In the early 80's Horror films were experiencing a renaissance. Halloween (1978) had pushed open the floodgates and America had tasted blood, so to speak, and wanted more. Films like Friday the 13th (1980) and it's sequels, and Alien (1979) were very popular among movie goers ready to be scared half to death.
Enter: Movieland Wax Museum of Buena Park California, located just blocks away from Knott's Berry Farm. Movieland was already known for it's self guided walk through tour amongst different iconic movie scenes featuring life-like wax figures of famous Hollywood icons. But they devised a new type of exhibit, a more sophisticated chamber of Horrors attraction that would capitalize on the new Horror movie craze.
The Black Box was opened, I think, around 1981 or 1982. The Black Box was a seprate walkthrough attraction that featured three imerssive scenes each from a different horror film designed to put you in the middle of some of film history's most frightening scenes.
Visitors to the regular wax museum tour were offered an area half way through in which to take a break. This middle courtyard area included food, restrooms, and arcade and gift shop. It was here that The Black Box was located. After waiting in the queue outside in the courtyard area in the center of the regular musuem tour, Visitors would be guided to enter a small library with a coffin in the center of the room. The secret panel that you entered through would be slid closed and the show would begin.
The voice of Vincent Price began the tour from inside the coffin explaining to you what was in store. As his voice spoke to the brave tour group you were allowed o take in some of the details. In particular I remember seeing a steaming cup of tea sitting on a desk that was off in the corner of the library. A nice and detailed little start to the attraction. Once Mr Price was done with you a panel on the opposite side of the room opened and the self guided tour entered the next set.
We were now on the set of Halloween. The set was lit in warm lighting with a bedroom set on the left a kitchen set to the right and a set of French doors at dead center. Voice overs between a director and his assistant indicate that they are filming that day and then suddenly the power goes out and the room is black. Lightning flashes through the widows and something is not right. The theme music from Halloween begins to play and the lights slowly rise to reveal the victims of Michael Myers strewn about the room. A body appears on the bed and another impaled by a butcher knife in the kitchen. In front of us the French doors slowly open th reveal Michael Myers in his ghost costume from the first film with a bloody butcher knife in hand, lightning flashing behind him. A wall opens to the groups left and we escape.
The next set we enter is the set of Altered States. The film was about a scientist who experiments with halucinitory drugs and sensory deprivation with dire consequnces. In the center of the industrial room sits a large sensory deprivation tank. WE can see through the tank's windows that a man is inside. An experiment begins to go wrong. The piping around the set begins to shudder and rattle. Steam shoots from within the pipes out into the crowd. The scene climaxes with the head of the deformed man in the tank now breaking out of the top hatch and water sprays everywhere. Onto the next and final set.
We now enter the cluastrophobic set of Ridley Scott's Alien. Things are nominal here out in space when suddenly an alien is detected on board. Sirens alert us to it's prescence and we are told to evacuate through a long dark tunnel. The lighting is dark and onimous as we make our way out of the main chamber and into the hallway. A quick right then a u-turn to the left. Suddenly an Alien arm grabs at visitors from within the piping on the walls and we run to the exit ahead, an open hallway decorated with movie posters from various horror films.
When the Black Box opened Movieland Wax Museum did one hell of a job promoting the attraction. They launched an unprecedented television and print campaign staring a character names Rosemary Kabibby whose hair was in a permanent state of erected fright, and who, at the mere mention of "The Block Box" would run screaming in terror. The opening ceremony of the attraction was celebrated with a huge party hosted by Elvira Mistress of the Dark.
The future plans for the wax figure exhibit/Horror walk through were to have the scenes rotated and changed to new films every so often to keep it fresh and exciting. Sadly this did not happen and the walk-through closed after only a small time in operation.
If any of you MC'ers remember this attraction let me know! I am looking for pictures, stories or other firsthand accounts from this walkthrough but have found that it is very very difficult to dig anything up on it.