Ho-Ho-Horror sprinkles a wintery overlay of snow, ice, and yuletide decor on the Reign of Terror Haunted House's first Christmas-themed event. Stockings are hung by the chimney with care in the Victorian Mansion. Christmas lights adorn the entrance to the Infected area. Zombies wear Santa hats, and seasonal music wafts through the air. Still, the presence of evil elves rubbing shoulders with Jack O'Lanterns reveals that beneath this wicked wonderland beats the heart of the familiar fright attraction.
In the dark, the seasonal stylings are not always easy to discern. The monsters, whether mannequins or actors, tend to be wearing Christmas hats, which you might not have time to notice as they leap from the shadows. There is a very angry looking Santa Claus (mannequin) and a frightfully amusing Rudolph the Rotten Reindeer (an actor in full-size costume). One creepy young woman invites guest to attend a winter solstice celebration, her tone implying something rather sinister (alas, no such festivities actually take place).
In the end, Ho-Ho-Horror is not that different from Reign of Terror's Halloween event. The most we felt immersed in the season was outside the entrance to the Victorian mansion, where flurries of snowflakes in the air, hoarfrost on the eves, and sinister snowmen on the ground combined to create an eerie and ominous winter landscape, like something out of Stave Four of A Christmas Carol. The only thing missing was Marley's Ghost. Oh well, maybe next year.
Reign of Terror's Ho-Ho-Horror Rating
The Christmas overlay is sometimes hard to see in the dark, but any excuse to revisit the Reign of Terror is a good excuse.
Reign of Terror’s Ho-Ho-Horror continues on Saturday, December 14 from 7pm to 11pm at Janss Marketplace, 197 North Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks, 91360. Get more info at rothauntedhouse.com.