Hollywood Gothique
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Boney Island 2013 review & video

Last night, Hollywood Gothique got a jump on its its annual Halloween Haunt Odyssey* by sojourning to the Boney Island Yard Haunt, where we not only enjoyed the familiar gags from the past few years but also discovered several amazing innovations that make the venerable attraction worth revisiting, even if you have seen it many times before. We shot some video but it may take time to edit, so for the time being you will have to be satisfied with our written descriptions.

Most miraculous is the anti-gravity water effect in the space that used to house the psychic skeleton (don’t worry – that old display has been moved, not eliminated). The mystical Prince Patella (a skeleton, of course) holds a vial above a barrel, but instead of water flowing down, it rises up from the barrel and into the vial! The effect looks convincing all by itself, but just in case you are imagining there is some kind of invisible tube sucking the water up, proprietor Rick Polizzi will have his hand through it, splashing a few drops, or sweep a cut through it – upside down – to demonstrate that the water is indeed rising.

Right next to Prince Patella are some remarkable skeleton hummingbirds flitting in the bushes near ground level; you may miss the delicate, beautiful creatures if you’re in a hurry, so remember to stop and take a look. Also nearby are some skeleton flamingos dipping their graceful necks – also a subtle effect, easy to overlook while you ponder the mystery of Prince Patella’s rising water trick.

Equally spectacular is the “Spirit Box” atop the roof. Book-ended by skeletal magicians, the box displays a variety of ghostly manifestations, which materialize like ectoplasmic vapor before evaporating into the night air. The glowing emanations cast ghastly shadows upon a nearby treetop, which can bee seen from a block or two away, like a signpost drawing you to Boney Island. (While perusing this sight, you may note a trio of skeletons flying on magic carpets above the roof. Though not new, many visitors (including yours truly) are noticing them for the first time this year, perhaps because of their proximity to the Spirit Box, which is drawing attention upwards, away from all the fascinating eye candy at ground level.)

On the side of the house is a remarkable, new gag featuring glowing candles seen through a window. A sign tells you that only 1 in a 100 people can blow out the candles through the glass, but if you attempt the miraculous feat, you may be surprised at your success. After the candles go out, you reignite them by waving your hand over your head. We tried this several times, and it usually worked (the light from our camera seemed to interfere sometimes). Our first guess was that the candles were simply turning on and off at random, so that people merely thought they were blowing out the flames after several attempts; however, the timing was too accurate, too often – suggesting a sensor (probably the big leaf above the sign).

Maestro Maxill’as Magical Cauldrons
Maestro Maxill’as Magical Cauldrons

There were one or two other displays that seemed new to us (perhaps because of failing memory?), such as a trio of skeletons preparing to hurl knives, axes, and other sharp instruments at an unfortunate assistant poised before a target. Also, for Halloween 2013, you can take a tour of the tree house – for a $10 donation to a charitable organization. The tree house (an actual part of the property, not a Halloween set) has been tempting visitors to Boney Island for many years, so it’s nice to get a chance to ascend its heights and get a different perspective on the yard haunt, particularly Maestro Maxill’as Magical Cauldrons, which are located directly below.

As always, Boney Island is the place go for family-friendly Halloween fun in Los Angeles. This year, it’s even better than before.


  • Traditionally, Hollywood Gothique spends October 31 visiting as many Los Angeles yard haunts as possible. Since time and distance prevent us from reaching everything on Halloween Night, we venture out early to select favorites.