The Haunted Lodge (Scareventures) 2018
We were warned not to go in the woods for fear of a half man half elk creature…but we continued anyway and luckily lived to tell the tale.
My husband and I went to The Haunted Lodge last night while down in the San Diego area attending haunted attractions. This was our second stop of the evening. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it appeared to be a plywood maze built in the front yard of an Elk’s Lodge. However, I was quite impressed with the set design and attention to detail. The actors worked very hard. The costumes and make up looked good. It told a story and even had a couple of moments that were very in line with immersive theatre in the way they have you sit in the scene and become a character in the story. Overall we had a fun time.
I especially enjoyed the opening two scenes because they set up the story and tone for the adventure to come. Both actors in the beginning did a splendid job of communicating the story in a fun and creepy way. I also enjoyed the photo op (on my own phone) at the beginning because it fit in the scenario well and left us with a memory to post online.
After sitting around the campfire listening to the tale of the monster to come, we were given a red flashlight and sent on our way into the maze. We encountered many ghouls along our path.
We caught a scare from the anticipated ElkMan a little early on while in one of my favorite scenes. The set up was great and had us skeptical that we were really entering a safe homey cabin no matter how much the actors tried to convince us we were safe. It was wonderfully done.
I also really enjoyed the tent area. I’m sorry we couldn’t save you young man, we had to save ourselves!
However the maze kept going and seemed to go a little off track from the tale at times. It was fun, but lost that beautiful storytelling from the beginning as we progressed through the attraction. I did enjoy that the haunt staple “monster with chainsaw” fit into the scene in this attraction. So many times it’s random, but they made it work well. Great job to all of the designers and actors.
Overall it was a lot of fun and I’m glad we got to experience this attraction. I recommend checking them out if you are in the El Cajon (San Diego) area.
*More photos from this event on Instagram @TheHauntGirl
Black Market Escape Rooms Murder Co is an incredible experience! This year round immersive haunted attraction is perfectly executed. The artists are top notch. The set and props are great. The puzzles are fun. The sense of urgency is spot on. The mix of horror and comedic moments are blended wonderfully. I loved MurderCo and highly recommend it!
60 OUT ESCAPE ROOMS
60 Out is an amazing company with many incredible rooms. This is one of the most immersive escape room companies in Los Angeles. Their games are great for both new & experienced players.
RED LANTERN ESCAPE ROOM
A spacious escape room that would be fun for larger beginner groups.
MAZE ROOMS – THE ABYSS
I LOVED the Abyss at Maze Rooms on Vermont in Los Angeles. Another innovative and unique room from this location. Top notch game. It’s a good date night activity for couples. I loved the immersion. The puzzles were unique and clever. This room had puzzle ideas I have never seen before in over 300 escape rooms. Well done!
Watch the review above from my YouTube channel for more.
LOS ANGELES HAUNTED HAYRIDE
Growing up in the midwest hayrides and tractors were a bit more commonplace, but the idea of a haunted hayride in the middle of Los Angeles is unique. The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is located in Griffith Park near the old zoo area. The hayride, dark maze and trick or treat area are the three main haunted attractions at the event. There are also food vendors, psychics, entertainment and a creepy carousel.
LA Haunted Hayride is a fun event, however 2017 was not their strongest year. The clown theme was interesting enough, but not very original. I liked their use of the old zoo area and incorporating the animals. The oversized marionettes were fun. The guy on the motorcycle looked cool. Overall the hayride didn’t deliver those stunning staged scenes I have come to expect from this event. This year it seemed a bit lighter on actors and the scares seemed to be focussed primarily on jumping on the wagon or stalking guests a little too long along a sparsely decorated path.
The House of Shadows maze is a dark maze with a handful of actors that work very hard at jump scares. It’s a fun place to get lost with your friends. There are a few dimly lit scenes within and some writing on the walls to “help” you to the correct path. There was a half deflated airbag effect that was less than effective. It isn’t the scariest or prettiest maze I’ve seen, but the idea of getting lost in an actual maze is quite fun.
Trick or Treat was the only attraction that made me put away my camera specifically saying “no lights, photos, videos, snapchat, instagram, etc while inside”. I wondered if that was so the poor quality of the attraction wouldn’t get plastered all over social media. It was a lot of fun the last time I did it…actually one of my favorite things in Los Angeles because of the creativity of trick or treating at the homes of different creatures. This year the set looked like it needed some touchups, the actors weren’t behind their doors to answer the knocking and there was no candy for the trick or treaters. It was a series of awkward moments where we would knock on a door and wait, then an actor may or may not appear to try and do some sort of jump scare that we were literally standing around waiting for. It seems to have lost motivation for Trick or Treat when they removed the Trick or Treating element from the attraction.
Overall this year was disappointing, but I still look forward to seeing what they do next year. I hope it is a fun theme and they reignite that spark of creativity that I have enjoyed so much from them in the past years.
House of Shadows Maze
QUEEN MARY’S DARK HARBOR
You don’t get much scarier than a haunted attraction in an actual haunted location, for that reason Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is a must see event. The mazes are fun and the actors work hard to create jump scares, but this attraction has a built in creep factor that can’t be created by the best designers in the business…it has real ghosts! I know because I saw one here years ago and didn’t even realize it until I talked to the staff later. (I thought it was just an elaborate special effect they had added to the pool area, but it was actually the little girl.) Now every time I walk through the ship I keep my eyes open.
Whether or not you personally encounter an actual ghost, you will have a spooktacular time at Dark Harbor. This year they have 7 mazes with 4 of them on the ship. One of my favorite things about Dark Harbor is how they theme the mazes after real ghost stories from the ship. Lullaby & B340 are definitely favorites as far as story and creep factor because of the real stories they are based on. I really enjoyed the opening scene of Soulmate this year as well. The new ship maze, Feast, is innovative and fun especially when part of the audience is made to crawl into an oven while the rest pass by looking in on them. Dark Harbor also stepped up their interaction with guests in Circus this year by adding a few alternate paths where chosen guests may go through a ball pit or be invited into a secret bar within the maze. Deadrise is as scary as ever with it’s agile, hardworking actors popping out from every direction. Intrepid is really the only maze at the event that seemed a bit out of place to me. It didn’t tell a clear story and seemed a bit thrown together, but the actors still did a great job. (The ship’s captain explained Intrepid to me after I’d gone through it and apparently it has a clear story, it just isn’t conveyed as well as the rest.) There are also multiple entertainment stages, slider shows, walk around entertainment and monsters, multiple bars, food vendors, a souvenir shop, and a VIP area. The entertainment schedule was impressive. You would need to attend multiple nights to see all of the entertainment.
Overall Dark Harbor is a well run, professional, fun event at a truly haunted location. It is also a very popular event so arrive early and consider a front of the line pass as it can get very very crowded. Leave time for traffic and parking. There is onsite parking for a fee. Check their website for details on parking and other things to know before you go.
*VIDEOS BELOW ARE COMPLETE MAZE WALK THROUGHS CONTAINING SPOILERS*