Sinister Pointe continues to create new ways for Haunt Stalkers to socialize throughout the year. Over the past 2 years they’ve had holiday themed haunts (Christmas and Valentines), held horror swap meets, movie screenings, and even dating games. Now they’re challenging us to new kind of fear based with “The Hunt”!
“The Hunt” is not your average Scavenger Hunt. You will NOT be asked to run around town collecting nose hair clippers or ping pong paddles. This is an intense game of POINTS! Over the course of 6 hours, THE HUNT will take you to some of the most haunted and spookiest locations, late at night, within a 30 mile radius. With upwards of 25 locations it will be impossible for your team to get to them all. This is where strategy comes into play. Upon arrival you will be given documents vaguely describing the different location, their tasks and their value in points. Each location you arrive at will contain a task, a brain twister or a “FEAR TEST” that you must complete. This event WILL require you to use your body, mind & soul!
Some locations may be in close proximity to Sinister Pointe, and the tasks may be a bit more simple, but may only be worth a minimal amount of points. Other locations will be a much further travel with a higher difficulty level but the reward for completing the task offers a greater amount of points.
Keep in mind, You do not want your team “THE JOE SCHMO COOL GUYS” to think your so bad ass and can handle anything, travel to the furthest location, only to get there, fail and leave with zero points. You must play this wisely!
Each team member will receive:
- Snacks and refreshments upon arrival and return to Sinister Pointe
- Sinister Pointe commemorative event T-Shirt
- Sinister Pointe commemorative event button
- Fancy collectible event documents
- A gas card will be given to the driver/owner of the vehicle to help with the expense. (Amount $20.00)
- Extraordinary grand prizes for the winning team
$75.00 Per Person
Tickets available by phone from 10:00am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday by calling 714-927-DEAD
Don’t want to pay over the phone? You may also stop in to the Sinister Pointe offices. Please call ahead to make an appointment by calling 714-927-DEAD
Upon purchasing your ticket:
- Provide us with the names of each member of your team. (if any)
- Provide us with a unique team name.
- Provide us your Shirt Size
- We will ask you if you have a vehicle & would you be willing to use this as transportation for your team.
Date & Time:
Saturday, April 20th 2013 (NOW SOLD OUT)
Saturday, April 27th, 2013
Day of the event:
- Check in at Sinister Pointe between 6:00pm – 6:30pm
- Introduction and game play begins 6:30pm – 7:30pm
- Departure at 7:30pm
- Return at 12:00am
See who else will be joining THE HUNT! Start or join in on a discussion on THE HUNT event page
All terms, times, prices & instructions are all subject to change.
Please visit www.SinisterPointe.com for more detailed information regarding this event.
For those of you “lucky” enough to have received Valentine roses that aren’t dead yet…well they should be. For all the other useless romantics who were stuck eating Ramen noodles and watching My Bloody Valentine all alone while wishing there’s someone they could stalk, Sinister Pointe hasn’t forgotten about you. On Saturday, March 2nd they invite all “sexy guys & girls” to participate in their sinister version of the dating game – The NewlyDEAD Game. Guests and participants get to join” television executives” and the horrific family of Sinister Pointe as they attempt to film a brand new dating game show within the walls of Sinister Pointe. It’s promised to be 1.5 hrs of entertainment so unique and unexpected that “your wig will literally be blown back” (whatever that means). Whether you are single and looking for love or a group of friends just looking to be highly entertained, you will not want to miss this event filled with plenty of laughs, embarrassing moments, spooky surprises and of course PRIZES!
In addition, later in the evening they’re hosting another legendary “Horror Movie Night 4D” at 10:00pm with a showing Zombieland. Any guest that attends both the “NewlyDEAD Game” and the “Horror Movie Night 4D” will receive a VERY SPECIAL EXCLUSIVE LIMITED EDITION SINISTER POINTE COLLECTIBLE!
While we’d prefer that they had offered an actual Valentine’s themed haunt this is still sounds like it could be a fun way to spend the night. Who knows, the one you’ve always said you’d die for may end up being there and ask will you to prove it.
To help spread the love Scare Zone Haunt Stalkers can receive $5 off when buying tickets online and using the discount code: newlydead. In addition, if you are a single guy or girl and want the chance to be a contestant on the game show then send them an email at: Casting@sinisterpointe.com (contestants must be 18 or older)
Taking a quick break from the large multi-maze theme park events, we ventured into the heart of Los Angeles to experience The Haunted Play Presents: Delusion The Blood Rite. Last year Delusion was one our most highly rated haunts and the best new entrant to the Southern California haunt market. In fact, it not only impressed us but also actor Neil Patrick Harris who loved it so much, he signed on as co-producer for this year’s fright show.
Delusion is not the typical haunted house/maze experience you’d find elsewhere. The show takes place in a historic turn-of-the-century mansion in the Los Angeles West Adams district. The captivating 107 year old building has been home to Hollywood horror movie classics such as Rob Zombie’s Halloween and more. Here you find yourself inside a completely immersible environment from the moment you walk onto the property. It’s best described as part haunted house, part theater, and part interactive story. It is a very unique attraction with amazing set design, good actors, stunts, magic, and some good scares.
This year’s show is a continuation of last year’s story. They also have made the the experience longer with more interactive elements and elaborate stunts. When it’s time for your show to begin, your small group is escorted to the back of the house where you all are inducted into the Blood Rite. As you make your way around the creepy surroundings of house, you have to find your way “back” into the house. After participating in a couple of challenges the group makes its way inside where the real fun begins.
Immediately upon entering the house, the lighting, furnishings, and sounds all combine to create a great atmosphere that instantly transports visitors back in time to 1918. Unlike last year, it seemed as if more time was spent on letting the story unfold. Each room required guest participation which included individuals having to leave the group to endure mini challenges and scares on their own. We won’t give them away, but be prepared for some pretty intimate encounters with the scareactors. Depending what you’re into you may even find parts of the haunt to be kinky fun.
The finale of the play is fantastic and they really go all out this year. At this point of the show the tension is peaked creating a incredibly suspenseful atmosphere. There’s uncertainty on how it’s all going to end and the finale is surprising and frighting creating both shrieks of terror and laughs of relief.
After our show, we were fortunate enough to meet Neil Patrick Harris. It’s obvious he isn’t just throwing his name on this haunt to sell tickets. He is fully involved and wanted to know what we liked and what we thought of the actors. In speaking with him, we can tell he’s proud of this collaboration with Jon Braver, and rightfully so.
In addition to the new show, you can enjoy a “final meal” from a taco truck or chill out in the themed bar area to help calm your nerves before or after you venture inside. These additions, help to make The Haunted Play the perfect Halloween Haunt date night. Now unfortunately, they are sold out for the rest of this season. You can try begging your way in but we just recommend that you check back with us and buy your tickets early next year.
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!
For the past few years, we’ve been “a little critical” of Knott’s Scary Farm, which seemed to be falling behind as newer and more innovative haunts have populated the Southern California area. However, this year, there’s no mistaking that the venerable Haunt is back and ready to prove that there’s still more to fear inside the Scary Farm. We won’t call it a comeback because they’ve been haunting for 40 years, but this year Knott’s Scary Farm presents one of the most fun, nostalgic, and most importantly, scary Halloween Haunts we’ve experienced there in years.
In addition to being Knott’s 40th, this year marked the 20th anniversary of when the Scare Zone crew started haunt stalking together, and Knott’s was the first haunt we went to, beginning our obsession. So, on this trip, we went with a sense of nostalgia, reminiscing about mazes such as Uncle Ernie’s Madhouse, Lair of the Vampire, Terror Mountain, Toxichem, and Mother Noose’s Scary Tales, all of which frightened us and haunted our imaginations.
Looking back to 1992, admission cost us $28, they had 8 mazes and attractions, Elvira was headlining her own show (“Red, White, and Boo Revue”), and Haunt ran for “only” 11 nights. Now, 20 years later, admission “only” cost us $36 (Sunday night early in the season), they have 13 mazes, 3 scare zones, and Magician Ed Alonzo is the headliner.
To further help us reminisce, this year also features the 40th haunt Museum which offers a satisfying tribute to Haunt for the fans. Inside, there’s pictures and memorabilia highlighting some of haunt’s most memorable and scare-breaking moments. We were lucky enough to stop in during a signing by Ted Dougherty of his new book, Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt: A Picture History. As a side note, this book is must have for all Haunt Fans as it includes accounts and pictures from all the mazes, monsters and shows from Scary Farm’s 40 years.
Another cool addition for 2012 is an opening “scare-amony” featuring the Green Witch just outside the Haunt front gates. Because we followed our terror tips and arrived early, we were there to see the Green Witch rise up out of the fog and curse us all before the gates opened. It was really cool and prepared us for the new “theatrical” tone Haunt has adopted this year.
After the exciting opening act we ventured into the Scary Farm for the 20th time…
We do our best not to spoil the mazes for those who’ve yet to experience them, so we won’t provide scare-by-scare reviews, but we will share highlights and our overall opinions from our own experiences in the mazes.
It’s strange when you think about it, but mazes themed to the actual holiday of Halloween are pretty rare. So we were very excited when the theme of this maze was revealed earlier this summer. And it did not disappoint: This maze was chock full of Halloween spirit.
The maze begins at the front door of the Green Witch’s house, where we were told to ring the doorbell and yell “Trick or Treat!” The door opens, and the Green Witch is there to greet us. Jack-O-Lanterns line the staircase, and the front rooms have special ghostly effects. The maze has a “haunted mansion” feel to it, and the Tricksters show up in various rooms along the way. You may recognize many of the sets from 13 Axe Murder Manor, but they fit in very well with the new theme.
This maze was much more theatrical than any other maze at Haunt. The Green Witch is a true character, and the Tricksters stop you in the end scene so you can be cursed by the Witch herself. Overall, the scares were a little weak, but we loved the atmosphere and story line.
He has no strings to hold him down, so you better watch out… This maze is on a new level for Knott’s Scary Farm. This is the kind of maze we’ve been screaming for, no lie! It has beautifully detailed sets, a full and understandable story line, and some new scare tactics. Past haunters will notice that the layout is the same as the former Doll Factory and there’s the similar scene of marionette girls moving in an disjointed fashion; however, the rest of the maze is an entirely new experience. The entire setting feels like walking through a bloody, after hours, version of Disneyland’s Pinocchio ride.
Just as Mother Noose’s Scary Tales did 20 years ago, Pinocchio successfully twists the popular children’s story in a way that makes its feel as if we were trapped inside a dark storybook nightmare. What’s unsettling about the maze is how the once innocent characters are now placed into scenes of distress, gore, and horror. It’s rather tragic to see Gepetto, Stromboli, and the Blue Fairy meet their fates at the hands of a torturous wooden puppet who instead of becoming a real boy now wants to be a real killer.
This maze is not to be missed. We think it’s an instant Haunt classic. You really should go through it at least twice, in order to be able to fully take in all the scenes and first-class set and prop designs. We look forward to being terrorized by Pinocchio in the years to come.
After the demise of Club Blood and a brief respite from vampire mazes, Knott’s has brought back this “beloved” maze from the 90s. Unfortunately, we have fonder memories of 1992′s Lair of the Vampire. This maze has nothing fresh to offer, and the concept is as dead and tired as the fiddle-playing vampires lazily wandering around the halls inside.
This maze has all the old cliches about vampires: frilly shirts with ruffles, dying flowers in fancy vases, decadent furniture covered in velvet, paintings of vampires lying around on said furniture, etc., etc. The vampires stand around playing string instruments that are partly composed of human body parts. Before Haunt opened, we kept hearing how “detailed” this maze was going to be. However, it did not live up to this hype. Many of the walls were bare, with only a couple of vampire paintings thrown on for scenery.
If you’re a 12-year-old who loves Anne Rice novels or Twilight, this maze is probably for you. For the rest of us, it’s a boring trek through scenes we’ve experienced countless times in other vampire mazes.
Twenty years ago, the Timber Mountain Log ride was transformed into Terror Mountain. The mountain was filled with monsters and scenes of carnage throughout. It was a very scary ride as riders felt vulnerable sitting the the open logs with monsters attacking from every direction. In recent years, the log ride hasn’t been nearly as scary. You could count all of the monsters on one hand, and the haunt props were scarce. Early in the year, we had heard that the ride wasn’t getting a haunt layover; however, at the end of the summer, there was a surprise announcement that it was being themed as The Evil Dead for haunt.
We were excited to see the Evil Dead being featured at Knott’s, and believed the log ride was the perfect setting for this theme. To our disappointment, this ride ended up not featuring much in terms of a haunt layover. There was a slight increase in the number of monsters and a few new props such as the infamous “Book of the Dead.” But it’s obvious that the CAL-OSHA crackdown on monsters being stationed along the flume and management’s push to keep haunt from interfering with the experience of day-time guests have taken their toll. Outside of the soundtrack and a few nods to some iconic scenes in the movie, the ride really could of been any haunted cabin in the woods type of theme. It also didn’t have any kind of consistent story line as they just made the scenes fit wherever they could along the flume and in the mountain.
Furthermore, we were a little disappointed that this ride wasn’t really based on the classic Evil Dead movies. Instead, it promoted the upcoming 2013 remake. It really seems that this was a last-minute addition made to secure some sponsorship dollars. We still like think the log ride is a fun attraction–just don’t go on it expecting an intense or elaborate haunt experience We also recommend that you get on it early in the evening before the lines get too long.
This was Knott’s first VIP/up-charge maze and a complete departure from their standard conga-line maze format. This maze costs $60 (for up to 6 people) and requires a reservation in advance. When we arrived at our reservation time, we were asked to read and sign a waiver. After we signed, we were ushered into a holding room, where we received more warnings from a personable hostess. We really didn’t know what to expect from this new “experience,” so we were a bit nervous.
Of course, we’re not actually going to tell you what goes on inside; after all, if you’re going to pay $60, you should get the full experience and be surprised. We can tell you that you’ll have to solve puzzles to progress through the maze, and there will be some uncomfortable experiences along the way. The actors inside are much different from other actors in the regular mazes: they are playing actual speaking roles and do a great job of staying in character as they interact with you. They’re there to help you figure out what to do in order to move onto the next room. Some of the puzzles were harder to solve than others, but the whole experience ended up taking us only 15 minutes to get through. Unfortunately, we didn’t find it to be very scary, but it was a very fun experience. We wished it were just a tiny bit longer–maybe just 2 more rooms would’ve made the $60 seem a bit more of a value. Nevertheless, we applaud their innovation with this concept and really hope they bring this back next year.
Back for its second year, Delirium is an indirect sequel to the past Asylum mazes, where now we’re going inside the mind of one of the demented patients. The entrance is amazingly elaborate where we have to enter the “mouth of madness” and then pass through the stomach of the bloody beast. This opening scene features enlarged animated eyes, teeth and claws reaching for you, and it really draws you into Delirium’s nightmarish dimensions.
Once inside, we encountered many disturbing scenes, which included people spewing cockroaches, monstrously large flesh-eating maggots, and hideously bloody monsters hiding under the beds. This maze also featured some of most interesting lighting effects and props.
Delirium was once again one of the better mazes at Haunt. We love the nightmare/dementia theme that gets progressively more twisted as the maze progresses. This one will likely be around for a few more years, so we hope they can change up or add a few more scenes next year.
This maze has a good mix of monsters who are there to scare and those who’s presence is simply to add to the eerie atmosphere. Our favorite moment was in the outdoor graveyard where we encountered a surprisingly new and loud scare. We liked the extended brothel and sewer scenes. And per our review last year, we like that in the final scene they switched out the Dr. Frankenstein laboratory for a dark and bloody torture chamber, which better fits with the proceeding scenes. We believe that maze may have a couple more years of “death” left in it at KSF.
Uncle Willy’s Slaughterhouse
Last year, our review of Slaughterhouse had this advice: “If Knott’s decides to continue Farmer Willy’s mayhem, which they probably will, they should redesign the layout, improve the lighting effects and props, and bring in more real-life victims.” This year, Knott’s has completely fulfilled all our requests. This maze was totally redesigned, and even though it’s shorter than before, we feel that it’s a vast improvement on an old theme. The maze has a much darker tone, and although the opening scene in the diner is a bit comical, the laughs end there. Inside the “Slaughterhouse” portion of the maze, the sets and actors are much more menacing than in previous years, and the monsters were able to scare us many times. Overall, this maze was one of the highlights of our night as it reminded us of another Scary Farm uncle named Ernie, who terrorized us 20 years ago.
This maze has been changed a bit this year, although the changes are not very major. They did add some street scenes with a more enclosed feeling, but unfortunately the monsters (and hence scares) were once again absent. For most fans, this is one of the least favorite mazes of Haunt, and nothing much has improved in 2012. The colors and 3D effects are interesting, and there are also some very cool looking scenes, like the church, graveyard, Amazon jungle, and Aztec sacrifice temple. However, there’s just something about this maze that prevents the monsters from ever really scaring anyone. We hope the Dead can rest next year and something new can take the place of this maze.
Uncle Bobo’s Big Top of the Bizarre in 3D
It’s time for Uncle Bobo to pack up his Big Top and move onto the next town! This maze has worn out its welcome. There have been a few changes since last year, but nothing worth writing about. As the years go on, Uncle Bobo’s has become almost entirely overtaken by toilet humor. We didn’t think they could put MORE flatulence and excrement into this maze, but it appears they have. It seems the clowns have completely given up on attempting to scare anyone and now merely shake their asses in sync with the farting soundtrack all night. Please, Knott’s, we beg you to flush this one!
When this maze debuted in 2010, it was notable for its more elaborate sets and the sense of place it created. The maze had a coherent story, and it lacked the black walls and empty spaces that filled some of Knott’s other mazes. Creating more detailed and interesting mazes has been Knott’s new direction for the past few years (most likely in response to competition from Halloween Horror Nights), and we love to see them taking that route. And that is why we were completely baffled by the half-assed tie-in with the Carrie remake they tacked on at the very end of this maze.
We have no idea why or how Carrie White has come to be in a town infected with a zombie-creating virus in the 1960s. They did attempt to expand the school scenes to perhaps create more of a flow with the Carrie story, but it just doesn’t work. It’s so obviously a marketing gimmick–and for that reason it distracts from an otherwise interesting maze. Whoever came up with this lame promotional deal should have a bucket of pig’s blood dumped on his head.
This maze bares some resemblance to the 1992 Toxichem maze, which featured radiated and toxic mutant monsters. There was a slight improvement to this maze over last year’s version. Once again, we were the only ones inside, so we received the monsters’ full attention. This maze does have some extraordinary animatronic props, and it’s very claustrophobic in sections. The problem with Fallout Shelter is that the story isn’t coherent and the theme is hard to get. In addition, it’s considered a 3D maze, but the 3D effects are minimal, so it’s hard to tell if there was anything that was really supposed to be in 3D. If anything, the 3D glasses merely cause a sense of disorientation, which makes everything a bit fuzzy and actually does contribute to the fear. But if this maze does return next year, we’d like to see some more props and a bit more 3D effects.
Endgames: Warriors of the Apocalypse
A new maze for 2011, Endgames was inspired (loosely) by the Hunger Games book series. Most of the maze has a standard post-apocalyptic, industrial feel with a bit of gore mixed in, but the twist to this maze is the addition of video screens throughout. The screens show live feeds of people walking through other parts of the mazes, which would be a great way to heighten the suspense…if those other people were getting scared. Crowds were light on the night we attended, so there wasn’t much action on the video screens. The feed is also streamed live on the Internet, but the live feed is filled with commercials, so if you have friends watching for you in the maze, they might miss you. But we do appreciate the addition of the interactive video effect. We see some potential in this maze as the years progress. Overall, we didn’t find it to be too scary, but the sets were pretty detailed and interesting.
Ghost Town: This is a Knott’s classic, and after 20 years, walking through the fog-filled streets doesn’t stop being a nerve-wracking good time!
Carnevil: Some disturbing antics from the Crazy Killer Clowns who are on the loose in the streets. These guys are fun and not very scary, but they are engaging with guests and full of pranks. These are also some of the biggest hams and will eagerly pose for your pictures.
The Necropols: This is scare zone features Victorian Steampunk vampires in the most elaborate costumes of all the scare zones. Due to changes in Knott’s haunt operating policies the settings in this area were more sparse but the the monsters were still aggressively scary. They were even scaring people who dared to look down to text or who were walking out of the bathrooms (then having to go back in).
Calico Mine Train – Curse of the Green Witch: This isn’t a scare zone, and it’s not a maze/attraction…we don’t really know where to classify this one. It didn’t even make it onto the park map this year, and we heard that there were no effects in the ride on opening weekend. However, we were glad to see that they have added a few Haunt elements to this attraction. Similar to the log ride, recent regulations from CAL-OSHA have now prevented actors from working in this attraction, so everything inside is just props or special effects. As you proceed through the ride, the driver of the mine cart tells the story of how the Green Witch was exiled from the town of Timber Mountain and took up residence inside the mine, where she cast her spell over the miners to do her bidding. The animatronic miners wear strange masks (e.g., a bunny mask, a bird mask), and there are a couple of Green Witch and skeleton props as well. The open cavern scene includes the return of the spinning ghosts and a pretty cool shadow effect of the Green Witch. While it’s sad that the Calico Mine Train, which housed some of the scariest mazes in years long past, will no longer be able to contain live actors, we’re glad that Knott’s still did something with this ride. And the story tie-in with the Green Witch was actually pretty cool. We recommend checking this out if the line is short.
There’s no question that Knott’s is still the “worlds largest and scariest Halloween party.” What differentiates Knott’s from Universal is that it creates a complete feeling of Halloween throughout the park. Where else can you actually get a mask and go trick or treating inside the haunt? They also offer the most variety of themes, shows, and attractions, where you’ll find everything from traditional Halloween ghouls to modern-day, adrenaline-pumping blood and gore, and everything in between.
This year, we may have been more nostalgic, but we can honestly say that we found the mazes to be scarier and more elaborate. There’s still some improvements that can be made, but Knott’s Scary Farm really is a cultural phenomenon, and we’re glad to see it coming back with a vengeance to retain its crown as the granddaddy of all haunts. There’s no longer a question that they’ll continue to reign over Halloween for 40 more years and beyond.
Knott’s Scary Farm Fright Value: 5 Skulls
Check our ratings guide for further details
Around the corner from Disneyland Resort, in the shadow of The Tower of Terror, lies an even more terrifying place called The Empty Grave Haunted House. Located at the Anaheim GardenWalk, The Empty Grave is a seasonal attraction featuring live actors, custom special effects, and in-your-face animatronics. We last visited the Empty Grave in 2009, and back then we found it to be rather… empty (rim shot please). Since we were in the area, we thought we would stop in to see if the haunt had evolved over the past 3 years.
When we arrived we encountered energetic monsters sliding out of the corners of the mall frightening people and scaring up business. While waiting in line, the monsters roamed through the crowd thoroughly stalking guests and building up the excitement. It was ironic that some of them were wearing the same masks we had just seen over at Sinister Pointe. Nonetheless, these monsters really were great at building up the tension with their pre-show antics.
The theme is rather simple but effective. It’s essentially a journey through an old cemetery with ghosts, the undead, and creatures from beyond trying to get victims to refill the empty graves. The design of the maze is well done with a blend of open and closed-in spaces. It’s also filled with fog… a lot of fog, and throughout there’s transitions between dark and light spaces, which at times is disorienting. There were some impressive sets including the creepy mausoleum, which is filled with some unexpected surprises, and there’s also a moment where you have to “find your own way out.”
What impressed us most about The Empty Grave were the monsters. We have to applaud these ghouls and gals who were really into their roles and did an outstanding job of consistently scaring us. Since you can only go through with your immediate group of “loved ones,” the monsters have an ample amount of time to give guests special attention and attack multiple times. They also used a variety of scare tactics, and some were very athletic, jumping and sliding at us. Others were imposing and threatening. And there were even a couple comical monsters who taunted us and helped to alleviate the tension, for a few seconds.
Overall, we were quite impressed by the upgrades made to The Empty Grave over the past few years. They have good talent, and it’s evident that the entire team behind the haunt “scare because they care.” So, if your’re planning to visit Disneyland to take in Halloween Time or are in the O.C. Haunt Stalking other haunts you really should include a trip to The Empty Grave Haunted House in your scare-itinerary.
Terror Tips: *Parking is free for 1 hour at the GardenWalk *Check Groupon for discounted tickets *Arrive within the first hour of opening for the shortest wait time.
Every October, The Haunted Diary opens, unleashing its most disturbing tales. The origins of this diary are unknown, but this Halloween it will reopen and pure evil will be unleashed. So, prepare yourself for the the mystery and terror of the Haunted Hollow.
Along with the increased popularity of the commercial haunt business, there has also been a boom of “Home Haunts,” which have been evolving to offer unique and scary experiences of their own. The Haunted Diary Presents , located in Los Angeles, is a perfect example of a Home Haunt that offers some homegrown state-of-the-art thrills but operates like a full-scale haunted house. The Haunted Diary Presents combines a chilling mix of story and scares and includes interactive elements where guests have to physically perform tasks (e.g., push buttons) to move onto the next room.
This year they’re offering an ALL NEW haunted house based on the story of The Haunted Hollow. It is nearly 3 times as long as previous years, with a HUGE cast of actors, all new rooms, detailed sets, and an all-new story. They do not recommend the haunt for young children, as it is billed as a rather intense experience. They have no limits (per se) and promise that guests who brave a visit ”WILL be surprised” and scared.
One of the refreshing things about The Haunted Diary, and many other home haunts, is that it’s free. The creators build this haunt out their pure love for Halloween and scaring the crap out of people. They do accept donations, which are generously shared with the Habitat for Humanity’s charity organization. So, with this haunt, you can write off your Haunt Stalking on your taxes!
This year, The Haunted Diary’s next chapter will run for 2 NIGHTS ONLY, on October 27th and 31st. So if you find yourself in the dark side of Hollywood on Halloween weekend, don’t panic, you’ve only stumbled into The Haunted Hollow.
For more information about dates, times, location, and volunteer opportunities, visit their website.
The Haunted Play presents Delusion, one of our highest rated haunts of 2011, is returning with what promises to be a gripping blend of interactive theater, stunt work and dramatic storytelling that is sure to shake up the haunt season. In its 2011 debut, we found DELUSION to be one of the most unique haunt formats to date. The exprience can be best described as part haunted house, part theater, and part interactive story. Overall, it was a very unique attraction with amazing set design, good actors, and some good scares.
Hollywood trailblazers Neil Patrick Harris and Jon Braver are busy now plotting new diabolical scares to create “the ultimate Halloween experience in Los Angeles”. DELUSION is a bold take on the haunt experience and has been met with wild acclaim by audiences nationwide. It brings to life the best of Hollywood’s horror tradition with a dramatic story line and chillingly realistic special effects. The play immerses participants in a world of fear inspired by suspense classics such as The Shining and Aliens.
“I am thrilled to bring a completely different horror theatre to Los Angeles this fall,” says DELUSION creator Jon Braver, “Haunted houses have become staples to the Halloween tradition but it’s time to shake things up and put old fashioned scare tactics to the test.”
“DELUSION re-imagines and redefines the horror experience with an innovative blend of theatrics and action in a live performance that has never been done before,” shares producer Neil Patrick Harris. “There are no seats, no comfort of the fourth wall and audience members really have to engage and participate to move the story forward.”
Haunted Play’s brand of dynamic action and suspenseful story telling focused on deep psychological fear is a recipe for a stirring haunt experience.
In its 2011 premiere DELUSION was named “LA’s Best Haunted Attraction” by FOX TV and “The Hottest Ticket In LA” by NPR’s All Things Considered. Back by popular demand this fall the story continues with DELUSION: The Blood Rite – a bigger, better and more terrifying show.
The show takes place in a historic turn-of-the-century mansion in the Los Angeles West Adams district. The captivating 107 year old building has been home to Hollywood horror movie classics such as Rob Zombie’s Halloween and more.
The Haunted Play immersive experience DELUSION: The Blood Rite opens doors in historic West Adams near downtown Los Angeles on September 27 and runs through November 10, 2012. .
Now, we dare to learn more and purchase tickets at www.hauntedplay.com
Looking for a place to stay while at this year’s Comic Con in San Diego? Well look no further, as The Haunted Hotel still has some vacancies to fill. We think this is the perfect place to stay and scream before or after surviving The Walking Dead Escape or the other Comic Con offerings.
The Haunted Hotel will be open during Comic Con weekend on Friday, July 13, and Saturday, July 14 from 7 pm to 11 pm. Tickets are $16.99, but you might find some discount coupons in the downtown area that weekend.
The Haunted Hotel has been featured on the Travel Channel and was ranked by Haunt World as a top 13 haunt. We’ve also attended in past years and really had a great and scary time. Each year they continue to plus the scares and offer new frights, so even if you’ve been before we suggest another visit as you’ll never know what they have in store for all the Comic Con freaks lurking about.
If you’re anxious for some mid-summer screams (and, like us, just can’t wait another three months until official haunt season), head out to San Diego (no ticket to Comic Con needed). Just be sure to check in early, as the lines can get long for this popular haunt.