Over the past few years, especially in the Los Angeles area, the trend in new haunted attractions has seemed to be the “immersive haunt experience,” where guests mingle with characters who have an involved backstory while roaming through elaborate sets with perfectly timed lighting, sounds, and music effects. It started with Delusion, continued with Creep LA, and is now expanding to multiple similar experiences each haunt season. These attractions certainly feel about 10 steps above the standard conga-line maze, where actors in cheap masks jump out from behind the corners of plywood walls painted black. And yet, sometimes we find ourselves missing a good old-fashioned startle.
What Angel of Light does differently is blend an immersive experience with both typical maze elements and a theatrical finale. It’s a unique combination that mostly works well, although some improvements could be made in the flow and pacing of the event.
Angel of Light is located in the historic Los Angeles Theater in Downtown LA. The theater makes the perfect backdrop for the unique storyline of the eventz. The elaborate French Baroque design of the theater’s interior is so detailed and amazing to look at that very little set dressing is needed to enhance the haunt. For the most part, some spooky lighting and fog is all that’s needed create a more sinister atmosphere.
Angel of Light has timed entry, and guests line up outside the theater before their ticket times. Then, a large group of people is let in all at once. Everyone waits in the lobby, surrounded by shrouded figures that loom over guests as unhinged cigarette girls roam about. Finally, a demented usher makes an announcement about the show: Rota K. Preston will be singing that evening. However, other actors wander about warning guests not to listen.
A slow line forms as guests are herded to the staircase leading down the stairs. Here’s the first place where the timing seemed a bit off, as the line moved very slowly and it was hard to see what was going on up ahead. At the bottom of the stairs, we were greeted by a priest-type figure and led into some very dark tunnels. This part was very much like a typical haunted house maze, where demented nuns and priests shrieked and startled us behind the walls and around the corners. Exiting these tunnels, we emerged into a room filled with video screens. This was a creepy contrast to the previous setting and it wasn’t immediately clear how the two were connected, although the esthetics did surprisingly work together.
To their credit, staff were letting in only small groups at a time, which really helped the scare factor but was the cause of the line backup in the lobby.
After exiting the short maze, we emerged in a free-roaming area of the theater. More 1930s-era actors wandered about warning us about Rota K. Preston. There are two bar areas with standing tables where guests can grab a drink and relax for a bit. Custom cocktails plus beer and wine are available. Additional haunt elements can be freely explored at your leisure, including a haunted playroom, phone booths (be sure to pick up the phone for a creepy surprise), and even the bathroom, where a hooded figure lurks in one of the stalls. These were fun elements and also made for excellent photo ops.
Finally, we noticed a line of people forming near one of the exit doors, and like the lemmings we are, we joined the line. We were ushered into a separate room with a longer switchback of lines that took about 20 minutes to get through. At this point, we still didn’t even know what the line was for. But it turned out to be a second maze that was longer and more elaborate than the first. We passed by haunted dressing rooms, a cemetery scene, and an old fashioned clown. The atmosphere here was eerie but there were not many jump scares.
Finally, after exiting the maze, we found ourselves in the waiting area for the main theater, where we would finally see the performance by Rota. After a short time, we were let into the main theater and found a seat. Free-roaming scareactors in hoods and masks mingled with the crowd, dancing and writhing on the ground and occasionally sitting in the seats next to guests. Finally, the show started and Rota began to sing. But the music morphed into strange shrieks and tones, and the devil appeared behind her, possessing all the dancers on stage. The dancers shed most of the clothes and proceeded to writhe along with the devil in a short, frenetic dance number, culminating in the collapse of everyone on stage and the end of the experience.
We found Angel of Light to be very unique with an interesting story, a great setting, and good acting. The backstory of the haunt is somewhat complicated and not easy to follow unless you read the official press release. The event is being promoted as a prequel to a movie, “Hex,” which will be released by Parma Pictures in 2025. However, there’s really no need to understand every element in the experience, as the scenes are cohesive and convey enough information to create an interesting haunted attraction.
One thing we especially liked about Angel of Light was the variety of elements spread throughout the experience. There is no limit on the amount of time you can spend at the event, so you’re free to have some drinks and wander about the open areas of the main floor. The main issue we had was the multiple lines needed for the short mazes and the queue required to see the finale in the main theater. However, the lines did move relatively quickly, and it helped to prevent a conga line inside.
We spent approximately 90 minutes at Angel of Light. We think this event would be an excellent date-night haunt option. Tickets start at $60, which is a very good price for this level of event.