Business Expo Center, Anaheim, CA
So this week's #FlashbackFrightday switches gears a little and looks at one of the more independent haunts from last year. Located in Anaheim, just a few exits south of Disneyland along the I-5, Motel 6 Feet Under featured a family-run operation raising money and awareness for their great non-profit called BOO!--Building Occupational Opportunities. BOO! is a program that seeks to teach skills to at risk or under-served individuals who have had some unfortunate breaks previously in life but now are seeking to improve themselves and gain working skills. These skills include trades such as carpentry, electrical work, stagecraft, and other tasks that turn out to also be disciplines required in the construction of a Halloween maze!
The maze itself ended up a delightful surprise. Although this attraction debuted in 2014, I had not heard about it until last year. However, even on the night I arrived, I had no idea what to expect. Would this be a richly layerd immersive haunt that could compete with the likes of Knott's and Universal in terms of quality, or would it be a more amateur affair?
As it turns out, the answer was somewhere closer to the middle. The experience had a charming home-brew feel but also featured a multitude of mechanical puppetry, animatronics, and projections. In fact, I felt like I was going through a well designed carnival haunted house. And it turns out this was appropriate, because Carolyn Carpenter, CEO of the enterprise, grew up in a touring carnival environment. The appealing sense of family friendly nature--with a twist of frightful fun--stuck with her into adulthood, and the associated sense of carnie family came into play when she developed this attraction, bringing her siblings, husband, and children into the fold.
The maze was a very fun surprise. The organizers boasted that it was an actual maze, capable of getting guests lost, and they delivered by actually forcing that for a timed amount of time. Afterwards, guests were released into the remainder of the layout, and the whole experience actually ended up lasting upwards of 10-15 minutes. Although the staffing was relatively light, the talent that was there was spread out efficiently and had some surprisingly effective pop-out startle scares that I didn't expect.
Motel 6 Feet Under demonstrated that a haunted attraction need not be full-on intense terror continuously through the experience. Backed by a charitable cause, this event wound up a wonderful even that I hope to see return this year.
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.