10 Haunted Houses in L.A.: A Guide to Picking the One For You
Most Historic: Old Town Haunt
Held in the basement of the supposedly-haunted Union Savings Bank Building, this Pasadena mainstay has been making skin crawl since 2005. Old Town Haunt is getting buried forever after this year, so it's a must-go. The underground labyrinth recalls horror films of yore throughout, from The Exorcist to Catacombs, and it's a genuinely creepy experience, especially when you get to its pitch-black crawl portion. Wear comfy clothes. 20 N. Raymond Ave. Pasadena This Fri & Sat., Oct. 19-20, then Thurs.-Sun., Thur Nov. 2. $15-20. www.oldtownhaunt.com
When it comes to re-creating the images that kept us up at night as kids, nothing comes close to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. It's where movie magic is made and celebrated after all. Knotts "monsters" look downright amateur in comparison to the elaborate get-ups and masks worn by the Universal ghouls. Weapons wiedling fiends follow you and come up behind you in scare zones just like at Knotts but they're way more frightening... they come so close it's a wonder they don't actually injure you.
The mazes offer breath-taking detail thanks to input from Hollywood's top effects people and even directors. For the Walking Dead maze, the show's creators had hand in the design, while the mazes for Insidious, Black Sabbath 13 in 3D, Evil Dead and El Cucuy (aka The Boogeyman, narrated by Danny Trejo) each take their themes to excessive levels with live and animatronic creatures, movie-grade gore and lighting and sound effects. Sound as well as sights are a huge part of Universal's atmosphere too: heavy metal plays throughout the park while the chainsaws blast from masked brutes everywhere.
After several nights of screaming, jumping, and walking amid the "dead" at the above, we thought we were desensitized to it all. Then we strolled through the Chucky "scare zone" (new this year) which was anything but child's play. Little people dressed as the killer dolls emerge from behind carts and props to chase you around with bloody knives! Friends til The End, indeed. Thurs.-Sun., thur Nov. 2. $44-149 (depending on the night and whether you get GA or a "front of the line" pass; we highly recommend the latter which will save you literally hours of line time. 100 Universal City Plaza.
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