By the time mid-October rolls around every year, Hollywood Gothique has visited many Halloween attractions; we've seen every kind of ghost and ghouls imaginable, haunting houses, hayrides, and theme parks. In comparison, one would think the Halloween home haunts that open in the second half of the month would be unable to hold a cobwebbed candle to the professional competition. So it is little short of miraculous that a pair of amateur haunted houses in Burbank, Backwoods Maze and Rotten Apple 907, consistently amaze us as much as any pro-haunt. The word "immersive" is thrown around quite often these days, but these two haunts truly seem to immerse visitors in their strange worlds: one a futuristic Hell on Earth, the other a literal descent into Hell.
The Backwoods Maze: Halloween 2017
We have often remarked upon the Backwoods Maze incredible length, calling it a masterpiece of geometry to fit that much into a back yard. Not as often have we mentioned that this extensive pathway is filled with an unbelievable magnitude of props and sets: cyborgs, alien eggs, futuristic vehicles, etc. It's practically an art installation - albeit, one that sends it connoisseurs screaming. We also want to tip our hat to the cast of characters, who add a touch of bizarre humor to the horror. They're almost live-action cartoons, but rather than Disney or Pixar, they have stepped out of some strange, post-apocalyptic anime epic. No matter how many times we have trekked through the Backwoods Maze, the performers make it worth seeing again.
The Backwoods Maze yard haunt continues on October 27-29 & 31; hours are 7-10pm. The address is 1912 North Pepper Street in Burbank, CA 91505.
Rotten Apple 907: The Portal
Rotten Apple 907's theme for Halloween 2017 is darker than usual. The haunted house usually has a touch of whimsy mixed in with its horror (typified by last year's Not So Enchanted Forest), but The Portal takes visitors on a trip through the underworld, and there's just not a lot of joking around in Hades. The journey starts in an impressively convincing witch's cabin before "descending" into rocky caverns, inhabited by shadowy demons and infernal creatures. Rotten Apple will never be truly grim - there is always a sense of fun to the scares - but this year is more sinister than we have ever seen them.
The Rotten Apple 907 home haunt resumes on October 28-29, 31; hours are 7-10pm. The address is 907 N. California Street in Burbank, CA 91505. Like last Halloween, Rotten Apple is collecting donations for Volunteers of Burbank Animal Shelter.