Review: Gingerdead House Holiday Haunt

Enjoyably scary but not too intense for children, this home-made Christmas pop-up provides holiday cheer for families who don't mind a few frights.

Holiday Blues got you down? Well, here's a way to raise your Christmas Spirits - run on out to Whittier this weekend for the Gingerdead House Krampus Maze and Haunted Holiday Toy Drive. The home haunt, which has been running the past two weekends, features a scary walk-through populated by demented seasonal characters, and this Friday only will feature special guests, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Admission is free, but visitors are asked to bring toy or cash donations to benefit the local community.

Situated in a neighborhood that is well decorated for Christmas, the Gingerdead House features a wonderful facade in the driveway, festooned with "Naughty" and "Nice" gingerbread men and topped with a smoking chimney from which protrudes a red-coated arm clasping an ax. The maze begins with a well-done living room interior, featuring a fireplace surrounded by demented decorations, where lurks an evil elf. Moving outside, the path leads through the atmospherically illuminated backyard, where toys lie beneath gnarled trees are haunted. The final third is a bit more of a conventional home haunt, with PVC pipe and sheets forming corridors, but there is nicely done fog-filled room bathed in cool blue light, and the cast of characters make good use of the twists and turns, lurking out of sight just long enough to spring a series of startling scares. Krampus, a skull-faced Santa, and other ghoulish stalkers are balanced by a whimsical Gingerbread Man, who provides comic relief, lulling visitors into dropping their guard.

The result is enjoyably scary but, in keeping with the spirit of the season, not too intense for children. Families out for a little Christmas cheer should have a good time as long as they don't mind a few frights. The maze is brief - the event was put together in a couple of weeks - but the results are solid. The proprietor promises a more extensive walk-through for Halloween 2018.

The Gingerdead House Krampus Maze and Haunted Holiday Toy Drive concludes this weekend with final performances on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23, from 6:30 to 10:30pm each night. The address is 13323 Lakeland Road, Whittier, CA 90605. The event's Facebook page is here.

Photo Gallery by Linda Truong

Gingerdead House Krampus Maze Review
3.5

Bottom Line

Enjoyably scary but not too intense for children, this Christmas pop-up with a great cast of characters provides chilling holiday cheer for families who don’t mind a few frights. Our only quibble is that the maze is brief, but for an event put together in a couple weeks, the results are impressive.

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.