Please Note: I am hosting this event for both Gay Foodies and Pleasure Palate. This event is FREE, but I will still be taking attendance and you MUST arrive promptly. When you arrive at the venue, call/text me at:[masked]
As part of my goal to try and host 13 Halloween and Day of the Dead Events these coming weeks, I am adding some FREE haunted house visits. Coincidentally, all of the 3 haunted houses I have planned for visit take place in the San Fernando Valley since the owners of these homes do special effects for the entertainment industry. The second one we will visit is House on Haunted Hill. Julie, a foodie friend of mine, told me about this haunted house last year. I wasn't able to go back then, but I don't want to miss out on it this year.
Here's a map to House on Haunted Hill: http://www.houseathauntedhill.com/HHHMap.pdf
Here's more info from their website: http://www.houseathauntedhill.com/our-story
Our show began in 2000 with a simple display of home made tombstones and black lights. At the time there was no music, etc, just a simple display for people to view as they drove by. At the time I had always wanted to do a version of Madame Leota from The Disney Haunted Mansion and who better person to model for this but my wife. That September we took a lifecast of her head and after some modifications to the mold we had a perfect bust to do our version of Leota. We decided to use the Leota soundtrack and my wife lip-sync’d to the track while we video taped it. We placed her on a roman column in the middle of the yard and soon we had visitors stopping by to listen to her incantations.
From 2003 through 2006 we began to add more effects, many of which inspired by The Disney Haunted Mansion. We added a floating candelabra in the window with a billowing spirit in the background, see-sawing skeletons, a skeleton on a swing, and a pepper’s ghost effect on the balcony. All of this sort of just operated at random with various tracks from The Disney Haunted Mansion in the background. No real story, just a bunch of cool effects and our little audio tribute to the haunt we love. In 2006 we were developing quite a crowd with about 1500 people showing up over the few nights.
That year we asked for feedback on the show. Everyone loved what we were doing, loved the Disney music, but the overriding comment was: “what’s the story”. We had no story it was just a collection of vignettes with nothing to tie them together. In early spring my wife came up with a story treatment for the show. The idea was based around a young Hollywood starlet who has just married a shady Hollywood writer. They come to the house on their wedding night to celebrate. Unbeknownst to her he was previously married to another Hollywood actor who, along with her daughter, mysteriously disappeared. I won’t give away the rest of the storyline but let’s just say bad things happen. Lori approached our friend Ed Valentine, a screenwriter and playwright, about writing the show script. Ed volunteered his time and wrote what we are presently using today.
Ed decided the story needed a narrator, similar to The Ghost Host, Paul Frees at The Haunted Mansion. Earlier that year we went to see the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay at Disneyland and were amazed by Corey Burton who did the Paul Frees’ imitation. We thought: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could get Corey to bring our narrator to life?” We found his info and sent him a copy of our script. About a month later, we received a very gracious email from him…He absolutely loved our story and would love to be the voice of our narrator. About a week later we had our recording session with Corey. He was amazing to work with and his ideas really fit the show. He also is the voice for two other characters, Lloyd a skeleton in a rocking chair, and the Ground Crypt Ghost. Listening to them you would have no idea it was all Corey. His talent and variety is amazing.
The next big hurdle to tackle was music. The previous year we had met a composer, Christopher Hoag. We approached Chris about doing the show and he was very interested. About a week later he sent us a the theme played on his piano which we fell in love with. By mid June we had a complete score which completely blew us away. It’s a cross between John Williams and Danny Elfman. We now had the basic elements for a complete show.
In July we began a series of green-screen shoots of the characters in the show that would appear as either pepper’s ghosts or other methods. We decided we would not use live actors to maintain a consistency in characters in the presentation. We also added new illusions that would integrate with the storyline and also upgraded our show control system to a complete Alcorn McBride setup, which is used widely in the theme park industry. The soundtrack would contain a SMPTE time code track that would drive the lighting, effects, and projections.
I’m sure people think we are somewhat nuts for putting so much time and effort into this each year, but the truth is, we are not alone! There are many other amazing haunts out there and we are thrilled to know we share our love with others. We do this for the love of the holiday and we miss the days when kids could run around freely and trick-or-treat. We try to bring that spirit back every year. What really helps is the city closes our street down to vehicular traffic allowing kids to run around and be safe from passing cars. This does, however, pose parking challenges, but we decided safety should come first.
Because of our careers in the entertainment industry, we are fortunate to have access to the high-tech equipment which helps bring this show to life. We are grateful, every day, for the support of everyone who helps us make this happen year after year. All who help us bring our story to you give freely of their time and talents purely for the love of Halloween, as well as their love of the magic, mystery and make-believe which comes along with it.
We adore Halloween and we adore our audience. We hope you will return year after year…
To keep our visitors safe, the city blocks off our street to vehicular traffic.
Parking can be more scary than our haunt.
We hope you will visit us even so.
Be prepared to walk on tiny, dark and sloping streets. And PLEASE be respectful of our neighbors.
The House at Haunted Hill would not come to life each year without their support.