Rotten Apple 907, Burbank, CA
Our second home haunt review of the week comes from the legendary Rotten Apple 907, a front yard haunted house that first started as a child's birthday party idea and then just grew and grew and grew. Especially noteworthy is the fact that each year features a completely different theme, with different props and decorations, all made from scratch by a dedicated team of family and friends who come together and outdo themselves with each passing season. Best of all, 100% of the donations given by guests go to a local non-profit, with this year's recipient being the Volunteers of Burbank Animal Shelter.
This year's theme was "The Not So Enchanted Forest," a dive into a more macabre version of various fairy tales. Guests encountered twisted retellings of Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and more. And what an amazing production this was! Entering the haunt felt like stepping out into a creepy wilderness, and the environment was completely immersive. Professional level theming, set facades, props, technology, sound, and lighting created an incredible scene, and while the maze wasn't particularly intense or gory, it wasn't exactly family friendly either, with plenty of mature gags that provided an entertaining twist to traditional fairy tales. At the same time the fantasy subject matter did make this year's Rotten Apple offering somewhat acceptable to braver children.
Of course, it wouldn't be a good haunted attraction without some scares, and there was definitely a nice selection to be dispersed here. A cast of family members and friends thoroughly filled the haunt, playing various characters of lore and legend. There were plenty of startle scares, a bit of misdirection, and even a cool gritty and grating startle effect I had never seen before but which made perfect sense (the type that makes one think, "of course, why didn't I ever think of that??").
Despite the relatively small footprint, the maze was exceptional and incredible. To think that all of this was done on a technically amateur level was mind-blowing. There was even an animatronic dragon that was completely home-made! Clearly, Rotten Apple 907 proved to be worth the hype.
On the night I visited, the organizers were also offering a light's on tour that proved to be informative as to the inner workings and planning of the maze. Ideas are tossed around in a "blue sky" phase at the beginning of each year, with the theme decided by May and plans drawn up in the ensuing months. Although some larger elements from previous mazes, such as walls and other flatwork, are reused, a lot of each year's maze is fabricated from scratch. And everything is controlled from the technology hub located in an office inside the residence where Rotten Apple has taken place every year for the past two and a half decades.
It's taken me this long to finally visit Rotten Apple, but I suppose better late than never. I was definitely blown away by the high level of craftsmanship, care, and clear passion poured into this home haunted attraction, which operates only a couple of weekends each season. The man-hours dedicated to each year's creation is absolutely mind-boggling, and the results each year rival most large-scale haunted houses.
It should be safe to expect Rotten Apple to return yet again in 2017, and this should definitely be a target for any haunted attraction enthusiast's haunted house tour!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.