Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Burbank's Backwoods Maze

As previously stated in my post about the Halloween shenanigans taking place all over the greater Los Angeles area this week, the Backwoods Maze in Burbank is, without a doubt, the best private yard haunt I've ever encountered. L.A. has always been home to a wealth of spectacularly executed home haunts, from the venerable Hallowed Haunting Grounds to the whimsical Boney Island (both of which are now, sadly, defunct) to the eminently eerie House of Restless Spirits, which you can visit this year on October 30th and 31st. However, none of them have actually made me scream...until I visited the Backwoods Maze.

Located on a rather nondescript suburban street, the fun starts as soon as the front yard comes into view. You'll encounter an entire cemetery full of headstones paying homage to horror icons, from Regan (The Exorcist) to Edgar Allan Poe, as well as hulking, larger-than-life figures of Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, Chucky, the Creeper (from Jeepers Creepers), and so forth. Even the sign is amazing; unfortunately, my camera's battery died right after I captured the above shot of the graveyard scene, so you'll have to take my word for it (or, you know, visit their MySpace to check out a picture).

Once inside, you'll go through a maze that is absolutely on a par with anything you would find at Knott's or Universal - but better. Why? For two reasons: First of all, the Backwoods goes places that the big amusement parks wouldn't dare. At one point, the maze was so dark, so thick with fog, and so claustrophobic that we were literally walking into a wall over and over again simply because we couldn't figure out where to go - and there were no black-clothed ushers with flashlights there to lend a hand. And second, this is in someone's backyard. I really have no idea how they crammed so much detail and so many actors into such a small space, but they did it - and it really must be seen to be believed.

I don't want to spoil anyone's fun by saying too much, but I will say this: If you live in or near L.A. and you consider yourself a Halloween and/or horror fan, you must visit this maze. And keep in mind that, while the maze is free, they do accept donations - so bring along a little cash to toss into the donation bucket, because with this level of skill and commitment, they absolutely deserve it. The Backwoods Maze, which is located at 1912 N. Pepper St. in Burbank, will be operating October 29th, 30th and 31st from 6:30 until 10 PM (11 PM on Halloween night).

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