Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Review: Theatre 68 Haunted House
As a Halloween fan in southern California, it's easy to get caught up in going to the same professional haunts year after year. They're always fun, but after a while they do start to get stale. The maze layouts, the props and set pieces, even the scare tactics all start to feel rather...predictable. And predictability is not conducive to terror. That's why it's so much fun to discover a smaller, more unassuming haunt; you have no idea what to expect, and suddenly you're vulnerable again! Like a virgin...scared for the very first time.
So yeah, it was indeed a "white wedding" for me when I visited Theatre 68's 6th annual haunted house in Hollywood last night. Located on a rather nondescript block of Sunset Blvd. - east of the Sunset Strip, west of Sunset Junction - across the street from a Food 4 Less and tucked in the back of a small strip mall, the theatre sure didn't look like much from the outside. But once you walk down a short hallway festooned with cobwebs, you'll find yourself in a lobby decorated with photographs and mug shots of famous serial killers, an appropriately unsettling choice of decor. The best part of this haunted house is probably the fact that you are only allowed to go through 2 at a time, so you'll be able to enjoy the atmosphere and relish in the fact that the monsters are working to scare you, and you alone.
There were so many unique touches to this haunted house. You begin by being escorted into a dark room where you watch an introductory news bulletin on TV about a serial killer who is loose in the area. After the broadcast is abruptly cut off, a frantic reporter runs into the room and tells you where to go next - and then the experience truly begins.
I have no idea how they crammed so much haunted house goodness into such a small space, but we were going upstairs, downstairs, into rooms that appeared to be dead ends (but weren't, thanks to a mysterious moving wall), through closets filled with clothes on hangers, and more. I loved the ghoulish glowing bride and the poor fellow who "lost his head," but all of the sets were very creative and different from anything you can expect to see at Knott's or Universal.
If you don't have a lot of cash to spend on a "pro" haunt, I definitely recommend Theatre 68: Tickets are only $12, and if you bring a canned good you'll get $1 off. (Food will be donated to local organizations that serve the homeless for Thanksgiving - and, of course, your admission will help fund a small local theater instead of merely lining the coffers of a corporate conglomerate.) Another benefit of visiting Theatre 68's haunt is the fact that it's open seven nights a week, so you can check it out anytime.
Theatre 68's haunted house proves that passion, ingenuity and genuine enthusiasm can still be found in the heart of Hollywood for under 20 bucks. It's a Halloween miracle!
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary passes to review this event.