Late in the 2010 haunt season we were on a quest to find more haunts before the last Trick o’ Treaters made their way home. Cruising down Sunset Boulevard into the dark side of Hollywood (east of the 101) we stumbled upon a small unassuming theater. Little did we know that inside we’d find a suspenseful and visually entertaining haunt experience.
This year we returned to the dark side of Hollywood to find out what Theater 68’s 18 Nights of Horror Haunted House had in store for it’s 6th year. Coming from Haunted Play’s Delusion, which is just 3 miles down the street, we couldn’t think of a better way to conclude a night of “theatrical haunts”. What amazed us last year, was how they transformed the very small theater into a large haunted house. Knowing about their space limitations, we didn’t expect there to be anything new with the layout, but once again they managed to surprised us. This year, the house has been built up with a second level addition. This new level has allowed them to further maximize the space and offer a slightly different experience over last year’s.
Victims are immediately brought into the world of the haunted house with a ‘pre-show’ video that begins as soon as you step inside a cramped dark room. Along with the video, the sound of a constant ringing phone can be heard which was also unnerving and a tactic we’ve experienced somewhere else this season. After the video, guests are then ushered into the house for a fun romp.
What we really liked about last year’s version, was how they required you to pause to take in the scene and wait for a scare. The waiting part really added to the suspense and tension. This year, the haunt felt more rushed which did detract from the scare factor. For example, in the first scene, we were faced with two people in the mists of a sinister face carving act, but before we could take it in, one of them quickly rushed us up the stairs to the next scene and we didn’t get to see or really understand what they were exactly doing. The scare factor did increase by the third scene where we ended up in the house’s small rooms that placed us up close and personal with the actors.
One of this haunt’s strongest assets is the talent of it’s cast and the detailed set design. As expected, both give a high caliber show. The actors seamlessly blend sophisticated theatrical acting with traditional haunt scares. There are many small and claustrophobic spaces you have to travel through, and one of our favorite sets from last year, which involves a “disquieting metamorphosis” in one of the rooms, is also back.
In our own experience some of the timing seemed to be off, which we attribute to the quick pace we somehow ended up on. The story from the pre-show also seemed to of been lost by the time we were in the 2nd room as the scenes continuously started to feel less associated with each other as the show (maze) went on. Given that our small group of three were the only ones there at that particular time, perhaps if we all went through individually, it would of been an even scarier experience for all of us. We could also only imagine that doing this production for 18 nights is a big commitment which requires a large amount of motivation for the actors to stay ready for the random ‘victims’ who show up throughout a slow weeknight. With that said, we still believe Theater 68’s Haunted House is worth seeing, especially if you never been before. The ticket is low cost and the parking is free.
If you live in (or near) L.A. and have already been to all the other haunts, we highly recommend you plan a night out to see Theater 68’s Haunted House and The Haunted Play’s ‘Delusion’. While not associated, together they both offer a satisfying haunted night on the town.
- Haunt Design: 4 skulls
- Scare Factor: 3 skulls
Overall Rating for Theater 68’s Haunted House 2011: 3.5 skulls