How many desperate appeals to the public have I made – how many dire warnings about the horrors unleashed every October by the arcane cult known as The Haunted Rose? Yet still the curious fall prey, lured by the comforting lie that within the Whitter Museum lies nothing but a conjuror’s entertainment, a harmless spook show designed to amuse the masses. Ignorant of the true horrors concealed beneath the facade of faux-horror, they eagerly line up on the sidewalk and then pour into the museum, where they scream in joy until their screams turn terribly real, the illusion finally stripped away, their minds no longer able to deny what their senses demand they acknowledge.
And who can blame them? I myself fell prey to the same delusion, convinced by psychiatric charlatans that the horror in the museum was merely what the public terms a “haunted house” – a phrase now degraded (like the word magic) to mean not the thing itself but the pretense of the thing. Surely, this is all part of the Haunted Rose’s damnably fiendish plan – using the illusion that their horrors are illusions to lure in the gullible to their doom.
But no longer. Now we have proof – incontrovertible evidence in the form of video footage revealing the palpable, material reality masquerading behind the phantasmal disguise. Again we have risked – and perhaps forever lost – our sanity, venturing beyond the Threshold of Darkness to expose our damaged nerves once more to the psychic assault that has on at least one occasion sent us to the asylum.
This year, the Haunted Rose’s abhorrent scheme is to invite visitors to an exhibition entitled Collection of Curiosities, curated by one Dr. Macabro – a name meant to make the macabre sound as innocuous as a confectionary treat handed out on Halloween, but it is really a trick. We are meant to accept these artifacts as props in a fictional entertainment, but in fact “Dr. Macabro” has gathered them by traversing time and space to meet monsters on other astral planes, and he fools his unsuspecting guests into following his example – entering a vortex that transports them to other worlds, where traditional monsters of lore – vampires and werewolves – are the least of the terrors.
The noisome experience is like entering a dreamscape where time and space twist beyond comprehension. Different locations and different eras coexist in close proximity, a few steps taking us from one to the next so fast that the confused synapses of the brain cannot fire fast enough to keep up. Legend mixes with quotidian reality – the awful majesty of Frankenstein’s electrified laboratory is not far from the prosaic normality of a simple barn – the juxtaposition creating an illusion of artifice, behind which lurk unimaginable horrors from beyond.
From tombs to asylums to workshops of filthy creation, we passed – knowing we should turn back but unable to save ourselves, so strong was the lure of mysterious and esoteric knowledge, of things the human mind cannot resist knowing even while sensing that to know is to doom oneself. Without explanation we found ourselves transported back to the horrors of Innsmouth, where the “human” residents seem more of the ocean than of land, and beyond that there was a fog-bound limbo leading past a demonic figure whose sacrificial victim begged us for help we could not provide, being too overwhelmed with the inescapable horrors pursuing us.
In the end, we emerged…we think. Or did we? Memories blurs, repeating endlessly as if we returned to the museum again and again, viewing and reviewing the terrors in sick fascination, knowing that each time they infected our mind and spirit with their extra-dimensional terrors and yet we were unable to turn away, unable to resist returning for another look…and another…
Are we there still? Perhaps we are once again in Hidden Hills Asylum, merely hallucinating all this. But we hope – as much as we dare hope – that we did manage to provide the video evidence that will once and for all reveal to the world the genuine horrors summoned by “Dr. Macabro” – horrors that could only have emerged from Beyond the Threshold.
If only there were a way to banish them back to where they belong…
The Haunted Rose: Threshold of Darkness
1 – Avoid
2 – Not All Bad
3 – Recommended
4 – Highly Recommended
5 – Must See
The Haunted Rose delivers another excellent Halloween haunt with Threshold of Darkness. The reality of working once again the the Whitter Museum ensures a certain amount of similarity to previous years in terms of utilizing the available space. Fortunately, the similarity is eclipsed by the amazing variety of sights and sounds.
The opening scene sets the stage for what follows. Presented as an exhibit at the Whittier Museum, Dr. Macabro’s Collection of Curiosities is briefly curated by Macabro himself (proprietor Ryan Banefield) who explains that the artifacts on display have been gathered over his many adventures in time and space, after which he invites his guests to travel through the vortex that he used to access these other dimensions.
It’s a clever way to set up a smorgasbord of horrors, with multiple themes and settings, both old and new. Among unfamiliar sights and sounds, there are moments reprised from previous Halloweens, such as the seaside village of Innsmouth from Haunted Rose 2017, creating a sense of traveling back in time.
The walkthrough is long but never feels stretched thin. There is something around every corner, and most settings are haunted by multiple live actors. Performances remained pitched at peak enthusiasm, no matter how many times we went through. Our favorite was the sacrificial victim who cried, “Why do you keep coming back if you’re not going to save me?”
Production values are solid, including flashing equipment in Frankenstein’s lab and a howling mechanical demon that towers over its sacrificial victim. In short, even if you have seen Haunted Rose’s previous shows at Whittier Museum, you must see Threshold of Darkness.
Threshold of Darkness runs at the The Whittier Museum on October 22, 28 & 29, 6-11pm (no show on Halloween Night). Tickets are $10. Special Events: A Nightshade market with spooky vendors will open on October 28th at 3pm and on October 29th at noon. A Halloween Hearse Show takes place in the parking lot on October 28 from 3pm till 8pm. The Museum will be open on October 29 from noon to 4pm for free, kid-safe trick-or-treating (no scare actors). Whittier Museum is located at 6755 Newlin Avenue, Whittier, CA 90601. For more information, visit thehauntedrosehaunt.weebly.com.
Haunted Rose’s Threshold of Darkness Photo Gallery