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.

 

 

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.

CALIFORNIA ESCAPE ROOM LIST

Below is a list of the Escape Rooms I’ve played roughly in order of MY favorite to least favorite. Note: I prefer strong storytelling and immersion, especially in horror, paranormal & magic themed escape rooms, so my preferences may be different than yours. Feel free to write to me Twitter @christinebarger or Instagram @TheHauntGirl  GROUPED BY REGIONS:  LOS ANGELES AREA, “THE VALLEY”, ORANGE COUNTY, INLAND EMPIRE, HIGH DESERT, VENTURA COUNTY, PALM SPRINGS, BIG BEAR, SAN DIEGO, SAN FRANCISCO

LOS ANGELES AREA ESCAPE ROOMS

Maze Rooms: Magical Kingdom

Maze Rooms: Sky Odyssey

Quest Room: Red Giant

Maze Rooms: The Abyss

Quest Room: Bloody Elbow

60out: The Orphange

Maze Rooms: They’re Coming

60out: Hyde Circus

Quest Room: Perfumer

60out Escape Rooms: Outbreak

Planet Escape Rooms – Wise Guys

60out Escape Rooms: Titanic

Planet Escape Rooms – Game of Swords

60out Escape Rooms: Wizards Workshop

Maze Rooms: World of Illusions

60out: Alice in Wonderland

60out: Time Machine

Quest Room: Cannibals Den

Maze Rooms: One Way Ticket

60out: Houdini

60out: Wizard’s Workshop

Maze Rooms: Lunar Station

Escapedom: The Lair

Exit Game: The School of Sorcery

60out: Amityville

Quest Room: Da Vinci’s Challenge

Maze Rooms: The Dragon’s Lair

60out: Zen Room

Planet Escape Rooms – Cntrl-Alt-Reality

Fox In The Box – Tesla

Exit Game The Ai

Exit Game The Villains Lair

Maze Rooms: Jack the Ripper

60out: Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

60out: Grandma’s Masterplan

Roomescape LA The Bank (now Fox in a Box)

60out Escape Rooms: Casino

60out Escape Rooms: Doctor Psycho

Exit Game An Hour To Kill

Escape Hotel: Agent

60out Escape Rooms: Cartel DEA Undercover

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie & Still Hungry

60out Escape Room: P.U.T.I.N. (now Red Alert)

Escape Room LA: The Theatre

Get the F Out: The Virus (we played the old location)

60out Escape Rooms: Ghost Ship

60out Escape Rooms: The Mystery of Senator Payne

Roomescape LA: Prison (now Fox in a Box)

Countdown Live: Tiki Palace (now 60out)

60out: DaVinci’s Secret

Maze Rooms: Castle

Escape Room LA: The Detective

60out: Nautilus

Mobile Escape Room LA: MacGuffins Cocktail Room

Maze Quests: Clinic

Countdown Live: Pandorus (now 60out Galaxy Quest)

Maze Rooms: Secret Mission

Roomescape LA: Bunker (now Fox in a Box)

Exit Game: The Lab

Escapedom: Den of the Occult

The Laboratory Escape Room

60out Escape Rooms: Quest in a Box (temporary popup- availability varies)

Escape Room Long Beach: Bad Blood

Horror Escapes LA: Edmond’s Attic

Horror Escapes LA: Captive Chamber

Horror Escapes LA: Dr. Office

Back in Time – Salem Witch Hunt

Escape Hotel: Day Care

Maze Rooms: Motel

Roomescape LA: Zombie Lab (now Fox in a Box)

MagIQ Room: Secrets of Wizardry

Escape Room LA: The Alchemist

Maze Rooms: FBI

MagIQ Room: Pirate’s Den

60Out Escape Rooms: Hangover Game(now Mafia)

Escape Hotel: Witchcraft

Hatch Escapes – Lab Rat

Escape Room LA: The Pyramid

Escape Hotel: Jack Reacher (renamed Espionage)

Escape Haus LA: Masquerade Ball Room

EscapeIQ: Alcatraz

“THE VALLEY” LOS ANGELES ESCAPE ROOMS:

The Basement (Basement, The Elevator Shaft & Study) *NEW GAME* The Courtyard

Level Games: Fortune Teller

Level Games: The Menagerie

Maze Rooms: Wizard’s Tower

Maze Rooms: Lord of the Swords

Escape the Room: South Park

Escape the Room: Jurassic Escape

Exit Artists

Theme Quest Escape Room: Houdini (now Architect)

Maze Rooms Pirate Bay

Theme Quest Escape Room: Bonnie and Clyde (now Architect)

Haunted Recording Studio

Escape Chronicles

Nodus 805 Escape Room

Paniq Room: Bunker

Amazing Escape Room: Mystery of the Red Dragon

Arcane Escape Rooms: The Hideout

Amazing Escape Room: The Starlight Lounge

Amazing Escape Room: Escape the X Corporation

Unlocked Escape Room: The Professor’s Basement

The Bunker Experience (the original version)

Arcane Escape Rooms: The Agency

The Room Live Escape Room: The Cabin

Paniq Room Insane Asylum

Hidden Passage: Pharoah’s Curse

Escape the Room: Clock Tower

Enchanted Escape Room

ORANGE COUNTY ESCAPE ROOMS:

CrossRoads Escape Game: Hex

Quest Room: Amnesia

Quest Room: Resurrection 

CrossRoads Escape Game: The Psych Ward

Scenario Escape Rooms: Mad Rapper

Mission Escape Games: Escape the Hydeout

Unlocked Escape Room

Hidden Donkey – Irvine School of Wizardry

Cinema Escape Room – The Strange Thing

Puzzle Workshop: CSI Hollywood

Puzzle Workshop: Secrets of the Illuminati

Crossroads Escape Game: Funhouse

Escapade Games: Zoe

Escapade Games – The Last Experiment

The Escape Bus

TrapZone Escape Rooms: The Asylum

Detectives Society Escape Rooms: Da Vinci’s Lost Workshop

EscapeX Rooms: Mafia Heist

Escape ERA – Ben Franklin

PuzzleMazement Escape Room: Paranormal

Immersion: The Cursed

PuzzleMazement: The Dollhouse(original version)

Legend X Iteration(original version)

Square Room: Harry Potter (now Sorcerer’s Study)

Brainy Actz

*DeadRingers by Escape Bus (seasonal 15 minute Escape game)

*Crossroads: The Asylum (ScareLA mini-game availability varies)

INLAND EMPIRE ESCAPE ROOMS:

Wizards & Wires: The Ghost Chamber

Breaking Point – Whitmore Estate

Wizards & Wires: The Curiosity Shop

Containment: Carnival

Gaslamp: The Sword in the Study

MindTrap – Wizard of OZ

Mind Trap Escape Room: Gold Rush

The 13th Room: Chapter 2 The Silence

Xscape Pods: Galaxy Adventure

Quest Tavern: Last Supper

Breaking Point: Patient 17

Hall of Shadows: Shadow Menagerie

Clever Fox – Book of the Dragons

Mind Trap Escape Room: Conspiracy

Trapped! Escape Room: Sector 13

Hall of Shadows: The Signal

Xscape Pods – Pharaoh

Clever Fox: Forbidden Temple

Quest Tavern – Witches Cauldron

Trapped! Escape Room: Puzzlemaster (original version)

The 13th Room

Xscape Pods – Government Secrets

Containment – Cabin

Open Door Escape Games: The Study

Chronos – ChronosTopia

Get a Clue Room Escape: The Toy Shop

Chronos – Jurassic Island

One Way Out: Bank Heist (now Exodus)

Unity Escape Rooms: The Cabin

Unity Escape Rooms: The Temple

HIGH DESERT ESCAPE ROOMS:

Escape the Asylum

CENTRAL VALLEY ESCAPE ROOMS:

Xcape Room Fresno: Murder Scene (original version)

Breakout Fresno: Sabotage – Code Red (now Method of Escape)

Bakersfield Escape Room: RESCUE (now Puzzle Effect Bakersfield)

VENTURA COUNTY ESCAPE ROOMS:

House of Clues: Pirate Ghost Ship (original location)

The Ultimate Escape Rooms: We Are All Mad Here

PALM SPRINGS ESCAPE ROOMS:

Escape Room Palm Springs: Dark Shadows Room

Escape Room Palm Springs: Saw Room

Escape Room Palm Springs: Titanic

Escape Games at the River: Secret of the Dragon’s Spire

Escape Games at the River: Baker Street Mystery

BIG BEAR ESCAPE ROOMS:

Mountain Room Escapes Big Bear: Alpine Ski Lodge

SAN DIEGO ESCAPE ROOMS:

Quicksand Escape Games: China Town

Steal and Escape

Quicksand Escape Games: The Diner

The Unlockables

Escape Game SD: Japanese Thriller Room

Quicksand Escape Games: The Speakeasy

Boss Play – Chocolate Factory

The Entrapment: The Disappearance at Fogmore Manor

3rd Day Escape: Harvest Motel

Escapology San Diego: TH3 C0D3

Top Tier – Atlantis Dive to the Forgotten City

Enigma HQ

Clue Avenue: Villain’s Lair

Mighty Awesome: The Office of Professor R.K. Alogee

Nightwalker Caverns Escape Room: Clownotorium

Escapism: Art Gallery

3rd Day Escape: Hourglass (original version)

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA ESCAPE ROOMS:

Enchambered – Whispering Halls

Enchambered – Containment Breach

Palace Games: Houdini

Omescape: Kingdom of Cats

Omescape: Omega

 

R.I.P.

These are rooms that I have played in California but are not currently available:

The Purge Truck

Enigma: The Will

Enigma Escape Rooms: The Seance

Enigma: Apartment 205

Countdown Live: PsychoCountdown Live: Spaceship

Countdown: Mrs. Jezebel’s Tea Party (original version)

School of Hard Locks: Halloween Room

CatCon Animal Planet Escape Box

Exodus: Quake Escape

Exit Game: The Chamber

Captured LA (old location)

Paniq Room: Creepy Cemetery

X Room Victorian Mansion

X Room Court in Session

X Room Escape the Wonderland

X Room Curse of the Mummy

Trapped! The ChamberTrap House (Think Tank)

Square Room: Mario Brothers

Real Escape Room: Treasure Island

Countdown: Special Event Beta Test

Kaien (the game we beta tested, but isn’t open yet)

School of Hard Locks: Principal’s Office

SCRAP Real Escape Game Escape from the Cursed Forest Event

SCRAP Real Escape Game Escape the Magic Show

Salvation Room: The Inferno

Amazing Escape Room: Black & White

Ace Escape Game The Pharaoh’s Treasure

SCRAP Real Escape Game: Escape from the Time Travel Lab

The 13th Room (ScareLA mini-game)

Trapped! Escape Room: Jailbreak 

Room of no return: Jail

Mysterium Escape Room

Escape the Night (VidCon)

The Cromwell Estate (Midsummer Scream mini-game)

Maze Quests: Queen Anne’s Revenge

Countdown Live Escape: Krampus

Evil Genius Escape Rooms

Enigma: Crime Scene

Enigma: Secret Temple

Mobile Escape Room LA: Sleep Study

Captured LA: The Starlet Killer

Logiquit: Warehouse of Jack Travis

Logiquit The Laboratory of Dr. Lev Pasted

Logiquit Secret Agent Room

Logiquit: CSI Room

Escape Room Treasure Hunt: The Alchemist’s Lab

The Basement: Boiler Room

Amazing Escape Room: Operation Desert Storm

Famous Escape Rooms:  The Great Redemption

Maze Rooms: Demon Hunter

S.H.A.D.I.E. Grove Escape Room

Hollywood Escape House: The Royal Indian Dungeon

Eskape Rooms: Operation Dream State

PuzzleMazement Escape Room: Professor S!

Escape the Place: The Chamber

PuzzleMazement Escape Room: Saving Christmas!

The Cromwell Estate

The 13th Room: Alchemy & Wizardry

The 13th Room: Jack the Ripper

The Game Maker Escape Room (temporary room at Coffin Creek)

Funhouse Escape 60 Minutes to Curtain & Another 60 Minutes to Curtain

Real Escape Room: Bomb

Broken Chains Escape Games: Caught In A Rumple

Real Escape Room: Crazy Secret Laboratory

One Way Out: Apocalypse (now Exodus)

Escape This! Mosi’s Curse

Rooms of No Return: The Classroom

Rooms of No Return: Dead Silence

The Great Escape: Mafia Bomb Squad

Bakersfield Escape Room: Winter Fall

Real Escape: Bootlegger Warehouse

Real Escape: Wizards Lair

Excido: Studio

Excido: Casino

Escape Room Palm Springs: Mystery Room

Divergent Realities: The Informant

Great Room Escape San Diego: Houdini’s Hidden Workshop

Great Room Escape San Diego: The Lab

School of Hard Locks: Art Class

Maze Rooms: VR Cosmos Game

Escape Room Police

Omescape: Forgotten Treasure

Spookador

Escape SF: Escape from Antique Room

Escape Room LA: The Cavern

Kaein LLC: The Alien

Kaien: Time Machine

Suite 201

Escape the Night – PopUp at UTA

LA Dragons – Knights of the Round Table

Escape From Godot