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The Day After Halloween 2014: Those Haunts That Remain

Did Halloween rain on your parade last night? Were the cemeteries washed out? The candles extinguished? The cellars flooded? In short, were your favorite haunts cancelled because of the torential downpour? Halloween Aftershock is hard enough to handle on ordinary years, but it’s exponentially worse when October 31 is ruined by the weather.Fortunately, there is a way to fight the post-Halloween boos: take another a sip of the vampire bat’s blood that bit you (please forgive the tortured syntax – it was a dark and stormy night, and we have yet to recover). Read on to find the recipe for your remedy – if you dare!

Listed below are Halloween haunts and other events open after October 31 – which you can happily visit now that the chance of precipitation has dropped precipitously. Some will be open this weekend only; other will continue for several weeks into November – and even December.

Please note: we are broadly defining “Halloween events” as anything horror-related that launched in time to exploit the Halloween season: exhibitions, plays, movies, etc. Walk-through haunted attractions will extend through this weekend at most. Unconventional theatrical experiences such as Delusion Lies Within (set in a real house) and Wicked Lit (set in a real cemetery) will last another week or two, depending on permits. Stage plays and exhibitions may continue for months.



abbott-costello-meet-frankenstein-posterBud Abbott and Lou Costello meet not only Frankenstein’s Monster (Glenn Strange) but also the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney) and Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi). Though often dismissed by purists for turning Universal Studios’ classic movie monsters into fodder for the comic duo, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein is actually quite entertaining – and far superior to Universal’s “serious” monster rallies (House of Frankenstein, House of Dracula).

Every show begins with music played on the pipe organ, an audience sing along, and a comedy short. There is a 15-minute intermission, followed by the feature film.

Tickets are $10.00 ($8.00 for seniors 62+) Tickets go on sale at the door thirty minutes before show time. No advance sales.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein will play at the Old Town Music Hall today and tomorrow, November 1 & 2. Screening times are 2:30pm and 8:15pm on Saturday; and 2:30pm  on Sunday.

Old Town Music Hall’s address is 140 Richmond Street in El Segundo. Click here for their website.



Beward the Dark Realm

This amateur attraction from the original managers of the Heritage Haunt returns for its second year of Halloween horror. Beware the Dark Realm is a home haunt featuring a Medieval theme, with a two-story castle facade leading to a 10-15 minute maze of winding corridors, filled with creatures around every corner. Sounds like fun!

Beware the Dark Realm is free, but the proprietors asks guests to donate a canned food item for the local Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry.

Following up on last night’s rain-drenched Halloween festivities, Beware the Dark Realm will return on November 1, from 7 to 11pm.

The address is 28621 Sugar Pine Way, Santa Clarita, CA 91390.  Click here for their Facebook page.


THE CALL OF CTHULHU at the Lex Theatre

Call of Cthulhu photo (cropped)Frank Blocker’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu is deceptively ambitious: though unassuming in its outward appearance – a one-man show on a single set, augmented with a handful of effects – the play is extensive in scope, telling a story that spans continents, oceans, and decades – even eons – of time, delivering a knock-out sucker punch to the self-satisfied complacency of humanity that would have made Lovecraft proud.

The triumph of The Call of Cthulhu is that it transcends the limitations of the stage, yielding a seventy-five minute progression of gradually accumulating anxiety and dread, as Blocker’s narrator pieces the unpleasant puzzle together for the audience. As the bearer of esoteric knowledge that is ultimately destructive to one’s own sanity and physical well-being, Blocker’s ambitious academic charts his own descent into despair, while – with a sly chuckle and a glint in his eye – passing on the same knowledge to us, in effect dooming the audience to share his fate.

This  subjective, almost confessional tone enables Blocker to verbally convey both the suggestion of unseen cosmic horrors and, at the climax, a more tangible manifestation, all from a tiny stage, aided only by sinister sound effects and shadows, an ominous silhouette, and a final glimpse of… something enormous. Though not interactive in any sense, this intimate approach allows The Call of Cthulhu to break the proverbial Fourth Wall on a more metaphysical level, sending its horror not into your nervous reflexes for a quickly forgotten jump-scare but deeper into your bones, where it can fester after you have left the theatre.

Tickets are $20; use the code ALHAZRED when you order online and get $5-off.

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu continues through December 7, with Friday and Saturday performances at 8pm, and Sunday matinees at 3pm.

The Lex Theatre is located at The Lex Theatre, 6760 Lexington Avenue, Hollywood. Get more info at the theatre website.



danny-elfman-music-tim-burtonThe always excellent and informative John Mauceri conducts the Hollywood Studio Symphony and choir in newly created suites from the sixteen films Danny Elfman scored for director Tim Burton. Elfman will be on hand to perform songs from THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Projected film clips and artwork will accompany the musical performances.

Tickets range are $55, $65, $85, and $150.

For those who could not attend on Halloween Night, Elfman and Mauceri will give the second of two performances tonight, November 1, at 8pm.

The Nokia Theatre is located at 777 Chick Hearn Ct. Los Angeles. Click here for the webpage.


Delusion Lies Within 2014 artwork

For Halloween 2014, Delusion Lies Within offers a welcome return to the old-fashioned haunted house ambiance of its first two seasons. The story is completely different, but the overall template is familiar; fortunately, these familiar beats are enlivened with some amazing and novel effects that defy belief, exceeding all our expectations.

Like previous installments of the haunted play, Delusion Lies Within achieves what Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood promises but fails to deliver: you will feel as if you are inside a living horror movie. In fact, this story seems even more cinematic than its predecessors, and one could easily imagine it making the jump to the big screen. As always, there is an interactive nature to the drama – being locked into a room and gassed, taking the pulse of a comatose person who suddenly springs to life, bathing a wrinkled old woman.

In its attempt to build gradually to a climax, Delusion Lies Within takes too long to get started; the climax also falls slightly short. Nevertheless, Delusion Lies Within delivers. Fans can choose from a multitude of haunted houses, hayrides, and interactive haunts, selecting some and skipping others, but each new incarnation of Delusion is always a necessity, offering a form of Halloween horror you cannot find anywhere else.

Delusion Lies Within runs through November 2. All performances are sold out, but more dates may be added, on a week-by-week basis, depending on permits.

The address is 2525 Arlington Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90018.
Click here for updates at the official website.


DIA DE LOS MUERTOS FESTIVAL at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

The dead take a break from the Dia De Los Muertos festivities in Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
The dead take a break from the Dia De Los Muertos festivities in Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery presents the 15th annual Dia de los Muertos festival; this year’s theme is Quinceañera. The event features a traditional procession with Aztec blessings; musical performances; over 100 altars created by members of the community; Aztec Ritual Dancers in full costume; an art exhibition in the Cathedral Mausoleum; a costume contest for the best dressed Calaca (skeleton); a children’s arts project area presented by The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; arts and crafts vendors; fine Mexican cuisine and food vendors from around Los Angeles. Dia de Los Muertos attire is encouraged – dress in your finest skeleton apparel.

Tickets are: General Admission: $20 per person; children 8 years and under free until 4pm; seniors 65 and over free until 4pm.  Please bring exact change.

The Dia De Los Muertos Festival runs on Saturday, November 1st, from noon till midnight. Arrive early to get parking, or carpool.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery is located at 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood. Click here for the website.

Click here to take a photographic tour of Hollywood Forever Cemetery.



Field of Screams logoThis haunted attraction, located inside storm stadium in the Inland Empire, returns for its fifth year of haunting, with five mazes, a coffin ride, and 3D effects.

Tickets are $15 for General Admission, $12 per person for groups of 10 or more, and $25 for VIP admission (bypass the waiting in line).

Field of Screams will be open on Saturday, November 1. Hours are 7-11pm.

The Diamond is located at 500 Diamond Drive, Lake Elsinore, CA 92530. Click here for the website.



FrightFair Creatures of the Corn demon over entranceThe FrightFair Screampark is having its final Halloween at Pierce College. The Creatures of the Corn Trail is spooky fun as always; the haunt’s signature Tesla coil (retired for several years) is crackling in full glory in the Insane Reaction Maze; and the Factory of Nightmares Haunted House has had a do-over that makes it feel like new. Though a bit old-school in its approach (it’s more fun house than haunted house), the Factory of Nightmares retains its ability to shock and surprise, thanks to the Herculean efforts of its cast, for whom a single jump-scare is never enough.

FrightFair is the longest-running independent Halloween haunt in Los Angeles, and its potential demise portends the end of an era. Don’t miss what could be your final opportunity to enjoy the haunt’s horrifying offerings.

FrightFair Screampark will be open on Saturday and Sunday, November 1-2.

The address is 20800 Victory Boulevard in Woodland Hills, CA, on the corner of the Pierce College campus. For their official website, click here.



HHN 2014 From Dusk Till Dawn 2 retouchHollywood Gothique was not overwhelmed by this year’s Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood; however, if you are planning to go, then you must visit From Dusk Till Dawn. This walk-through impressed us by effectively recreating a specific film that had never been exploited by the theme park. The result is fresher and more exciting than anything else at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights – for us, the clear stand-out and the one you must see if you visit Universal Studios Hollywood in the next few days.

The exterior offers a passable recreation of the Titty Twister bar from the 1994 film, here renamed “The Twister” to avoid offending delicate sensibilities. Outside, two actors  impersonate the Gecko Brothers; inside, Santanico Pandemonium does her sultry snake dance (with an artificial animal) to the strains of Tito and Tarantula’s “After Dark.” After that, it’s one jump-scare after another. The hiding places are packed closely together, so you never have far to go before encountering a new danger. Also, the frequency of attacks is accelerated compared to previous years and even compared to some of Universal’s other mazes this year: miss one sudden, starling encounter, and another follows almost immediately.

Since the vampire vixens sport demonic faces atop alluring figures, there is an attraction-repulsion vibe to the maze. Unlike Knotts Berry Farm’s Halloween Haunt, Halloween Horror Nights has been lax at exploiting the erotic allure of vampires. This year, they finally get with the program, and the results are turbo-charged.

Halloween Horror Nights will be open today and tomorrow, November 1-2. Hours are 7pm to 2am.

The address is Universal Studios, Hollywood 100 Universal City Plaza Univeral City, CA 91608. Get more info at the official website.



HHS ad 2014

Besides mazes, music, and magic acts, Haunted Hollywood Sports offers three Zombie Killhouses. For a small extra fee, you can strap on an airsoft rifle and blast the living dead while you and your fellow recruits run through an infested obstacle course.


Even though we’re not sure whether aiming for the head-shot really drops the zombies in their tracks, the experience is unlike other Halloween attractions, which limit visitors to a passive role. We would have preferred a few more zombies and more of a last-stand climax at the end; nevertheless, the run-and-shoot adventure is incredibly fun.

Tickets are $29 or $35 depending on the date. There is an additional $10 charge for each of the Killhouses. A$100 VIP Package includes front of line pass and all attractions.

Haunted Hollywood Sports will be open tonight, November 1. Box Office opens at 7:30pm; gates open at 8pm; event closes at midnight.

The address is 9030 Somerset Boulevard, Bellflower, CA 90706.  Check out their website for more information.



Poster art from Fritz Lang's M, one of the first movies dealing with a mentally disturbed serial killer.
Poster art from Fritz Lang’s M, one of the first movies dealing with a mentally disturbed serial killer.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents this exhibition of posters, manuscripts, drawings, and set models from German films made during the period from 1919 (THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI) to 1931 (Fritz Lang’s M). The majority of the artwork was gathered by author Lotte Eisner, who wrote the book THE HAUNTED SCREEN. Also included is “Kino Ektoplasma,” which is a three-screen installation that “resurrects lost films of the Expressionist era.”

Note: The exhibition sounds similar to the Masterworks of Expressionist Cinema: Caligari and Metropolis, which LACMA hosted in 2012. German Expressionistic Cinema – including films such as NOSFERATU and FAUST – was a major influence on American horror films in the 1930s, establishing stylistic tropes that would endure for decades, making this show of interest to fans of classic black-and-white horror.

The exhibition is included with general admission tickets, at no extra cost.

Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s runs through April 26, 2015 during regular business hours.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Click here for the website.



The Haunted Shack

The Haunted Shack is an effects-filled, 1500-square-foot maze that takes 6-8 minutes to walk through. The corridors are loaded with ghouls, eager to deliver scares, but what stands out in memory is the unexpected twists, turns, and surprises that lie in the darkness. The theme changes from year-to-year, so you never know quite what to anticipate – except that what’s inside will always exceed your expectations, including some clever illusions (such as “Fear of Heights,” which used mirrors to create a sense of altitude in 2013 that was truly vertigo-inducing).

Unlike many mazes, which sometimes run out of steam at the end, the Haunted Shack manages to send you off with a good final scare – sometimes delivered by your fellow haunt-seekers. How is this achieved? For Halloween 2013, a monitor on the front lawn showed the visitors wandering through the last room inside the haunt; buttons in front of the monitor allowed those watching the monitor to trigger the effects, startling their victims with flashing sparks.

The haunt is free but donations are accepted for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The Haunted Shack will be open tonight, November 1, 7-10pm.

The address is 5112 Maricopa Street in Torrance. Website: www.thehauntedshack.com



Haunt with No Name Yet tombstone

This atmospheric amateur attraction in Tarzana is one of the best ways for families to enjoy Halloween in Los Angeles. Unnamed (and perhaps unnameable), this quiet but moody yard haunt is notable for its quanity and quality of elaborately carved Jack o’Lanterns, atmospheric decorations, and a handful of marvelous special effects.

There are no actors and no jump-scares. Instead, there is a wonderful Halloween spirit that is not too scary and not too tame but just right.

The Haunt with No Name Yet tonight, November 1 from 6-11pm.

The address is 19351 Hatteras Street, Tarzana.  Click here for the website.



Hollywood Haunter: A Night in a Haunted House 2014

Like a chameleon, Hollywood Haunter has changed its theme once again, de-materializing 2013’s Graverock Gulch in favor of a traditional haunted house for this  Halloween. As always, the construction is professional quality; the spooky facade looks like the genuine article. Lighted Jack O’Lanterns dot the porch, and skeletons push curtains open to peer out of windows with rattling shutters. A weather vane spins erratically on the roof. Invisible ghosts manifest outside, rocking an empty chair and rattling a trash bin. A leaves atop a grave roil with the movement of something underneath – attempting to get out, and a victim lies face down, head inside a basement window, legs kicking helplessly.

Note: The neighbors are getting into the act as well. The two adjacent houses are also decorated, and one of them is haunted by a masked figure, who may be a mannequin or a living being – you never know for sure.

Hollywood Haunter is collecting non-perishable food donations for the Burbank Temporary Aid Center. Stop by any time in October to drop of a canned food item or similar.

Hollywood Haunter’s A Night in a Haunted House is will manifest tonight and tomorrow night from dusk until an undetermined hour.

The address is 1547 Garden Street in Glendale. The website is here.



House on Haunted Hill facade

The most elaborate home haunt in Los Angeles returns for another Halloween season this weekend, offering spooky special effects and music, all wrapped up in a sordid story of Hollywood infamy. Though the presentation remains essentially the same, new details and effects are added every year.

The House at Haunted Hill has been one of Hollywood Gothique’s favorite amateur attractions since 2006. If you have yet to see it, you owe yourself a visit. Admission is free, but donations are accepted – and worth every penny you can spare!

The House at Haunted Hill will manifest on November 1 from 7pm-midnight and November 2 from 6pm-9pm.

The address is 4400 Saltillo Street Woodland Hills. Click here for the website.



VoodooFor the second year in a row, the Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt topped Halloween Horror Nights in the humble opinion of Hollywood Gothique, standing as our favorite Theme Park Halloween Attraction of the season, making it a must-see for any self-respecting Halloween-hunter. Knotts offers great originality and imagination, with a variety of horror experiences that are impossible to top. Along with some impressive holdovers from Halloween 2013, Knotts Scary Farm features two new, must-see events, Voodoo and Special Ops Infected. On top of that, the personalized scares of the Skeleton Key Rooms are unlike anything one expects in a crowded theme park. Not everything is perfect, but the sheer size and number of attractions guarantees that you will sate your appetite on more than enough Halloween horror before the witching hour ends.

Make sure you find your way to the old New Orleans hotel, with eerie projections suggesting the shadows of unseen foliage. Enter the Skeleton Key Room, to be confronted by a priestess who forces you and your companions, one by one, each into his or her own upright coffin. Listen for the spectral voice bellowing a curse, while red light flairs through the cracks of the shaking coffin. Exit out the other side, and enter the maze proper…

Knotts Berry Farm will be open tonight, November 1, from 7pm to 2am.

The address is at 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park, CA 90620. Ticket information is available at the official website.



LALS station close up

Los Angeles Live Steamers Ghost Train offers a twenty-minute tour on a 7 1/2-inch gauge model train, which takes guests past dozens of spooky scenes, including elaborate decorations and special effects. The effect is eerie and perhaps just a touch scary, but not disturbing at all – there are no costumed characters or jump scares, and even young children should enjoy the ride.

The Live Steamers Ghost Train was Hollywood Gothique’s pick for the best Halloween ride of 2013. The sheer volume of sights and sounds, including some spectral illusions created with projections, makes this a must-see for children and adults. Find a place for it on your calendar.

The Ghost Train continues to leave the station on November 1-2. Hours are 7-10pm.

The location is Griffith Park, 5202 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Tickets are a $10 donation for the non-profit Los Angeles Steamers Society Click here for the Los Angeles Live Steamers website.



Hollywood Museum Monsters Mummies and Mayhem

The Hollywood Museum’s latest exhibition showcases vampires, boogeymen, demons and other monsters of the big screen.

Tickets are $5 for children 5 and under; $12 for students and for seniors over 65; and $15 for adults.

There is a $5-discount for those who dress in full costume on October 31, November 1 & 2.

Monsters, Mummies and Mayhem: Your Worst Fears Come to Life runs through November 19. Note: The Hollywood Mueum features a year-round “Dungeon,” featuring exhibits of sets and props from horror films.

The Hollywood Museum is located at 1660 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90028. Click here for the website.



NightmareBeforeChristmas2014ElCapitanDisney’s El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood continues its annual Halloween tradition, presenting another limited engagement of Tim Burton’s holiday classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Per tradition, the presentation will be enhanced with numerous bells and whistles, turning your visit into a live event almost as much as a theatrical screening. There will be “Interactive 4D Sensory Effects,” such as lights, wind, snow, fog, and even scents.

The Nightmare Before Christmas runs through November 2. Tickets run from $11 (for children and seniors) to $23 (fpr VIP tix).

El Capitan Theatre is located at 6838 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. Click here for the website.


OCTOBER SHADOWS VII at Creature Features

October Shadows 2014: painting with skull-faced moon and a black cat atop a Jack O'LanternCreatures Features presents the 7th installment of its annual celebration of Halloween in Art, featuring sinister sculptures, peculiar paintings, malevolent masks, dreadful dolls, fearful folk art, and other representations of the weird and the strange.

October Shadows VII runs through Sunday, November 2 during Creature Features’ regular store hours.

Creature Features is located at 2904 W Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank.  Click here for their Facebook page.

Click here to scroll through a gallery of the artwork on display.



pumkin jack's haunted house sign

The Pumkin King returns to haunt your Halloween nightmares! Situated in a quiet Santa Clarita neighborhood, this free yard haunt features outdoor decorations and an indoor maze. The 600-foot labyrinth includes eight rooms packed with more scares than you would expect in such a short walk-through.

Hollywood Gothique has visited Pumkin Jack’s Haunted House only once, but it made a memorable impression. Unfortunately, it’s a bit off the beaten path for many Los Angeles haunt-seekers, but that’s all part of the fun – finding some noteworthy treat in an out-of-the-way place. Try to set some time aside to check this one out; the haunt has certainly made it easy for you, by staying open till the Sunday after Halloween.

Pumkin Jack’s Haunted House will be open on  November 1 from 6pm-midnight and onNovember 2: from 7-10pm (with a Lights-Out Flashlight Tour on the latter night).

The address is 28603 Natalie Lane, Saugus, California 91390. (Note: Hollywood Gothique’s GPS insists that Pumkin Jack’s address is located in Santa Clarita, not Saugus.)  Click here for the website.



The Purge Breakout 2014

After a successful nationwide tour, Blumhouse Productions brings The Purge: Breakout back to Los Angeles, just in time for Halloween. Based on the films The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy, The Purge: Breakout offers an immersive dramatic experience unlike traditional haunted house walk-throughs, with the audience literally swept up in the action.

Performances begin on October 2 and continue throughout the month, Wednesday through Sunday. Hours are 5pm to midnight on Wednesdays, Thursday, and Fridays; 4pm to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.

Tickets are $25.

The Purge: Breakout has extended its schedule to include November 1 and 2. Hours are  4pm to midnight on Saturday-Sunday.

The address is 2323 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles. Click here for the website.



Too bad Scary Mary is not in Exclusive Encounter - she's scarier than anything you will see on the tour.
Scary Mary at Dark Harbor

Halloween 2014 sees some of the biggest additions to the October itinerary; however, the dark and dreadful inhabitants of these new ports ‘o call are not enough to produce an appreciably more terrifying voyage. Still, with tickets starting at $20, Queen Mary offers the best cost-benefit ratio of any Halloween event in Los Angeles. Screams were coming fast and furious all night long during our voyage through Dark Harbor: no doubt, first-timer travelers will get their money’s worth;more seasoned haunt-seekers will probably prefer voyages to other haunted lands.

Tickets start at $20 for Happy Haunting Hour tickets (admission before 8pm). General Admission is $24; VIP is $86.

Costumes are allowed only on Halloween Night and on November 1 and 2 (the latter of which are designated as Dias de Los Muertos).

Dark Harbor will be open tonight and tomorrow, November 1 and 2; hours are 7 p.m. to midnight.

The Queen Mary’s address is 1126 Queens Highway Long Beach, CA 90802.  Click here for more information at the official website.



Raymond Hill Mortuary logoEvil Twin Studios – the crew that brought you the the Theatre of Terror in 2013 – returns with a new haunted attraction that transforms the Fremont Center Theatre into a mortuary “where the operators … have a very…unique way of dealing with the dead.”

Tickets are $13. Proceeds from Raymond Hill Mortuary will benefit the South Pasadena Educational Foundation (SPEF).

Raymond Hill will be open on November 1.

Fremont Centre Theatre is located at 1000 Fremont Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030. Click here for the Facebook page.


RE-ANIMATOR: THE MUSICAL at the Steve Allen Theatre

Rufus the cat - unsung star of Re-Animator: The Musical
Rufus the cat – unsung star of Re-Animator: The Musical

Re-Animator: The Musical, Stuart Gordon’s stage adaptation of his 1985 cult film, is beyond hysterical, featuring a tidal wave of blood and entrails far beyond anything we have seen in any other theatre this Halloween season – and that’s saying something after The Zombie Effect.

Essentially, this is the film’s story, transposed to live theatre, but with every plot point, emotional beat, and character nuance underlined with a song. If that sounds absurd, it is. Fortunately, Re-Animator: The Musical embraces the absurdity, creating an experience that is at once familiar in form and yet completely different in tone from its source. You will scream – but with laughter. And watch out for that scene-stealing Rufus!

Tickets are $25 ($20 for preview nights). Call 1-800-595-4849 for reservations.

Re-Animator: The Musical will continue through November 23, with performances at 8pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The Steve Allen Theater is located at 4773 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90027. Click here for the website.



Reign of Terror 2014 ad

The Reign of Terror Haunted House (which was our pick for the Best Professional Haunted House Walk-Through of Halloween 2013) remains as powerful as ever, effectively combining five separate haunts into a single attraction: a spooky Victorian mansion, The Asylum, Blood Manor, Miner’s Revenge, and Quarantine. It is as good as anything you will see at any major Halloween theme park attraction, and it serves as the perfect icing on the Halloween cake – a great way to wrap up the season.

Reign of Terror was always notable for its production design, which evoked memories of Disney’s Haunted Mansion while relying mostly on mannequins and mechanical effects to provide the scares. More recently, the haunt has upped the ante, offering more scare-actors aggressively intimidated guests, yielding a much more intensely frightening experience.

Thankfully, the more subtle spookiness of the haunted house remains, with the shock tactics used mostly in the newer sections. Variety is the spice of life – not to mention the after-life – and Reign of Terror provides ever-increasing variety.

The Reign of Terror remains open tonight, November 1. Hours are 7pm to 10pm .

The location is Janss Marketplace, above Gold’s Gym, 197 North Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks, California. Click here for the website.



Rise of the Jack O Lanterns - raptors
Pumpkins carved into raptors.

View thousands of hand-carved Jack O’Lanterns while taking a stroll through this unusual Halloween event: a quarter-mile trail of artistic displays providing fun for the entire family. The Jack O’Lantern carvings feature traditional Halloween imagery, celebrities, and a variety of themes: a giant graveyard; life-sized dinosaurs; the New York City skyline, etc.

Plan to spend forty-five minutes to an hour-and-fifteen minutes walking through Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns. There is a small gift shop, and refreshments are available.

This is not a scary haunted house event but an artistic installation; there are no actors in costume trying to scare you.

Advanced tickets are required. Tickets are valid for specific dates and times. Groups are allowed in at fifteen-minute intervals. Prices are $16-28 for adults; $14-22 for children 3-12; children 2 and under are free. Parking is free.

Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns is open November 1 and 2, from 6pm through 10:30pm.

Descanso Gardens is located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA, 91011. Click here



Wilsley Brothers House of Fun 2014 revised flier

Rotten Apple 907 is back with a brand new theme for Halloween 2014: Wilsley Bros. House of Fun. Apparently, those crazy siblings who were haunting Rotten Apple’s Wilsley Manor for the past two years also dabbled in fun houses.

The killer klown karnival theme has been a bit moribund the past few Halloweens, but if anyone can breathe new life into the concept, it’s the Rotten Apple crew. Their haunted houses have always had a touch of whimsical humor mixed in with the Halloween horror, so hopefully they are doing something both zany and scary.

The Rotten Apple 907 Yard Haunt is free, but donations will be accepted to benefit the Burbank Arts for All Foundation and Bikers Against Child Abuse.

Rotten Apple 907 will be open tonight, November 1, from 7pm-10pm.

The address is 907 N. California Street, Burbank, CA 91505.  Click here for the website.


SAW (2004) in Theatres Nationwide

Saw (2004) posterWith no new sequels in the SAW works, Lionsgate is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the franchise by re-releasing the original SAW on October 31. The film will run for one week only.

Since the initial release in October 2004, the SAW films have become associated with the Halloween season, even inspiring officially licensed haunted house events – first at the Sinister Pointe Haunted Attraction and latter at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.



Scary Musical The Musical poster

With a title like Scary Musical: The Musical, audiences pretty much know what to expect when buying their tickets. There are potentials and pitfalls in this prescience. The subject matter is certainly ripe for skewering, but as a string of Scary Movie sequels have demonstrated on the big screen, making fun of something bad does not necessarily result in something good. Seeing familiar tropes recycled with tongue in cheek will probably generate a minimum baseline of laughter, but once that expectation has been met, it needs to be exceeded with some inventiveness and originality, or at least enough artistry to reinvigorate the cliches. Fortunately, Scary Musical: The Musical – now playing at the NoHo Arts Center – easily exceeds its baseline expectations: not only does it spoof the horror genre for a few easy laughs; it offers an evening’s worth of comedic characters, rousing songs, and engaging performances.

Typically, the NoHo Arts Center brings an amazing professionalism to their staging of Scary Musical: The Musical. In our ten years reviewing events around Los Angeles, Hollywood Gothique had attended a handful of productions at this venue, and we have always been impressed by their ability to make their productions seem big within the confines of a relatively modest theatre. Every inch of available space on the two-story set is put to use; lighting and sound effects cues mix with choreography that feels perfectly timed to the engaging music (which is performed live by a band tucked discretely back stage). You watch what goes on in this theatre, and realize it is every bit as entertaining as the most lavish production you would see at the Pantages in Hollywood.

Scary Musical: The Musical continues at the NoHo Arts Center through November 23, with performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 3pm.

The address is 11136 Magnolia Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601. Tickets are $35.  Click here for more information at the official website.



Sherwood Scare 2014 Sherwood Studios Stage 23

When it made its debut in 2012, Sherwood Scare shot to the top of Hollywood Gothique’s favorite Halloween Home Haunts in Los Angeles. The ambitious amateur attraction was notable not so much for its sets, costumes, and effects (though they were impressive) as it was for the manner in which those elements were orchestrated to achieve dramatic effect: your walk through the haunt felt like a journey toward an inescapable climax. Though the theme and setting have changed each year since then, Sherwood Scare retains this effective template for Halloween 2014 with its new presentation of “Sherwood Studios” – which takes you on a back stage tour of studio lot, where decades ago a child star mysteriously vanished.

Filled with narrow corridors leading to dressing rooms, editing bays, and a wardrobe department, the labyrinthine path is reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining: you never know what might be waiting around the next corner, and the Sherwood Scare crew has perfected the art of building anticipation, creating the sense that you are moving toward an, inevitable confrontation, like Marlow seeking the elusive Kurtz in Heart of Darkness. When you reach your final destination, the experience arrives with a jolt.

Sherwood Scare’s nuanced approach, especially its deliberate attempt to build suspense,  is easily worth an hour-long wait in line and a $3-donation. (all proceeds benefit Big Worm’s Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.)

Sherwood Studios will opens its doors one final time this season on November 1. Hours are  7-11pm. Note: Sherwood Scare has been crowded this season, forcing the haunt to cut off the line an hour before closing time to prevent running late.

Sherwood Scare is located 8856 Encino Avenue Northridge, CA 91325. Click here to visit their website.



Smoke and Mirrors ad

Writer-star Albie Selznick’s Smoke and Mirrors returns to the Road Theatre on Lankershim. The play – which made its debut at the Promenade Playhouse in Santa Monica in 2012 before moving to the Road Theatre in 2013 – is a combination of drama and magic act, starring Selznick as himself, in what is essentially a one-man show. The premise is that, having lost his father at a young age, Selznick turned to magic, with its illusion of mystical arts and the potential to summon the dead.

Underlying the young magician’s craft is the never-quite-expressed hope that there may be some reality to the magic: the spirit of Houdini is evoked, and his wife Bessie appears as a magician’s assistant to Selznick (who also has a human-sized rabbit helping him). However, the sought-for re-connection to the dead father remains forever elusive – an eternal frustration that lends a poignant air to the proceedings. However, SMOKE AND MIRRORS is far from a morbid downer: Selznick’s magical skills are astounding, and the illusions (which sometimes involve audience participation) are presented with verve and humor, creating a wonderfully entertaining experience. And the dialogue with the Oracle (a face appearing in a giant orb) is priceless.

(Note: These comments are based on the version of the play seen at the Promenade Playhouse, which was directed by Paul Millet; the version on stage at the Road Theatre is directed by David Schweizer.)

Tickets are $34. Parking is available for $7 across the street at 5125 Lankershim.

Smoke and Mirrors continues through December 28 . Performances take place on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.

The Road Theatre, 5108 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601. Click here for the website.



Total DarknessHollywood Gothique was extremely impressed with this year’s Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest. Fright Fest has always been enjoyable, but until this year we never thought it was serious contender for Best Theme Park Halloween Attraction. For Halloween 2014, however, Fright Fest proves itself worthy, with eight entertaining mazes, including a couple of obvious standouts, Willoughby Resurrected and Red’s Revenge; there is also a rather unique Total Darkness maze, providing a truly different sort of walk-through experience.

Willoughby Resurrected offers a marvelous haunted house worthy of the name – a simulated trip through a decaying mansion filled with malevolent ghosts that haunt you from all directions, often in tandem. Red’s Revenge is a monstrous version of the Red Riding Hood fairy tale, with imaginative sets that make you feel as if you have walked into a story book. Total Darkness is not quite totally dark (there is some floor lighting to prevent you from knocking yourself out on a sharp corner or a wall), but you cannot see the monsters lurking over you shoulder as they mock you for stumbling about in the darkness, unable to see them even though they can see you.

The fun-house style of old (simple sets made of painted flats) is almost totally gone, replaced by a series of convincing environments, and the number of scares per square foot is quite impressive, with multiple monsters attacking from different angles. Also gone is the conga-line approach: at least on Sunday evening, when we attended, all the mazes were allowing customers to enter only in groups of a dozen or so, insuring that you never missed a scare because you were at the back of a crowd.We have not been to Fright Fest since 2011, so part of our enthusiasm may simply be due to unfamiliarity, but we enjoyed Six Flags’ Halloween horrors more than those at the Queen Mary Dark Harbor or Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. We do not have time for a maze-by-maze review right now, but if you, like us, have always considered Fright Fest to be the also-ran among Halloween theme park attractions, we recommend that you reconsider and get yourself out there this weekend.Fright Fest’s remaining dates are on Friday, October  31 and Saturday, November 1. Six Flags Magic Mountain is located at 26101 Magic Mountain  Parkway in Valencia. Tickets are $69.99 for adults; $44.99 for children under 48-inches; and free for children under two; tickets may be purchased online in advance for discounted prices. Your ticket gets you in for the whole day, but you must purchase a wristband for admission to the night-time mazes. <a href=”https://www.sixflags.com/magicmountain/special-events/festival/fright-fest-presented-by-snickers” target=”_blanck”>Click here</a> for the Fright Fest webpage.

The fun-house style of old (simple sets made of painted flats) is almost totally gone, replaced by a series of convincing environments, and the number of scares per square foot is quite impressive. Also gone is the conga-line approach: the mazes allow customers to enter in groups of a dozen or so, insuring that you never missed a scare because you were at the back of a crowd. To our surprise, we preferred this year’s Fright Fest over the Queen Mary Dark Harbor and Halloween Horror Nights, and we recommend that you get yourself out there this weekend.

Tickets are $69.99 for adults; $44.99 for children under 48-inches; and free for children under two; tickets may be purchased online in advance for discounted prices. Your ticket gets you in for the whole day, but you must purchase a wristband for admission to the night-time mazes. Click here for the Fright Fest webpage.

Fright Fest is open today, November 1, day and night (Halloween activity begins at sundown).

Six Flags Magic Mountain is located at 26101 Magic Mountain  Parkway in Valencia. Click here for their website.


URBAN DEATH: TOUR OF TERROR at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre.

Urban Death 2014 at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre
Urban Death. (Photo Credit: Wimer-Matulis)

Unique. Depraved. Disturbing. These are words that come to mind while experiencing Urban Death: Tour of Terror at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre in North Hollywood. Easily one of the most horrifying and visceral Halloween attractions in Los Angeles, this unconventional theatrical experience reaches out through the darkness and caresses viewers on profound psychological level. No visible bruises will be apparent as you leave the theatre, but the mental scars will linger as you head home, haunting your dreams – perhaps forever.

Urban Death: Tour of Terror is part haunted maze and part stage presentation, requiring the audience to walk to and from the theatre with a modified flashlight, squeezing through narrow corridors filled with uncanny visions that can never be glimpsed fully. The unnerving effect serves first as a wonderful prelude, then later as an effective coda to the stage show, which is where the real action takes place.

The theatre presents a series of vignettes that play like the free-association of a demented mind, pushing the boundaries of good taste by mixing nudity and sex with violence in a way that is disturbing if not outright offensive. More important, the stage show excels at filling its bare theatre with sense of dread that lingers in the mind like the echos of strange notes  that continue to reverberate after the instrument has been silenced These memories you will cherish for months after the last Jack O’Lantern has been extinguished, memories you do not want to deny yourself.

Urban Death: Tour of Terror gives five final performances tonight, November 1,starting at 8:30pm and running at 45-minute intervals. Tickets are $12.

Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre is located at 4850 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, California 91601. Call (818) 202 – 4120 for more information, or click here for the official website.





villa thrilla

This “Merry, Mod, Madcap Murder Myster” is about as self-reflexive as one can be. The cast and crew claims to be “an insane group of people putting on a play about an insane group of people putting on a play.” A spoof of old dark house mystery-comedies, VILLA THRILLA plot takes place on a dark and stormy night as a group of guests arrive at a manor house in New Jersey for a performance of “Mad, Mod Holiday Murder Mystery Party.” However, the action that follows may not be make-believe after all. Gary Lee Reed directs Anna Nicholas’s text.

Tickets are $32, $15 when purchased in advance with the “BOTTOMSUP” code. There are two Pay-What-You-Can dates, on November 7 and 14; tickets available at the door only.

Villa Thrilla runs through November 23, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm.

Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Click here for the website.




John-T-Cogan and Eric-Keitel in Dracula's Guest. Photo-by-Daniel-Kitayama.
John-T-Cogan and Eric-Keitel in Dracula’s Guest. Photo-by-Daniel-Kitayama.

This Halloween’s Wicked Lit Halloween Theatre Festival is awesome – by far their best production ver. Much of the reason for that greatness lies in the fact that, rather than provoking the restrained responses one associates with a Masterpiece Theatre approach to the classics, Wicked Lit is hellbent on galvanizing its audience with blood-curdling genre thrills that impact the audience in a profoundly fundamental way: like a good horror movie firing on all cylinders, Wicked Lit drives toward dramatic climaxes that will tempt you to shout, “That kicked ass!”

Wicked Lit’s exploitation of the Moutain View Mausoleum and Cemetery reaches new heights this Halloween, enhancing the settings more than ever before with remarkable staging, lighting, sounds, and effects. But all of those are just bells and whistles on a house organ – decorations to embellish the music being played. What matters is the melody. For Halloween 2014, Wicked Lit pulls out all the stops. Though never crude – not even when depicting the seduction of a monk – the production never shies away from its horrors, never dulls them with a sense of too tasteful restraint. The result has all the impact of an exploitation horror piece that goes unapolagetically for the jugular. The thrills and shocks you experience will last all October – and beyond.

Tickets range from $35 to $60 for General Admission, or $60 to $85 for General Admission with Back Stage Experience. Mature audiences only (13 and over). Call 818 242 7910 for reservations, or Click here for the official website.




Wicked Lit’s remaining performances run on November 1 (sold out), 2, 5, 6, 7 & 8.

The Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery is located at 2300 Marengo Ave in Altadena.


Wrestling with Demons: Fantasy and Horror in European Prints and Drawings

Raising Evil Spirits, 1795, by Isaac Cruikshank (British, 1764–1810)
Raising Evil Spirits, 1795, by Isaac Cruikshank (British, 1764–1810). Part of the “Wrestling with Demons” exhibition.

The Huntington Library presents “Wrestling with Demons: Fantasy and Horror in European Prints and Drawings,” featuring work from The Huntington’s Art Collections.

According to the official website:

“This focused exhibition explores the darker side of the imagination through a variety of works on paper depicting death, witchcraft, and the demonic in European art. While Renaissance prints often presented the concept of horror through the lens of Christian philosophy—as the manifestation of sin and hell or as allegories of the dangers of temptation—monsters from the realm of folklore and popular culture also served to both admonish and thrill.”

Admissions hours are 12-4:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; 10:30am-4:30pm on Saturday, Sunday. and Monday holiday. The Huntington is closed on Tuesdays and Thanksgiving Day.

Admissions prices vary from weekdays to weekends, with weekend prices higher: Adults $20/$23; Seniors (over 65) $15/$18; Students (12-18 or with ID) $12/$13; Youth (5-11) $8/$8. Members and children under five are free. There are discounts for groups of 15 or more: $11 on weekdays, $14 on weekends.

Wrestling With Demons: Fantasy and Horror in European Prints and Drawings runs through December 15 in the Huntington Art Gallery, Works on Paper Room.

The Huntington Library is located at 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108.Click here for the website.



Z for Zombie EffectThe third incarnation of Leif Gantvoort’s horror-comedy rises from the grave to shamble across the Los Angeles stage. Now known as The Zombie Effect, the play has been not only re-staged but also revised and augmented in a way that offers considerable departures from the former text. Though not completely new, The Zombie Effect does warrant another look.

Taking Night of the Living Dead as its template, playwright and star Leif Gantvoort focuses on a small band of survivors arguing over what to do now that the “poop has hit the fan.” The central question is whether the mindless attackers lurking outside – who seem strangely resilient to gunshot wounds – do in fact conform to the rules laid out in George A. Romero’s 1968 film. Unable to agree on the nature of the threat, the characters can form no useful response, their internal squabble dooming them to impotent, uncoordinated fumbling. And then, just when they think they have found the answer…, well, we won’t spoil it for you.

Tickets are $20.

The Zombie Effect runs through December 14, with performances at 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays; and at 7pm on Sundays.

The  ACME Comedy Theatre is located at 5124 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood. Click here for the play’s Facebook page.




Two short, horrifying plays are performed in tandem at the Ruby Theatre. Matt Katzenberger’s THE ZOMBIE MONOLOGUES follows a middle-aged zombie whose species is dying out since their food source was depleted. Dylan Mark Wallace’s FEAST follows a daughter struggling with family issues, including parents with unusual appetites for…guess what?

The Zombie’s Monologue and Feast wrap up their one-weekend run, giving their final performances at 8pm tonight, November 1.

The Ruby Theatre is located in The Complex at 6476 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90038. Click here for the website.