As the Halloween season descends upon us, invoking the insatiable need for creeps and scares that we all crave, there is one immersive haunt like no other gearing up in Fullerton, CA. Following the ongoing story of the twisted and disturbed college student, Paula, The 17th Door takes things to a new level with this year’s theme, entitled Crybaby.
For those unfamiliar with The 17th Door, the haunt was launched by Robert and Heather Luther (you can read my interview with her here) who wanted to bring to life a unique experience that would terrify their guests. Dropping them in the middle of a theatrical horror story with a developing plot, they become a willingly unwilling participants in a horror film-like experience… after signing a waiver, of course.
The story began in 2015, when guests of The 17th Door were thrown into the educational halls of horror of this phenomenal haunted attraction as they followed a young woman named Paula who was beginning her freshman year at Gluttire University. The following year, Paula’s story continued as a sophomore, and her sanity continued to slip. Haunt junkies joined Paula behind bars at the Perpetuum Penitentiary following the murder of her baby in 2017.
This season, the extreme haunt will open for its fourth consecutive year as guests revisit Paula behind bars surrounded by insane inmates as the disturbed former college student undergoes psychological treatment. With a wall of tallies tracking how many times the safe word has been used, the halls are sure to echo once more with cries of “Mercy!”
Due to my limited stay in Los Angeles, I missed the haunt season by mere weeks. However, I was fortunate enough to get a behind the scenes tour of this attraction. While my personal haunted house experience is limited, I believe no one is doing what The 17th Door has in store.
Following a scare acting session conducted by legendary haunter Shar Mayer familiarizing this year’s recruits with expectations, I was introduced to co-creator and co-founder, Heather Luther. Guiding me through the elaborate set of The 17th Door production, Heather explained the haunt and storyline as well as what guests can expect from this year’s experience.
Upon entering the haunt, I immediately felt as though I had just walked into a demented prison of horror with an impressive set design ingrained with detail. Beginning with the booth where guests are required to sign a waiver, they then proceed through the terrifying halls of Perpetuum Penitentiary. One of the first rooms I was led to was the visitation booth where guests will be able to catch up with Paula and see how life has been treating her behind bars. Other rooms feature grotesque prison cells, solitary confinement, a functioning elevator and three different types of execution rooms. Guests are able to kick things up a notch by adding the virtual reality experience to their tour for an additional cost.
The 17th Door begins the 2018 season on September 21st, and victims… err, guests… are able to purchase tickets ranging from $23 to $37 dollars depending on the desired day and type of ticket. For additional information, visit The 17th Door website here. With an immersive interactive story paired with incredible production value and set designs, The 17th Door is sure to keep drawing crowds for years to come, and the cries of “Mercy” will continue to ring throughout many more seasons of Halloween.