As the days grow shorter and the light fades I find myself mourning the end of yet another summer that has gone too soon. The only thing that can even lift my spirit is knowing that my favorite holiday is just around the corner…Halloween! And with the approach of the most wicked celebration of the year, it’s time for my 3rd Annual Halloween Haunts Preview! As in previous years, I scour the city for what I think, and hope you’ll find, are some of the most unique experiences dedicated to all matter of ghouls, witches, and ghosts. As always, I’ll cover some of the biggies like Knott’s and Queen Mary but this year I’m including a bit of theater, as well as a couple of newbies. Now, on to the previews!
Knott’s Scary Farm
It is only fitting that we kick things off with the originator: Knott’s Scary Farm. For over forty years now (yes, you read that right, forty years!) this festival of fright has been equal parts entertaining and terrifying and the go to location for those looking for the ultimate Halloween experience. This year is no different with the grand return of the Mistress of the Dark herself, Elvira! Could there be a better or sexier ambassador to celebrate the occasion?! As ever, expect to find more than enough mazes to keep your heart pounding and your blood pumping, including: The Gunslinger’s Grave, The Tooth Fairy, and the all new Paranormal Inc. to name just a few. For those looking for an even more immersive experience, Special Ops: Infected-Patient Zero returns for an all-out war against the living dead. Do you think you have what it takes to survive the zombie apocalypse? It all starts Thursday, September 24th and runs through Saturday October 31st.
Next stop on our list, Dracula. What Halloween would be complete without an ode to the Prince of Darkness himself? For this experience we head to the theater for what is being described as, “a 19th Century Drama that struggles with madness, sexuality and power… in this new bloody, sexy and horror-filled adaption of Bram Stoker’s classic vampire Dracula novel.” Now that is definitely something I can sink my teeth into! The show begins Friday September 25th and runs through Sunday November 1st.
New to the L.A. scene comes Ghoulmaster’s Haunted Playhouse. I got a chance to see a sneak peak of this a couple of months back at ScareLA. If the show is anything like the preview, expect a decadent filled, Gothic themed, glam-infused performance inspired by all things Halloween. If that sounds like your cup of tea, shows begins Friday, September 25th and runs through Saturday October 31st. Bonus: attendees are encouraged to dress in their wildest outfits.
I return to Long Beach for a visit to the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor. Touted as one of the most haunted locations in America, it is only right that it should have its own Halloween haven. Like last year, I expect to find a top-notch production with an atmosphere that’s as much festive as it is frightful. However, what I look forward to most is the ship itself. Walking through it (the corridors, the hallways, the pool) you get a sense of its history, its age. You can feel its spirit and many would say, its ghosts. Remember, several of their mazes are based on actual incidents that occurred on the mighty ship. Who needs imagination when your reality is so sinister? Dark Harbor begins Thursday, October 1st and runs through Sunday November 1st.
Urban Death Tour of Terror
I’ve been meaning to get to Zombie Joe’s Urban Death Tour of Terror for a few years now and finally, after a couple of previews at ScareLA, I’m getting the chance. Whenever I think of UDTT the word that comes to mind is macabre. These guys don’t try to scare you as much as they try to disturb you. They push the envelope as much as possible and no subject is taboo. Think psychological drama more than outright horror show. And if that wasn’t enough a maze to boot; talk about mind f#@k! If that’s something you think you can handle I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience. Shows start Friday October 2nd and runs through Saturday, October 31st.
Here is another new attraction that I know absolutely nothing about. This is the description I was provided, “set in an abandoned warehouse in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles, CreepLA provides a fully immersive and interactive haunt experience.” With so little to go on I can only imagine it’ll be similar to something like the Alone Experience or The Purge before that, but to be honest, who knows and that to me is the real attraction.
So there you have it, my tentative agenda for the next couple of weeks. Check back periodically as this list can always grow but more importantly come back for the actual reviews!