The pandemic silenced the screams that would have been tearing through the air right now. The sparks from the sliders aren't flaring up where we can see and, the flickering lights of the special effects are dark. Home haunts suffered the same fate and, many of these home haunts opted for yard displays. I had my small list of Spooky Home displays to visit but then, a little pumpkin sent David, the creator of Prism Home Haunt to me. He had something I needed to see.
I didn't want to know what I was walking into, so I did not indulge in any social media spoilers about Prism. When I arrived at the cross street of the display, I drove past the ghoul in the lab coat as I thought she was simply telling us where to park. I drove up the street to see lights piercing the air and, fog billowing. Based on the little I saw while finding a parking spot, I was reminded of Disneyland quality effects. Once again, I felt the familiar excitement of knowing I was about to be entertained despite 2020's bullshit. As I walked up to the house, I was a bit concerned about how people were going to stay six feet apart while watching the show from the street. You need to RSVP for Prism on Eventbrite and, pay a small fee in order for the creators to get a headcount and control crowds. I then realized there were circled numbers on the ground. I do wear glasses so, after all.
I was able to take in a very high-tech immersive display. It appeared to be a lab and, quarantine zone. The windows of the house were projecting what appeared to be lab workers dutifully doing their thing. The garage was were the main set up was. There was even a huge TV on top. Me, not following directions ,as usual, was directed to the Ghoul in the lab coat on the corner. I was told it was important I begin there, as to not miss a thing. No bother to me, I welcomed the short walk. I met up with the lady in the lab coat and, found this was David's wife, Shasha. She took my name and, gave me a number. There were numbered spaces marked on the sidewalk and, each small group was far enough apart to make me less apprehensive. We were directed to walk back to the house and, to be sure to find our number for maximum enjoyment and, to keep a safe distance from each other.
On the walk back to the house we were greeted with some scare actors hiding behind the neighbor's cars. I wondered then if Prism ever got any complaints. As we got to the house we were greeted by David, in a lab coat. He got to work on the keyboards and, monitors and, suddenly a character that reminded me of the "Red Lady" in Resident Evil came on. Except it was a more masculine voice and, also green. The garage transformed into a lab with convincing projections and, one of the audience members/cast was asked to step inside. I don't do spoilers so I will not give the synopsis of the show away. You need to see for yourself!
I can tell you, the elements of the show reminded me of a Hellraiser and Resident Evil mash up. The show wasn't all on screens and projectors, though. There are live actors with weapons, sparks and, lots of fog and, lights. Prism is a very interactive open air display that gives a different spin on home haunt. You can tell by the details and, high quality of the show that David spent quite some time planning and executing this unique and, fun experience.
But, with all of the restrictions and, unknowns for haunter's, how was David able to pull off one of Orange County's most impressive experiences? I was able to ask David a few questions.
MH: How long have you been running Prism Home Haunt?
David: This is PHH’s 3rd year! We started off smaller, with about 3 rooms in 2018 and, had about 750 guests cruise through. Last year, we bumped it to 8 rooms and 1,800+ guests. This year, we did the ground-up rebuild and new format to keep everyone safe and comfortable!
MH: It looks like you spent the entire year planning and setting up. Being as 2020 has been so uncertain, How long did it actually take you to come up the idea, theme and execution?
David: The haunt truly is a labor of love. Planning happens year-round. We started out with a completely different concept for 2020, and had to scrap that when Covid hit. We were going to do a masked walk-through for Covid, but even that looked uncertain, so we pivoted again to the open-air concept to keep everyone safe and abide by city and state rules.
There’s a ton of pre-recorded footage, the stage build-out, and special effects programming. We started execution, in earnest, back in June.
MH: Do you get any shit from your neighbors?
David: No! We’re super lucky in having great neighbors that really love and appreciate the haunt! We bring entertainment and good, spooky vibes into the neighborhood. Everyone gets excited for it. Also, we try to be very respectful of the community, and shut things down by 10 every night.
MH: What are you hoping haunt fans get out of PHH with this new open air version?
David: I really hope the haunt just helps guests loose themselves for a few minutes, and brings some much-needed joy into their day. With the dumpster fire that is 2020, I feel like we can all use a break, and a safe, entertaining form of escapism.
It would have been easy to write this year off and skip it, but I feel like now, more than ever, folks need something fun to look forward to. Here’s hoping we can help get them in the Halloween spirit.
That's what I love about home haunts. With nothing but, their love for community, horror and, Halloween. detailed planning, hard work and, so much time went into Prism. All just to give us a spooky moment in our night. David, spent the entire summer considering fans of his popular show. I can't get over how much detail put into Prism, it was imperative I take in every detail from my safe circle of safety. So, be sure to take it all in when you check it out.
Well done and, THANK YOU David, Shasha, Andrew, Metal-3and the rest of the Prism team!
So, if you are in in SoCal and, looking for a scary-good time this Halloween season. Join Prism Home Haunt their 2020 Haunted show! It’s to die for...
Get tickets, here: https://prismhauntedhouse.com/
24465 Chamalea, Mission Viejo CA, 92691
Every Fri, Sat & Sun in October from 7:30-10PM