An L.A. Dad visits 'A Festival of Frights' in Burbank and finds out what he’s really afraid of

 Photo credit: Charley Gallay

Photo credit: Charley Gallay

Horror Made Here.

By Paul David, Entertainment Contributor

I hate clowns…always have, always will.

There’s just something about them that gives me a serious case of the willies and helps me avoid most occasions that feature them. No kids’ parties, circuses or any dive bars serving retired clowns. That’s a big nope!

So one can only imagine my excitement when I attended the Warner Bros exclusive media preview of Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights in Burbank where, headlining the event, was none other than freakin’ Pennywise the Clown, from “IT”!

I’m not a big jump-scare fan, but after a little meditation, an all-out horror movie binge on Netflix and a few beers, I felt up for the challenge of tackling the array of creepy mazes that lurked in the hazy and dimly lit Warner Bros Studio Backlot.

My initial thought was— I would traverse the mazes, mingle a bit and casually avoid the devil clown exhibit as I’d waltz my way out the door. No clowns, clean underwear and we’d all leave winners.

But of course, upon arriving at the entrance to the festival, I was unsuspectingly greeted by the ghoulish whisper of the most sinister clown on the lot.

The eerie jester whispered “welcome” right in my ear and I almost had to visit the First-Aid tent due to a near massive heart attack! I spun around and saw my nightmare literally grinning about two inches away from me. I must admit, I’m faster than I thought, as I darted away into the mist of a street scene. I adeptly eluded a few ghastly characters en route to the town center.

 Blood Bag Cocktails Available for $16 at  Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights

Blood Bag Cocktails Available for $16 at Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights

Downtempo beats cascaded out of the shadowy town square, back-lit with blood-red tones as attendees began to circulate among the mazes.

I decided to grab a Blood Bag Cocktail (Vodka, Grenadine, Lemonade and Cranberry) at the burlesque-themed bar, and then head to a few of the mazes.

The Nightmare on Camp Crystal Lake was a terrifying walk-through mashup maze that incorporates elements of Freddy Krueger and Jason terrorizing a summer camp scene.

Characters ran past me screaming, pleading for help, occasionally missing a limb or two. And then… a huge shadowy figure materialized on the dirt road in front of me…it was probably Jason. Again, my speed and agility allowed me to get away from whoever it was on that dark road…Jason, Freddy, I’m out.

I survived to check out the other ridiculously scary and well-produced mazes that included tributes to “It”, the Batman Arkham Insane Asylum, the Conjuring Universe, and of course, The Exorcist.

The Exorcist Forbidden Screening was an amazing interactive experience, where viewers watch the scariest scenes from the original film inside a church that literally becomes possessed and comes to life all around you. After several heart-stopping jump scares, it was time to call it a night and dodge a few pig-faced freaks and demented clowns on my way back to the makeshift town center.

All in all, I give the Horror Made Here: Festival of Frights experience an “A” for effort and creativity!  Now time for some therapy.


Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights now open through October 31

General admission tickets start at $59; Loser’s Club VIP tickets are $169 and include front of line access, free priority parking, a Free IT Photo Opp, and 2 complimentary beverages. The event is for ages 13+.
(Proof of age 21+ required for alcoholic beverages).

Horror Made Here will also offer a series of attractions and activities for horror loving fans, including:

  • Devil’s Drop Tower: Adventurous visitors will have the opportunity to take the 90-foot plunge into the air for the scream of their life.

  • Stage 48: Script to Scream: Enter the world of Tim Burton and see authentic props and costumes from his iconic movies Sweeney Todd, The Corpse Bride, Mars Attacks! and for the first time ever on display at Warner Bros., original props from the Halloween classic, Beetlejuice.

  • Horror Makeup Demonstrations: Learn how makeup artists bring terrifying characters to life with our special Horror Made Here SFX makeup demonstrations throughout the night.

  • The Lost Boys Arcade: Play iconic games in the retro Lost Boys-themed arcade. Games include titles like Ms. Pac-Man, Tetris, Mario Bros, Space Invaders and Terminator 2 Pinball.

  • Horror Made Here Night Tour: Board a quick nighttime tour through the Warner Bros.’ backlot for a guided exploration behind-the-scenes of beloved titles in horror entertainment, including iconic filming locations like New York Street, where House of Wax was shot.

Visit the Warner Bros. Studio Tour website here for more information