Sinister Pointe has always been on the cutting edge of innovative haunt-centric attractions here in Southern California. In 2011, the company broke through the traditional Halloween season barrier and introduced its Not So Merry Holiday Haunt concept for the first time – an adults-only event using the same footprint as the existing haunted attraction, but redressing much of it with Christmas props, costumes and soundscape. Everyone went nuts for the Holiday Haunt, and curious fans came from far and near to see the raunchy spectacle for themselves.
The Holiday Haunt continued for two more Christmas seasons in the company’s long-time location in Orange County before going dark after the 2013 Christmas season. In the years that followed, Sinister Pointe has explored other ventures and opportunities despite fans asking without fail each year if the Holiday Haunt would return. When Jeff Schiefelbein and his crew announced the return of the Not So Merry Holiday Haunt for Christmas 2016, fans were thrilled; we were too, as this over-the-top holiday attraction had also become one of our favorite annual events.
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As you may have read in our review of Sinister Pointe 2016, the haunt is now in a brand-new location in Fullerton; an old thrift store, which gives them a lot of space on the ground floor to utilize as a fairly lengthy walk-through experience. During the Halloween season, Sinister Pointe offered four different routes through a good chunk of the haunt; the same goes for this year’s Holiday Haunt, but boiled down to two routes – Naughty or Nice.
Of course, regardless of which side you initially choose, everything goes south pretty quickly and the entire experience becomes a huge bowl of WTF around each corner. I cannot reiterate this enough: Sinister Pointe’s Not So Merry Holiday Haunt is not for children! Leave them home, or else it’s going to be an extremely uncomfortable evening and a really long car ride home afterward. Note that Sinister Pointe makes it crystal-clear that kids are not wanted or welcome at this event, and they have been known to turn groups away that try to bring children through the attraction despite posted and verbal warnings about its content. Don’t be that parent. Leave the kids home.
Fans should understand that while the Holiday Haunt is within the same footprint as Fear the Mark, it is a pretty substantial overlay; in some cases, entire portions of the attraction have been altered greatly for the Christmas theme and scenic elements. While there are certainly some fear-inducing elements within the attraction, its focus is more about adult humor and crude interactions with an all-new cast of characters. The name “Holiday Haunt” may be a bit misleading to casual fans. To emphasize that point, as we left the attraction this past weekend, I overhead a group discussing what they’d just experienced; they all agreed that it isn’t really scary, but more humorous and shocking. They didn’t come across as disappointed at all – in fact, they agreed that it was outrageous and cool; just not “scary” as the word “haunt” implies.
There is a decent soundscape throughout the attraction, although it’s nothing mind-blowing. Movie fans will instantly recognize “The Gremlin Rag” as one of the main soundtracks that can be heard across a good chunk of the haunt. In other places, we simply hear wind howling, and it works very nicely with the environment.
What really makes the Not So Merry Holiday Haunt is its crew. Men and women who simply aren’t afraid to give their roles 200% each night – whether they’re extremely naughty or disturbingly creepy. That is the great strength of Sinister Pointe’s Holiday Haunt – and we applaud the whole group on absolutely working it and making each interaction so incredibly crazy! Kudos especially to the ladies working the attraction – they have extremely challenging jobs where they have to walk a very thin line and be able to read each group of guests to ensure everyone has a good time while not encouraging unwelcome or unwanted behavior. It can’t be easy, and we respect that.
Whether or not Sinister Pointe will bring its Holiday Haunt back again in 2017 remains to be seen. The location in Fullerton this year was only for their 2016 run, so it is unclear what comes next for the team or its ventures. We’re certainly pulling for them, as TPA has enjoyed a very close relationship with Sinister Pointe for years.
The good news is, there are still two more nights for you to experience this outrageous holiday attraction for yourself! Sinister Pointe’s Not So Merry Holiday Haunt will be open Friday, December 16th and Saturday, December 17th for two more nights of complete madness! Tickets are on sale at SinisterPointe.com, and they’ve created a special $5 off any ticket just for TPAers! When you’re purchasing your tickets online, simply use promo code TPA at checkout, and you get your discount! How’s that for a cool Christmas gift?
Enjoy the photos here, and TPA’s very first Age Restricted YouTube video shot at this year’s Holiday Haunt! It’s for adults only, I assure you. We thank the Sinister Pointe team for having us out yet again, and we than the entire crew for bringing us some hilarious naughty fun this Christmas season! Crappy Holidays, as they say!
- Rick West
Not So Merry Holiday Haunt 2016 Images:
Not So Merry Holiday Haunt 2016 Video: