Haunt Review: Freakling Bros. Trilogy of Terror (Las Vegas, NV)

A few miles north of the Las Vegas strip, we pulled into the nondescript parking lot of an unremarkable suburban shopping center. The three attractions of the “Trilogy of Terror” were set up in a U-shaped formation. We made our way to the ticket booth and paid $27 for all three attractions. It was early in the night, and the lines were pretty short. The paintings on the facades of the mazes were cool but a little basic. There were some fog machines going, and even one of those colored spinning lights favored by low-rent DJs. We’ll admit that we didn’t think it looked completely awesome from the outside. But as anyone who’s watched a horror movie should know: you shouldn’t be fooled by outward appearances; the real evil is never what you expect.

We’ve been going to haunts for 20 years. We’ve been through  a lot of mazes/haunted houses/walk-through attractions. And we can easily say that Freakling Bros. Trilogy of Terror in Las Vegas contains the three craziest and scariest haunted attractions we have ever experienced.

Attractions

Circus of Horrors

The show really starts in the line, as a freaky clown takes your ticket while an evil ringmaster looks on from the steps above, deriding the clown and threatening him with violence for being too nice to the customers. It was an entertaining but subtle act, and it instantly reminded us of the movie Fun House, which fit in perfectly with the circus haunt. Only small groups are allowed inside at a time, although it’s timed well and the line does move (unlike the lines of torture at Bonnie Screams). While in line, we watched people exiting the haunt–some were running, some were screaming, but they all had a huge, dazed smile on their faces that told us something crazy was going on inside. We even saw two groups leave the maze through the Chicken Exit. It had been a long time since we’d been in an attraction like that, so it really started to get us amped up and curious about what was inside.

 

Before entering the maze, the Ringmaster drew us close together and told us the rules (typical stuff like don’t touch the actors or props, etc.). Once inside, we found ourselves in a room with a couple of freaks and no exit. Immediately, we sensed that this was going to be a different type of attraction, not the standard type where you just keep walking, pushing your way from scene to scene through shredded curtains. In fact, in many of the rooms, you have to open doors yourself or wait for something to happen before you can proceed. Needless to say, this really increases the suspense. We feel that it would be a felony to spoil the amazing scares with too much detail in our review, so we will keep it general. What you will not find in this attraction are black-light gimmicks, clowns with chainsaws, frenetic circus music, and silly 3D effects. The Freakling Bros. have mastered the art of lighting only what they want you to see. This maze has doors that open by themselves, a crazy room with inflatable balls that you have to actually pick up and move out of your way in order to get through the room, and a particularly suspenseful and ingenious ending involving “feeding the beast” that had us screaming and laughing like crazy. There are extended interactions with a some of the actors, all of whom were top notch. We exited this attraction breathless from screaming so much. We thought, “That must have been the best one of the three. Nothing could top that.” Boy, were we wrong.

Haunt Design: 4.5 skulls

Scare Factor: 6 skulls

 

Castle Vampyre

It’s hard to make a vampire attraction scary. Vampires are just lazy, narcissistic zombies, who spend their immortal lives making their castles look fancy. But not in Castle Vampyre. After waiting in a longer line and watching yet some more people leave through the Chicken Exit, it was our turn and we were again given the spiel about not touching the actors, etc., and let inside. Inside, it did look like an old castle. The mood and lighting were set perfectly. The monsters came at us from all angles–under the floor, behind the walls, out from the ceiling. In a dark passageway, a creepy hand seemed to float out from the wall right in front of our faces. Although it never seemed that there were too many monsters in any of the mazes, we were amazed at how the scares seemed to be nonstop. This maze had some unique setups, including a room that at first appeared to contain only 2 mirrors on the walls. It was only when you stepped in front of one of the mirrors that you realized it was actually a doorway you had to step through, not a mirror (and so, like a vampire, you don’t see your reflection). This is an example of how well the Freakling Bros. manage to make you disbelieve everything you see, which leads to disorientation and a huge amount of suspense.

Another room had no way out, and the ceiling started to close in on us. We literally had to crawl our way out of a door that finally opened on its own. This maze also had one of the craziest things we’ve seen in a haunt: a vampire who flies above you and straight at you.

Haunt Design: 5 skulls

Scare Factor: 6 skulls

Gates of Hell

This attraction is “Rated R,” and no one under 17 is allowed inside without a parent or guardian. When we read this on their web site, we thought it was probably just hype. But after going through the first two attractions, we actually were nervous about going inside this one. We couldn’t imagine how it could be more extreme than the first two, both of which had us screaming the whole way through.

In line for Gates of Hell, they make you sign a waiver. This waiver says, among other things, that you will be touched and hear offensive language, and you agree not to retaliate. The waiver also mentioned that people with claustrophobia and asthma should not go inside.  We hesitated only a moment before signing. Again, we drew in close to hear the warning spiel, this time from the Grim Reaper himself. Only this time, he warned us that we would be verbally abused and touched. “What the hell is going on in there?” we thought. But we had no time to worry, because we were quickly ushered inside.

We were greeted by a shirtless guy in a gas mask who tells us to follow his directions if we want to survive. He then separated us and put us into tiny “lockers” and shut the door. This is obviously where the “claustrophobia” part comes in. This part does go on for a bit, so if you are claustrophobic, or even just nervous in the dark, your anxiety levels probably will go sky high. But it’s over soon enough, and we began to make our way through the maze.

The attraction takes you through various scenes of horror–suicides, murders, grizzly and bloody scenes. Beware of the dead, because they are likely to suddenly come back to life. There are also passages of complete darkness. Most disconcerting was the lack of music in this haunt–it was replaced by the sound of a busy signal from a telephone, sometimes interrupted with a classic telephone ringing. You may not think this sounds scary, but the sounds were jarring and unexpected. And if you think about it, what do you feel when you hear a telephone ring? Anxiety, because you’ve been conditioned to want someone to answer a ringing phone. It’s so subtle, but effective.

Again, the scares were nonstop in this attraction. People did grab us–our feet, arms, shoulders. In some scenes, the actors pushed us through doors or physically blocked us from moving forward. The “verbal abuse” occurred in only one scene and was not too shocking, but the scare was excellent. Finally, at the end of the maze, we met a woman who prepared us to face Satan himself. But she had a “shocking” surprise that had us screaming for mercy.

Haunt Design: 4.5 skulls

Scare Factor: 6 skulls


Summary

We were completely blown away by the Trilogy of Terror. Each attraction was better than the one before it. We recommend visiting the attractions in the order we did: Circus of Horrors, Castle Vampyre, and then Gates of Hell. Although the sets inside were detailed, they of course don’t reach the level of, say, Halloween Horror Nights. But theme park haunts surely have budgets many, many times greater than the Freakling Bros. Nevertheless, we were very impressed with the level of detail inside. We also think that the scares are more intense and better executed than any other haunt we’ve ever experienced. These attractions are long and truly terrifying. We can definitely see why some people left through the Chicken Exit.

If the lines are long, they have a Fast Pass for an additional $10 that gets you to the front of the line. And the best part is that the pass is a Freakling Bros. t-shirt, so for $10, you get to the front of the line and a shirt. This is one of the best values we’ve ever seen at a haunt. We definitely recommend purchasing it.

You may notice that the scare factors for these haunts have gone off our typical 1 to 5 skull rating scale. Freakling Bros. is the first haunt to earn a 666 skull rating from Scare Zone! We hope that you will plan to visit this amazing haunt. Freakling Bros. made our entire trip to Las Vegas worthwhile.

Overall Rating for Freakling Bros. Trilogy of Terror: 6(66) skulls

20 Comments

  1. We enjoyed your review my family and I also love to go to different haunts and freaing. Bros is one of our favs along with the grove

  2. Greetings all! I happen to be the performer who dishes out said “verbal abuse” at the Gates (as well as having helped design costumes and a little assembly of the house proper) and I will say all of us at Freakling Bros. are -thrilled- at this review! We talked about it Saturday night and the owners (who are fantastic and dedicated people) are over the moon at it.

    When we heard that Scare Zone had been by (and we weren’t even told) and that you loved it we just knew we’d been doing something right.

    Now…how to top this in a few years…?

    • Ahhhhh the Executioner found us! We are passionate “haunt stalkers” and do all we can to provide our readers with honest reviews. In our experience there’s nothing worse than going to an over-hyped haunt that just wants to put it’s bony fingers into people’s wallets. After nearly 20 years of of going to haunts (started as teenagers), we are far from being jaded and still get scared with the rest but your attractions have set a new bar for our crew who had thought we’ve seen it all. Even this weekend we were comparing some new L.A. haunts we attended with Freakling Bros.

      Stay tuned for our end of season rankings for all the haunts we visited across the country in 2011. I have a feeling you may make top some of the lists this year ;)

      How can you “top this in a few years”? We think you should keep expanding your perfect formula. You have the perfect mix of sophisticated sets, actors, and scares. Keep creating unique interactive environments that force guests to fight pass their fears to get through each room. It’s the feeling of being vulnerable and unable to hide behind others that makes your mazes terrifying. We can’t wait to see what evils you have in mind for future years. Thank you for being one of the highlights of the season.

      • Thanks so much for the encouragement. I’ll pass it along, since technically, the season isn’t over for us yet.

        I and our head of costuming are still cleaning, repairing, and doing inventory of every costume for all three houses for the next week. We’ll be meeting with the head of Freakling Bros. at week’s end for final inventory and storage, but will be doing some refinement work in the off-season with some other very talented individuals.

        So glad we could terrify you, as well as thousands of others this season. It’s a new era for all of us with Freakling Bros. and being declared one of the tops by you makes us want to -stay- at the top of the heap!

  3. I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED THE GATES OF HELL the best part was when you lined up and 3 guys started shooting at u i LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I would definitely attend this. Sounds awesome. Would like to do it this year but not enough time to travel and also am involved in my own home haunt. Next year i will be attending this attraction gauranteed and will be traveling all the way from so. cal

  5. Why am I just now discovering this website? I am getting ready to retire and have my first official plan – to spend the month of October traveling around to haunted attractions! Yay! I agree with this review word for word – we went to the Circus of Horrors last year so I bought Castle Vampyre and Gates of Hell (at a discount, of course)! The line was shorter for the Castle so we went in first. We all loved it. My daughter’s boyfirend was coming across town to meet us, so I told her if the Gates of Hell was supposed to be scarier, he could use my ticket. Was I ever glad I did! I’m basically a chicken, but OK holding on to my honey. When I found out you were separated and closed in, I was glad I missed it. 4 huge thumbs up from the brave ones. And a huge thumbs up from me for these very accurate reviews!

    • Thank you Fedcamper. We admire that you get to retire and plan to spend your time haunt stalking. Please explore our site and keep visiting as we keep the haunting going all year.

  6. Been a huge haunt buff since I was a teenager. I’m in my 30’s now and am just the fanatic about a good scare as I was back then. The world of the haunt is changing with the times and without a doubt these three houses have really rocked my world!!!! The outside actors are astounding. I can’t figure out if that clown is acting or really is sick!!! The actors inside of gates flung me out of reality and right into theirs. Until I ran out that door screaming I completely forgot I was in Vegas!!! Castle Vampire, Circus of Horros, and the Gates of Hell are without a doubt the best haunts in the country!!!

    • We’re with you Sophie! That’s a great point as Trilogy of Terror did transport us to another world.

  7. How do they top the “Trilogy of Terror”? Have it be something that deserves an X-rating, but of course, no nudity or anything like that. Just extreme horror beyond belief! I just watched “Paranormal Activity 3” in the past few days, and that movie really was the best out of the three. There were plenty of frightful scares that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. I know they could do a “Paranormal Activity” haunt for halloween, something very spellbinding and extremely spooky, IF they want to. I know there is a creative mind out there to make this “Trilogy of Terror” haunt pale in comparison. I am waiting impatiently!

  8. Glad you guys liked it! I hope yall can stop by again. This crazy clown would love to take your tickets, might just eat ’em for yah too. ^.o

    • We’ll try not to get you in trouble next time Nutzo, your boss is so mean.

    • I loved the circus of horrors i plan on going back to vampire, and if i can convince my parents 666, your boss was funny i was there last night but he was mean hope to see you again soon

  9. I checked out these and several other haunts, these are pretty good, but I have been to scarier. My problem is I went to their website and they are claiming being the “Number 1 Haunt in America” according to Scare Zone. I read the review, Scare Zone really likes the haunts, but I never read anywhere where you stated they were number 1??? I hate unsubstantiated claims!! Another haunt in town claims to be Las Vegas’ #1 haunt…it’s their FIRST year!!!

    Dn’t get me wrong, these haunts are good, but NOT #1 in the nation!!! So am I missing something? Did you actually rate them #1 in the nation? If so maybe you need to state it clearer or are they need to stop making unfounded claims!I have read many of your reviews and use them as a guide for which haunts I actually visit. These guys should promote your review, it was good…. but they should put words (or claims) in your mouth. It lowers them to the level of the newbie #1 in Vegsa guys!!

    Keep up the good work, love the reviews even the haunts I may never get to see!

    • M.Leota

      October 31, 2011 at 8:39 am

      Since the writers at Scare Zone have not been to every haunt in America, we certainly cannot claim that Freakling Bros. is the #1 haunt in the nation. (Side note: “#1 haunt” is a poor choice of words anyway–“#1” in terms of what, exactly?) We are asserting that of the mazes/haunted houses we have experienced (a considerable number, although mostly on the West Coast), Freakling Bros. was the scariest. But certainly, there are a lot of other haunts out there in America (or even in other countries) that we have yet to visit, and there definitely could be something scarier out there. What Freakling Bros. chooses to write on their own Web site is up to them. We had nothing to do with the wording they chose.

      We also know that what is scary to us may not be scary to someone else. A person’s experience at a haunt can be very individualized. Some people freak out at clowns, some people hate gore, and some people are not affected at all. So although we thought Freakling Bros. was excellent and really scary, we understand that someone else might not think the same. We welcome other opinions, and if you know of a scarier haunt we have to visit, let us know!!

  10. JT we met tonite the giant leatherface call me if u need me to work holloween nite 847-707-2764 mike

  11. Belial The Demon

    November 11, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Hi all. I’m the fire breathing demon “Belial” outside of the Gates of Hell (and for the previous 3 years the fire breathing Scorch the Clown from outside of the Circus of Horrors). What Freakling Bros. means by “#1 according to Scare Zone” is that our Trilogy of Terror is the first and only haunt(s) that have gotten 6 out of 5 skulls from Scare Zone. Everyone of us actors enjoys nothing more than scaring others for the entire season. We do what we do because it’s what YOU love, and we love being the ones doing it. Thank you so much for all of the wonderfull things you had to say about us & our haunts. Make sure to come back next season and see what we have tweeked and updated… we already have a few ideas on what to improve and change…. MUAHAHAHAHA!!!

  12. went through all the shows and all were great in there own way. enjoyed being ‘in the band’ this year!

  13. Scorch the Clown returns this year to a NEWLY UPGRADED AND CHANGED Circus of Horrors! You have GOT to come back and re-review! MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Freakling Brother’s Horror Shows is vowing to stay on top with anothr “666” rating!

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