There is no better setting for a Halloween attraction than the old, abandoned LA Zoo ruins (reportedly haunted). The combination of the dirt field in the hills with the carnival-like atmosphere may remind some of a small town haunt, but that’s where the comparisons end. Ten Thirty One Productions presents the 4th year of the LA Haunted Hayride, which is now a serious contender to Universal and Knott’s. We were there to cover the event on media night and definitely were not left disappointed.
The Hayride tells the story of a little boy named Aleister who is discovered in the woods near the zoo by the Clifton Twins. The Clifton Twins, as well as others became followers of Aleister’s dark religion which he learned in the woods. You will experience the events that led up to the church fire which burned the whole village and explore powerful cults at the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride 2012: “The Congregation.”
THE IN-BETWEEN MAZE
This maze actually was scarier and darker than last year. The idea is to navigate your way through pitch-black corridors with only a dimly lit lantern and find your way out of the many different paths and dead-ends. Although there weren’t many props or sets, we did find more animatronics and actors than before. They were all strategically placed to provide a perfectly timed scare-factor. It took us at least 20 minutes to go through the maze as we decided not to use the lantern and instead find our way through the dark. We wound up in at least three different groups, each more scared than the last. The In-Between Maze is a perfect example of how effective a maze can be with nothing much more than good actors and a great atmosphere.
This year the Hayride promises a 360 degree experience and promises that you will get wet (although a poncho is provided free of charge). They definitely delivered on their promise. The action comes from you at all sides and even above. The very first animated prop starts things off as you witness a scene that has to be seen to be believed.
The Hayride progresses from scene to scene which quickly come to life. You stop at each one which tells its own little story. Near the beginning you will enter a gothic cathedral complete with an over-sized dark angel watching over the entrance. Inside you will find female dancers in black leather (these girls are smoking hot) who dance seductively around you and even a flying vampire overhead.
There’s another scene almost right afterwards with a Satanic church complete with a congregation of ghouls and a 30-40 foot-high devil. We won’t give away what happens, but it is awesome and displays the Hayride’s true production value. Like we said, all the scenes somehow come to life.
You will also witness other great scenes (some of them which will get you wet) such as an eerie graveyard, a government containment scene complete with animatronic alien, a hillbilly serial killer’s woodshed, a demented Christmas village and of course the psycho circus (complete with loud, pulsing music). Our favorite trio of stop-and-move, slow-motion dancers are back as well.
We definitely think everyone should mark the LA Hayride on their calendar of haunted attractions that are a MUST-SEE. The Hayride itself is worth the price of admission. This year it is longer and more interactive than ever. It’s like a show inside of a show and the actors are all top-notch and enthusiastic. You can tell they love what they do and are perfectly cast for each part. The production value rivals that of other major haunts and all the sets and props are beautifully done (if you find beauty in horror). Throw in the In-Between Maze, the sideshow (which is reminiscent of the 1930’s) plus the great atmosphere and it all adds up to a great value.