Halloween is coming up, and while this year’s might look a bit different due to Covid-19, LEGO has you covered with a social distancing-friendly alternative – building the new 10273 Haunted House.
Launched in June 2020, the new LEGO Haunted House is less a successor of the 2012 version, but an extension to the Fairground Collection – the new fancy name for the subtheme that includes the Roller Coaster, Fairground Mixer, Carousel, and Ferris Wheel.
I recently received the opportunity to build
Thanks to LEGO for providing this set for review.
Name: Haunted House
Set Number: 10273
Price: AU$349.99 | US$249.99 | £209.99 – Buy from LEGO.com [AU] [US] [UK]
Exclusive to: LEGO Brand Retail Stores, LEGO.com
Theme: Creator Expert, Fairground Collection
Release Date: 1 June 2020
Dubbed Manor Von Barron, the Haunted House is a theme-park inspired ride, which eschews large-scale attractions for something a lot more intimate and spookier.
Unlike previous Fairground sets which revolved around one standout mechanical play feature – the Haunted House is designed as more of a playset, and is filled with both Easter eggs and the LEGO Adventurers homages aplenty.
The LEGO Haunted House comes with 9 minifigures – a motley bunch of characters that include Fairground visitors, workers, two Ghosts and a creepy pair of Butler twins.
Kudos to LEGO for including a wheelchair-bound Fairground visitor in the set – it’s always great to see minifigures being used to normalise people with disabilities, and including the wheelchair element in more sets is always a win.
The two new ghost minifigures – I have mixed feelings about. They look like updated LEGO ghosts which try to retain some of the iconic features such as the dual-sided faces which have classic LEGO ghost expressions.
The white hood, and use of the curved slope dress piece I guess is a way to utilise existing elements, but for a set with nostalgia as one of the main attractions, it does feel like a waste to not have classic Ghosts not get included.
If that isn’t possible, I also would’ve loved if LEGO used glow-in-the-dark elements for these ghosts, but alas, they’re just normal white elements.
The LEGO Haunted House build (watch a speed build on my Youtube channel) was a pleasant experience, which I spread out across 3 days and it was a very enjoyable build, with plenty of variety, and not too much repetition.
If you enjoy building Modulars, you’ll have a blast with the Haunted House with its detailed interiors and exteriors.
When you finish the build, the first thing that struck me is how imposingly tall this build is. The height of course isn’t purely an aesthetic choice, but also serve as the attraction’s drop tower play feature.
The footprint of the set is also quite small, which means you won’t have to make much space for it, which is always a bonus for us LEGO fans with more sets than surface area.
Oh, and the most pleasant surprise of this set greets you as soon as you open the box – not a single sticker sheet in sight!
The colour scheme has grown on me the more I stare at it (it’s currently situated next to my home office) – the Olive Green exterior is complemented by the grey sections, and helps accentuate the black roof.
The contrast between the roof and olive elements are really striking, and add a hint of realism to the entire model in a way that sand green wouldn’t have been able to create.
The roof is actually my favourite aspect of the exterior, and I also love the use of frogs for gargoyles, as well as the rapiers for the roof ornaments.
On the front we have the Manor von Barron nameplate, which also serves as a button, as well as a printed coat of arms on a Nexo shield, with a simple stained glass fixture.
The printed coat of arms which has a bat one it contains the first of many Easter eggs – the Roman numerals spell out 6007, a reference to 6007 Bat Lord, an iconic Fright Knights set and character.
Here’s the front entrance to the Haunted House, with solid wooden double doors, and a great porch as a facade. I like the lamps on each end, and the attraction is also wheelchair-friendly, with a slope leading up.
Situated outside is a small graveyard. which has 2 gravestones and a pumpkin, alongside some brown foliage.
The gravestone has the initials TC on it – a reference to LEGO designer Tiago Catarino who quit his dream job last year (and also runs a great Youtube channel). It’s really nice to see LEGO designers “kill him off” and commemorate him as a gravestone.
Let’s open the doors to the Haunted House and take a step inside.
The Haunted House has a dollhouse mechanism, using hinges to swing open the building to reveal a large detail-packed interior with plenty to see and do.
It wouldn’t be a Haunted House without an elaborate organ and creepy music being played in the background. This is named as the Organ of Catarino – another nod to Tiago Catarino hidden in this set.
The design of the organ is exceptional, and its commanding presence makes for one of my favourite interior models.
The use of pearl gold candlesticks for the pipe organs is an inspired choice, and, the printed piano keys were also a very nice touch that contributes to the organ’s realistic look.
The interiors are littered with references, and artifacts that hearken back to past LEGO themes, such as the Idol of Everest perched above the ticket counter.
LEGO have also re-created the Sphinx’s head from 5978 Sphinx Secret Surprise which is the centrepiece of the interior.
On the left is a storage chamber with the Orb of Ogel (the skull in the green jar), from Alpha Team, a yellow artifact from the Orient Expedition theme, and to the right the Resonator, a device built by Samuel von Barron to harness the power of the Re-Gou ruby.
Flanking the drop shaft is also an Obelisk from the Adventurer’s theme – whose hieroglyphs which spell out “OGEL”, which is also coincidentally LEGO backwards.
This creepy attic-space above the main entrance contains spooky elements such as skull candles, and a hanging skeleton which I believe is a reference to Lord Sam Sinister, the identity that Samuel von Barron adopts later on in the Orient Expeditions theme.
Manor von Barron is of course incomplete without a large portrait dedicated to Samuel von Barron, depicting him holding the Re-Gou ruby.
In what is my favourite play feature in this set, pressing the Manor von Barron sign on the outside, activates the red brick light, and reveals Pharaoh Hotep’s silhouette.
The designers employed a very clever technique, which consists of using 2 separate printed panels, with Pharoah’s panel hidden on the inside and only revealed when the light is activated.
The main attraction of the Haunted House is of course the Drop Tower ride.
The lattice grills hold the carriage in place, and you have to pop it out to seat minifigures in them.
Once the minifigures are in place, you can then begin the ride.
The mechanism to work the drop tower is pretty complicated – you turn a crank lever to move the chain, which lifts the carriage up the tower.
As the carriage goes up the tower until it reaches a threshold, which releases the carriage, letting gravity do its thing until it gets cushioned at the base by several rubber stoppers.
Here’s a video of the Haunted House Drop Tower in action. While impressive that the LEGO designers were able to design the mechanics for this, the execution is a little shoddy.
Turning the crank (especially if you don’t use a motor) is tiring, and gets old after awhile, and I’m not sure if I made any mistakes, but my gears/chain seem to choke and I often get that nasty clicking sound when playing with it.
What I liked:
- A fun, varied building experience
- Height makes it look great on display, with amazing shelf-presence
- Exterior colour scheme
- All the Easter eggs hidden on the inside
What I didn’t like:
- The Drop Tower play feature feels a little flawed
- Drop Tower play feature gets old after awhile
- Feels out of place from the Fairground theme
Final thoughts: I have mixed feelings about 10273 Haunted House. When judging it in isolation, the 2020 LEGO Haunted House makes for a great standalone model, that’s more akin to the Modulars than it is to the other Fairground sets.
The detailed interiors are a delight, especially for more nostalgic LEGO fans who have had fond memories of Johnny Thunder and Baron von Barren in the Adventurers heyday.
I love how much fun the designers were allowed to have, which inadvertently created the feel of a treasure hunt to research and look up all the references littered across the set.
As a display piece, the Haunted House excels primarily due to its height, making it one of the more eye-catching display pieces released in 2020.
The play feature, while clever is ultimately where this set falls short. Mechanical issues such as the grinding gears aside, it just gets old after awhile, and isn’t something you’d happily connect to a motor to run continuously, or show off as a set-piece in your LEGO room.
Thankfully, the set’s appeal (unlike say the Roller Coaster) isn’t centred around the play mechanism, and there’s so much more that’s packed into the set.
The set’s classification, as part of the Fairground Collection doesn’t make much sense to me. While yes, Haunted Houses are (albeit an increasingly rare) staple of theme parks or fairgrounds, but when placed alongside some of the other attractions such as the Carousel, Roller Coaster or Ferris Wheel, it just seems very out of place.
I think the lack of “stuff” around the Haunted House, such as an outside ticketing booth, lines, or even a stall selling horror-themed merch, or even a game booth featuring spooky elements would’ve really made the difference in helping it appear like a believable part of the Fairground.
I feel like the Haunted House is much more suited as a pseudo-modular building, given the architectural and interior similarities to other Modular structures, or even as a standalone set.
That said, it doesn’t detract from it being one of the more unique LEGO models in 2020. LEGO have been on an absolute tear this year, with large-sets applenty, although the majority are licensed sets, or have some sort of pop-culture tie-in.
The “purity” of the Haunted House, as a large detailed LEGO model makes it stand tall amongst other similarly priced sets, and is one of the better sets you could invest in this year. If you’re like most adult LEGO fans who are looking for great sets to display, the Haunted House is a must-buy IF you’re able to get your hands on it.
With Halloween coming up in about a month, and with trick or treating most likely not on the cards this year, the LEGO Haunted House is a great buy to vicariously get into the Halloween spirit, especially if you’re a responsible parent and have to explain to younger children why there’s no trick or treating this year.
One of my chief regrets in life is not buying the 2012 Haunted House when it was out, and I feel with this set, although it lacks the supernatural theme (and Zombies!), it’s my second chance at owning a Haunted House-esque set, and I’m really pleased to add this to my collection.
Thanks for making it all the way to the end, and I hope you enjoyed my review of the 2020 LEGO Haunted House!
10273 Haunted House is available from LEGO.com or your local LEGO store.
Is the Haunted House one of the sets you’ve managed to buy and build this year? I’d love to hear what you think of the set, and how it stacks up against the 2012 Haunted House.
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