Santa’s Village: Haunted and abandoned amusement park in Cali got a face-lift, but we got there before it happened!
When my co-writer Jessica Luhrssen and I set out to write a Christmas horror film, called Slay Belles, we wanted it set in an abandoned amusement park. Lucky for us, we found out that one existed a couple hours outside of Los Angeles. So Jess and I drove to Santa’s Village to do some Urban Exploring of our own. Jess in a bright dress and flip-flops, me in all black with Demonia platform boots were not very inconspicuous, this is not the recommended dress code for any sort of Urbex (Urban exploring) or haunted adventuring. We looked around without getting caught and even found a phone number of a realtor off of the keep out sign on the front gate. Before we knew if we could even shoot there, we wrote our script around this creepy amazing location.
After months of negotiating with the owners, we rented the abandoned Santa’s Village in Lake Arrowhead to shoot my directorial debut film called Slay Belles. Santa’s Village had been shut down in the 90’s and sat rotting away for all those years. There was a caretaker who lived on premises and a small company that had taken over one of the buildings. Other than those two dudes and a friendly dog, the rest of the park was just plain gross. On that location scout we snapped a ton of pictures.
Before we could shoot a movie in there, we had to deal with decades of rat crap and buildings that had been overrun with rodents. We hired a hazmat team to super clean the few buildings that we would film inside of. Once they cleaned it up and made it safe for humans we were off to shoot our film about three urban explorers who break into Santa’s Village and accidentally unleash Krampus – The Devil of Christmas.
So while we were there some strange things happened, we were warned of the local bear population, and the occasional homeless zombies that occasionally inhabit the park, but inside of the Alice in Wonderland house of mirrors was the scariest. The door had been opened a crack so it was full of spider webs and filth. And once inside, it was so dark that it was impossible to get good pictures. But that’s the place where we heard scratching noises and felt cold chills in the hot California daytime. Needless to say we got the hell out of there and stayed out for the duration of filming.
In the film we cast Susan Slaughter from syfy’s Ghost Hunters Intl. as one of the “Adventure Girls – aka Slay Belles. As a professional ghost hunter, she wasn’t convinced that anything in the park was haunted, but agreed that the Hall of Mirrors had something strange going on in there. We wanted to do an official ghost hunt on the property, but shortly after we filmed, the land was sold to a new owner who cleaned it up to reopen it as “Adventure Park” . so while I don’t know for certain if it was haunted or not, we all certainly felt weirdness. And maybe once the park is officially reopened, maybe Susan and I can go Ghost hunting for real!
Would you take your family there when it reopens?!!!
Thanks for checking out the pics, we are at the tail end of crowdfunding for the finishing funds for Slay Belles… we could use all the help we can get!