At Hollywood Gothique, we are all about Halloween in Los Angeles; nevertheless, we do make the trek out to Orange County to partake of the terrors on offer in that fearsome and mysterious land. This week, we checked out Sinister Pointe and Ghost Ship (the later of which, from the makers of the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, is making its debut this year). Because we are pressed for time (when you are constantly attending haunts, there are only so many hours left to writer about them), we wanted to at least offer quick capsule reviews of these two worthwhile attractions. In the near future we will be back to offer fuller assessments.
Both of these two quite different Halloween attractions are worthy of attention. What they have in common is a certain innovation that distinguishes them from other Halloween events, and both left us wanting more. That last statement is a bit of a double-edge sword: Ghost Ship and Sinister Pointe are good enough to make you want the delightful frights to continue even longer; at the same time, both leave you with a sense of imaginative concepts that could be realized to an even fuller extent.
Sinister Pointe (195 Arovista Circle Brea, CA 92821) offers a single walk-through maze. The entrance is magnificent (a spooky old backwoods house); the other sets are not as detailed, but they offer some clever confusion with mirrors and glass, creating illusion of depth and distance where none actually exists. There is also a wonderful interactive element: this really is a maze, which offers you some choices, requiring you to open doors that may lead to your way out - or to some unexpected monster in the closet. There are also one or two illusions that we have never seen at any Halloween event in Los Angeles: we can't describe them without ruining the surprise; just take our word for it that they are worth the price of admission. www.sinisterpointe.com
Ghost Ship (moored at 2901 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92663) is a real ship that takes you on a one hour cruise. The crew is creepy, including a ghost captain attempting to enlist you - or at least parts of you - to join up. The middle deck acts as a sort of scare zone: drinks and dancing area populated with ghouls, while a magic show runs every half-hour or so. The upper deck offers a trio of live executions at regular intervals (things do not go as planned, and the tables are turned, with one of the criminals breaking free). The lower deck offers a walk-through maze, a demented mad house for the criminally insane. There is also a climactic "inmates are over-running the asylum" moment as you head back to dock (it's a little bit like the strobe-like circus mania near the end of the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride - the people behind Ghost Ship). www.ghostship.com
If you live in Orange County, you should check out both of these Halloween attractions. Los Angeles Fright Fans may be intimidated by the drive, but they will probably find the events worthwhile as well.