Two Hearts Together...Forever | All Saints Lunatic Asylum

Two Hearts Together…Forever – All Saints Lunatic Asylum Offers a Valentine’s Day Haunt

I step out of the makeshift elevator and silently curse how little of the room my glow stick illuminates. Blue light, it turns out, is the worst color for this sort of work, and I struggle to make out much of anything more than a few feet away. I am utterly unprepared for the nurse bursting out of hiding and shouting, “Are you stealing my poop?!” two hearts together


Located in Apple Valley, CA, All Saints Lunatic Asylum is a 15- to 20-minute traditional haunted house that uses antique props to decorate its various rooms in the style of an abandoned insane asylum. Two Hearts Together…Forever, their Valentine’s Day event, marked the beginning of a series of themed holiday runs throughout 2020; upcoming entries include a Friday the 13th version in March, an Easter egg hunt in April, Halloween throughout October, another Friday the 13th in November, and a Christmas haunt in December.


As for the experience itself, Two Hearts Together…Forever offered a tour through All Saints’ bedlam with one big twist: The lights were completely out. After lining up and hearing the spiel about safety and conduct (and potentially some interaction with one or two of the scare-actors), participants were admitted alone or in small groups. Unlike many haunts, the only available illumination was a single glow stick – and not a very powerful one at that. The blue ones in particular barely lit the way forward, leaving plenty of shadows for the cast to hide in…and leap out of. As participants wound their way through the various darkened wards and halls of the decrepit sanitarium, an eclectic motley crew of scare-actors laid in wait to startle and unsettle along the way. After a decent amount of torment, guests exited into the gift shop. There, the All Saints’ owners were more than happy to chat about the experience and offer a range of souvenirs.


Two Hearts Together...Forever | All Saints Lunatic Asylum


The lurking scare-actors ran the expected gamut of characters for an insane asylum-themed haunt: creepy kids, deranged doctors, nurses, and patients, plus a few other surprises that won’t be spoiled here. The characters were meant to be the ghosts of the asylum’s former occupants, and the make-up and costuming both did a good job of turning the actors into mad, trapped specters. The heavy use of white gowns and medical coats for most of the costumes served a dual purpose: Certainly they fit the theme, but they also made sure that the actors often blended in with their clinical surroundings until the time came to jump out from the shadows. And realistically, colorful outfits would have been wasted for the most part. The meager light shed by a solitary glow stick wasn’t really enough to properly show off anything vibrant, so the lab coats worked fine here.


On one hand, it’s tough to speak too much about the details of the set design given the almost total darkness in Two Hearts Together…Forever. The overall structure and flow, however, worked to feed into the feelings of tension and claustrophobia brought on by near-complete blackness. The silence, too, helped to create a sense of isolation in the shadows. The path through was narrow as well, especially in one particular hallway (though that was very much by design). It felt a bit risky in a building full of antiques; one good stumble and there goes what are likely some rather hard-to-replace props.


Many haunts include portions that are in near or total absence of light, but few do so throughout the entire experience. It takes a lot of tools out of designers’ kits, preventing participants from being able to fully appreciate a terrifying mask, blood spattered on the walls, meticulously crafted props, or how the sudden loss of light can ramp up tension abruptly. Going for full-dark forces haunts to either prey on the other senses, or to not stimulate them at all, using the absence of sensation as the weapon of choice. The darkness, silence, and isolation all serve to increase our fear of what we can’t see coming, particularly in enclosed spaces.


Two Hearts Together...Forever | All Saints Lunatic Asylum


In fact, the feeling of cloying, oppressive darkness seemed to be the overall goal of All Saints. Rather than creating the feeling of being constantly surrounded by horrors in the shadows, All Saints chose to induce the feeling of being alone and trapped, right up until something creepy appeared from nowhere, making guests wish for solitude again. It turns out that All Saints’ owners are anthropologists by training, and bring it to bear when designing their experiences. In Two Hearts Together…Forever, they chose to deliberately zero in on loneliness and fear of the dark by denying their audiences all but a whisper of their sight.


While All Saints may not be on the same scale as venues like 17th Door, with its high production value and interactivity, there was still a good amount of content and an obvious level of care put into the experience. At $13 per person, the price of admission is very reasonable for the amount and quality of time one gets from the experience. Admittedly, the location in Apple Valley is a bit of a downside for those in Los Angeles proper. But for those in the area, or for haunt fanatics itching for a fix between Halloween seasons, All Saints is well worth a visit.


Two Hearts Together...Forever | All Saints Lunatic Asylum


Find more information on All Saints Lunatic Asylum and their upcoming events on their website, Twitter, and Facebook. Check out our Event Guide for more horror entertainment throughout the year.


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