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Pirates of Emerson

Reviewed by: Hauntmistress 10/15/2001

The Pirates of Emerson started out as a backyard attraction and quickly grew to its current incarnation, covering almost three acres. It takes a crew of about 75 people to build the props and staff the attraction. 2001 is the 10th anniversary of the Pirates of Emerson, and like a fine wine, it's only getting better with age.  This is one of the most intelligent, well-done, scary, and visually appealing haunted houses I have ever visited.  The special effects, actors and props make it more than worth the $10 admission fee.  

In this haunt, you will journey back to the Isle of Emerson, circa 15th Century, when pirates ruled the lands.  You become a part of the adventure as you walk and sometimes run through the rooms of the haunt.  The costumes of the pirates are incredibly detailed and the acting superb. (Hauntmaster: I did enjoy the costumes and acting. However on several occasions the actor/ress broke the cardinal rule of haunting, thou shall not touch thy customer to elicit a scare. In a perfect world this would not be a problem. In the world of today this is really unacceptable. If my experience was typical, guests should expect to be grabbed forcibly on the shoulders, arms, and buttocks. They should also expect to have their concerns ignored by the management of the haunt.)

A favorite room of mine on the tour is a mirrored room that gives no indication of which way to go next. Trial and scary error is your only recourse. (Hauntmaster: Although I did enjoy this, I'm more impressed by the pirate ship in the center of the haunt. It's so detailed and well done you would expect a strong breeze to send it sailing away. Pirates of the Caribbean watch out.)

An especially fun part of the attraction is the 3D rotating tunnel. It's actually separate from the main haunt but is included in the price of admission. You enter through a long dark hallway where you aren't sure what will "get" you. Just as you start to relax they enter your group for the scare of your life. You start to run and round a corner only to be confronted by a long tunnel. You enter the tunnel on a catwalk but the brightly painted black lit walls are spinning, making you dizzy and disoriented. Hold on to the walkway's handrail so you don't fall down! (Hauntmaster: this is a very well done version of the old fun house classic. I really enjoyed this one but not as much as seeing the Haunt Mistress leaning at a 45 angle on the stationary catwalk, desperately clutching the railing, trying to walk through this with her 3D glasses on. Bravo POE.)

Another interesting feature that is fast becoming standard at better haunts is the addition of a closed video system that catches the action from within the main haunt. After you exit the main haunt you can cross the path to a spooky graveyard. In the back you can watch several TV's showing the action inside. If there was a section where you really got scared you can feel a little better watching everyone else getting spooked at the same spot.

The line for the haunt wasn't too long and there is plenty to look at while you wait.  You enter the house in small groups, but soon become so lost in the visuals of the attraction that you don't notice anyone else is with you -- until you reach for them in panic when a pirate jumps out at you! (Hauntmaster: I particularly liked how they will send you into the haunt in your own group. When we went, there was just two of us and we were allowed to go in together. It's nice to see a haunt focus on the quality of the experience as opposed to through-put.)

The Pirates of Emerson is one of the Bay Area's top haunted attractions and no matter how far away it is from you it should be on your short list of haunts to visit this Halloween. Be sure to check their website for the latest information.




Wednesday - Thursday, 7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.; Friday 7:30 p.m. - 11 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 p.m. - midnight; beginning October 11


45031 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont


Adults $10, Child $8 (under 48" in height), Discount coupon available on website




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