By: Vanessa Cortez and Asiria Ramirez
Musty odor fills the air and hearts race while walking toward what appears to be an abandoned barn, out of place in urban Brea, Calif.
The first steps into the pitch black Hillbilly Hell at Sinister Pointe are met with laughter, moaning, shrill screams and disturbing sounds that foreshadow the terror ahead.
Its grim premise: attempt to escape a swamp house full of blood-thirsty cannibals.
“It’s not for the weak,” Cris Maggio, a monster dressed in full gimp costume said. “If you are scared of pretty much anything like water, insects, creaky noises and scary monsters, we have it all and we use it against you.”
Sinister Pointe is an interactive haunt attraction created by Jeff Schiefelbein. The industrial warehouse is surrounded with monsters prowling around the entrance and chords of spine trilling music.
With his background in horror design and a passion to create nightmares, Schiefelbein’s fascination with Halloween activities started as a child.
“I’m not a horror movie fan but ever since my parents threw Halloween parties every year, I just had to do something like this,” Schiefelbein said.
Like a real life Freddy Krueger, Schiefelbein has expanded from his childhood neighborhood and into scores of night mazes.
“These haunts get you because they play on your phobias and attack you mentally. That is how they win,” said Rick Fulton, a Sinister Pointe employee.
General admission is $17.
What makes this haunt attraction unique are the “Fear Tests” every visitor takes. One test involves sticking both hands into one of two glass boxes full of live snakes and tarantulas. There are multiple fear tests to encounter throughout the maze.
Walls with arrows pointing left or right are scattered through the attraction, making the maze-goers choose their destiny. The heart thumping anxiety of not knowing what is next fuels the fear. Brave ones can experience all paths with an all-night pass, which is $30.