MERCED, Calif. — A unique, interactive haunted house experience opened Oct. 20, at the Merced College Theater.

Directed by Professor Lauren McCue-Bryx and written by Merced-based Phoenix Creative Collective, The Last Masquerade  is a frighteningly fun event that you don’t want to miss.

There are a variety of scares from: vampires and moving statues to bloody ghouls and zombies. The creatures lurk behind every corner in the elaborate maze of the castle. The awe-inspiring scenic and lighting design is by technical director Chad Phillips, who brings years of experience designing haunted attractions to this production.

“We hope that each and every spectator gets a personal scare,” said Phillips.

Merced College students are enthusiastically rehearsing for their performances. Three of those students Jared Carrillo, Kyle Marchan and Nestor Ruiz Torres are from Los Banos.

“Haunted houses are so alluring, so being in one is a different experience. Fear is an intoxicating feeling and always makes it exciting to see what is next,” Carrillo said.

The show runs Oct. 20 to 23 and Oct. 27 to 30, and will be open 6 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays.

“This haunt is unique because the audience never experiences the same show twice,” said Ruiz Torres.
Tickets are $5 and refreshments will be available for purchase. A deluxe popcorn bar with all the fixings, along with other snacks, drinks and hot cocoa will be waiting for patrons who have escaped the castle.

The Last Masquerade is not for the faint of heart, but do not fear — bracelets will be available for patrons looking for a milder scare. Anyone attending the event will need to sign a simple waiver before entering. Waivers can be completed online when purchasing tickets for the event or they can be completed at the door.

For information, contact 209-384-6073 or visit <> <>.

James Leonard