In 2011, Hollywood Sports Park in Bellflower, CA, introduced “Zombie Killhouse,” a one-of-a-kind Halloween experience customized for the paintball and gaming amusement park. This year, the park expands its haunt offerings, becoming Haunted Hollywood Sports (HHS), a Halloween event that spans the entire park, including the “Zombie Killhouse,” another all new killhouse, plus four walk-through Halloween mazes and two scare zones. We always welcome new entrants into the Haunt market, so we included HHS as a last stop of the night of our OC haunt tour, which included visits to Sinister Pointe and The Empty Grave (we know they’re not in the OC, but close enough).
Unfortunately, our excitement for HHS quickly turned to frustration. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by chaotic parking, ticketing, and security operations. The absurdity of their operational issues included paying $5 to park in the dirt and for some unexplained reason, security was overly adamant about preventing women from bringing perfume into the park (what about guys bringing in cologne?). After taking 30 minutes to buy our tickets, confirming to multiple staff members that we had no perfume, and getting through security, we finally made it inside the park.
We are sympathetic to the challenges faced by first-year haunts. However, we can’t be so forgiving to an established “amusement park,” where the core issues are with its operations. Inside the park, we were faced with dark walkways with no signage or clear directions on where to go. It was like going through a maze just trying to find the attractions. When we did find the mazes, monsters could be found eating at a picnic table near the entrance or the maze could be temporarily closed so the monsters could take their breaks.
From our understanding, the team responsible for the creation of the haunt overlay is a separate entity from the park management. The effects of the obvious disconnect between the groups leaves the impression that HHS is just trying to siphon haunt dollars from other nearby haunts without providing a quality haunt experience. One of the scariest things about this place is that it costs us only $6 less than Knott’s Scary Farm. However, the mazes are nowhere near the quality of Knott’s, or even some local community center haunts we’ve been to for that matter.
For this review, we won’t torture you by going over each maze, as aside from having different names, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish one maze from the other. The designs of the mazes here are just long walks through the dirty paintball field with a couple of lights, tarps, and fog machines set up for good measure (Terror Tip: Don’t wear your best clothes here, and if you have dust allergies, stay away!). They also have a couple standard animatronic props that you can pick up from any local Halloween store. The scare tactics were lacking, and we did see a lot of good hiding places and opportunities for scares, but the monsters just weren’t there. We can’t be overly critical of the monsters and staff, as they were obviously working hard and trying their best to make the most of their abysmal settings. In some of the mazes, we encountered some of the most enthusiastic monsters we’ve seen this season. Sadly, the overall environment at HHS takes away from these ghouls’ ability to really be scary.
After waiting in line (if you do go and buy a front-of-the-line pass, good luck finding the FOL entrance) and walking through the dirt for more than an hour, we had no interest in paying an addition $20 to go in the Killhouses. We imagine they’re just like the mazes except you get to shoot a paintball gun at the poor and probably underpaid monsters while you walk through the dirt. We did go to check out their Club Crimson, which according to their website and ticket booth –isn’t included with general admissions but it is included with paid admission? WTF? Nonetheless, we figured out if you’re over 21 you can get in with paid admission. Once inside, sadly, there’s nothing to see here either. It’s just a makeshift bar set up selling cheap beer, wine, and bottom-shelf alcohol.
We think there could be some potential for HHS, but we aren’t sure that the park’s management has the commitment to sustain or improve the haunt offerings in years to come. With so many equally priced and higher-quality first-time haunts arriving in Southern California, we just can’t recommend that our Haunt Stalkers pay their hard-earned haunt dollars here. For the talent working there, when we last checked, Knott’s was still hiring!
- Haunt Design: Buried Skull
- Theming: Buried skull
- Scare Factor: Cracked (1/2) skull
- Fright Value: Buried Skull