Although it’s not officially even summer yet, 2018 haunt news is starting to trickle in. Big reveals are likely to be made closer to the Southern California haunt conventions in July and August, but as haunts start their hiring and building processes, we’re getting some clues about what to expect this year. From major theme parks to new independents, early signs indicate that 2018 is shaping up to be one of the better years in recent memory for haunt goers in SoCal. To keep you in the loop, we’ve gathered some of the rumors and information we’ve learned so far:
Halloween Horror Nights
We’ve already had a couple of official reveals for Halloween Horror Nights mazes. Stranger Things and Trick r’ Treat are two HUGE intellectual properties to get the maze treatment in both Orlando and Hollywood this year. With a such rabid fans for both of these, creating satisfying experiences is going to be tough, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s HHN. A new scare zone was also announced for Hollywood, called “Holidayz in Hell.” And of course, we’re still curious to see if Michael Myers will return to HHN to coincide with the new Halloween movie released this October. John Murdy has said there’s not likely to be another maze announcement in June, but there’s usually at least one big reveal at Midsummer Scream (July 28-29). Although we love the movie-based mazes, we keep our fingers crossed every year for an original concept, because those have been some of our favorites over the years (La Llorona, El Cucuy).
The past few years have been a bit tumultuous for Sinister Pointe. We had fun at their off-season Séance and Christmas events, but their 2016 haunt offering seemed like an afterthought and didn’t live up to what these haunt masters are capable of. They were dark in 2017, leaving us worried they might fade away into the fog. That’s why we’re already excited for what they have planned for 2018–although we don’t even know what it will be yet. But they’re promising it will be “the largest Halloween event this side of the Mississippi.” That’s some major hype. All we know for sure so far is that it will be located in Irvine, and scareactor auditions will be held at the end of June. We expect some sneak peeks at the conventions and will be watching closely for developments.
Last year’s Into the Black was our favorite haunt of the year. It was original and (most importantly) very scary, but we were nervous whether it drew enough attendance to make a return in 2018. So we were extremely happy to hear that Larry Bones is expanding his haunt operation this year with Horrorworld, which is being billed as a “multi-haunt attraction.” The twist with this event is that it looks like each haunt will be run independently, since they were seeking out haunt owners for participation. It will be interesting to see whether the haunts will be matched in caliber and quality, and whether the Into the Black maze returns or is replaced by something new. Although the exact location hasn’t been announced, Asuza was given as the city, and a teaser photo showed what appeared to be an empty grocery store in a strip mall.
Both Horrorworld and Sinister Pointe will have vendor areas, so we wonder how much alike these two events will be overall. Time will tell.
Reign of Terror
ROT typically changes things up a bit each year, but they’re teasing “massive changes” to 2 of their 8 “haunts within a haunt” for 2018. We don’t know which of their attractions will get a makeover, but both Casa Blood and Asylum have been around for a while, so it might be time for a refresh for these. If it were up to us, we would suggest swapping out the Fun House for something a bit darker and more original. No matter what changes they have planned, this haunt gets better year after year, and it should be on everyone’s must-see list this October.
What are you most looking forward to this haunt season? What mazes should stay and what should be replaced? Check back often for the latest news, rumors, and opinion pieces on all things haunt!