Albany Haunt Productions
1048 Peralta Ave., Albany, CA 94706View All Details
Free Parking, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, All-Outdoor Attraction
Team In-Corpse-A-Rated reviewed this attraction on October 28, 2016.
Final Score: 8.38
When I think of a home haunt, I think of a private residence that shows off the latest and greatest in Spirit Halloween Store props, Halloween City, Target, Walmart, and the Dollar Store’s finest. I’m not knocking home haunts; I think it’s great when neighbors get into the Halloween spirit. With that in mind, there’s a teenager in the city of Albany who could give master classes in home haunt producing. High school student Sam Dubois made the news last year when his home haunt, “Albany Haunt”, came under legal fire when a neighbor brought the wrath of the city government down upon Dubois. We wrote about the whole drama in The Scare Factor’s editorial page, “The Trials and Triumphs of a Home Haunter.” Surviving all of the hurdles that bureaucrats threw at him, Sam Dubois came back in 2016 in a major way. From costuming, décor and lighting, Albany Haunt is a professional-caliber haunt in a residential backyard. This year’s theme is the Broken Spine Mine, an Old West town and haunted mining shaft.
Albany Haunt’s cast is enthusiastic and believable. The girls at the start of the haunt engaged us in conversation, but the rest of the actors simply startled us from behind corners. There were enough actors in the haunt and there were no dead zones where actors were missing.
With an Old West/Miner theme, the actors were dressed appropriately. The beginning of the haunt featured girls in Old West Saloon dresses and the boys in cowboy costumes with zombie masks. In the mine shaft, actors were dressed in miner jumpsuits with plastic hard hats. If you want to nitpick, the actors in the mine shaft appear to be in modern miner attire, and the Old West town actors appeared in 1800’s garb.
Customer Service: 8.75
The footpath of Albany Haunt is a little uneven, so you do have to watch your step. The elevator shaft has a hydraulic floor that rocks like an earthquake, so that could knock someone over. There are no signs on the road to guide you to the destination, so GPS is your friend. At the location, there is an iron archway sign saying, “Albany Haunt”, and a banner next to it with the name of the theme, “The Broken Spine Mine.” The staff was very friendly and answered all of our questions. The main queue entertainment before entering were actors interacting with the attendees; among them was Sam Dubois armed with a hatchet. There’s only street parking; no restrooms, no concessions or gifts, but there are photo opportunities with the actors outside the haunt and others with different props and sets… most notably the zombie Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton mannequins.
Albany Haunt is at a private residence, so the house is no different from the other houses in the neighborhood, but the décor in front distinguishes itself. Along with the sign and banner are graveyard headstones. The decorations are modest when compared to what awaits the audience in the backyard.
Special Effects: 8.5
Albany Haunt has background music, so there is no awkward silence. The scenes are incredibly detailed for a home haunt. The beginning features an Old West jail with a skeleton in it along with like-minded, Old West building facades. The Home Depot Horse Skeleton was a nice touch as well. Inside the mine shaft is where the special effects really shine. The walls appear to be carved out of solid rock. We see moving skeletons, a small waterfall, a small cavern with stalagmites, a façade of a train with the horn sound, and finish at an elevator shaft that bumps up and down before exiting. The lighting was used in a professional manner, accentuating the mood in the mine shaft. There is a blue light as you enter the shaft and an orange fire glow in the skeleton room.
The theme of Albany Haunt is “The Broken Spine Mine.” It’s an Old West town with a haunted coal mine. There was some inconsistency with the time period. The town was 1800’s, but the shaft had more modern features, such as the miners’ plastic orange helmets and the train façade appeared more 20th Century. Overall, the theme was a refreshing change. Old West and mine shafts are not used very often in professional haunts, so Albany Haunt deserves kudos for going against the haunt fashion trends.
Fright Effect: 8
Most of the scares came from actors startling us from hidden corners. The décor made for good distractions as the actors came forth. One actor startled us from a drop wall in the mine shaft. Albany Haunt is small, so there were only so many places that actors could be. The scariest part was at the end in the elevator shaft that rocked because it was so unexpected.
Albany Haunt took about 5 minutes to walk through. There is no price of admission, so you can’t go wrong with the cost. All they ask for is a $5 suggested donation and/or canned food drop-off for the Alameda County Food Bank (who had a station in front of the house). All available space was utilized and there are no dead spots. Albany Haunt is a worthy trip if you plan on making multiple haunt stops around the Bay Area. For those who live in Albany and the surrounding cities, this haunt is a treasure they must go see.