The blog of author Dennis Cooper

DC’s ostensibly favorite home haunts of Halloween 2021 (Southern California edition) *

* (Halloween countdown post #9)

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Desert Decay Manor (Whitewater)
‘Nestled in the foothills of the West Palm Springs Village, The Killgore family has resided on these hallowed grounds for generations. Some left trying to escape the family curse of a horrific untimely death. Gravely, they always come home, to dwell within the halls and walls of the manor. Hoping to never be sent to the depths of hell which loom so close to their souls. Some turned murderous, some became victims. All are ghostly apparitions that remain here with their secrets to haunt the living in their attempt to take your soul and send it to hell in their place.

‘You must listen closely as you may hear the sounds of the lost souls crying out, but beware, you may find yourself at the edge of hell if you do not protect your soul from the evil spirits cursed to the haunting grounds of Desert Decay Manor. You shall be guided through the haunted grounds to face your fears and tempt your fate. Forced to choose your path and ultimate demise or destiny.. Are you ready and willing? Will you be brave enough to walk these haunted halls?.. Only one way to find out…’

 

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Redwater – A Walkthrough Experience (San Gabriel)
‘EXQUISITE CORPSE PROUDLY PRESENTS IT’S SOPHOMORE ATTRACTION, Redwater! In this immersive walkthrough experience, you have been invited to take an exploratory tour of the dismal backwaters of Southern Louisiana; home to the fishing village of Redwater. abandoned decades ago in 1985, the half-rotten town was the site one of the most gruesome natural events in recorded history, leading to it’s permanent closure. Now, 36 years later, the city has given your tour group permission to explore. Hosted by a sketchy, teenage operated tour company known as Louisiana Unmasked, discover for yourself what took place in the village grounds (or waters) all those years ago.’

 

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The Dreich Society presents Fear Fest (Ontario)
‘Since 2015, The Dreich Society has been scratching the Halloween itch for the underserved community of Ontario, California. Their haunts’ memorable “elevator” illusion has become the group’s signature special effect. Dreich has used it in several experiences thus far, though always in a clever and unique context. In a short interview with The Dreich Society, Creative Director Sean Burke emphasized their interest in sensory effects and what he calls “life size illusions.” Burke also noted other elements that are hard to find in most small home haunts, such as temperature changes and subliminal audio.’

 

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The Grey Phantom (Norwalk)
‘When I got to The Grey Phantom, I was astounded! It looked like the ghost ship just decided to appear in the front yard of a Norwalk neighborhood. All random and, shit. This is a massive display! No detail was overlooked. The facade looked as if it has been underwater for a century or, two. It shimmered, giving the illusion that it just came from the depths and the lighting makes it look like the ship is actually floating! In the section at the ship’s aft, there is an electrical control area that you can view through a massive hole. With clever lighting and, projections, the electricity appears to be going haywire. This is a total haunted, ghost-ship complete with apparitions of it’s former passengers. Ernie’s projections gave me the shivers. Again, the effects were absolutely flawless!’

 

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The Haunt at Hellizondo (Canoga Park)
‘Haunt at Hellizondo has been around for over a decade, and throughout this time has evolved into a very special maze. This year marks the return of “Lost Spirits of the Bayou”: a Prohibition era swamp world in which a Satanic speakeasy awaits those desperate enough for a drink. This fun, bayou themed attraction focuses on the antics of mischievous mechanical skeletons as they engage in performing stand-up routines, bartending, and going out on dates. Monsters pop out at you as you walk through the shacks and marshes of the swamp, and you will see beautiful sights like the village lit by blacklights and the eerie water tower. This maze is definitely worth a trip for those LA haunt-goers who want to feel fear in their bones.’

 

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Cemetery Lane: Trick-R-Treat Experience (Los Angeles)
‘The haunted neighborhood of Cemetery Lane invites you to trick-r-treat at their 13 stops hosted by a variety of permanent residents. Located within the gates of Heritage Square Museum , this unique Halloween event provides a spooky experience for guests of all ages.’

 

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The Realm of Shadow (Norwalk)
‘The Realm of Shadow is hauntingly ecstatic to announce that we are moving forward with our 2021 Hamre Manor haunt! Our planned dates of operation are Friday 10/22, Saturday 10/23, Sunday 10/24, Friday 10/29, Saturday 10/30, and Sunday 10/31. We are gauging our ability to add Preview Nights on Saturday 10/16 and Sunday 10/17 as well, so stay tuned for more information. The Lord of Shadow and his Matron are eager eat….I mean greet you as you explore the abandoned (but not empty) attic rooms of Hamre Manor – 665 Diabolki Way. Perhaps you’ll be the ones to discover the roots of the tragedy and disappearances all those years ago. Perhaps. A risky business – searching for answers. You may not like what you find…or what finds you!’

 

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Rotten Apple 907 – Evil in the London Fog (Burbank)
‘Evil in the London Fog is Rotten Apple’s theme for the haunt this year. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this gets to happen. We’re excited to do this theme as we have wanted to for several years.’

 

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Anomaly (Garden Grove)
‘Strange happenings are going on: Lights have been spotted in the sky. Satellites are picking up chilling frequencies. And nobody else is talking about it. It’s time for further investigation. Experience the all-new thrilling haunt experience: Anomaly.’

 

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The Pirate’s Cave – Curse of Calico Jack (Orange)
‘A legend looms over a newly founded Mine Tour in the underground sea caves below the ocean shore. Many miners have claimed to have heard things lurking in the shadows and rumors point to an ancient pirate curse buried for centuries. Are you brave enough to take the tour and discover if the superstition revolving the caves is true or not? Get your hardhat on, because this is a tour you’ll never forget…’

 

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Prism Haunted House (Mission Viejo)
‘This year, Prism Haunted House is back to its Orange County roots with a fun, FREE walk through haunt! Explore the Doctor’s MiCRO Laboratory up-close-and-personal. But do mind the hungry experiments. Don’t let the lack of a price tag fool you. We’re using the latest in projection mapping, movie-quality special effects, and terrifying live monsters to knock your socks off. It’s high-tech horror at its finest! You’ve never seen anything quite like this, and we’re excited to watch you scream scream in terror.’

 

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Shades of Hell (Santa Ana)
‘Are you ready to descend into hell and see what they have In store for you? and remember everyone’s hell is a little bit different from the others.’

 

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Twisted Dreams Haunt (Buena Park)
‘We are a kickass Haunted House in the OC/LA area and we bring a whole new meaning when it comes to your ideas of what’s truly twisted! Be prepared for next years sequel to THE GSW! Are you Ready!??!?!?! Into the Meat Grinder!’

 

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Agoura High School presents Club Vamp (Agoura Hills)
‘After writing 7 themes we finally nailed down one today that will be the theme for this year’s haunt! What we have planned is a creative challenge as there are many different ideas that have to flow together into one. That’s just a quick update…good luck on finals everyone!’

 

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Manor of Fears (Apple Valley)
‘Wow!!! That’s all I have to say. I’m speechless. We had over 1100 hundred people go through our haunt. My goal was a 100 or so for the year. Just wow. Thank you for allowing Manor of Fears to bring fear to the High Desert. I’d like to thank everyone that came out to have fun and enjoy the screams. To my family who helped me make my dream come through. To all my nieces and nephews thank you for acting in it. And of course to my wife and two kids. Thank you for putting up with me “hoarding” for 15 years to finally make my dream become a reality. Thank you 🙏.’

 

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Beware the Dark Realm (Santa Clarita)
‘Since 1971, the Sivley family has built elaborate, professional haunted attractions around the Los Angeles area. This year, as the family celebrates its 50th anniversary of creating these seasonal experiences, they’re inviting horror fanatics into their Santa Clarita home for the Beware the Dark Realm haunted house. The attraction will be filled with monsters, special effects and scenes based on a medieval castle. Beware the Dark Realm is an award-winning home haunt that has received both local and national accolades and the family was featured in the 2018 horror documentary “Epic Home Haunts!”’

 

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Club Fear – Twisted Manor II (Santa Clarita)
‘Club Fear – Twisted Manor does an excellent job of fitting a lot of content into such a compact carport space. The 3-car garage fits the scene nicely and makes the maze feel longer than it actually is, and the dramatic theatrical lighting and cleverly synched audio soundtrack and voiceovers add to an intimidating and unnerving ambiance. The focus on the story reflects nicely in the theming, mostly via the portraits and audio. Combine that with some fantastic monster talent who can access scares through multiple windows and different sides of the maze, and the result is another terrific offering that reinforces Club Fear’s position as a must-visit every year.’

 

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Coffinwood Cemetery (Santa Clarita)
‘Another classic of Santa Clarita, Coffinwood Cemetery has been the product of Tony Monton and his friend, Tom, for well over two decades. This is a combination yard display and mini-walkthrough covering the front yard and the garage. Arrivals will almost certainly be startled by the jarringly loud crash of thunder and dramatic lightning effects spilling illumination over the entire premises.’

 

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The Farm Haunt (Castaic)
‘The Diablo family migrated to Castaic during the California gold rush. The family found it more profitable tending to sick and deceased than mining. Elder Diablo became the local undertaker and physician, setting up shop on the bank of Castaic Creek.

‘Diablo traded services for supplies & trinkets, which he collected and displayed. The office became more of a museum than a physician’s office.
The Diablo’s only child Richard, was tasked with constructing caskets and preparing the deceased for burial. Young Richard became infatuated with death and the macabre.

‘As time went on Richard tired of building caskets, which resulted in Richard digging up recently buried bodies to reuse the caskets, dumping the bodies in Castaic Creek.

‘As the elder Diablo aged, Richard took over operations. Eventually Richard’s parents passed and Richard was free to run business as he wished, taking on the his father’s title of Dr. Diablo..

‘As time went on Dr. Diablo’s obsession with death became overwhelming. The amount of regular customers could not fulfill his lust for the deceased. Dr. Diablo began kidnapping unsuspecting miners making their way home from the Saloon. Back at the office Diablo would conduct cruel and unusual experiments, eventually dumping their remains in Castaic Creek.

‘In recent years, Dr. Diablo’s estranged cousin Dr.Smalls and remains of the Norton family, took residence in Castaic. Together with Dr. Diablo, the kidnappings and experiments continue to this day.

‘Recently there have been rumors of strange sightings down by the creek near Diablo’s… stories of the dead roaming the banks…. some say it’s cursed..

‘If you ever visit Castaic, watch your back, and stay away from Castaic Creek.’

 

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Moreno Manor (Ojai)
‘Moreno Manor is a small home haunt located in Ojai California.
For the past 16 years, the Ellisons have been decorating their yard and house for Halloween enthusiasts to enjoy. The Haunt is usually kid-friendly with limited gore. Kristy enjoys making new props every year and taking close attention to details.’

 

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Caitlin Manor Haunted House (San Bernardino)
‘Come visit the scariest place in San Bernardino … Caitlin Manor Haunted House! Over 20 horrifying rooms of horror including the Clown Room, Zombie Room, Room of Bewitchment, and the unimaginable Doll House. Full of ghouls, clowns, zombies, and classics like Michael Myers, Freddy, and Jason…you may want to write your will before entering.’

 

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Haydenville Haunter (Moreno Valley)
‘Its starting to get a little creepy around here!’

 

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Reichland Asylum – Human Roast House (Riverside)
‘Reichland Asylum is a home haunt by the creators of Human Roast House, which ran for some time in the early 2010s. Whereas Human Roast House served as more of a catch-all for a variety of horror themes and imagery, Reichland Asylum maintains more of a focus on a specific setting – a dilapidated sanitorium – as well as original characters that populate that unfortunate place. The Asylum theme begain in 2016, and the Reichland crew has offered an October production ever since, typically running on Halloween and a few days surrounding it. The haunt has also made appearances at Midsummer Scream, showcasing a short teaser version where guests met some of the asylum’s doomed inmates as well as its crazed medical staff. Admission to the October haunt is free of charge, though donations are gladly accepted.’

 

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The Haunted Shack (Torrance)
‘The Haunted Shack will resurrect its walk-through maze for Halloween 2021. In response to Covid-19, the home haunt converted to an epic yard display in 2020; with modifications to meet pandemic guidelines, it will resume something like normal operation. Guests are asked to bring at least 2 non-perishable food items, which will be distributed through a local food pantry to help local residents impacted by the pandemic.’

 

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The Haunted Rose (Whittier)
‘Spectral energy’s have been felt in the evening air around Uptown Whittier. What is the cause of this disturbance of the spirit world? You might find out at Realm of the Supernatural presented by @hauntedrosehauntedattraction @whittiermuseum October 29th, 30th and 31st in Uptown.’

 

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A Place to Scare – Cursed Creek (Burbank)
‘Set in the activity center of BCR: A Place to Grow, a non-profit charity organization that offers programs for the developmentally disabled, the haunted attraction cast its location as a haunted hospital where an over-eager nurse was far too enthusiastic about drawing blood donations. Apparently, this was a front for something even worse, as we soon encountered vampires hungry for blood straight from the source. Though obviously mounted on a limited budget, BCR: A Place To Scare exploited its location to great effect. The building provided more space than most amateur efforts can afford, and the sense of being in a real place helped immeasurably, aided by eerie lighting and ominous soundscapes that turned innocuous corridors into haunted hallways.’

 

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RC Haunt (Rancho Cucamonga)
‘We came here after we ate dinner (I know, not a good idea) and we were surprised by the long line! Our friend told us about it so we decided to give it a try given Halloween was around that time. The people working there (which I’m still not sure whether they all lived there or were family and friends) were all genuinely scary! My girlfriend was clinging on to me the entire way! Thanks RC Haunt 😉 I really really loved the fact that they used their entire house to the fullest! The pool, the backyard, the many rooms! Really well-planned out! Great use of smoke machines and lights. Definitely worth coming back next year with even more people!’

 

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Tunnel of Terror (Anaheim)
‘A world class car wash experienced with a haunted tunnel that you and loved ones will never forget all from the comfort of your own vehicle. Tunnel of Terror OC Haunted Carwash is a carefully curated experience, with ghosts and ghouls popping up throughout the wash, and special effects providing a terrifying ambiance. Participants can also expect unique surprises each night!’

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, B, and … yes! Everyone, Happiness abounds because (and I quote) ‘(t)he new episode of Play Therapy is online here via Tak Tent Radio! Ben ‘Jack Your Body’ Robinson is back to bring you Hi NRG, brutal sheets of Harsh Noise and some deep arcane Dutch tape recordings as well.’ Save your weekend in advance and stream that. ** David, Hi. I’m trying to think of a time that anyone offered me money to do anything other than write some article or review and I’m coming up with … never. You win again. ** Misanthrope, Well, who’s to say there isn’t a niche market out there for broken escorts that that guy is cannily exploiting? Ah, David returns to being the classic David if he was ever anyone else. Sigh, so sorry, man. I hope you have a great, David-unimpaired weekend. ** Bill, Ha ha, me too, naturally. Joel Peter Witkin: maybe I’m wrong but he seems like one of those artists that blows your mind when you’re 16-21 but starts to seem stagey and overly calculating once you get some actual ‘shocking’ art under your belt. A gateway artist or something. ** David Ehrenstein, Well, you have made your opinion crystal clear. ** Dominik, Hi!!! I’ve seen ‘Motel Hell’, and it is that terrible. Kind of fun though. In parts. einsam10’s hello is like a sky full of tweeting birds, so thank you. Love gathering all the home haunts in this post together in one spot and officially declaring it a city and appointing you as Mayor, G. ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. New to me too. I feel like ‘Titane’ will be up with subtitles at soap2day or something any second if it isn’t already. Did you see her earlier film ‘Raw’? I haven’t. Some seem to think it’s preferable. I’m inching towards the conclusion of the Joy Williams. Ooh. Really wanting to see the Haynes Velvet Underground film. The more I hear about it, the more hopeful I feel. How was it? And your new drummer? I have a weekend unexpectedly beset with a ton of work on the Haunt/game project which will eat most of it, although I am sneaking out to see a film program today — part of Festival des Cinémas Différents de Paris — consisting of short experimental films made by really young filmmakers mostly in their teens. Pretty excited about that. Have fun, bud. ** L@rstonovich, Hi, man! Oh, cool, you came back. Thanks so much for the catch-up. Okay, the first stretch of your time away sounds pretty hard for sure, but all the recent stuff sounds quite great. Kayaking! I’ve only done that once in a bay full of giant icebergs in Antarctica, and it was definitely among my tip-top life highlights. I’d love to see Criterion. Do you have my current email? denniscooper72@outlook.com? Write me there, and I’ll send you my mailing address. Very cool! New poems by you to boot! You sound great, man, and I’m so happy to know that! I haven’t read that Matthew Specktor book, but I’ll go find it. Thanks a bunch for the tip. So, so good to see you. Obviously, please hang out here if/whenever the prospect sounds like a positive thing. Love, me. ** Steve Erickson, I agree! I don’t know that film you’ve reviewed but now I will. Everyone, Mr. Erickson’s review of WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND FANTASY came out today. Your new monologue-based film idea seems most promising to me. Wow, I didn’t realise you haven’t seen your parents in so long. Crazy. ** Billy, Thanks a lot, Billy. How’s your weekend going? ** Corey Heiferman, Hey. Being a professional proofreader seems like a ticket to an early life stroke. Or at least for the ones who’ve had to work with me, ha ha. That theater fest thing sounds really exciting. Very nice. How was the feedback on your ‘script’? And, well, how was the performance? That’s very cool. My weekend will be a work-y one as a heavy deadline looms, but I’ll find some nooks and crannies somewhere in there. ** Okay. This weekend you get my annual survey of potentially great Home Haunts in SoCal aka the world’s greatest kingdom of the Home Haunt, intended both for you lucky people who are there and can partake and for you who are distanced and deprived like myself and need to feel some inspiration and longing. See you Monday.

8 Comments

  1. David

    I’d pay you 10 pounds Den to be in a police line up! and it’s you I’d be pointing at everytime!!! lovin these Halloween posts! some fantastic visuals once again… I went to Mexico for the day of the dead festival several years back… there were a number of parades… you would have loved it!! have you ever been??
    Here is a poem I wrote about a fairground ride called ‘The child killer’….. have a great weekend pal x

    I’m in the middle of all things again,
    Watching the preordained in the fast lane,
    Kindly protected from the rain and the sun,
    Always encircled, but never outrun,
    A roach, a dragonfly, an earwig, a wasp,
    A locust, a ladybird, an ant and a moth,
    Children sit tight with their weapons of choice,
    Ecstatic parents look on and rejoice,
    “Mine is the winner, mine is as well!”
    “Hello! adios! bon voyage! farewell!”

  2. Dominik

    Hi!!

    You’ve seen the whole movie? “Motel Hell”? I feel a serious level of respect, haha!

    Fuck, thank you, this love is amazing! I’d be more than happy to live in and govern such a lovely city! I’d probably visit “Twisted Dreams Haunt” and Human Roast House’s “Reichland Asylum” daily. You?

    Love sending a shoutout to his gay friend Jovan who is gay, Od. (I had to go back for this line to yesterday’s post; it deserved some love too.)

  3. L@rst

    Thanks Dennis,

    I emailed you for an address. Hopefully I’ll be sending some zines (and a handful of poems) your way.

    Gonna see the VU doc on Monday, could watch at home but I want to see it on the big screen, hopefully played loud.

    Wondering what the trick or treat scene will be like in our neighborhood. Last year was a bust obviously. Some of our neighbors have some pretty sweet Halloween décor going on, makes for nice night strolls.  Our front door/porch is obscured by grape leaves so if I was a kid it’d be pretty spooky to approach. I suppose I should make it even spookier.  Chances are, though, we’ll end up getting sick on all the peanut butter cups we didn’t give away.

    -L

  4. _Black_Acrylic

    Some truly spooktacular Home Haunts to be found here! Must say The Haunt at Hellizondo attracts my attention, maybe it’s the face glowering over the entrance that caught my eye. Nice that the place offers visitors a drink in their Satanic speakeasy too.

    Supermarket shelves here are beginning to run low on their own booze supplies, must be the combination of Covid and Brexit starting to bite. Fortunately we have a well stocked cellar here so should be ok for at least a couple of weeks.

  5. Bill

    Hey Dennis, I’m also planning to see Titane soon. I liked Raw ok, but thought it was a bit heavy-handed.

    These home haunts are such enterprises, wow.

    I forgot, the Joel Lane reissue is The Anniversary of Changes. Good to hear Serpent’s Tail is bringing the classics back.

    Bill

  6. Steve Erickson

    I made a Spotify playlist of my favorite new music from the last month: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6hmzc30W8tSQs6uQnmAruu?si=4c2a47d7576d4e80

    When does the Velvets doc open in Paris?

    When visiting L.A., did you ever go to Eli Roth’s haunted attraction?

  7. strictlyprickly

    opps u forgot that BB haunted thingy or maybe u didn’t

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