Hollywood Gothique
Funhouses & Mazes

Old Town Haunt 2013 Review & Video

Old Town Haunt’s final year? That’s a disaster of epic proportions for Halloween fans in Los Angeles. Fortunately, haunt-seekers have one last chance to enter the catacombs before the caverns collapse into a pile of rubble, sealing the lost souls within, forever. If you are wise, you will seize this opportunity; otherwise, you will suffer pangs of regret such as you cannot imagine. Fortunately, the final manifestation of this haunt, which began in 2005, is preserved in this video tour, shot during the final weekend.

An ominous Jack O’ Lantern welcomes you to Old Town Haunt on last time.

Why is Old Town Haunt shuffling off to the Graveyard of Lost Halloween Haunts? Headaches due to problems with city officials, which see much of the Halloween Haunt’s underground sets gutted. The actors still put on a great show, which is as much fun as ever, but if you watch this video closely, you will notice the slightly make-shift look of the decor, with sheets and draperies replacing the walls and corridors that once created such a convincingly claustrophobic atmosphere. Some of the familiar props are in place (such as the T-Rex poking its head through a gap in the brick walls); however, many of the old settings are missing, so there is no longer as much sense of moving through several distinct environments. Fortunately, judging by the screams of the victims passing through, the effectiveness of the haunt has been diminished little if at all.

Old Town Haunt Review 2013: End of an Era

Rather like the Reign of Terror Haunted House in Thousand Oaks, the Old Town Haunt Halloween Attraction in Pasadena has maintained such a high quality for so long that Hollywood Gothique has just about run out of superlatives to lavish on it. What can we add for this year? Basically, two points are worth noting.

First, although you will recognize several settings and props from previous years, the subterranean route (the haunt is set in the basement of an old building) has been reconfigured. Even if you have wandered through this lair many times before, you will not known what to expect around each corner, because the corridors have changed.

Do you dare enter the depths of Old Town Haunt?
Do you dare enter the depths of Old Town Haunt?

The crawlspace has been eliminated, but the pitch-black section is still there (only shorter, we think). There is a section containing clowns (a bit anomalous in this location, but still effective). There also seem to be fewer claustrophobic tunnels and more areas with open space, the path defined by low walls that allow for greater visibility. This also allows more avenues of attack, with monsters popping up from behind obstructions on either side, often simultaneously.

Which brings us to the second point worth noting: Perhaps because this is Old Town Haunt’s final Halloween, the damned souls within are eager to inflict their wrath upon the living for one last time. Simply startling you is not enough; they pursue you relentlessly, often from all directions. Sometimes they lurk quietly, unnoticed in the darkness, allowing the leader of a group to pass, then attacking the strays in the rear. Hands grasp over walls and through gates; feathers brush your neck in the darkness; and apparently inanimate corpses suddenly jolt to life when you wander within reach.

A monster lurking within Old Town Haunt
A monster lurking within Old Town Haunt

Last night, we heard a hint that Old Town Haunt might not close forever; perhaps it will reopen in some other location. However, we are not optimistic. Rather than trusting to an uncertain future, we advise avid haunt-chasers to head to Pasadena tonight for what will in all likelihood will be your last chance to descend into the depths of one of Los Angeles’s finest Halloween haunts.

Old Town Haunt is open tonight from 7pm to 10pm. The address is 20 N. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103. Tickets are $15 for General Admission and $20 for VIP (no waiting). Call for 626-248-7652 for more information, or visit their website.