The 2018 haunt season was absolutely massive, from a completely rejuvenated Dark Harbor to some of the best home haunts around. But as is becoming tradition, the year in walk-through mazes couldn’t end without a few holiday haunts. There weren’t nearly as many festive frights to be had as in recent years, especially with the conspicuous absence of Sinister Pointe‘s and The 17th Door’s usual Christmas fun, but the ones that did show up, showed up with presents galore. In this article, we’ll explore the Christmas haunt offerings of All Saints Lunatic Asylum’s Santa’s Slay and Twisted Minds Productions (TMP)’s Toys’ Revenge.
All Saints Lunatic Asylum – Santa’s Slay
First, in the windy, frigid air of the High Desert, was Apple Valley’s All Saints Lunatic Asylum, which rounded out the year with Santa’s Slay. Since All Saints opens for the vast majority of holidays, the inside of the Asylum always stays roughly the same. The interior of the maze is as eerie as ever, from the doomed elevator at the beginning through its various cells, but one of the best things about return trips is the rotating cast of characters ready to greet new victims before they even enter the premises.
For instance, guests come face to face with Pickles the Clown, a member of the undead with a penchant for ugly sweaters and a surprising knack for balloon animals. Speaking with a shrill affectation through gnarled lips and teeth, Pickles works tirelessly to keep guests in stitches before and after their visits, even when his creations pop right in his hands. But Pickles isn’t alone; joining him is a filthy Santa Claus and his surly wife, as well as a Mrs. Doubtfire-esque grandmother and an ominously silent Krampus.
Twisted Minds Productions – Toys’ Revenge
Meanwhile, over in Los Angeles County, Twisted Minds Productions presents Toys’ Revenge, a long overdue uprising against Kris Kringle. It’s a journey just to make it to TMP, which is situated in the impossibly narrow and incredibly steep streets of Monterey Hills, only adding to the atmosphere.
TMP is admittedly a shorter experience than most, especially considering the high bar set by haunts like Opechee this year, but it packs some solid scares into its smaller footprint. There’s a fun bit of interactivity, as well; guests are locked by a staff member into a small gated space and must fish a key out of “egg nog” in order to continue on. It’s an admirable idea, especially for a home haunt, but it’s hard to think that it couldn’t have been improved with a more organic setup. As it is, there isn’t much to support the creative Toys’ Revenge conceit of the maze. Hopefully, if it returns for the 2019 holiday season, guests will see more of the titular toys, as there’s a wealth of potential here.
The continued presence of holiday haunts is a welcome tradition, giving eager maze addicts a fix to close out the year and tide them over until some of the various off-season events in the following months. TMP creates a densely packed collection of scares, while All Saints, despite being far from the bulk of the action in Los Angeles, still puts on one of the most charming local haunts around. Hopefully these two, plus plenty more, will fill up calendars next December.
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