10273 Haunted House Review

Theme: Creator Expert
No: 10273
Release Year: 2020 
Cost: AU $349.99
Pieces: 3231 (with 10 minifigures)

Over the years we’ve seen some pretty cool fairground sets, typical of any amusement park, but this? Well, this is something new. With a stunning exterior, a unique play feature and an even more impressive overall size (it didn’t fit in my light tent), this was bound to be a fun one. There’s also a plethora of old LEGO set references, all of which I’ll list down below.

The beautifully design box specifically aims at the 18+ market, and it even has it’s own special logo, mentioning the Fairground Collection, which apparently is now a thing. Inside the box there are 25 numbered bags across 18 steps, with an instruction manual. There’s also three 8×16 black plates, four 16×16 dark tan plates, and not a sticker sheet in sight!

There are 10 minifigures included – two bearded twins who are the creepy ride attendants, wearing black top hats and waistcoats, with a striped blue tie, and two ghosts. These ghosts are very different to what I was hoping for when I read ghosts in the initial press release. Instead of the classic white ‘sheet’ element, it’s a white hood, white torso, white ‘skirt’ brick and spooky white theatre-mask style faces – one is a smile, and one is a sad face – they’re also reversible.

There’s also five visitors:

  • A lady with a lavender top – her hairpiece is a great addition and she has an alternate scared face
  • A man in a knitted sweater sitting in a wheelchair – also with an alternate scared face and carrying an entry ticket
  • A girl in a letterman jacket, presumably from Newbury High School, from the Hidden Side sets (our first reference)
  • A man with sideburns, puffer jacket and purple top (again, the torso has been seen in a Hidden Side set)
  • A lady with a black jacket, striped top and ponytail. Her alternate face is also scared, but it’s a shame that the yellow printing on her torso isn’t the right colour.

Add a single skeleton and that makes 10.

The wheelchair is a brilliant addition – it’s been seen before, in 2016’s 60134 Fun in the Park. It’s great to see it included here, as well as a wheelchair ramp at the entrance to the building!

The build process is a little different to what I was expecting – each wall is almost built separately and joined together in far less places than normal building sets. Normally the bricks are interlaced along the corner to create strength along the whole corner. This build constructs the walls separately, followed by the corner pillar details, with a corner 2×2 brick to cap it off every now and then. It holds strong enough, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. The roof is clever – clipping plates at angles in a very strong method. It’s a shame it’s bare studs, though. Detailed tiles would have looked amazing.

The silver frogs on each corner represent the gargoyles and are perfectly understated. It’s a shame that two of them are left off, however this is because they would be knocked off when the right portion of the front is opened all the way up. It wouldn’t allow the build to open completely to flat.

The olive green and light bluish grey is a perfect colour scheme for a haunted house, as well as the graveyard at the front. While the whole building is fully enclosed, the rear of the build is taken over by the lift and catch mechanism.

Using the gold winder to the left, the chain pulls through until the grey element catches on the lift car. Adding the 150 odd black links was incredibly tedious, but worth it. The right winder disables the car from ascending. I’m not really sure why this was added.

It pulls it up and then releases the car to drop. When the car hits the smaller internal wheels, it catches, spins the large flywheels at the back to slow the car, and lands on the rubber stoppers smoothly. Initially I noticed that the chain was skipping a lot – to fix this simply remove a link to tighten the chain and it will work perfectly every single time.

It’s also brilliant that the car interior can be removed to load the riders. This part has been seen in a couple of Hidden Side sets since, but it was originally created for the Adventurers theme. It’s a shame it’s dark azure, but that was created for the Hidden Side sets, so it made sense to use the existing element. Another link back to the sister (?) haunted theme of LEGO!

The gold trim around the carriage entrance looks spectacular, and finishes the tower off perfectly.

At the very top are some wooden doors that automatically open thanks to some curved plates that collide with the car as it ascends. It shows the scared faces of the riders before sending them hurtling to the ground – a very nice feature.

The entrance is simple and clean, and the doors are very grand. They’re also able to open by turning a dial at the top right of the entrance. It’s a shame there’s no landscaping at the front. Aside from a couple of dead plants, there’s nothing but bare dark tan plate.

Ok, on to the interior and all of those references! The Haunted House itself is the Manor von Barron, presumably owned by Baron von Barron of the LEGO Adventurers theme in the late 90s. Most of them are referred to in the instruction manual, so let’s go in that order.

First up is the Idol of Everest, that sits above the ticket counter. Taken from a temple on Mount Everest (and 7417 Temple of Mount Everest) the colours have been updated, but the rest is the same.

Next is the Obelisk of Evil from 5958 Mummy’s Tomb. The heiroglyphs have been updated to read Ogel (both LEGO backwards and Alpha Team’s enemy).

While the next one is not a reference to an old set, it’s certainly an easter egg – the Organ of Catarino. This beautifully crafted pipe organ is my favourite feature of the set. The 1×2 keyboard tiles are rare, having only appeared in three other sets.

The name is a reference to Tiago Catarino, a former LEGO set designer who left the company. The design of this organ is fantastic – the pedals and stops are all visible, however it is a shame that a green plate was used underneath the top keyboard, as the green is still slightly visible.

Tiago’s initials are also visible on a headstone in the graveyard, which matches the logo on the seal of 21313 Ship in a Bottle – another of Tiago Catarino’s designs.

The Heads of Anubis sit above the organ, and presumably come from 5938 Oasis Ambush.

Moving on to The Face of the Sphinx. Apparently the whole manor was built around the head, that comes from 5978 Sphinx Secret Surprise.

There’s a few more colour changes here – maybe to represent the discoloration of the head after so many years? Next to the head is the Resonator – it doesn’t appear to come from any set, but it was apparently used to harness the power of the Re-Gou Ruby, but ultimately failed.

Behind the Resonator is a TNT detonator for destroying the Sphinx head if it all goes wrong because of a curse.

The next shelf along has a few items. The Orb of OGEL from 6776 Ogel Control Center.

The middle crate of seemingly random items showcases the parts to make up Junkbot. Junkbot was an online puzzle platformer game that was made in 2001.

Lastly, there’s The Golden Dingus (yep, that’s it’s name) from 7412 Yeti’s Hideout.

Moving over to the right are a couple more references. The Altar of Alhazred. The name sounded familiar, so I did some googling. Sure enough, Abdul Alhazred is the so called author of the Necromonicon (The Book of the Dead). This was created by H. P. Lovecraft, known for his horror fiction stories including the Call of Cthulhu that are now etched into popular culture and have influenced many more modern horror and fantasy writers. Under the altar is also a red snake, linking back to the desert theme of Adventurers.

There’s also an upside down skeleton wearing a top hat – The Forbidden Skeleton. The instructions mention Sam Sinister (who the Baron later became apparently), but also possibly a third brother of the twins. So many questions!

A couple of printed angled tiles are seen on the front of the building, with a symbol of a bat and VMVII underneath. In Roman numerals, that’s 6007. In LEGO, that’s 6007 Bat Lord from the Fright Nights theme. There’s also a bat on one of the gravestones. Is the Bat Lord interred there?

Lastly, this is a portrait of Baron Samuel von Barron with the Re-Gou Ruby from 5919 The Valley of the Kings. The Ruby was interred with Pharaoh Hotep, and the common theme was Johnny Thunder and the Baron racing to get it. It looks like the Baron won, but also copped a curse.

Press the nameplate on the front of the building and the Pharaoh appears, thanks to a smaller rear panel and a light up brick. I love that the ruby lines up perfectly.

This is a seriously big set. At 68cm tall, it is imposing and still impresses me as I see it in my living room. The drop itself is expertly crafted and so smooth. It’s a shame that there is no room to move inside the set when it’s closed up, but this isn’t really a problem when it opens up like a dolls house and everything is on display. This has been made up with so many references to old sets, which was a lot of fun to explore. My wishlist for old sets has now grown significantly! If you see this set on a shelf, pick it up.

BUILD: 18/20

OVERALL: 90/100

A special thank you to LEGO for sending me a copy to review. All thoughts on this set are my own and are not influenced in any way, shape or form. The provision of sets for review does not guarantee a favourable review.