Hell Break LA
Hell Break is a brand new LA haunted attraction for 2012. Inhabiting the abandoned Sears building in Hollywood, Hell Break features a prison maze and a haunted maze, which have separate admission charges. I bought the LivingSocial deal, which included VIP Front of the Line admission to both mazes for $27 (about 50% off regular price).
Before going, I read some disastrous reviews from Hell Break’s opening weekend. They warned of terrible lines even for VIPs and of technical glitches in the show. Going on Saturday, October 27, I was extremely nervous about wait times. We got there at 8 PM, one hour after opening, and there was no one there. There were quite a few cars in the parking lot behind the building, but I don’t know if those people parked there for another event or if they were all working inside the mazes, because they certainly weren’t in line. (Be forewarned that the building is not well marked or signed, you just have to look for the building that says Sears on it. Parking is behind the building for $10.)
After checking in, we only had to wait a few minutes to go inside. Hell Break is different from the other haunted attractions in the area, as it features a series of vignettes. A group of about 10 people go in together and experience a performance in each room. At the start, a ghostly prison guard explains that you have been bad and you are being imprisoned for your crimes. He essentially takes you on a tour of your new home. There is some fun interaction between the audience and actors. I don’t remember reading that they are allowed to touch you, but I was definitely touched.
I enjoyed having a (loose) storyline to follow. Hell Break is less about the quick scare and more about the overall creepy experience. Although I don’t believe the story, setting, or characters were used to their full horror capacity, it was nice to see something different for a change.
After the prison “maze” we went into an actual haunted maze, where it was possible to go the wrong way and have to turn around. This maze was a big let down, and I wouldn’t recommend paying the extra money for it. The walls are just black, there is no scenery. A few monsters bump around in there (with one solid scare at the end), but it felt very bush-league and like a last minute gimmick to make a couple extra bucks.
I think $27 (plus parking) is too much to pay for the experience. $15 – $20 is a more accurate price point for what you actually get. I’m not sure Hell Break will return for the 2013 season, especially since word of mouth seemed to have scared off their guests for what should have been the busiest Saturday of October. If you’re looking for something a little bit different and you can get some cheap tickets, this one is worth seeing once.