Haunted Attractions

One area of themed entertainment that is near and dear to our hearts as fans has always been haunted attractions. Since 1994, Theme Park Adventure has devoted much of its time and energy on showcasing haunts, from yard displays to major theme park productions; we love it all, and always tell our readers that Halloween isn’t just a holiday for us – it’s a lifestyle…

Backwoods Maze 2017 Home Haunt a Non-Stop Powerhouse of Impressive Sets and Lurking Monsters

Backwoods Maze 2017 home haunt was definitely one of the highlights of the Halloween season. Theme Park Adventure has long-supported this talented family of haunters, and their creation simply gets better and better each year.

This particular home haunt can be found at 1912 North Pepper Street in Burbank, not terribly far from the local airport or world-famous movie and television studios. What helps Backwoods remain so low-profile, is that the majority of the haunt – a densely-propped maze of twisting, turning, tight corridors – takes up the family’s entire backyard, allowing them to tweak and work on the attraction throughout the year. The front yard during Halloween serves only as a showcase for some of the props that Jeff and Taylor Gustafson have added to their amazing collection of horror memorabilia over the years, from tombstones bearing famous monster/slasher names, to a life-sized Freddy Krueger figurine and more. The front yard display merely serves as a distraction while guests wait in line – a line that often stretches down the sidewalk, due to the home haunt’s popularity.

The maze itself is what we refer to as “haunt stew” – a series of themes and ideas all kind of thrown together to create one crazy experience. Typically, we’re not huge fans of this formula – especially now, when storytelling has become such a rich facet of haunting. In the case of Backwoods, we’ve actually fallen in love with its eclectic aesthetics and general “WTF” style. It’s kind of like a junkyard nightmare – massive cyborg warriors, alien creatures, plague doctors, and animal-human hybrids all coexisting in something that resembles a Sanford and Son hell of sorts. And in this case… it works. Guests have absolutely no idea what terrors they’re going to come face-to-face with around each corner; nothing makes sense, nor is anything predictable within the Backwoods Maze.

While the Gustafsons have the luxury of tinkering with their Backwoods Maze all year long, it’s still a tremendous labor of love that takes a lot of time to maintain – and resources. By resources, we mean cash; haunts take a lot of money to create and keep alive, yet this family has done so for years now – giving joy to the community here in Los Angeles each Halloween season. There is no entry fee to Backwoods Maze, but donations are always welcome and accepted – which we highly condone in this case. If you missed Backwoods Maze 2017, there is always the 2018 season to look forward to; it may seem like a long way off, but I assure you, it will come sooner than you know it, and the Backwoods team will be waiting for you with new props, creeping monsters, and more outrageous stuff to terrorize you with!

Huge kudos and love to this family and their extended team for giving the Los Angeles community the gift of a truly unique and outrageous haunt. We’re big fans, and cannot wait to see the continued evolution and success of this amazing home haunt!

  • Rick West

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Knott’s Scary Farm 2017 – A Spectacle 45 Years in the Making

The screams and thrills of Halloween may have faded into the fog, but the memories of Knott’s Scary Farm 2017 linger here, as we continue to reflect on the amazing experiences we had this past season. Our videos from Haunt 2017 have been up on our YouTube channel for weeks – but we definitely have photos and thoughts to share, as fellow fans.

I’ll start by saying what everyone already knows and what we’ve been saying since September – Knott’s Scary Farm 2017 was absolutely stunning on all fronts. This “review” is going to be a love letter to the Haunt and the folks behind it, past and present.

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Into the Black 2017 Offers Rich Storytelling and Personalized Terror

Into the Black 2017One of the most-anticipated new haunts of 2017 has made its debut at the Fairplex in Pomona: Into the Black. This multifaceted attraction is heavy on storytelling, culminating in a rather large haunted “maze” walk-through that guests must venture into… alone.

Larry Bones and his wife Cheryl, along with lots of talented folks from their company Bone Yard Effects, Inc. have partnered with many seasoned haunters – including the team from Hollow Studios – to create a unique haunted attraction for a region that is extremely competitive and already full of a myriad of haunts, from sophisticated yard displays and stand-alone immersive experiences, to world-class theme park Halloween events. The Into the Black team knew it was going to be challenging entering a marketplace that not only is the most diverse on the planet – it also has the most sophisticated and demanding fans anywhere.

The good news is, Larry isn’t new to the industry. In fact, many fans may recognize his name for his work well before Into the Black was a thing. For 11 years, Larry and his team of talented artists supplied the makeup prosthetics and effects for Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights.

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Southern California’s Beloved Home Haunt Boney Island Closed Permanently

Boney Island 2017This one hurts. Not only is it personal, it is a sobering wake-up call to the entire SoCal haunt community in general. Boney Island, the beloved, family-friendly home haunt in Sherman Oaks has been cancelled; permanently shuttered, thanks to a couple of uncooperative neighbors and city officials that saw an opportunity to make some money, rather than stand behind an event that brought so much happiness and good to Los Angeles. The announcement of Boney Island’s closure just days before its 2017 season isn’t the end of the story – it’s the beginning of something much, much bigger and important that everyone needs to be aware of.

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Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest 2017 Review

It’s been a big year for Six Flags Magic Mountain. This summer, the thrill park in Valencia, California, opened its first dark ride ever – Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. Also this summer, Magic Mountain announced that it would be open 365 days beginning in January 2018, putting it on par schedule-wise with nearby competitors Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, Disneyland Resort, and both LEGOLAND California and SeaWorld further south. Now that we’re well into the Halloween season here in Los Angeles, Fright Fest 2017 is in full swing, scaring up fantastic attendance and spooky fun for guests of all ages!

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