REVIEW – “The 17th Door” brings the extreme Halloween haunts of Perpetuum Penitentiary to Southern California

in Haunted Attractions, Merchandise, Theater

Prepare to visit the most terrifying high-security prison in Halloween history, as the infamous extreme haunted house “The 17th Door” moves to a new location in Fullerton, California– just 15 minutes from Disneyland– and the monstrous inmates within are truly the stuff of nightmares.

The story of this year’s “The 17th Door” experience picks up right where the 2016 version left off: with protagonist Paula having been sentenced to Perpetuum Penitentiary, a gruesome hellscape lockup populated by all manner of sadistic baddies. The minds behind the haunt have outdone themselves with Perpetuum’s production design, and each corner is convincingly realized in disturbing detail.


Guests at “The 17th Door” have the option of adding-on an intense virtual-reality component this time around, but while impressive (and designed entirely in-house) that’s far from the main attraction. The central walk-through narrative consists of an immersive, fully interactive series of encounters with the residents and staff of the penitentiary– but be forewarned: this haunt is not for the faint of heart.

Upon entering the new space (utilized last year by another local pro haunt “Sinister Pointe”), Halloween fans will note a large warning sign with a lengthy list of potential dealbreakers: fog, water, insects, touching, strobe lights– heck, you might even have your hair cut during the proceedings. Fortunately all participants are given a safe word that will immediately bring to an end any interplay that makes them feel too uncomfortable.


“The 17th Door” is recommended by its designers for guests ages 16 and up, and with good reason– there are plenty of heightened moments that will get your adrenaline pumping, and some very dark and disturbing themes in the storytelling. The official synoposis doesn’t pull any punches: “Within these stone walls, you will meet true suffering and despair. Prayers for mercy unanswered. Evil pervading its every space.”

The experience takes about 35 minutes to complete, as attendees make their way from room to room (there are more than 17 areas in total, despite what the name might have you believe) and happen upon the unhappy captives and ruthless staff of Perpetuum Penitentiary.

Overall this haunt is well worth your time and money, especially if you have a desire (and a tolerance) for the more extreme variety of Halloween experiences. There is no denying that a great deal of care has been put into designing and executing “The 17th Door.” The sets are superbly decorated, the cast is appropriately intimidating, and the scares are abundant and memorable.

“The 17th Door” runs on select dates from now through October 31st in the West Fullerton Shopping Center. The entire experience Be sure to visit the event’s official website for more information and advance ticket sales resources.


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