Tag: Brea

Sinister Pointe’s “Séance”: Event Review

Sinister Pointe’s “Curiosities” shop is a small space in a small strip mall in Brea, and we drove right by it on the way to experience their latest event, “Séance.” But although the footprint of the shop is small, the inside is huge on character and filled with fascinating objects and interesting merchandise. And behind the secret door inside the shop was a special space set up for the séance.

curiosities

When we arrived, we milled about the shop looking at the various trinkets and eyeing our fellow séance participants. We wondered what exactly was about to happen to us in the next hour. The Sinister Pointe website was purposely vague regarding event details, and the result was that we couldn’t really determine whether this was going to be played up as a “real” paranormal experience or whether there would be actors jumping out at us from behind the curtains. But since this was Sinister Pointe, after all, we didn’t think we’d be able to escape without being terrified in some way.

A creepy looking guy wearing a top hat and cape, and ominously carrying a black rose, chatted us up as we waited for the “show” to begin. He definitely played up the “it’s real” angle, letting us know that we were about to meet a real medium, who would not actually guarantee that anything would happen tonight. He asked us about our own paranormal experiences in the past, which got us into a good mind-set for the evening.

Finally, it was time for us to enter into the séance room. WARNING: From here on out, there may be mild spoilers.

The Experience

A secret door behind some shelving opened up, and the cape-wearing host purposely split the groups apart and took us two-by-two into the back room. As we entered, we passed underneath some burning sage. He asked us to breathe it in as a sort of “protection” against evil. In the room was a large, circular table with exactly 13 chairs. Each seat at the table had its own occult symbol carved into the wooden table surface (for example, an ankh, a pentagram, the star of Solomon, etc.). LED candles were scattered about. Temporary walls created a small, intimate space, and the room was decorated to look like the inside of an old house, complete with wallpaper, windows and curtains, pictures on the walls, shelves with various trinkets and items, old books strewn about the floor, and a creepy looking doll sitting on a chair. We eyed that doll suspiciously.

We waited a few minutes before the medium appeared. He was a friendly-looking guy with a beard, and he introduced himself. He then went around the table and asked us to recount any previous paranormal experiences we might have had. This was a bit awkward but interesting. He then had us join hands, and he began his first attempt to contact some spirits. Unfortunately, it failed, and nothing happened. Now we were wondering whether this really was some cheesy paranormal ghost-hunting gathering that wasn’t going to amount to much.

Next, our medium tried a few “experiments.” They involved opening a box with some old circus tickets and relating the story of a circus that burned down in the 1940s. Without going into detail, the “experiment” turned into a relatively obvious kind of magic trick that involved switching out some papers. After this followed distribution of some tarot cards, a story about the medium’s grandfather, and an “experiment” with old playing cards. Again, this was a card trick that resulted in an audience member creepily choosing three “6” cards (i.e., 666)—and oh no, did we just summon the devil to our séance?!

Things finally got interesting when the fake tree in the corner started shaking. Finally, we thought, here come some effects. Things happened quickly from there. Concerned for our safety, our medium had us grab hands, and he attempted to tell this evil spirit to leave us alone. Various objects in the room were thrown about. Yes, they were thrown. When they tell you at the beginning to keep your feet on the floor and make sure your chair is as close to the table as possible, make sure you listen! Or you could find yourself in the path of shattering glass or chairs being hurled across the room.

The lights went out, and our demon spirit began speaking to us. This was incredibly creepy and tense. After the intensity of some of the effects that happened with the lights on, we were pretty freaked out about what might happen in the dark. There were a couple of, let’s say, “fourth-dimensional” effects to experience, and then, fortunately for us, our medium was successful in driving the spirit away. The lights came back on.

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Our Thoughts

Because the website was vague regarding details, we were genuinely surprised with the direction of the event, and that was a good thing. Without knowing what to experience, our expectations were somewhat low. We think this was helpful because, overall, the event was fun and creepy but somewhat unsatisfying. The beginning was a bit slow, and if you’re not a paranormal “believer,” you may find some of the spiritual rhetoric hokey and laughable. The “magic tricks” were somewhat interesting but pretty transparent. There is a back story about the spirit who eventually assaults us during the séance, but honestly, it was a bit hard to understand. We found the climax of the event to be extremely scary and intense, but for all the build up, it could’ve used a bigger payoff. When the lights came back on, everyone remained seated until someone finally asked, “Is it over?” We feel that almost everyone was genuinely expecting something more. Maybe just that one final “scare” to take it over the edge. However, we do note that we attended the standard version of the show; the midnight version promised to be more “extreme,” so perhaps we should have stayed up late for that experience.

The séance set itself was lovely and well made. As veteran haunt goers, we were, of course, scanning the room for what the “effects” would be, but they were extremely well hidden. The medium played his part very well. And for an event in a confined, single-room space where all guests remain seated, the variety of experiences, the build up to the climax, and the scare factor were pulled off very well. Every guest was part of the story and experienced some kind of interaction.

Overall, Sinister Pointe’s Séance was creepy, scary, and most of all, fun. With a few tweaks, it could have been a pretty epic experience. We are very impressed with what they accomplished in the back room of their small shop, and we can’t wait for the next event.

Ratings

Haunt Design: 4.5 Skulls
Theming: 4 Skulls
Scare Factor: 4 Skulls
Fright Value: 3 skulls

Overall Rating: 4 Skulls

Sinister Pointe Moving; “Lore Masquerade” Will Be Final Event in Current Location

Sinister Pointe recently announced they would be leaving their current permanent location in Brea, California, and will be moving to a new address for the 2014 haunt season. But fans of SP shouldn’t be worried, as we think this will be a great thing for the haunt and will inject new life into its attraction. SP has actually promised “a brand new haunted attraction in 2014.” Although they’ve always added new “elements” to their current attraction each year at their current location, it hasn’t been quite enough to justify repeated visits for haunt stalkers who live far away or are looking for entirely new experiences with each haunt season. We know what the Sinister Pointe team is capable of, and we can’t wait to see something all new from them in 2014. 

There are no details yet on the new location, but SP promises it will be close by and maybe within even a few blocks of the current spot. Stay tuned for more details.

But in the meantime, SP will be presenting the final event in their current location, “Lore Masquerade,” on April 25 and 26, 2014.

Sinister Point Lore

Join us for two evenings filled with a variety of unique entertainment, creative arts, imagination, music and dance to celebrate the closure of this amazing chapter for Sinister Pointe.

Friday, April 25th 2014
General Admission $45.00
VIP Admission $85.00

Saturday, April 26th 2014
General Admission $55.00
VIP Admission $95.00

A portion of the ticket sales will contribute to the development of the long-awaited “Spirit Lounge” a haunt-themed bar in progress from the SP folks.

For tickets and more information, check out the website.

Haunt Review: Sinister Pointe

Since moving to a new, permanent location in 2011, Sinister Pointe has billed itself as “Southern California’s only year round and permanent attraction.” Although the maze is not open all year, they do open it for several special events/holidays (e.g., Christmas). This is great for haunt stalkers looking for an off-season fix, but one of the challenges for the Sinister Pointe team is keeping the maze fresh and new in order to bring back the crowds during the main season–Halloween. In fact, with a full haunt itinerary, Scare Zone even debated whether it was worth returning to Sinister Pointe this year, because we were skeptical that they would be able to change it up enough to justify the trip out to Brea. But in the end, we were very glad we did decide to check it out, because Sinister Pointe has managed to reinvigorate their maze with exciting new scenes and scares.

We attended the haunt on opening weekend and arrived right at opening time. We were happy to find there was no line yet.

  • Terror Tip: Sinister Pointe’s lines will get very long the closer it gets to Halloween, as they work hard to control how many people are in the maze at any one time in order to bring each group the best possible experience. So we highly recommend arriving early!

The waiting area was lined with booths that will be selling various Halloween-related wares; on busier weekends, Sinister Pointe also brings in food trucks to feed the crowds.  After waiting a short while outside, we were let into the indoor holding area. This is a highly themed queue with fog and lighting effects, and actors build up the suspense by scaring people as they wait for their turn to enter the front door of a dilapidated house.

Once inside the maze, there is a photo op area. However, on the night we attended, it was not operational, so we were allowed to proceed directly ahead. The maze itself is themed to a sort of cannibal hillbilly house, with deranged rednecks and other similar characters.  The sets are highly detailed and themed, and there’s a lot to look at. The actors take advantage of these distractions as they come at you from the shadows and behind walls and sets. The maze is also “interactive,” meaning that you will be asked to perform specific tasks before the door will open to the next scene. At one point, the maze appears to be a dead end with no way forward, but somehow, you get turned around and the path seems to have changed. Other impressive effects include a room with swaying walls and an optical illusion involving a long hallway.

For 2012, Sinister Pointe has made some really cool additions. Most impressive was a new “outdoor” scene (although it was completely within the indoor maze) of a porch surrounded by water. You have to proceed over a series of bridges to get to the front porch, where an old man is taunting you. Of course, there was also something lurking in the moat, so we couldn’t linger too long to enjoy the new set. Another addition is a new interactive scare near the end of the maze that involves pulling ropes. In addition, it seems they have added some actors with longer speaking parts who interact a bit more heavily with guests.

Once again, the monsters in this maze were full of energy and highly athletic. We have a hard time finding any other actors who match the level of dedication and gusto of the Sinister Pointe actors. They also work together really well to team up and double the scares. Although we’ve been through several variations of this maze in the past year, the actors still managed to surprise us, and we were screaming throughout.

Overall, Sinister Pointe has done a great job updating their attraction for the 2012 Halloween season, and we highly recommend a visit, even if you’ve been through at some other point during the season.

  • Terror Tip: Looking for more screams? Consider combining your Sinister Pointe visit with a trip to The Empty Grave in Anaheim (only 9 miles south). You can easily do both in a single night.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 4.5 skulls
  • Theming: 4 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 4.5 skulls
  • Fright Value: 4 skulls

Overall Rating of Sinister Pointe 2012: 4.5 Skulls

Haunt Report: Sinister Pointe’s “Not So Merry” Xmas

In 2011, Sinister Pointe secured a new, permanent location in Brea, California, and they promised us that in addition to being open for the Halloween season, they would open at other “select” times throughout the year for special events. They fulfilled that promise last weekend (December 9-11) by opening their doors for their first non-Halloween event: a “Not So Merry Xmas” haunt.

They did a impressive job of taking their haunt, which at Halloween time was a sort of hillbilly/slaughterhouse/cannibal theme, and transforming it to incorporate Christmas elements throughout.

As we approached the building, the exterior was lit up with red and green lights, and the 1964 claymation version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was projected onto a screen in the waiting area. A couple of scareactors dressed as satanic-looking elves roamed the parking lot, and a twisted Santa also sauntered around—drinking, smoking, and cursing.

Although the line was not nearly as long as during October, we still had a bit of a wait before proceeding to the inside portion of the queue. The movie being played in the line was a good distraction during this wait, and we hope that they add this during October, when the lines can get really long. The interior queue was also done up for the holidays, with Xmas lights strewn around and a Santa mannequin on the upper balcony. A demented elf on the balcony taunted us, made out with the Santa mannequin, and continually flipped off anyone trying to take his picture. He also made lewd gestures with mistletoe over his crotch area. We knew before we even entered the maze that this haunt was definitely Rated R and would have a different feel from the Halloween version.


Upon entering the house, we immediately had our picture taken with creepy Santa, who actually did reek of alcohol. Drinking in the parking lot was apparently not just an act, and we were really impressed with this dedication to character. After the photo op, we entered the maze. Unlike during Halloween, when the house had a “choose your own adventure” theme, this version had only one path to follow.

Many of the scenes in the maze included Xmas decorations and theming. A creepy and cool Christmas soundtrack by Jon Autopsy set a sinister Xmas spirit. Some of the scareactors were dressed as bloody elves, and new for the holiday season was a perverted “bunny” character, who we think was meant to represent Ralphie in A Christmas Story. At one point we were trapped in a room with perverted Ralphie, who dangled a carrot in a very inappropriate, and hilarious, place. There were also a couple of interactive features in the maze, which were fun.

Overall, Sinister Pointe’s “Not So Merry” Holiday Haunt was fun, but not as scary as their Halloween version. It definitely had a more “adult” feel, with all of the sexual innuendos and perverted characters roaming around. Because a lot of the scareactors got right in our faces with their nasty jokes, this interrupted the feeling of suspense the maze usually has and distracted from the scares. However, we think that was probably the point. Sinister Pointe managed to take their haunt, which was open only a couple of short months ago, and completely change the feel in it for this special event. It changed from a super scary, unpredictable Halloween maze into a fun, over-the-top holiday haunt. Taking that approach was very smart, because in the end, we in no way felt like we were just going through the same Halloween maze with a couple of Xmas decorations thrown in. It really did feel different, which is very important if they’re going to successfully open their haunt at various times throughout the year.

Although we don’t use our typical “skull ratings” for off-season haunts, we would definitely recommend checking out Sinister Pointe the next time they open. Early rumors indicate that they may be open for a Valentine’s Day haunt. “Like” them on Facebook to keep up with all of the latest news.

For some amazing photos from inside Sinister Pointe’s Holiday Haunt, check out Westcoaster.net.

Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas at Sinister Pointe

This December, Sinister Pointe is giving Southern California a delightfully frightening Christmas gift. They’re bringing us a “not so merry holiday haunt” to their new, permanent location in Brea called “Christmas Fear.”

The existing haunt will be given a holiday theme, and they promise “new surprises.” Although some interactivity will be present, the “choose left or right” will not be available, meaning that victims will follow a single path to their festive doom.

This event will take place for ONE WEEKEND ONLY (December 9, 10, and 11), so be sure to plan ahead. Tickets are limited, so we suggest buying in advance. Tickets are $15 for regular admission, or $23 with fast pass. Click here for tickets.

Haunt Review: Sinister Pointe

Scare Zone did not exist in 2009, but if it had, Sinister Pointe’s Fear attraction would have ranked near the very top of our list that year. Its interactive, super suspenseful scares were unique and had us screaming. We’ve also heard many people rave about the Saw attraction from 2008. Last year, Sinister Pointe was busy creating other haunts and took a year off from their own attraction. But in 2011, they’re back in full force with a new location, a new theme, and new ways to scare the hell out of everybody.

Sinister Pointe’s new location is an interesting one–smack in the middle of an office park–type area in Brea. We went on a busy Saturday night, but there was still parking available. A good variety of gourmet food trucks was parked outside—a great idea, as waiting in the long lines could make a lot of people hungry.

Although the lines on a busy night might actually look short compared with, say, Halloween Horror Nights, Sinister Pointe lets in only small groups at a time, so the wait can be long. The nature of the maze requires that only small groups go in at a time. Although a “conga line” inside a maze never works, for Sinister Pointe, it’s even more important that groups be spread out, and we’ll explain why in a minute. But be patient, as the wait is definitely worth it. We suggest arriving early or coming on a non-peak night. Or, buy a “Scream” pass to bypass the main line. Although we did get the Scream pass, we still waited nearly a half-hour to enter.

After we waited a while outside the building, we were let “inside”–to another line. However, this line was actually a treat to wait in, because it’s a highly themed area with music, spooky lighting, and roaming actors all surrounding a very impressive fully themed facade of the outside of a dilapidated house containing unseen horrors. In fact, it reminded us very much of Reign of Terror’s line–they even had very similar lightning effects. When it was finally our turn to go in, we were immediately ushered into a room to have our picture taken, a practice that seems to be very prevalent at haunts these days. We were then let loose inside the maze.

From the very first steps, you’re forced to make a choice as to which direction to go in: right or left. This begins the “Choose Your Own Adventure” theme. You’re faced with these choices throughout the maze. There are some dead ends, and we suspect that many of the paths overlap and eventually converge. But it was hard to get a feel as to how different the paths might actually be. You can buy the “All Nite Scream Pass” and go through over and over, taking different paths. But we went through the maze only once, so our review is based on just one possible experience inside. Because Sinister Pointe plans to open at various times throughout the year, we wanted to save the other paths for our next haunt adventure.

The maze has a sort of hillbilly farmhouse type of feel. Sinister Pointe has described it as a mix of The Hills Have Eyes, House of 1000 Corpses, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The sets are very detailed, and you go through various rooms within a house as well as through outdoor scenes. Our favorite rooms included unique effects, such as swaying walls and a crazy, brilliant optical illusion involving a mirror.  There are also rooms where you have to stop and perform a task before moving to the next room.

From the get-go, the scares were relentless. There are a lot of shadows in this maze, and the actors seem to emerge right out of the darkness. We were particularly impressed with how athletic the actors were. Many seemed to run full speed at us–some while on stilts! There was no lack of energy in this haunt. The actors quickly sniffed out the most frightened in our group and teamed up to double the terror.

The maze was long, and we definitely felt that we got our money’s worth. The spacing of groups seemed very well planned, as we didn’t see a single other group the entire time we were inside. The authentic maze-like quality of this haunt requires that only small groups go through at a time, because running into another group would completely deflate the “getting lost” feeling that permeates the attraction.

On the (slightly) negative side, we did feel that the haunt lacked an overall story. Although many rooms were very detailed, we did go through several spaces that seemed to be devoid of any theming at all (for example, a room with black walls with red laser dots). This may be because Sinister Pointe plans to have openings year round, and they may want to keep some spaces available for different uses during the year. But that’s just speculation. We know from their work on Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor (2010) and the Winchester Mystery House (2011) that these guys can create an amazing atmosphere and storyline in their mazes. If they manage to round out the story in this maze, it has the potential to become a truly special, top-tier haunted attraction.

Nevertheless, Sinister Pointe ranks near the very top of our list of 2011 haunts.

Haunt Design: 4 skulls

Scare Factor: 5 skulls

Overall Rating for Sinister Pointe 2011: 4.5 skulls

 

Click here to read about our rating system.

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