Review: Richard and Christina's Haunted House

East Meets West in the creepy corridors of this former home haunt.
RC Haunted House 2018 silhouettes
Lurking in the fog

The last Halloween attraction that Hollywood Gothique visited this season was, ironically, a first-time experience for us. Richard and Christina's Haunted House in Rowland Heights has been around for ten years, but we had barely heard of it - which is too bad, because it deserves some attention. We did not write about it sooner, because we visited the haunt on its final night, so any review would have been posted too late to do much good until next year, but now is as good a time as any to say that it provided a fright-filled finale to a our Halloween season.

Originally a home haunt, Richard and Christina's Haunted House is still very much a family affair, with the attendant amateur enthusiasm one associates with projects done for love rather than money. The husband-and-wife team decided to start their own haunt to fill the vacuum after a popular neighborhood yard haunt shut down. Being immigrants (Richard is from Taiwan; Christina is from China), the couple decided to incorporate Asian supernatural elements into their haunt, along western Halloween icons (Jason, Michael Myers). The haunt eventually outgrew its home and had to find a new location; it was comfortably ensconced in a local banquet hall for Halloween 2018.

Though relatively low-tech in its approach, Richard and Christina's Haunted House included a handful of effective mechanical and video effects. The sets were mostly black plywood with some black-light paint for decoration; these formed narrow corridors with sharp junctures, where monsters lurked, sometimes one on either side, creating a Scylla and Charybdis situation that afforded no room to navigate safely past. An enthusiastic cast of about a dozen ghosts squeezed numerous scares into the relatively small space: Sadako from Ring was there, standing in a well, and a creepy nun exhorted us to repent or face eternal damnation. Outside, the horror continued, with Jason and a silent ghost girl pursuing us through heavy fog. Our favorite bit involved a jail cell door that didn't really keep its inmate in place - though the way this worked was not quite what you would imagine.

The best thing about Richard and Christina's Haunted House was its combination of East and West. Except for Revenge of the Ninja (which was closed this year) and the Shadowlands maze at the Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt, not many haunts exploit the possibilities inherent in the Asian horror tradition. Though we would have preferred even more Chinese ghosts, long-haired dead girls, and phantom females in red cheongsam dresses, Richard and Christina's Haunted House certainly distinguishes itself from the competition.

Richard and Christina's Haunted House Ratings
  • 70%
    Sets - 70%
  • 85%
    Theme - 85%
  • 100%
    Cast - 100%
85%

Bottom Line

With its combination of Eastern and Western horror imagery, Richard and Christina’s Haunted House distinguishes itself from other Halloween attractions, squeezing an abundance of scares into its creepy corridors.

For Halloween 2018, Richard and Christina’s Haunted House was located at the STC Center (1040 South Otterbein Avenue, Rowland Heights 91748). It is uncertain whether it will return to this location next Halloween. You can check for updates on their website: rchaunted.com.

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.