Rotten Apple 907, Burbank, CA
It’s time! What time? That time of Halloween season when we start transitioning from our focus on professional, admission-charging haunted attractions (the Knott’s’ and Universals and 17th Doors and Sinister Pointes and Dark Harbors of the world) and start looking at the amateur home haunts that are really anything but. The last two weekends or so of October are typically domain for residential haunted houses that are free to the public. These labors of love are endeavored by people who just love Halloween and want to offer something back to their local neighborhood. In some cases, this love has become an annual tradition, and over time, some of the more notable home haunters out there have developed sophisticated, well known attractions that have drawn guests from well beyond their immediate local block, bringing in fans from across Southern California!
Rotten Apple 907 is one of the most famous among such haunts. For over two and a half decades, this Burbank home haunt on a quiet N. California Street has churned out new and original mazes every year. Two years ago, when Westcoaster first visited, it was the “Not So Enchanted Forest,” a fairy-tales-gone-bad theme, while last year, “The Portal” took guests into a a different dimension. And this year, Diane and Preston Meyer and their family return to a fantasy theme with “Killpetto’s Workshop.”
The line was already long when we arrived last Saturday night before Rotten Apple’s 7:00pm opening. Being a long-running neighborhood institution, Rotten Apple regularly generates plenty of excitement and crowds. This was especially the case on opening night, with everyone eagerly anticipating the fantastic product Rotten Apple was sure to unveil this year. As with any home haunt opening night, the last minute final adjustments and checks pushed the opening time a little bit, but once underway, there were plenty of screams and giggles to be had.
This year, guests walk through the workshop of Killpetto, a deranged hobbyist crafter who takes real people and turns them into lifeless dolls. This is in clever comparison to his namesake, Geppetto, who made dolls transformed into a live people (well, at least in once instance). The opening scene starts off quite charmingly, with a dancing puppet drawing back the curtain to the rest of Killpetto’s house. That sets an immediate tone on a maze that, this year turns out to be more fun than scary, but still sneaks in its fair share of startles.
The rest of the maze takes guests through the various rooms of Killpetto’s shop. A room full of toys that are more than meets the eye; another room full of creepy dolls; a face-to-face with Killpetto himself; and dungeon where his victims are kept, waiting for their transformation. The variety of spaces is less than that of previous years, but that is balanced out by the creative and entertaining scares and interactions with the scareactors throughout the maze—including one surprise that left us initially flabbergasted and ultimately grinning at how well it was pulled off.
It’s amazing that the Rotten Apple team designs, fabricates, and constructs a completely brand new maze every single season. The enterprise is a year-long endeavor from planning to operation. The amount of effort and sophistication is staggering for a home haunt. Animatronics, motorized props, sensor-triggered and remote-controlled scare elements are littered throughout the maze, and everything is made from scratch.
As with all home haunts, the team will continue to tinker and add to the maze, layering detail and fixing up facets that most people will never even discern as lacking. On Saturday, several props and some of the programming had yet to be installed, but we never would have known if it we hadn’t been informed. The complexities and ambition of Rotten Apple are definitely part of what makes it one of the best home haunts around!
Best of all, Rotten Apple incorporates a charitable component to its haunted attraction. This year, the team is once again accepting and encouraging donations that will support the Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter. These fine folks are committed to finding homes for furry pets with no current family to love them and take care of them. It’s always great to see a Halloween passion raise money for a great cause.
Rotten Apple 907 is located on 907 N. California St, Burbank, CA, and is open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday the 27th and 28th, plus Halloween night, all from 7-10pm. Get there early! The line may be cut off prior to 10pm to make sure the haunt is completely finished with operations by 10pm per permitted agreement with the city. As one of the best home haunts around, it will definitely be popular. Just try to avoid being turned into a toy!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.