If you’re in Anaheim and looking for something more scary than The Haunted Mansion at its neighbor Disneyland just down the street, you might want to check out The Empty Grave. Now in it’s 9th year at the Anaheim Garden Walk, the Empty Grave continues to scare victims using high-tech scares such as animatronics and special FX. This year they have added some new scares and have you walking in the opposite direction. New for this year is an enhanced graveyard scene.
The theme here is that a groundskeeper for a cemetery became possessed by all the people who were buried there and he went crazy and started killing folks. There’s wide-open spaces and closed ones as well. They use dark and light effectively to give you a disorienting feel. There’s also a lot of fog and tight corners which make you feel that you’re actually in a mausoleum or graveyard and provide good opportunities for the monsters to scare.
What makes The Empty Grave work is its enthusiastic crew. The monsters are picked through a series of auditions and most that are there have been with the haunt for 5-7 years. Many of the new monsters are referrals from others who have been at the haunt before. When we went, owner Mike Talarico was in full costume scaring the guests in line while his wife manned the ticket booth. Although they were down by nine monsters, everyone available made sure to give us a good scare. Some of the monsters even provided comic relief, which we sometimes find annoying when we’re trying to be scared, but this actor pulled it off in a way where we actually had fun.
We were impressed by the fact that even though they were down monsters the night that we came they were still able to pull off some scares. The sets are more realistic and the maze itself seems more scary than previous years. If you’re in the OC we recommend you go to the Empty Grave. You can make it part of a two haunt scare with Sinister Pointe which is just a few miles away.