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Searching for the Silent Hill haunted house in Brea, CA was almost like searching for Silent Hill itself.
We couldn’t find it at first. We looked all around a dead strip mall late at night and didn’t notice any signs telling us where to go. Eventually, we would run right into it — almost by accident, as though it decided to appear out of the darkness of a blacked-out parking lot just to welcome us.
Eventually, our group would escape Orange County’s Silent Hill — and into the comfort-food confines of a nearby (and well-lit!) Denny’s. But shattered memories of twitchy nurses, blaring air-raid sirens, and even save points on the walls would stick with us long into the night….
Going through the house, we found numerous references to the survival-horror series. Clearly, the creators did their research. “I took it upon myself to go onto YouTube — because we haven’t played all the games,” says Paul Lindersmith, assistant director at Sinister Pointe Haunted Attractions. “I looked for ‘scariest moments from Silent Hill’ and watched two to three hours of videos and picked out pieces that we could easily convert into something in a haunted house.”
We don’t want to spoil too much for you, but gamers will really appreciate the attention to detail. Bunny heads, the view from “The Room,” giant vent fans, the incessant industrial noise that drowns out your hearing and wits (until it abruptly stops for no good reason, putting you even more on edge)…all that plus the aforementioned elements (gotta have the nurses!) make this a must-see for fans of the games.
No reference was too small, either. Besides the save points on the walls, you can see the names of all the main characters from the games on tombstones in the cemetery area. “We had some funny ideas that we didn’t put in, too,” says owner Jeff Schiefelbein. “Like in the hallways where there wasn’t much happening, we wanted to put the word ‘loading’ on the sides, on the walls. [Laughs]”
It wasn’t a perfect Silent Hill experience by any means. Some of the costumes looked budget-store cheap (they had a budget of $15,000 for the entire physical set and props), and we would’ve liked to have seen a paint-peeled transition from normal Silent Hill to the hellish dark version, with the air-raid siren integrated at that spot (the siren was wailing outside).
Plus, we only saw a hint of Pyramid Head’s presence — albeit a very cool one. But if you go visit now, you may see the real deal. “Each week, we’ve added more things,” says Schiefelbein. “We plan on having someone in a full Pyramid Head costume walking around.”
Still, take it from us — this Silent Hill is well worth visiting. We’re not sure if non-fans will get it, but who cares? This has the official license and seal of approval from publisher Konami, and its creators obviously get it. “The game that scared me the most was Silent Hill 2,” says Lindersmith, recognizing the series’ fan fave. “That really scared me and influenced me the most.”
For hours, directions, tickets, etc., visit http://www.sinisterpointe.com/. Silent Hill is running with the Fear house (unrelated to the game) through October.