction.

The rest of the haunt was similarly eerie, interesting, thoughtful, suspenseful, and even scary. We were extensively touched by the actors, and some of it includes very close contact that could make many people uncomfortable, so be warned. However, if you enter with an open mind and don’t take it too seriously, we definitely think you’ll have a good time. Each scene is a small vignette that varies between creepy and uncomfortable. The overall story of being immersed in a piece of performance art really shines through in the way CreepLA has structured the haunt, as each room feels like an individual piece of an “art” show while also serving the overall theme. Additionally, every single person in our group ended up participating in at least one (and for some of us, more) scene. Each person was also led away at some point to be alone with a “creep.” These experiences were unsettling but not overly intense.

We won’t detail each scene, but to give you an idea: we traveled through a demented, impressively choreographed dinner party; a creepy child’s bedroom; a couple of different erotic dance vignettes; a sparse room with a giant pile of sand; and the dressing room of an unhinged beauty queen. The level of detail in each set was different depending on the purpose of the story of the scene, but almost every room felt complete and well thought out.

SUMMARY

Over the years, we’ve come to recognize that the mark of a great haunt experience is whether or not you think about the haunt the day after you experience it. If it stays with you, and if your mind rehashes the experience in the following days, that haunt has achieved a rare level. This is definitely the case with Creep LA. We also witnessed a lot of people standing around in the parking lot after they had gone through the haunt, just talking and detailing their experiences, because the attraction will be different for each person. This is what has truly elevated Creep LA from being not  just another haunt but rather its very own work of art.

We’re lucky that in Los Angeles, we have the option of a few of these different types of haunt-theater events: Delusion, Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, and Creep LA. Each has its own merits and is worthy of a visit. Although Creep LA is not as lush as Delusion, and it doesn’t have the same level of set detailing and stunt work, we think Creep LA is a little bit more interesting and intense. Creep LA feels like Delusion’s dirty little sister: she might not be as pretty or sophisticated, but in a lot of ways, she’s just more fun.

We’re also spoiled in Los Angeles by the level of acting talent here. In some other cities, when a haunt says they have “real actors,” they mean alive human beings rather than animatronics. In L.A., it often means the actors can actually act. There is no way working at Creep is easy, and the actors in the lounge are especially impressive in the improvisational way they interact with guests.

Altogether, we think Creep LA is a unique, demented, special experience that should be on everyone’s list during the Halloween season.

Ratings

Haunt Design:  5-skulls 

  Theming: 4-5-skulls

Scare Factor: 4-skulls   

Fright Value: 4-5-skulls

Overall Rating: 

4-5-skulls

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On a brisk October night—well, it was kind of warm, actually—we traveled into the dark of night guided by the light of a full moon, and the oncoming traffic headlights on the 5 freeway, to get to the far reaches of Griffith Park, where the L.A. Haunted Hayride resides.  When we arrived at our destination in the dark side of town, there was a parking lot filled with cars and a long line of people waiting anxiously to get in. From the size of the crowd, it was obvious that the L.A. Haunted Hayride has managed to become one of the more popular haunts in L.A..

It’s been a while since we’ve come here, as the hayride experience had started to become redundant and not very scary to us after going for a couple years in a row. So we decided that this year it would be fun to go back and check it out, since they now have two additional mazes and a new walk-through segment during the hayride itself. They also happen to be only a few miles away from another haunt we really wanted to see, CreepLA.

The atmosphere across the grounds of the hayride, which they call “Purgatory,” feels like a Halloween festival with food vendors, roaming performers, a “Boutique,”  pumpkin carving, light shows, psychic booths, and a “Sacry-Go-Round.”  It’s all well organized and fun. You’ll really feel the spirit of the season after spending a little time here.

We were surprised that they didn’t take credit cards anywhere, not even at the ticket booths, and guests were forced to used portable ATMs in order to get cash if they didn’t bring any. This was a little annoying and inconvenient. It seems that they’re trying to make every last dollar they can by not paying credit card fees and getting kick backs from the rented ATMS. Another interesting thing is all the food served at the venue is vegan, which for us isn’t a problem. In fact, the pumpkin donut holes were delicious.

Of course, before we spent any more time in “Purgatory,” we hit up the hayride and the two mazes.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride: Secret Society

img_6900This year’s hayride was promoted as being “brand new with the most innovative theme to date”. The story is we’re now part of a Secret Society of Halloween, and they’re going to take us, in our hay-filled cart, down a dark road where we’ll witness scenes of power and sacrifice, all to bring the night of Samhain to life. Before taking this journey, guests get rounded up like cattle in a chain-link fence holding pen and then corralled into the wagon. The wagon isn’t very comfortable, as instead of sitting on comfy bales of hay, you sit in a thin pile of hay that’s spread across the bed of the wagon.

We did notice a few minor changes in the hayride since we last visited but nothing that was truly “innovative”. Most notably is the section where you leave the hay wagon a few minutes into the ride and walk through an outdoor maze that has one or two startling moments. After the maze section, we were quickly crammed back into the wagon and continued on with the tour.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t experience anything else that was particularly scary on the rest of the hayride. There are some interesting and elaborate sets along the route and some talented performers who give it a theatrical edge, but we had a hard time following the storyline and understanding what was happening in some of the scenes. The overall theme was lost on us, as the ride begins with a giant Mayan statue telling us we’re doomed and then finishes in a tent where we get attacked by patriotic Purge-like  goons.

cu3gspwvuaaruk_-jpg-large  img_6902

All in all, the hayride is like a riding though an outdoor Halloween store, where you’ll see some cool costumes, makeup jobs, and props on display. It’s all fun, but we wouldn’t want to wait in a long line to check it out.

Haunt Design: 3-skulls
Theming: 2-skulls
Scare Factor: 1-skull
Overall Rating: 2-skulls

Ouija Origin of Evil: House of Shadows

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This is a true maze composed of black walls in almost complete darkness. From the name, it’s obvious that they’re promoting the new Ouija movie, so they also included a few rooms that feature scenes from the movie.  These scenes are not at the same quality of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights mazes, but they still were fun. In the rest of the maze, you have to find your way through  dark corridors with dead ends and monsters lurking in the shadows. This maze was actually pretty fun, and we found it to be a little scarier than the hayride. Overall, this was a fun attraction, but note that the line can get REALLY long. We suggest hitting this maze early in the night (before the hayride) to avoid the long lines.

Haunt Design: 2-5-skulls
Theming: 3-skulls
Scare Factor: 2-skulls
Overall Rating: 3-skulls

Trick Or Treat

img_6913This has to be one the best maze concepts we’ve experienced this season. This maze takes interactivity to another level, where guests have to walk through a spooky neighborhood and literally go trick-or-treating door to door. Each house has its own personality to match the forbidding residents inside. It’s suspenseful and fun when you walk up to a house and have to ring the doorbell or knock on the door, waiting for an encounter with what’s on the other side. If you’re lucky, the resident will award you with some candy before sending you on your way to your next frightful encounter.

This maze was so much fun. We liked the feeling of not being confined to a path and the ability to pick where were wanted to go to get scared. We also liked the different themed homes, which featured just about every kind of Halloween character you could imagine. Getting candy made the experience all that much more fun. For us grown-up haunt stalkers, this maze allowed us to re-create the nostalgic memory of going door to door on Halloween night and the nightmares we had afterward.

Haunt Design: 4-skulls
Theming: 5-skulls
Scare Factor: 2-5-skulls
Overall Rating:4-5-skulls

 

L.A. Haunted Hayride Overall Fright Value:

2-5-skulls

Overall Rating of L.A. Haunted Hayride 2016:

3-5-skulls

*Videos courtesy of Theme Park HD

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