The Haunted Maze on Ambrose doesn't get the attention lavished on some of the high-tech home haunts, because it's...well, not high-tech. But who cares if there are no laser beams, animatronics, and digital projections; the important thing is scares, right? Fortunately, the Ambrose Halloween haunt has got you covered.
Located at the end of a cul-de-sac in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, not far from the L.A. Haunted Hayride in Griffith Park, this home haunt first appears as a strangely lighted hilltop abode, looming above. At street level there is a donation booth near the front gate, though the being inside is so threatening that only the bravest visitors dare approach to drop their money in the slot.
Moving onward, you enter the gate and ascend steps leading to the Apocalyptic Wasteland (this Halloween's theme). The sense of leaving safety behind - of moving to some new, dangerous territory - is an unsettling preview of what is to come. After a threatening figure beckons you inside the maze, you find yourself on uneven terrain, desperately trying to navigate narrow, tightly twisted corridors that loop back and forth endlessly, with some new danger around every corner. The clever strategy is that, with all your attention focused on maintaining your footing and finding your way, you will inevitably fail to see the monsters sneaking up on you.
Like the Backwoods Maze, the Haunted Maze on Ambrose is a marvel of geometry, squeezing a lengthy route into what must be limited space around the hillside house. For the most part, the corridors are simple black tarp, but there is an impressive fallout shelter, filled with mutants and dead victims (one of the later with his head smashed beneath a broken television set). Nicely done haz-mat costumes lend an aura of credibility to the proceedings.
The Ambrose maze functions mostly as neighborhood haunt, servicing local trick-or-treaters and fans, but it draws a large enough audience to be open the last half of October, and dedicated haunt-seekers will find it worth a visit, especially if they can avoid the crowds on Halloween Night.
The Haunted Maze on Ambrose will be open this weekend on October 28, 29, and 31. Hours are 6pm to 9pm except on Halloween Night, which is 5pm to 10pm. There is a less scary kid version (with no actors) during the first hour of operation each night. Admission is free, but donations accepted (if you can get the ghoul inside the both to take your money instead of scaring you). The address 4302 Ambrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027. For more info, visit: ambrosehauntedmaze.com.