Haunts USA opens their doors this evening for their second Halloween at the Northridge Mall. As in 2006, the haunt will feature three mazes; this year there will also be talent shows and contests (prizes include $1000 and an opportunity to appear at the House of Blues). “Haunt Idol” kicks off at 6:30pm; rock-n-roll acts start up around 10:00pm.
The Haunt’s director, Harlan Freedman promises, “We have changed our branding a little bit, and two of the mazes have been entirely redesigned to make them more creepy and spooky.”
For 2007, each of the three returning haunts is named after an original character: Depravia’s Nightmare Factory, Krull’s Extreme Madness, Hess’s Zombieville; this unholy trinity is a manifestation of Dominus Exus, the King of Halloween. It is not uncommon for Halloween attractions to furnish some kind of legend, usually available on their website, explaining the origin of the haunt (whether it’s a mad lighthouse keeper at Seaside Haunt or a slain bank robber team at Old Town Haunt), but Haunts USA hopes to turn Dominus into a franchise that could launch books and movies.
Says the Haunt’s Manager of Marketing, who calls himself Egore: “We wanted [the haunt] to be story driven, so we created this character who is the opposite of Santa Claus. There are lots of haunted houses with evil characters, but what’s their source? We created that.”
With all this, plus the proximity of the mall with all its shops and restaurants, Haunts USA hopes to be not just a Halloween attraction but an entertainment destination for the whole family.
“Haunted Houses – we already have that,” says Egore. “In addition, we have shows and entertainment. They want to be put on the map; they want to be the premier haunt. After this year, when everybody sees what we have done, I think they’re going to copycat us next year.”