Blind Scream – A Secret Look in 2020
In the year 2020, COVID-19 has played havoc with the nation as a whole, and in California, health restrictions remain in place for the month of October. The pandemic has hurt the economy, which includes the haunted attraction industry. Haunts in California that are allowed to open are either drive-through haunts in which guests remain in their cars or haunted trails where guests are outside walking in a corn maze or forest. The traditional walk-through haunted house, by in large, is not allowed to open in a COVID-19 California. Hence, over 50% of the state’s haunt industry has canceled its 2020 season.
Most haunt owners are small business entrepreneurs who put their hearts and souls into their creation. They invest their summers to their haunts in order to be show-ready by October, and among them is Drew Dominguez and Judy Groverman Walker, owners of Santa Rosa’s Blind Scream Haunted House. They are located in Sonoma County, which remains in Purple Alert (Widespread) in the COVID-19 risk level. Therefore they are not allowed to open to the general public.
In order to salvage some payoff for their labor, they sent invitations only to family, friends, and some of their most loyal fans. We consider ourselves honored to be among the invited.
Face masks were required to be worn in the haunt at all times. Debbie and I were impressed at the hard work and new additions to Blind Scream. It’s a shame that the general public cannot see this haunt.
We did not feel it was fair to use The Scare Factor’s scoring system for a haunt that’s not permitted to open. There was no atmosphere to score, since they cannot promote being open. The invitation day coincided with promotional filming that Blind Scream will use next year. Drew admitted that they only had a small number of actors, which was fine because we did have a fulfilling experience.
Blind Scream’s theme this year is “Witch House,” where guests traverse through the bayou and hidden crypts. Most notable was that they added more special effects, so there are more animatronics and projection images. Along with the stylized lighting and various sound effects, it was easy to forget we were in a former auto parts store. There were subtle homages to Disney’s Pirates of The Caribbean attraction and the Haunted Mansion, as well as werewolf movies and The Exorcist.
Despite the number of actors being less than the haunt was intended, they made a great impact. We were startled on numerous occasions. These actors knew how to allow the animatronics to distract guests, so they can go in for the scare. Two actors who stood out were the gypsy with the bird mask in the séance room and the snake charmer because they were very good at interacting with us.
Overall, Blind Scream took about 14 minutes to walk through, and we found no “dead spaces.” There were no safety hazards to be found. For a haunt that won’t be open this year, the staff and crew went all out to entertain us and cater to our needs. Drew and Judy are hoping for a possible Christmas haunt if the COVID-19 Risk Level drops to safer conditions. We don’t wish to give away too much of what was in Blind Scream because they will most likely keep everything on standby for when the health department approves of businesses reopening.
Team In-Corpse-A-Rated wishes to thank Drew Dominguez and Judy Groverman Walker, and the staff of Blind Scream for sharing their haunt with us, and wish them success in the coming future.