Backwood Maze: Halloween 2014 review

cyborg and worker
A mutant worker next to a cyborg in the Backwoods Maze.

It wouldn't be Halloween in Los Angeles without a trip to the Backwoods Maze Yard Haunt. A miracle of geometry, this amateur attraction squeezes more Halloween horror into its backyard labyrinth than most professional haunted houses can manage with more space and bigger budgets. In fact, Backwoods Maze is so densely packed that it borders on sensory overload, and visitors could miss half of the frights.

Consequently, the maze's evolution from one Halloween to the next is easy to overlook. Beginning as a haven for cannibal crazies, not unlike Uncle Willy's Slaughterhouse at the Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt, the Backwoods Maze has gradually morphed into something more post-apocalyptic. However, with the shocks and surprises coming at you like rapid fire dum-dum bullets, the distinction between rundown rural horror and futuristic devastation has not always been immediately apparent; one could easily have mistaken new props and settings for aspects that one had simply forgotten or failed to notice in previous years.

Fortunately, Halloween 2014 sees some striking additions that are impossible to miss, even while screaming with your hands covering your eyes. The science fiction theme is now unmistakable, thanks to a series of Transformer-sized robots and cyborgs in various states of assembly. Additionally, the sinister characters lurking within this futuristic setting are not just irradiated loonies but demented factory workers  whose repulsive aspects are exceeded only by their loathsome personalities ("Hey, sweat thing - come over here, baby!"). And if you're lucky, you may be attacked by a demented mutant who leaps down from the rafters overhead - a completely unexpected appearance. (Hollywood Gothique fully expects this character to break his leg before Halloween Night, so visit the Backwoods Maze well before then.)

No matter how many times you have trekked through this amazing home haunt, you will see something new this Halloween. The Backwoods Maze was Hollywood Gothique's pick for Best Amateur Haunted House Walk-Through in 2013; it reamins, always, highly recommended.

The Backwoods Maze is located at 1912 North Pepper Street, Burbank, CA 91505. Remaining dates are October 17-19, 24-26, and 31,  7-10pm each night. Admission is free. Click here for their Facebook page.