HAUNTS – Into the Black 2017 – California

 

INTO THE BLACK


https://youtu.be/tOUlyPR6Wwk

Have you ever wondered how you would react if you were the character walking through the spooky house alone in a horror flick? Now you have the chance feel what that is like. Into the Black at the Los Angeles Fairgrounds in Pomona California is a new Halloween event for 2017. It is a three part adventure in that there is a short movie, VR experience and walk through haunted house that all work together to tell the story. You can watch the movie on YouTube before attending the event. The VR experience is a fun short adventure into the past to meet the characters of the home and find out a little more of the history of the house and it’s former residents. The haunted house is an individual experience inside the house which we have now gotten quite familiar with. Overall, it’s a creative, fun and unique event.


The haunted house is beautifully designed and truly feels like it’s own character. One of my favorite things about the design is the use of space. I enjoyed the large room scenes in combination with the claustrophobic hallways. I also love that there are choices to make within the path. The make-up is amazing, of course. Afterall, Larry Bones (Boneyard Effects) is an incredible make-up creator. The hardworking actors are perfectly placed to build tension and then pounce. The sound design is also wonderfully done. I loved the moment when I was following the sound, but could barely see anything. Everything works together so well to create a fresh style of psychologically thrilling experience.


You can more of my thoughts in the YouTube video below along with my husband and short interview with Larry Bones.

 

 

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ESCAPE ROOMS – The Laboratory Escape Room – California

THE LABORATORY ESCAPE ROOM


If you are looking for an interesting puzzle game with a lot to accomplish, this is your game. The Laboratory in DTLA has a unique style. It is especially good for large groups because of the amount of things to do throughout the game. I really enjoyed the way the game designers split the puzzles into smaller groupings allowing small groups within the large group to break off an work together in an organized and effective manner. It wasn’t the chaos I’ve come to expect from large games with so many puzzles. There is very little searching involved. The puzzles themselves are creative, but fairly simple. I believe this game is perfect for beginner and intermediate players because of the difficulty level of the individual puzzles, however I think most enthusiasts would also enjoy themselves and appreciate the experience.

My husband and I played the game alone, so the gamemaster removed a couple of the puzzle groupings to allow us to have a chance to beat the game. The way they accommodate smaller groups is to remove certain puzzles. I like the idea in theory, but we discovered that we’d prefer to play a complete game and possibly lose, than win at a game that isn’t complete.  We beat the game and then asked if we could do more of the puzzles since we had extra time. We just didn’t feel that sense of accomplishment that we normally feel after beating an escape room. I don’t know if it would be the same for beginners.

The story is basic…solve puzzles in a lab to prove your intelligence or the bomb goes off. The puzzles aren’t especially connected to the theme, but they fit the world because the story sets up that it’s a challenge. The location is nice. There is no parking, so bring cash for nearby parking lots during the day. They have great customer service.

Overall, it’s a clever and unique game that will definitely keep the players busy.

 

ODDITIES – Jurassic Planet at the LA County Fair – CA


I’ve never been particularly interested in dinosaurs, but I heard about Jurassic Planet and my curiosity got the best of me. I’m glad it did. 

For only a small $5 up charge to your fair admisssion you can walk among 40 life sized realistic animatronic dinosaurs. It pretty darn cool! I know they aren’t actually real dinosaurs (except for a few live creatures on display such as an emu, alligator and tortoise), but they seem pretty real if you let your imagination run wild. I found myself wanting to pet them and at one point talking in “baby talk” to a few adorable animatronic baby dinos. 

I really enjoyed Jurrasic Planet and wanted to share it here. I also recorded a bit of my experience which you can watch from YouTube below. 

2016 EVENTS ATTENDED DURING HAUNT SEASON

I love going to haunts and Halloween themed events all year, but I go a little crazy during haunt season (late September through early November). Here is a list of the events and haunts I attended in 2016 in no particular order.

SOCAL HAUNTS:

The Tension Experience

Universal Studios HHN

Fright Fest at Magic Mountain

Knott’s Scary Farm (Skeleton Key)

Sinister Pointe

Motel 6 Feet Under

Delusion

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

ROT

Coffin Creek

Scream Kingdom

All Saints Lunatic Asylum

Scream Zone

HOME HAUNTS:

Rotten Apple

Backwoods Maze

The Haunt with no name

Boney Island

PENNSYLVANIA HAUNTS:

Terror Behind These Walls

Field of Screams

Shocktoberfest

Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

 

MASSACHUSETTS HAUNTS:

Barrett’s Haunted Mansion

Spooky World

Haunted Overload

Chambers of Terror

Hysteria Conner’s Farm

Gallows Hill Theatre (performance)

 

ESCAPE ROOMS -60out: Titanic – California

60out: Titanic

I have never been aboard the Titanic, but I have explored the Queen Mary ship while ghost hunting and let me say that when I entered this Titanic themed escape room I felt like I was actually below deck on a real ship. The set design is incredible. I really did forget that I was in a building in Marina Del Rey during game play because it is so well decorated. The puzzles are integrated into the story seamlessly. This game has very few traditional locks. Instead you are solving puzzles in a way that feels organic to the storytelling. The puzzles are challenging and unique enough for experienced players, but logical in a way new players can still solve and enjoy. I love the creativity they use in creating puzzles that are actual activities you might do on a ship. I also quite enjoy the way they took a common puzzle I have seen a hundred times and recreated it as a large prop that belongs on a ship. Overall the room is well designed, immersive, used creative puzzles to forward the storytelling and has beautiful set decor. It is everything you could ask for in an amazing escape game.

60out is one of the top escape room companies in the nation and they keep expanding, creating new games that are each more impressive than the previous. I highly recommend this and their other escape rooms.

2016 Los Angeles area Halloween haunts & events list

Below is a list of Halloween events and haunts in the Los Angeles and surrounding areas in no particular order with links to their sites.

HAUNTS

The Tension Experience  *** <My Review>

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights (HHN)

Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest ***<My Review>

Knott’s Scary Farm

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor

Sinister Pointe

Motel 6 Feet Under 

Creep Los Angeles

Delusion (initial run sold out)

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

Beware The Dark Realm

Reign of Terror (ROT)

Screenshot Productions The Rope

Zombie Joe’s Underground Urban Death

Unbound Productions Wicked Lit

Coffin Creek

Talladega Frights

Haunt at Heritage Hill

Field of Screams

The Fleshyard

17th Door

Scream Kingdom

Castle Dark

Scandia

Fear Station

All Saints Lunatic Asylum

Way of the Shadow Haunted House (2016 dates: 29, 30, 31)

RC Haunt

CookHaunt (New Location: Anaheim at the Pumpkin patch – catty corner from Cinema City)

Dead Zone 805

Hyde Street Haunt

HOME HAUNTS

Rotten Apple 

Boot Hill

The House on Haunted Hill

The Backwoods Maze

The Klownhouse

The Haunt at Daisy Avenue

Opechee Haunt

Van Oaks Cemeterey

The Haunt with No Name

Gothic Hills Cemetery

Spooky Hallows

 

FAMILY EVENTS (not scary)

Boney Island (magical yard display)

Mickey’s Halloween Party

Boo at the Zoo

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch

Rise of the Jack o lanterns 

Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch

Pa’s Pumpkin Patch

Cal Poly Pumpkin Festival Pomona

Pumpkin Liner

Sleepover at the Natural History Museum

Happy Harbor Halloween

Scarium of the Pacific

Knott’s Spooky Farm

Kidspace Children’s Museum Pumpkin Festival

Halloween Spooktacular City of Pico Rivera

Slightly Spooky Stories at Descanso Gardens

 

EVENTS

Heritage Square

Shriekfest

Blackthorne Screamfest

Drunken Devil Witches Ball

Hollywood Monster Night

West Hollywood Carnaval

Long Beach Zombie Fest

Crown City Theatre Company Nosferatu (theatre)

Maverick Theatre Night of the Living Dead (theatre)
OUTSIDE OF LOS ANGELES

Legend of Sleepy Hollow 

High Desert Haunted House

Scream Zone *** <my review>

ESCAPE ROOM – Exit Game: The School of Sorcery – California

Exit Game: The School of Sorcery


You and your wizard friends are all dressed in your finest Hogwarts attire about to head to Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the 45th time when you realize it’s over 100 degrees today. Wouldn’t you rather enjoy some magic and excitement in more comfortable conditions? Go online and book a time slot for The School of Sorcery. You won’t be disappointed.

I have always wanted to be able to wave a wand and do real magic…The School of Sorcery is the closest I’ve come to that in an escape room. The wonderful blend of tech and traditional puzzles make for a strong game. The storytelling throughout the game creates an especially immersive environment, although the characters can feel a bit long winded considering we are racing the clock.

I had played the old wizard game that previously occupied this room, and I am glad they upgraded to an almost completely different game. (If you played the old game you may recognize a couple of things in the room.) Without giving any spoilers, I’ll just say the final puzzle of this game is one of my favorite uses of technology in a room. It’s done in a way that feels organic, clever and fun.

I played The School of Sorcery with my husband and a friend of ours that is also very good at escape rooms and we barely made it out in time. I would recommend a team of at least 4 people for this game, however if you are determined to play with less I think you must have at least 2 for certain puzzles.

This escape room is located in Monterey Park, just outside of Los Angeles.