“Why on earth would I want to drive all the way out to Thousand Oaks? ” You might say. Well, because you’ve seen all the Haunts in L.A. proper and you need a new gold standard for a stand-alone haunt, you goofy ghoul.
Reign of Terror, aka R.O.T, is both volunteer-funded and designed. It is stored in an empty building all year long while they change this and that, and let some old scares go. Most charity haunts bear the stigma of not being scary enough, but that is not the case here. Reign of Terror is simply the best 18 minute “walk-through” in darkness and grotesqueness in all of Los Angeles and its surrounding counties — all the way to San Diego. 82 rooms of moodiness and grossness await you, and every one of them is decorated to the nines, looking camera ready.
R.O.T. makes great use of age-appropriate talent, so it doesn’t ever get close to being like a school play, as many charity haunts are wont to be. There are scads of places for monsters to hide, and some of them are quite ingenious. The place even smells nasty — particularly in the butcher area and the bayou swamp. I personally jumped and yelped about six times, and that’s a good score for a jaded of haunter like me.
Reign Of Terror is buried in the heart of a generic middle class mall deep in Valley heaven. Program your GPS and keep a sharp lookout for the medium-sized banner on the west side of the mall, because it’s invisible from the freeway and the street address doesn’t help. Just find the mall and park, then plunge into the middle of the structures and chain restaurants until you are near a gym or spot the kiosk.