Our exploration of 2011's Halloween Yard Haunts began last week with our trip to Boney Island (reviewed here). Next, we move on to Burbank for a pair of Amateur Halloween Events that display enough skill and imagination to rank along side professional Halloween Haunted Houses & Hayrides in Los Angeles.
The Backwoods Maze Yard Haunt (1912 North Pepper Street Burbank, CA 91505, photo at top) returns with a gruesome cacophony of cannibal carnage that matches and even exceeds last year's presentation. The setting remains much the same, but there are new and even more monstrous inhabitants lurking around every corner of this lengthy labyrinth. The most impressive element of Backwoods Maze its size; the subjective experience of walking through its narrow twists and turns suggests a venue far too extensive to fit into a backyard, yet it does. Obviously inspired by the Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt (the tone is somewhat similar to Knott's Slaughterhouse) the Backwoods Maze is no mere knock-off. It is easily as scarifying as any of the professional Halloween Haunted House Events around town.
Rotten Apple 907 (located at 907 N. California Street Burbank, CA 91505) has a new theme for 2011: Space Oddessdy. The ambitious and ever-expanding yard haunt leaves Earth behind, teleporting visitors into a hotel resort in space. The setting would seem impossible to achieve without professional resources, yet Rotten Apple brings it to vivid life in their terrifying walk-through: ominous electronic sounds pulse through the temporary structure set up in the front yard; ghastly claws extend unexpectedly out of doorways; a doctor futilely attempts to revive a victim with a crustacean-alien attached to his body. The experience last only a few minutes, but it is loaded with production value and more than enough screams to satisfy fright fans. For years, Rotten Apple provided a fun and entertaining experience; in 2009, they shifted into overdrive with their Burbank Underground theme, and they have managed to top themselves each successive year. How they go beyond this year's haunt, is hard to imagine. (Free, but donations accepted to benefit the Family Service Agency of Burbank.)