Check out our video walk-through of HorrorWorld: Texas Chainsaw Massacre, including an interview with creator Larry Bones, at top, or scroll down to read our review of the haunted attraction.
After a hiatus that felt like a drought in the desert, HorrorWorld has returned with the sinister force of a hurricane showering the parched landscape with scares instead of rain. It’ has been nearly three years since the walk-though attraction haunted the Greater Los Angeles area; now it is back, in a new location and with a new theme designed to quench the thirst of dehydrated horror-seekers thirsty for summer scares: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Strictly speaking, HorrorWorld’s current location is not exactly new: the attraction moved into the Haven City Market in Rancho Cucamonga last year, with plans to open during the pandemic for Halloween 2020. That is not as crazy as it might sound: HorrorWorld’s signature walk-through maze, Into the Black, had always allowed guest in one at a time – in effect, social distancing before it was public health necessity.
Those plans came to naught, but this August HorrorWorld is offering six nights of terror, which serve as a sort of comeback and a preview of what’s in store for Halloween 2021. If you have seen HorrorWorld (or Into the Black, as it was known during its debut), you will recognize many of the settings, but they have been repurposed to house Leatherface, Grandpa, and several helpless victims, adding an edge of brutal exploitation horror in place of the usual mysterioso supernatural effects seen in 2017 and 2018.
For the most part, stuffing characters from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre into sets originally designed to house demons works better than expected. The creepy feel of the corridors (essentially simple flats rendered effective with careful, low-key lighting) sets the right tone for the horrors ahead, and when the spaces periodically open up into fully decorated rooms, Leatherface and Grandpa really do look at home, whether it’s lounging in the living room, eating dinner across from a reluctant guest, or lurking in narrow hallways that afford little opportunity to evade the horrifying home-owners.
The highlight is a sort of torture chamber decorated with dangling severed limbs, wherein Leatherface removes the face of a screaming victim. (The effect will be familiar to fans of past Texas Chainsaw walkthroughs at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood – which should be no surprise, since HorrorWorld’s creator, Larry Bones, used to provide makeup effects for the theme park’s annual Halloween attraction.) Also exciting is a clever scene in which you the viewer look through a series of windows to see Leatherface “outside” as he pursues and captures a (literally) faceless victim.
Less appropriate – though still spooky – are the eerie, red-tinged laser-fog room and the nicely detailed crypt (we just can’t imagine the chainsaw family having this sort of gothic burial vault on its property.
Perhaps in deference to the tone and style of exploitation shock-and-scare tactics, HorrorWorld’s Chainsaw Massacre presentation allows visitors to enter in groups of four. The sense of being alone in a haunted house is obviously gone; instead, there is the group dynamic of being jolted with adrenalin by the sudden appearance of a hulking maniac wielding a roaring chainsaw.
The only downside for Los Angeles haunt-seekers is the drive to Rancho Cucamonga, which could take an hour (or more during peak traffic). The upside is that Haven City Market is essentially a pleasant food court with several appealing options, so you can enjoy an informal dinner while there.
HorrorWorld: Texas Chainsaw Massacre
HorrorWorld’s summer scare show replaces the demons from previous years with characters from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, providing a more visceral form of horror. It’s still creepy but not as spooky, with shocks and jump-scares instead of supernatural dread – in other words, a nice variation that provides a change-of-pace from the Halloween show, scheduled to resume this Fall.
HorrorWorld is located within Haven City Market, at 8443 Haven Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga, 91730. Their Texas Chainsaw Massacre presentation runs on August 21-21, 27-28, and September 3-4. Hours of operation are 5-10pm nightly.