Hollywood Gothique
Hollywood Gothique AwardsThe Vault

HHA 2016: Honorable Mention – Skeleton Key Rooms

In our previous post, announcing the winner of the Halloween Haunt Award for the Best Introductory Scene in a Haunt, we noted that the Skeleton Key Rooms at the Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt had been separated into their own mini-attractions (instead of serving as introductions to mazes).  Requiring a special Skeleton Key Pass, these rooms provided more intimate experience for smaller groups of people, overcoming the dilution of scares that can result from large crowds at Halloween theme parks.

Individually, none of 2016’s Skeleton Key Rooms rocked our sensibility as much as the awesome FearVR (read more here), but in total the four added up to something special, providing a change of pace from the usual walk-through experience. Slasher offered a grizzly close encounter with a crazed killer. Zozo consisted of a séance that summoned a demon (a live actor that miraculous appeared atop the table surrounded by participants – did he drop from the ceiling while the lights were out?). Prey was a mini-maze that visitors navigated with a most unreliable lantern. Visions (our favorite) was an amusing ghost-hunt with iPad-like devices that revealed phantoms invisible to the naked eye.

We hope other Halloween theme parks pick up on the idea. It’s a good one – worth the upcharge.

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.