It's the final weekend; time is running out! You have paused and prevaricated, allowing the October days to slip through your fingers, and now you are in a last-minute flurry, trying to see as much as you can before midnight of November 1 arrives, bringing Halloween to a conclusion. In this limited two-day window of Saturday and Sunday, what are the absolutely essentail Halloween haunts that you must see in 2010? Read on to find out...
Title: Halloween Harvest Festival & Fright Fair Screampark
Location: Pierce College, 20800 Victory Blvd at Mason Avenue, Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Remaining Dates: October 30-31, dusk to midnight
Link out: Click here
The Fright Fair Screampark has long been a favorite, and this year they are even better. There is a new maze - literally a maze - called Insane Reaction, but more important than that, the old haunts, Factory of Nightmares and Creatures of the Corn, have been rejuvenated with some aggressive scare-acting.
This - the most elaborate of the Los Angeles yard haunts - features the same basic presentation from the past few years (a series of mechanical and lighting effects timed to a pre-recorded show with dialogue and music), but a few new, startling effects have been added, including an excellent ghostly bride who emerges from an upstairs door and looks down on the audience, her features morphing into a skeleton.
Title: House of Restless Spirits
Location: 1008 Euclid Street Santa Monica, CA
Remaining Dates: October 30-31, 7-11pm
Link Out: click here
This supremely creepy amateur haunted house allows you to walk around the residence, where a variety of spirits manifest in different forms that defy belief. There is a monochromatic feel to this one, suggesting an old-fashioned haunted house movie from an earlier era. No shocks, just eerie thrills from a sense of encountering the unknown and the unexplained. The special effects are truly amazing - not spectacular in a Hollywood blockbuster away, but subtly spooky - and very effective.
Always good, always scary. The maze itself is basically the same, but the monsters have been upgraded with more professional prosthetic makeup. Intense.
Title: Rotten Apple 907's Nightmare at the Museum
Location: 907 N. California Street, Burbank, CA 91505
Remaining Dates: October 30-31, 7-10pm (9pm on Halloween)
Link out: Click here
Easily the most ambitious walk-through amateur yard haunt in Los Angeles, Rotten Apple's 2010 show is on the level of a professional haunt - it really is that good. As the title suggests, this is a take off on NIGHT IN THE MUSUEM, but instead of laughs, expect screams, with several different rooms haunted by a variety of monsters, including mummies of course. Oh and by the way, did I mention there's a friggin' dinosaur? Yes - an angry T-Rex that abruptly thrusts its head from inside a broken packing crate, snapping at visitors as they try to escape to the exit. Fantastic! (see photo at top)
This haunted house has always been great to look at, with its amazingly convincing recreation of a Victorian haunted house; this year the scare factor has been intensified. Also, a new section has been appended: the Asylum. A truly great experience.
The always enjoyable 68 Cent Crew are back for another year of terrifying theatre-goers with their relatively short but extremely high-impact thrill show. It's disorienting and alarmingly intimate, in the sense that the scares seem directly aimed at you, for your own personal benefit (if that is the word). Remarkable and different.
Title: Voices of Pioneer Cemetery Flashlight Ghost Tour
Location: Pioneer Cemetery, 14451 Bledsoe Street, Sylmar, CA 91342
Remaining Dates: Octotber 30, every half-hour starting at 6:30pm
Link out: Click here
If you want to get into the Halloween spirit but prefer not to have monsters attacking you, check out this unique event, a tour through an actual, historical cemetery, people by actors playing the ghosts of those interred there. There is a certain historical aspect to this as the dead relate their brief tales of being alive, but a few concessions to the season have been included, with some simple structures having been built to provide a few mild scares as you walk through. The overall effect is eerie and even poignant, as this cemetery houses the dead from long ago, when the mortality age was very young. Not only Halloween fans need apply; history buffs will enjoy this one, too.