By Caleb Lunetta
Signal Senior Staff Writer
Regardless of whether you flee from them or run toward them, the haunted houses around the Santa Clarita Valley arrive each year, providing scares and jumps for kids and adults alike.
“People like getting scared, people go to horror movies, too,” said Scott Sivley, the owner and operator of Beware the Dark Realm in Saugus. “But when you go into a haunt, you can kind of immerse yourself actually in the horror movie, and it becomes very interesting.
“It’s a lot different than just sitting safely inside your living room on the couch.”
Beware the Dark Realm
This year marks the 50th year that the Sivley family has hosted Beware the Dark Realm, first establishing the haunted mansion in 1971 in the San Fernando Valley before moving it to the SCV in 1988.
“It’s a medieval castle that this year, it seems that the dragons have kind of taken the castle over and pretty much terrorize the community,” Scott Sivley said.
“You can see me building in December, you can see me building in March, but you’ll always see me building in September, because that’s when we start putting it up,” he added.
Scott says the year-round work is due to the Beware the Dark Realm needing to keep up with — and succeeding at — keeping up with other haunts that have also evolved over the last five decades.
“Haunting is far more elaborate now than it was years ago,” Sivley said, adding the Disneyland ride The Haunted Mansion essentially established the historical standard for what guests expect in a haunted house. “There’s some really, really good haunts out there now that the quality of everything is vastly improved.
For what people can expect at Beware the Dark Realm, the owner said that people can expect jump scares, animatronics and subtle scares.
Beware the Dark Realm is recommended for people ages 10 and up, however, children as young as 4 or 5 years old have gone through in years past.
Entry into the haunted house is free, but a $10 donation to Family Promise gets you a pass to go in through a much shorter line.
The haunt is located at 28621 Sugar Pine Way and open Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30 from 7-10 p.m. For more information about Beware The Dark Realm visit their website at http://www.bewarethedarkrealm.com/About.
House of Horrors
Billing itself as an “adult” haunted house for the Santa Clarita Valley, The Cunningham House of Horrors in Castaic is set to feature a professional acting troupe, language, adult themes and a little bit of nudity, according to its creator Brian Cunningham.
While there is a children’s show available earlier in the night, filled with witches and Frankenstein’s Monster, Cunningham said the difference between the two shows, separated by an hour from one another, is akin to “Haunted Mansion versus Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
“It’s going to be unlike anything that anyone has ever seen between the two different shows,” said Cunningham. “There’s going to be a family-friendly show and then there will be an adult show, ages 17-years-old and up, and it’s going to be ridiculous.”
This is his first year ever doing a haunted house, he said, but the idea behind it — even the theme of the walking tour of his house — was inspired by the passing of a loved one.
“The reason why I’m doing this is that my brother recently passed away this year of cancer and I’m trying to raise money for the Circle of Hope,” said Cunningham, adding that a portion of each ticket sold will go to the charity and a donation table will be set up as well. “I would love to be able to write a $1,000 check of more to the Circle of Hope and do that in memory of my brother Kevin.
“He loved Halloween, it was his favorite holiday,” said Cunningham, later adding: “Basically we’re going to be taking a tour of my house that’s been haunted by the spirit of my brother. So, I’ve incorporated my brother into the show.”
Snacks and drinks will then be offered in the backyard.
The Cunningham House of Horrors is set for two nights only on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, and is located at 29724 Castlebury Place in Castaic. The family friendly show for ages 8 and up is from 5-7 p.m. and costs $15, while the “Dark n’ Creepy” show for ages 17 and up is $20 and goes from 8-11 p.m.
Club Fear in Valencia was born out of a couple of high school kids realizing they were too old to trick or treat on Halloween, but too young to party, as well, according to Jason Shields, organizer of the Haunted House.
After doing haunts for a number of years, Shields started Club Fear in 2016 and applied his training as an art student into designing the entertainment, appearance and animation for the haunt.
He said he came up with and originally played the character Rellik — the word “killer” spelled backwards — a serial killer clown that terrorizes his victims, but has since passed the role on down to his son Kaden, a Valencia High School senior. This year’s theme is set to be the next in a Club Fear saga entitled “Twisted Manor II”
“This is your chance to go into his house and see what the house of serial killer looks like … and you have to find your way out,” said Shields, adding that there’s technology inside Club Fear that is similar to the tech used at Fright Fest and Universal Studios.
Club Fear is set to include jump scares, no intentional touching from the actors, special effects, strobe lights, fog and loud sounds. All ages are welcome, though parental discretion is advised for young children.
The haunt is located at 23501 Clearidge Drive in Valencia and is set to take place on Oct. 23, 24, 29 and 30 from 7-11 p.m. Entry is free.