Monsters rise from the grave tonight! Visit the Venice Haunted House - Eternal Rest Cemetery if you dare, from 7 p.m. to midnight, at 414 Rose Ave. in Venice. It's FREE and recommended for ages 13 and older.
Beyond the chain-link gate of this private home at 414 Rose Ave., monsters wait in the shadows of the Venice Haunted House and Eternal Rest Cemetery. On Halloween night, Thursday, October 31 and again on Saturday, November 2, from 7 p.m. to midnight, zombies will rise from the grave to terrorize the souls who dare enter this bone-chilling cemetery and maze.
Conceived in the dark imagination of homeowner Steve Rose, a Venice local since the '80s and a professional prop designer and filmmaker, the Venice Haunted House - Eternal Rest Cemetery and maze evolved from the neighborhood's spookiest trick-or-treat destination to one of the best Halloween attractions in L.A. After several years, each maze more horrifying and detailed than the last, it's still free and open to everyone (although recommended for ages 13 and older), but since Rose produces this elaborate labor of love for his own enjoyment more than anything else, most people only hear about it through haunting tales from friends and family.
We met up with our neighbor to get a sneak peek at what horrors he has in store for us this year, and what we got was a Venice Garden and Home Tour unlike any other...(Excuse the blur on some of these photos as our hands were shaking out of control.)
There's an army of skeletons that make a permanent home of the walkway between Rose's front bungalow (leased to tenants who are cool with the haunted house situation) and a hidden loft/prop warehouse in the back where he lives and works. The Venice Haunted House may only be a two-night event, but this is a year-round passion for Rose, a fun-loving creative mastermind who builds movie props (Independence Day, Stargate), makes award-winning films (Souvenir), and is driven by a passion to be electrified by something real - like an icey rush of adrenaline.
"I'm serious about my fun," says Rose. "It's made to make people feel something. When they come through, they are very alert and in the moment."
This would also apply to the inside of his home, a wonderland of colorful collections -- from trolls and Pez dispensers, to DVDs, vinyl and of course, Halloween props and zombie characters. Some of these gruesome creatures are comfortably seated in the living room where they accompany Rose and his guests who watch movies on a large projection screen at least four to five nights a week. His passion for movies started in high school when a teacher introduced his class to classic film, and as a child growing up in San Diego, he was always fascinated by the incredible detail at Disneyland and theme parks in general. When it comes to art, Rose believes that it's all about creating an experience, but the experience of the artist is equally important, which is why he pours so much effort into every last detail of his haunted maze. The handmade tombstones are designed with American Gothic architectural details; costumes are improved and added every year; the maze is made to be even more confusing; and his team of set designers and zombie actors meet daily to prepare and rehearse every last bloody detail for the big night.
For a man who lives with zombies, he's not the beady-eyed recluse one might expect. He's warm and friendly and spends his free time playing beach volleyball or at the Santa Monica Rings. This is where he met Rebecca Shipe, one of the actors in his haunted house. She's a biological oceanography researcher and instructor at UCLA, but today she's here working on costume repairs. Although he won't reveal what role he plays, Rose will also be hidden in plain sight to witness the reactions of his guests. And that is his payoff.
"Whatever it is that jolts me is what I'll do next," says Rose. "Halloween jolts me. I get excited about something and move forward with it."