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Beach and Cliff Streets, Santa Cruz
Reviewed by: Hauntmistress 10/06/2002
When the Hauntmaster and I arrived at the Labyrinth haunt in Santa Cruz, we were immediately greeted with a spectacular fireworks display over the beach. I was very humbled that they would chose to mark our arrival in such an opulent way ... but come to find out, it was in honor of the Boardwalk's birthday. No matter, it was still a very cool beginning to what turned out to be a pretty great night.
This is the first year of operation for the Labyrinth, which has big shoes to fill by occupying the site of the former great haunt, the Beach Street Haunted House. But the Labyrinth, if its first year is any indication of its future performance, will more than fit those shoes.
The Labyrinth takes you through Entropa, a futuristic, post-apocalyptic city where the leaders have found human hearts to be useless, and are rounding up the citizens to remove this unnecessary organ. We were led into the city in groups of four, by a very odd looking, crazy hobo dragging an old tail pipe. The noise of the tailpipe perfectly played into the desolate and creepy world of Entropa. I was pleased that we weren't herded in like cattle and were able to take our time and enjoy the haunt.
In the first half of the walk-thru, there wasn't much to look at. There were big cardboard boxes in certain rooms, but nothing else. It looked like they weren't finished decorating or that something should be jumping out at us, but there was nothing. A few times someone did jump out to scare us, but they were too late because we were well-past the person, having nothing to look at in the room.
Just as I turned to the Hauntmaster to say, "I want my money back" the real fun began.
We entered a pitch-black hallway and couldn't escape. The couple that the Hauntmaster and I were walking through the city with were in front and they couldn't find the way out. They started to panic and turned around, running into me. I proceeded to panic and turn around and run into the Hauntmaster. But there was no where to go, as evident by the Hauntmaster saying, "You're pushing me into a wall!" That left me and a girl I had never spoken to before grabbing on to each other so we were were not left behind - if she was going forward, I was going too - if I was going backwards, she was going too!
Finally the Hauntmaster pointed out that we should just walk forward and we entered a room that was painted in brilliant colors and had a crazy man yelling at us. I don't want to give too much of what happened away, but let's just say that there were times that I had to duck or be hit by a flying creature.
The last part of the haunt more than made up for the slow beginning. In fact, with the beginning being a little slow, my defenses were down and I wasn't expecting anything more to happen, and that's when they get you!
The Labyrinth reminded me of the old-fashioned haunts I remember as a kid, driven by characters and story rather than props. Some of the actors were even showcased by having their own stage on which to "perform." The actors stayed perfectly in character and sustained the story of Entropa through the whole tour. Unlike quite a few haunts we've visited, these actors really seemed like actors, as opposed to high school kids being paid minimum wage who couldn't care less about the public's enjoyment. I was also extremely impressed with the costumes and makeup.
I highly recommend this haunt - it was well worth the drive to Santa Cruz from San Francisco.
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