Our review of The High Desert Haunted House (AKA Victoria Manor)
Far from LA way up in the mountains of Apple Valley, lies a haunt shrouded in mystery: The High Desert Haunted House. Last year, after a random google search, we drove out to try it and loved it. It was immediately clear to us that this is one of the best haunts in southern California.
As we slowly drove up the dirt trail, surrounded by only Joshua Trees and cacti, we were completely encompassed by the darkness. There were no lights except the ones blinking from miles away in the valley. Once we parked, the mood was immediately set as we noticed monsters- like Jason or a Scarecrow- randomly pulling in and out of the shadows. Once in line the cold air was dominated heavily by the scent of chainsaw exhaust. While we waited, the sound of the screams from unsuspecting patrons within the maze mixed perfectly with the blown out speakers playing Kid Rock’s “Bawitdaba”. The exterior, which is made up of pieces of junk and scrap randomly put together, is surrounded by structures that have slowly decomposed over time. The maze is built like Mad Max’s vehicles as they exploit scrap and garbage to create something spectacular. The haunt, like the film, emphasizes the feeling of an apocalyptic desert wasteland - encompassing perfectly the determination of do it yourself, while taking advantage of its own natural setting.
There are the three mazes contained within: The Victoria Manor, Clown Town, and The Asylum. Additionally, you will be assigned a guide for a tour of ‘the manor’. Both years we have had extremely talented children actors lead us, which is amazing when you consider both of our visits have been around midnight. Last year we had a girl, probably around 5 years old, as a guide. Once we were in the maze, there were multiple men with chainsaws that were actually touching us, as she kept softly repeating “you are all going to die”. This year we had an incredible manic thirteen year old young man swinging a real lead pipe mumbling some very confusing and frightening things (we don’t want to spoil)! Cont. Below..The plot is that they are trying to find a monster they made, who is played perfectly by a really amazing one armed gentlemen. The monster's outfit is Frankenstein like, put together in pieces, like the maze itself. His timing was impeccable, as he popped out of the many trap doors in the maze at just the right time.
At another point, we were cornered by a character with a chainsaw who was closing in on us - leaving us screaming and unable to move any further within the maze. The High Desert Haunt is the most lawless of any other we have visited, as you really feel like anything can happen.
The family and friends behind this had a vision and executed it exquisitely with the most limited resources. The magic of the desert is felt every time we visit this impressive haunt, making it a permanent resident in our top 5. All haunt fans from Los Angeles are highly encouraged to make the very worthwhile trek out to the desert to experience this extraordinary haunt (also while you are there All Saints Lunatic Asylum and Freak Farm!)
October 19, 2016
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