It’s often that new haunts appear in every corner of the world and vanish as quickly as they came. Usually moderate walk through experiences with eager and young talent and designers looking to make it big in the haunt/horror industry and grow, and we generally love all haunts that do come our way regardless of if they’re experienced haunters or not. When driving through the Tustin Market Place a few months back in the brutal heat of the summer, a sign could be seen saying “Haunted House, coming soon” on the vacant location of a former furniture store. “Okay” I thought to myself, “a new haunt, that will be great, can’t wait to see it”. It’s safe to say at that time my expectations were exceptionally low, especially with a location snugly fit in between a Toys R Us and Party City. It’s not a place you would expect to find something quite like the 17th Door.
What is the 17th Door exactly? That is a question I am often asked by fellow locals who are curious about the event, and it’s very hard to explain without spoiling so i’ll try my best to do so without giving away anything too big. You’ve been warned. The 17th door is less of a tradition walk-through as much as it is 17 individual experiences/rooms one after another, with usually a few scares in each room as you’re told the story of Paula, a college student at Gluttire University who suffers from an eating disorder and is haunted by demon pigs. If that sounds dark to you, well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The event is really not indented for children at all. Unless you have some kids who can seriously handle extreme adult situations, you may want to leave the kiddies at home for this one.
But the haunt is much more than just 17 rooms, there are “transitional rooms” which are used to further the story, break you down physically, and make you feel as uncomfortable as possible. You are required the sign a waiver before entering since the talent will touch you, grab you and be physical with you. It’s worth noting that you won’t be touched in any sort of inappropriate or harmful way. It’s usually to help move you from room to room, or a few hidden scares. It certainly is a physical haunt but not in any way you might expect, you may get wet, you may get stuff put on you, you will be subject to extreme temperatures, just be ready for an experience you won’t soon forget.
Having gone through hundreds of haunt experiences and I’m generally desensitized to haunts at this point. I found The 17th Door less physically “boo!” scary, and more mentally scary. There are some pretty serious themes going on in this haunt such as implied (though never shown) rape, drug use, mental illness and no shortage of utterly disgusting gross-out moments that make you want to roll up in a little ball and hide in the corner.
With that said, The 17th Door is also the most unique and well put together experiences I’ve seen in a long time. The set and sound design is top notch, the talent gives it their absolute all and it crosses boundaries in ways that other haunts normally would not even dare. If you’re looking for haunt to visit, and theme park haunts just aren’t doing anything for you anymore. Then the 17th Door is just what the insane doctor ordered. The overall run time of the haunt is around 35 minutes, not including years worth of therapy needed after you’ve gone through it. It’s a must do for horror fans and we absolutely cannot wait to see it again later this season as well as the coming years after.
The 17th Door is open on select nights from now until October 31st, and tickets run from $22-$35 depending on the night.
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