Archive for the ‘Dallas/Ft. Worth’ Category

Bloody Valentine’s Haunts 2014

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

The first haunt season of 2014 is arriving with some love and lots of fear for Haunt Stalkers. If you find it romantic to be stalked by spooks, frightened by freaks, and chased by chainsaws then check out this line up of Valentine’s Day Night haunts that promise to get your heart pumping.

It’s a known fact that being scared is physiologically arousing, so hold your loved one(s) by the hand and pray it stays attached to their body. As we always say, love will never do without haunts.

 

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Alabama

Warehouse 31 - Birmingham

Arx Mortis - Killen

California

All Saints Lunatic Asylum-Dark Hearts - Apple Valley

Talladega Frights-My Bloody Valentine - Bakersfield

Sinister Pointe-Battle Royale - Brea

Zombie Joe’s Urban Death Tour of Terror - North Hollywood

Horrors of Love” Valentine’s Haunted House – San Francisco

Colorado

The 13th Floor-A candlelit night of Horror  – Denver

Connecticut

Scream Acres - Covington

Florida

Legends Dark Amusements-A Haunting in Old Town - Kissimmee

Illinois

Fear City Haunted House Valentine’s Zombie Massacre Party – Chicago

New Jersey

Brighton Asylum-Dark Romance - New Jersey

New York

District of the Dead-Eat Your Heart Out - Buffalo

Blood Manor  – NYC - Scare Zone has visited Blood Manor on Valentine’s Day and had a bloody good time. Read our review here.

Times Scare – NYC

 

Oklahoma

The Asylum-Bloody Valentine  – Nowatta

The Sanctuary-Tunnel of Love  – Oklahoma City

 

Pennsylvania 

Castle Blood’s Valentine’s Show - Monessen

Valentine’s Ghost Tour – Philadelphia

The Scarehouse – Pittsburgh

Tennessee

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure: My Bloody Valentine – Gatlinburg

Texas

Chainsaw Massacre - Amarillo

House of Torment – Austin

Moxley Manor-Valentine’s Day Massacre  - Bedford

The Parker House – Denton

Cutting Edge-Twisted Love - Fort Worth SZ Review

Tayman Graveyard-Valentine Massacre - Midlothian

Dark Hour Haunted House-Love is Blind - Plano

13th Floor Haunted House – San Antonio

Virginia

St. Albans Sanatorium - Radford

We hope you have a horrifyingly Valentine’s NIGHT! 

 

Haunt Profile & Reviews: Reindeer Manor Abusement Park (TX)

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Halloween in Texas is a Scary Good Time ! And as we get closer to that time of year again we’ll soon start to feel the cool breeze in the air, the eerie clouds above the city and the beautiful autumn leaves flowing in the wind. Who are we kidding? In Texas, itʼs 90 degrees in October with maybe a few days of a brisk cool night if weʼre lucky. Nonetheless, Dallas is a thriving Mecca for Halloween. Everything from theater productions, themed orchestra performances, pumpkin patches, pumpkin carving contests, harvest festivals, costume contests, organized trick or treating and haunted houses.

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After attending HauntCon earlier this year we can honestly say that Dallas is one of the largest haunted house markets in the entire country, and now with Halloween being the second largest celebrated time of the year, itʼs no wonder why people travel the distances they do to visit the many haunted attractions Dallas provides. One such place is Reindeer Manor Abusement Park. Reindeer Manor is one of the few attractions in Dallas with a true haunted past. So much that in the off season they host a number of paranormal tours for the many ghost hunting groups in Texas. Is it haunted? Well, you’ll have to visit and find out for yourself.

Nestled in the back country of a small Texas town named Red Oak. Now in itʼs 40th Season, itʼs a property rich in atmosphere and with no shortage of fear. Your journey to Reindeer Manor begins with a long creepy, winding trek down a quarter mile dirt road surrounded by trees, reminiscent of something out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You park your car and are promptly loaded into a tractor pulling hayride that takes you far, far away from the safety of your vehicle. Through the dimly lit trees and cool air, your ride soon emerges into Texasʼ very own dose of fall with a trip around the complex revealing a sneak peak at each of the three attractions taunting you of the fear to come. 13th Street Morgue, Dungeon Of Doom and Reindeer Manor Haunted Houses provide a full night of entertainment while immersing you into the historical and well documented haunted past of this very spooky place.

Reindeer Manor Abusement Park has received such high ranks as 13th Street Morgueʼs readers choice award, Dungeon Of Doom twice being named Dallas Observerʼs “Best Haunted House in the DFW Metroplex” and Reindeer Manor being featured in several newspaper publications, e-zines, magazines and DVDʼs including “Halloween: The Happy Haunting Of America”.

 

Haunt Review: 13th Street Morgue 

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IMG_1802Of the three attractions at Reindeer Manor Abusement Park, 13TH Street Morgue was our favorite. It was non-stop scary with a consistent theming throughout it’s indoor, outdoor, upstairs and downstairs settings.  The details inside are incredibly realistic with cobwebs everywhere and aged prop pieces. Even small details, like the wall paintings, window dressings,  meticulously placed furniture and  knick-knacks make the place believably haunted.

This is also one of the few haunted house attractions that knows how produce unique and believably threatening scares. The scareactors were top-notch with a mix of serious character actors and acrobatic performers who all go out of their way to scare you to death. Their timing is perfect and they all stay in character.  The haunt also employs special effects but only subtly so no to become distractions from the authentically creepy atmospheres.

We have to say that if you’re in the Dallas, Texas area during Haunt Season. You need to make the trip out to experience this haunted attraction. It is the epitome of the Haunted House experience.

 

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 5 skulls
  • Theming: 5 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 4.5 skulls
  • Fright Value: 5 skulls

Overall Rating of 13th Street Morgue: 5 Skulls

Haunt Review: Dungeon of Doom

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Dungeon of Doom is slightly shorter (but still long compare to standard haunts) and and less elaborate than 13th Street Morgue. This haunted house has more sporadic scenes with less consistent theming. It seemed to have everything that would “cause your doom” featured inside. This maze had more generic scenery  and scare tactics but it still kept the scare factor at an intense level and is a strong compliment to the 13th Street Morgue.
There were some nice effects such as a passage way with strobe lights that gave the illusion of  moving walls. There was also an odd effect with a spinning  platform that is hard to navigate, especially when a ghoul begins to chase you. They also used air guns, a jackhammer, and of course a chainsaw in some of the mazes most startling scenes. The big scares could mainly be attributed to the very eager scareactors “popping out” versus any kind suspense which we encountered inside the 13th Street Mourge. Inside the dungeon we had monsters sneaking up behind us, banging on walls, screaming at us, taunting us, and even touching us. Some of the performers took their acts to levels past PG-13 (which we don’t mind) but it could make other Haunt Stalkers feel sheepish.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 3.5 skulls
  • Theming: 3.5 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 4.5 skulls
  • Fright Value: 5 skulls

Overall Rating of Dungeon of Doom: 4 Skulls

 

2013 Haunt Season Information

Dates:Sept. 28th, October 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26, 27, 31, November 1, 2 and encore performances November 9th

Hours: Fridays 8:00pm-12:30am, Saturdays 7:00pm-12:30am, Select Sunday and Halloween 7:00pm-10:00pm

Location: 410 Houston School Rd. Red Oak, Texas 75154

Cost: $35 Adult Combo Ticket, $17 Child Combo Ticket. Admits entrance to all three attractions. Coupons available online

Websites: texashaunt.com, reindeermanor.com

Special Event:

Holiday in the Dark, Sunday October 27th. Experience all three haunted attractions in complete darkness with only one glow stick to light your way. Three Attractions, One Glow Stick, Total Darkness. Open 7pm-10pm

Hangman’s Unhappily Ever After… The End

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

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This year will mark the 25th and (sadly) final season of Hangman’s House of Horrors.

Hangman’s House of Horrors is one of the premier haunts in Texas and one of the top charity-benefiting haunted houses in the nation! To date, they’ve terrorized over half a million victims and donated more than $1.8 million to local charities! For much of its history, proceeds went to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Tarrant County. In 2005, it expanded to include other charities such as the American Cancer Society, Rocky Top Therapy Center, SafeHaven of Tarrant County, Cenikor Foundation and A Wish With Wings. To accomplish this enormous feat Hangman’s has enlisted more than 1,000 volunteers each year — from the actors to ticket-takers and concession workers to security personnel.

During the HauntCon Tour we were able to experience this venerable haunt in both a ‘lights on’ tour and in full ‘show’ mode. From our REVIEW it earned a solid overall rating of 3.5 Skulls from us with higher ratings for their Haunt Design and Fright Value.

For their final act their theme will be “Unhappily Ever After…The End”, A creepy and dark retelling of the classic fairy tales! This returns to one of the most popular themes in Hangman’s history: “Scary Tales”. Hangman’s is an enormous haunt and will take a minimum of 25 minutes (at a running in terror pace) to get through. It includes a mix of  scareactors and animatronics within a wide array of rooms featuring elements like uneven floors, spinning tunnels, swinging bridges, claustrophobic hallways, and even a “find your way our” maze. Just about every traditional haunt element and character you can think of can be found inside this House of Horrors.

Unhappily Ever After will feature riffs on Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Wizard of Oz, Hansel and Gretel and other classic tales. And of course perennial favorites, such as the black-and-white checkered room, the scary clowns and the spinning tunnel, will remain. So will the 3-D Wonderland attraction and the Labyrinth maze. The attraction previously inhabited by scary hillbillies in “McDagenville” will change to an on-trend zombie theme of “outbreak.”

It’s disappointing that a long standing haunt institution, like Hangman’s is calling it quits. However, in the world of horror, the term “Final Season” doesn’t necessariraly mean the absolute end and maybe after opening on Friday the 13th, Hangman’s will find a way to  have “A New Beginning”.

Hangman’s FINAL SEASON runs September 13 through November 2

Check their WEBSITE for tickets and times.

Haunt Review: Cutting Edge (Fort Worth, TX)

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

This week, we continue our coverage of HauntCon 2013 with a review of the “World’s largest haunted house”: Cutting Edge, in Fort Worth.

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Cutting Edge has been on Scare Zone’s “Must Do” list for a long time. After all, it does hold a Guinness World Record for being the largest haunted house, and it’s certainly one of the most well-marketed haunts in Texas. Unfortunately, we came to find out that, as with many things, bigger does not always equal better.

Cutting Edge is definitely massive. It’s located in an old meat-packing plant that occupied more than 200,000 square feet of space. On the night we visited, it was very crowded; the main parking lot was full, and we were directed to a dirt lot across the street. The line was pretty long, but it did move quickly. We noticed that the crowd here looked much younger, mostly preteens and teenagers. In the queue area, extremely LOUD music was blasting. It was so loud that it was very hard to have a conversation while waiting in line, and because it wasn’t themed or providing any kind of atmosphere (since it was just popular music), it really didn’t add anything to the experience. We’re always disappointed when haunts don’t take advantage of extending their experience into the queue. It’s an opportunity to build suspense and anticipation for what’s inside. Unfortunately, Cutting Edge’s queue only built up a feeling of annoyance, which would end up permeating our entire visit.

Although some of the meat-processing equipment of the original building is still used in the haunt, there is no overall slaughterhouse theme. Instead, the haunt goes through many different themes, such as vampires, jungle, clowns, graveyard, a closet full of shirts (?), and even Saw. Although we don’t usually like “haunt stew,” it’s understandable when you’re talking about a walk-through attraction of this magnitude. But we wish more thought had been put into the transitions between scenes. Some of the scenes didn’t make much sense at all and had us wondering “what is this scene supposed to be?” and the lighting was so dim that it was hard to make out the props, sets, and actors. Darkness is definitely an important element in all haunted attractions, but the smart use of specific lighting helps build up suspense for the scene ahead. If you can’t see anything at all, you won’t be scared when something jumps out at you. For this reason, we didn’t find Cutting Edge to be scary at all. Instead, it felt like we were stuck in the world’s longest conga line during a power outage.

Cutting Edge relies on many oversized props for their big “scares.” We saw giant snake heads, giant rat heads, giant lizard heads, and so on. At first, these props were cool, but after about the fifth time of seeing them, they lost their novelty. It’s never a good idea to buy haunt props in bulk. Also, the music in this haunt was disjointed and didn’t have anything to do with the scenes. We heard Marilyn Manson, Depeche Mode, and even Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” as we passed through the sets.

Most of the actors were nondescript, and and their main “scare” seemed to be sticking their hands in front of you as you pass by. This type of scare is not very effective, and maybe the loud music made it pointless for the actors to bother making any kind of noise because most of them were silent. We think Cutting Edge could have benefited from attending the seminar at HauntCon called “Designing an Actor-Friendly Haunt.” Most of the scenes were not set up well for scares, and even though the actors were trying, we just didn’t hear many screams coming from the guests.

About halfway through the maze, we came across an additional queue. A live band was playing as guests filed by, which is pretty unique and a good way to break up the “conga line” inside the maze. The queue led into a Saw-themed mini-maze in which every guest was given a glow stick and told that once inside the maze, they’d have a few minutes in complete darkness to look for the only door out. It was complete chaos inside as people ran around in all directions looking for the one correct “exit” while encountering a lot of dead ends. But it certainly wasn’t completely dark, as 100 glow sticks (plus people turning on their cell phones to help them see) actually created a lot of light. This mini-maze was more annoying than scary or even fun, and it had no actors, just more loud music. After a few minutes, the lights came on, and if you hadn’t find the correct “exit,” you were now allowed to go through any door you wanted.

Finally, we should mention the water. There is a lot of water in this maze and you will get wet. There were probably some kind of signs warning us about this ahead of time, but we missed them and were taken by surprise. At one point, we were forced to walk underneath a waterfall. Other rooms had dripping or spraying elements, and the end of the maze takes you through a room of foam up to your waist. We recommend wearing old clothes and shoes you don’t mind being damp for a few days afterward. The water elements at Cutting Edge are not something we’ve encountered in any haunt we’ve been to before, but they really didn’t add any scare factor.

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Cutting Edge’s website advertises that it will take about 55 minutes to get through the attraction, and we found this to be pretty accurate. However, we were pretty bored after about 20 minutes. This was the first time we ever wished a haunt were shorter. It’s disappointing that a maze of this size couldn’t be more imaginative or scary. Although Cutting Edge is probably the most famous haunted house in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we experienced much better attractions during our time in Texas. Although Cutting Edge may be the longest, you’ll get better and more scares for your money at other haunts such as Parker House, Reindeer Manor, and Hangman’s House of Horrors.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 2.5 skulls
  • Theming: 2.5 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 2 skulls
  • Fright Value: 2.5 skulls

Overall Rating of Cutting Edge Haunt House: 2.5 Skulls

Haunt Review: Hangman’s House of Horrors

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Artwork and Logo 2012Hangman’s House of Horrors is one of the premier haunts in Texas and one of the top charity-benefiting haunted houses in the nation! To date, they’ve terrorized over half a million victims and donated more than $1.8 million to local charities! This year marks their 25th anniversary and during the HauntCon Tour we were able to experience this venerable haunt in both a ‘lights on’ tour and in full ‘show’ mode.

During the time of our visit they were still running their 2012 theme - Hangman’s Drive-In Horror. They are currently working on creating a new show for the 2013 haunt season. From what we saw during the ‘lights on’ tour, they won’t (can’t) change around too many of the rooms inside but will make a few changes here and there to keep the experience as fresh as possible for their repeat Haunt Stalkers.

Hangman’s is an enormous haunt and will take a minimum of 25 minutes (at a running in terror pace) to get through. It includes a mix of  scareactors and animatronics within a wide array of rooms featuring elements like uneven floors, spinning tunnels, swinging bridges, claustrophobic hallways, and even a “find your way our” maze. Just about every traditional haunt element and character you can think of can be found inside this House of Horrors.

As our Haunt Stalkers know, we’re not big fans of haunts that don’t have a consistent theme. Going from a room with zombies, to a psycho clown circus, into an alien spaceship distracts us from the scares. Inconsistent theme transitions are  jarring to us and diminish the pseudo-reality of the experience. We can get into the idea that we’re in an alien invasion or demented circus, but don’t believe the two would coexists; unless we’re talking about the Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

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Hangman’s can easily be classified as one of the haunts that’s an amalgam of all things scary. However, they’ve cleverly derived an overarching story that helps them get away with it. By using the Drive-In Horror theme they’ve set the theme of being a terrifying journey through the varied world of horror movies. This is accomplished in the first scene where we’re in a creepy concessions stand that has a big screen playing various clips from classic horror movies. An usher then appears and motions us up to the screen, which impressively splits open to reveal a long spinning tunnel. This is our portal into the movies and the rather random scenes of terror to follow. The simple effort of establishing the maze as a trip through the movies made it easier for us be forgiving to their sporadic mix of themes and characters inside.

It probably wasn’t the best arrangement for us to do the lights-on tour before we went through the full haunt experience. On the tour we saw where the scares were and the secrets to their many special effects. Nonetheless, we still had a few scary moments during ‘show mode’ and even got lost for a few minutes inside the maze room (even though we had tried to memorize the layout). Inside Hangman’s we found some rooms to be much more elaborate than others. We won’t give it all away but there were some noteworthy highlights.

Our favorite room inside the haunt would have to be the room set to the original Night of the Living Dead. This room is one of their newer additions and they recreated the effect of the black and white movie by using flashing black-light against the white sketched sets and costumes creating the awesome effect of actually being inside the old black and white movie. This effect reminded us of one of our favorite HHN Orlando mazes from last year, Universal’s House of Horrors. There also were some very surprising scares inside the Living Dead graveyard and the best zombie scareactor we’ve encountered… ever! The haunt had scenes from Jurassic Park featuring a menacing giant Tex Rex head. There also were scenes from The Toxic Avenger, Sweeny Todd, Trick o Treat, and Friday the 13th. Some of these were interesting and more obscure horror movie references but most of the scenes were nicely recreated. We thought during the show that the Friday the 13th maze could of been much scarier if the scene had better lighting along with giving Jason and his mother more places to hide in. In addition to the movie scenes, there were the traditional clown, dolls, medical lab, and slaughter house rooms; to name a few.

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In addition to the classic Hangman’s House of Horrors they have two side attractions: McDagenville and 3-D Wonderland. The former is a short but elaborately cannibalistic Hillbilly themed haunt with a few good scares inside but some of the scareactors did seem to get overzealous (annoyingly) in their roles. The latter, 3-D Wonderland, wasn’t intended to be scary but featured some extremely impressive 3D sets. It was akin to walking through the Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland.

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Even without the pre-tour we still don’t imagine that we would of found Hangman’s to be a terrifying intense experience. It does have consistent scares throughout the length of the attraction with most being the monster around the corner type of scares. What Hangman’s does offer is a frightfully fun adventure through a horror variety show. This works well as it’s the kind of haunt that newer haunters and seasoned haunt stalkers can both find enjoyment and scares in. During the HauntCon tour we truly appreciated the hospitality extended to us by the Hangman’s team. They’re very passionate about their haunt and are doing it for charity, which is extremely admirable. Hangman’s also features a very large haunt store where you can buy costumes, props, and just about anything else you would need to go trick o’ treating, or for your own home haunt.

If you are out haunt stalking in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area we recommend that you be sure to include Hangman’s House of Horrors on your scare-itinerary as they are one of the top haunted attractions in Texas.

Ratings:

  • Haunt Design: 4 skulls
  • Theming: 2.5 skulls
  • Scare Factor: 3 skulls
  • Fright Value: 4.5 skulls

Overall Rating of Hangman’s House of Horrors: 3.5 Skulls

Trip Report: HAuNTCon 2013 (Dallas, TX)

Friday, May 17th, 2013

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Scare Zone made the trek out to Texas in April to experience HAuNTCon, one of the larger yearly haunt conventions. We had a great time attending seminars, meeting professional and home haunters, and touring the tradeshow floor to see the latest and craziest offerings in the haunt industry. We did find the tradeshow floor be to rather small and sparse of vendors but the focus of the convention was the education sessions, most of which were free. So we still found the show passes to be a good value. More-so than the National Haunter’s Convention which we attended in 2011.

Of course, the top attraction for us was being able to tour the local haunted attractions. Each year, the convention travels to a new city, and one of the main reasons for this is to be able to take attendees to different haunts each year on its haunt tours. The Dallas/Fort Worth area has one of the largest concentrations of haunts, but we were still impressed to find out that the pre-show and weekend haunt tours would include approximately 16 different haunted attractions.

We will be providing separate, full reviews of the haunted attractions we visited that were also in full operational mode and open to the public during our visit. But our tours also included a private, behind-the-scenes look at many other haunted attractions, so we’ll be providing our thoughts on those in this post. We did miss one haunt on the tour–Zombie Manor. We have heard that this is a really great and well-themed attraction, and we’re sorry we missed it and won’t be able to provide our review.

Overall, we experienced some great attractions, some so-so attractions, and some kind of terrible ones. Our top 6 favorites are the following:

  1. 13th Street Morgue (located at Reindeer Manor) [will receive a full review in a separate post]
  2. Parker House
  3. Moxley Manor
  4. Hangman’s House of Horrors [will receive a full review in a separate post]  
  5. The Dungeon of Doom
  6. The Haunt House

Now here’s a look inside the haunts we toured during HAuNTCon 2013, from day 1 through day 2.

The Haunt House (Caddo Mills, TX)

Haunt House was voted as one of the best haunts in the country by HauntWorld in 2012. The haunt features an impressive facade that sets the stage for the detailed sets and intense scares inside. The attraction is very long, with winding paths that go up and down hill. The walls often close in on you, and the low ceilings promote a feeling of claustrophobia.  We really liked the great detail work they did on many of the sets, especially the interior rooms such as the library and the stairwell. Some of the “outdoor” scenes were more generic, but we saw many places for good scares. Overall, the theme didn’t come through to clearly to us, as their website provides a back story about a carnival dark ride gone awry. We didn’t see too much evidence of this theme. The owner of Haunt House is a long-time haunted attraction veteran, and he was on-hand to teach a few seminars at the convention. He has a lot of passion for his attraction and the industry, and this is one of the reasons why Haunt House will continue to be one of the best attractions in Texas.

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Fatal End, featuring “Dollz” (Downtown Dallas, TX)

This attraction changes its theme every 2 years. Currently, it’s themed to, as its name suggests, “dolls.” Specifically, “an old doll store and factory in an old abandoned warehouse in Downtown Dallas” in the early 1900s. The back story describes the dollmaker running out of doll parts and resorting to digging up bodies from the local cemetery. For the most part, this attraction sticks to its theme well. There are dolls and doll parts all over the maze, although more heavily used in some scenes than others. Sometimes the placement of the doll parts seemed a little haphazard. Our trip through the Dollz attraction was in show mode, but without actors. But we easily imagined actors in those creepy doll-face masks terrorizing guests. The flow of the maze was interrupted by some scenes that didn’t fit in very well, including an elaborate laboratory scene and a blacklight toxic waste scene with gas masks. In addition, the extremely loud industrial music piped throughout the maze definitely did not fit with the 1900′s time period at all (see our “Six Ways to Ruin a Haunt” article for our opinion about this). The maze was long and had some interesting scenes, but we’d like to see them work on the atmosphere and tighten up the theming.

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Slaughterhouse (Dallas, TX)

The slaughterhouse theme is very popular in haunted attractions, and it’s probably one of the easiest themes to pull off. Just hang a bunch of body parts/animal carcasses around, spread blood all over the place, and voila!–you’ve got a slaughterhouse haunt. So we were extremely disappointed to find that this Slaughterhouse attraction had almost no slaughter at all. We saw clowns, a child’s room, a grim reaper, werewolves, Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and even Frankenstein. Really? Frankenstein in a slaughterhouse haunt??  Even more mystifying was the fact that we saw price tags remaining on some of the props (and yes, this was a lights-out tour in show mode with actors).  This kind of laziness makes us mad, honestly. The haunt also relied on a lot of loud noises, strobes, and firecracker poppers. We don’t recommend a visit to this attraction unless you get a very good discount coupon. As a “slaughterhouse” haunt, this attraction left us asking, “Where’s the beef?”

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Moxley Manor (Bedford, TX)

Moxley Manor is located in a small strip mall, and it’s glass storefront location isn’t as impressive as some of the facades of other attractions we visited. However, this smaller haunt packs a large punch. We were surprised by how long this haunt was once we were inside. The “manor” theming was  well done and consistent. There was  a good use fog, very dark areas, and disorienting lights to help increase the scares. It also had a high element of suspense where you’d see a ghoul in the distance who suddenly disappears behind the walls or into the fog only to reappear right in front or behind you. The actors were top-notch and got some scares from the veteran haunt crowd touring the maze that night. There were also actual maze elements, including a scene in which you have to find your way through a maze of white sheets. We think that this is one of the most frequently open haunts in Texas, as they’re always open for special events and holidays such as Super Bowl weekend, Valentine’s Day, ‘Scream Break’, Friday the 13th, and so forth. We thought it was fun and highly recommend checking it out whenever you can.

Parker House (Denton, TX)

This was one of the best attractions we experienced while in Texas. The theming, detailed sets, and actors were were top notch, and most importantly, the scares were excellent. The exterior facade sets the stage for the demented horrors inside the “Parker Funeral Home.” The first scene is a church-like interior, in which the deranged minister taunts the audience and also perfectly explains the important back story and also the rules of the attraction.  From the moment we entered the maze (through a very unexpected doorway), we were greeted with amazing sets and and innovative scares. There is also a large outdoor portion of the attraction, composed of a long trail through brush, trees, and eventually a graveyard. This outdoor section is littered with zombies and cannibal types, and a couple of nice sisters even invited us to “dinner.”  We were particularly impressed with the actors at this attraction. There were many who went way beyond the typical “boo” scare and took on a very interactive role with guests, remaining in character even as jaded haunters heckled them. They also did a great job pacing the groups through the maze, holding groups back if they got too close to the next group in front of them.

We also got a sneak peek of an all-new attraction currently being built for 2013, which looks like it will be pretty massive. Parker House should definitely be on your must-see list for 2013.

Milton’s Manor (Aledo, TX)

When we stepped into Milton’s Manor, we had an extreme case of Deja Vu—had we been here before? It turns out we had. This is the very same attraction that was featured at the Los Angeles County Fair from 2003 through 2006, then called “Scare at the Fair.” This attraction was developed by Shipwreck Productions, the team behind Queen Mary’s Shipwreck Halloween event (replaced by the current and superior “Dark Harbor“). Now retired, “Scare at the Fair” lives on in its new life as “Milton’s Manor,” located in an abandoned gas station. This 3D attraction has some well-done paintings and effects. There are plenty of hiding places for actors, and the 3D glasses further obscure guests’ vision. Although this sort of attraction is dated to us, it seemed to be a bit of a novelty to some of the locals on the tour. Perhaps this type of 3D maze hasn’t been as overused as in California. Regardless, it is a good 3D maze and worth checking out if you’re in the area.

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Creekside Manor (Midlothian, TX)

This is a brand-new haunt for 2013. We were lucky to get a preview of what’s in store for Texas locals this Halloween season. The owners have been hard at work building their new haunt from the ground up. This haunt has a great facade set amid tall trees. The interior is a typical haunted manor type of theme, and the sets are well done and very detailed. It was very obvious that they were inspired by Disney’s Haunted Mansion and Phantom Manor attractions. Even the opening spiel takes its cues directly from the former’s storyline. The hallways are extremely narrow, so if you have any type of claustrophobia, you might be a bit uncomfortable. We saw a lot of expensive (but impressive) animatronics used throughout the attraction. There were scenes with organ-playing skeletons, possessed children, and man-eating plants. Even without the scareactors inside this place , it was somewhat creepy to walk through, and we can only imagine how scary it will be when fully loaded with wall-to-wall creeps. At the finale of the haunt, guests venture into a short outdoor portion that we expect is pretty spooky at night.

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Tayman Graveyard (Midlothian, TX)

This haunt features three attractions: Tayman Funeral Home, Tayman Mines, and Fappy the Clown’s Theatre of Wonders.

Tayman Funeral Home is the best of the three and is the “main attraction.” This maze begins with an “insult” actor, there to tell you the rules and make jokes at guests’ expense. We suppose this is for comic relief, but the jokes felt pretty flat and lame. We’d prefer something to set the mood of the haunt instead. He also warned us that we’d have to crawl. The maze itself was well themed to an old haunted house, and yes, we did have to crawl through one section (which went on a bit too long). There were some interesting scenes and set design thoughout the house. After you make your way through the house, there’s a brief trail called Gravediggers Hollow that goes through the backwoods, where you’ll encounter some rogue zombies who didn’t make the proper final arrangements to get inside the Funeral Home. We could imagine it being rather freaky out there at nighttime.

Tayman Mines is a dusty and dry trek through wooden walls with minimal props. We went through during the day, so we can’t say how scary it might be at night (the owner’s dogs did provide a unstaged scare from behind a fence). There wasn’t much to look at during the day, so any scares will probably depend on a strong actor component and the darkness of the evening.

Fappy the Clown’s Theatre of Wonders is your standard 3D clown maze, with scenes we’ve seen many times before, such as black walls with neon handprints. We also passed through a perplexing vampire scene, which didn’t make much sense to us amid the carnival atmosphere.

If you’re going to make the trek out to this haunt, we suppose it’s worth seeing all of the attractions; however, the Funeral Home feels like the only major maze, with the others seeming more like “add-ons.” During haunt season they do offer a haunted hayride, which we imagine could be very good through the the back woods locations.

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Reindeer Manor (Red Oak, TX)

Reindeer Manor is “a real” Haunted House located on the outskirts of Dallas with a truly haunted past, and it’s been open to the public for more than 40 seasons. They were one of the first and are one of the oldest haunted attractions in the state of Texas, if not the world. This attraction is set up as a theatrical haunt, where you go from room to room to see ghostly and grizzly stories unfold. The haunt team here is very dedicated, composed mainly of boy scout volunteers. The theming of the rooms is extremely elaborate, making us wish that we could have had the full haunt experience versus the behind-the-scenes (lights-on) walk-through tour. Some of their stand-out scenes included a collapsing ceiling, the fiery pond, a room that rocks back and forth, and a giant, lightning-generating Tesla coil. Coupled with The Dungeon of Doom and 13th Street Morgue attractions, Red Oak is one the scariest parts of Texas you can visit during the haunt season.

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HAuNTcon 2013 Haunt Tour – 13 Haunts in 32 Hours!

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

kk_hauntcon2013 is being coined as ‘the year of fear’ and we like how that sounds. The year is already starting off right with some exciting news about the haunt tours being scheduled for HAuNTcon 2013 taking place in Irving, Texas April 24-28.

Every year the convention travels to a new city to give attendees and Haunt Stalkers another chance to tour the Haunted Attractions that they may not be able to get away to experience in October. With this year’s convention taking place in Dallas, TX, Haunt Stalkers will have exclusive access to some of the most renowned haunts in the nation. In fact, the Dallas area has so many Haunts they’re offering haunt tours across 3 nights. In addition, there’s a newly added pre-show haunt tour which will cover 13 haunts in a record 32 hours! This sounds like a Haunt Stalker’s nightmare come true and you can bet that the Scare Zone crew is planning to pack our body bags to attend what is seemingly becoming one of best haunt conventions to date!

Two Day VIP Pre-show Tour

The 2013 HAuNTcon Pre-show Tour, April 24- 26, is going to be the best in our our 10 year history. After scouring the Texas Countryside looking for haunts to tour, we have made arrangements with the best 16 available Haunts and Haunted Attractions and packed them into two days of both actor filled lights off and back stage lights-on tours for your fright-tainment.

Leaving early on the 24th, this tour includes all transportation, meals on the road and attraction admissions for each day of the tour. Unlike most year, the buses will return to the host hotel, Sheraton DFW Wednesday night. So you are on your own for hotel accommodations and but can hang out with the vendors and early arrivals at the hotel. But don’t stay up too late, because the buses leave early again on the 25th for another full day of haunt tours – arriving back at the hotel just in time to freshen up before getting back on the buses for the Thursday Night Kick off Haunt Tour (not included in the pre-show pricing).

What is included is transportation, three meals and Haunted House tours of Milton’s Manor ,The Haunt House Creekside Manor The Moxley Manor Chaos Haunted House Fatal End: Dollz , Tayman Mines, Fappy the Clown’s Theatre of Wonders, Gravedigger’s Hollow and Tayman Funeral Home at Tayman Graveyard. The spotlight of the pre-show tour is the massive inside and outside Parker House .

But the pre-show tour is not just business. We will be traveling the width and breath of Dallas Ft. Worth on this incredible tour. Lunch on Wednesday is at the infamous Ole’ Spaghetti Warehouse (reportedly haunted). What do you do when you are fanatics in the true sense of the word for the 60′s TV sitcom The Munsters? If you are Sandra and Chuck McKee you build a replica of the Munster House and live in it. The owners have invited us for a visit of this amazing residence. While we are talking about amazing homes, one more stop on the 2013 HAuNTcon tour is Dallas Cowboy Stadium, home of the Texas NFL team. No trip to Texas is complete without a visit to this amazing structure.

Depending on how your count that is about 13 haunts in 32 hours, PLUS some surprises that we cannot announce until the tour starts. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, not to be missed tour. CLICK HEREto purchase tickets and I will see you in Dallas early April 24th for the HAuNTcon 2013 Pre-show Tour!

2013 Spotlight Tours:

April 25, Thursday Night Spotlight Tour – 13th Street Morgue/ Dungeon of Doom, Red Oak, TX

April 26, Friday Night ‘DOUBLE FEATURE’ Spotlight Tour – Cutting Edge Haunted House, Ft. Worth, TX and Hangman’s House of Horrors in Ft. Worth,

April 28, Sunday Night Spotlight Tour – Zombie Manor, Arlington, TX

HAuNTcon 2013 is shaping up to be the biggest HAuNTcon in history! And tickets are NOW ON SALE!

2013 Valentine’s Haunts

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

The first haunt season of 2013 has arrived bringing some love and lots of fear. If you find it romantic to be stalked by spooks, frightened by freaks, and chased by chainsaws then check out this line up of Valentine’s Day Night haunts that are promising to get your heart pumping. So hold your loved one(s) by the hand and and pray it stays attached to their body. As we always say, love will never do without haunts.

Arx Mortis - Killen, AL

Arx Mortis will be open Valentine’s Day Night (Feb 14th) AND Friday, Feb 15th at 7 pm for our first annual My Bloody Valentine SPECIAL Event.Top rated Covington Clinic (50,000 sq ft indoor haunted attraction) will be open TWO days for this special Valentine’s Day event.

Bloody Valentine at Fields of Fear - Lafayette, IN

FEAR IS ALIVE! Indiana Fields of Fear offers 3 haunted attractions for Bloody Valentine on Saturday, February 16, 2013. Our haunted attractions include The Gallows, Creature Cavern, and Hogs Hollow Farm.

 

Fright Manor – Indianapolis’ Scariest Haunted House - Indianapolis, IN

Fright Manor Haunted House is proud to bring you the Scariest Haunts in Indianapolis! We had record numbers showing up this past season and if you enjoyed watching your friends cry we suggest you come back this year! We are still running two large haunted houses for the low price of $20.00. Get your $2.00 off coupon today and save!

Kim’s Krypt - Essex, MD

Kim’s Krypt will be OPEN February 22 – 24 2013! Come celebrate Valentine’s Day with Kim’s Krypt! Hearse rides also available! $5.00

Dark Valentine - Passic, NJ

A little tired and sad during the holidays?  Wish there was a little more action and excitement?  Look no further!  Night-mares Haunted Attraction proudly presents “Dark Valentine” haunted house event, coming February 2013 and open on February 15 & 16th from 8pm-11pm.  Tickets available now!

Eli Roth’s Goretorium - Las Vegas, NV

Valentine’s Day at Goretorium. While no specisl V-Day event has been announced you can  “get hitched” in a zombie wedding or other horrifying themes. You can also choose between a “scary” or “vampire” minister with a variety of add-ons such as a blood dripping unity candle set.

Blood Manor  – NYC, NY

Chocolates, roses, sentimental cards, and…buckets of blood! That’s right: Blood Manor is bringing back their Anti-Valentine’s Day haunt! Guaranteed to make your date cling closely to you, this haunt is not for the squeamish! Scare Zone has visited Blood Manor on Valentine’s Day and had a bloody good time. Read our review here.

Times Scare – NYC, NY

Times Scare hasn’t announced any special Valentine’s events, but the year-round haunt also offers drinking, dining and shows for the makings of a scary date night. Be sure to check out our review of Times Scare before you go.

Castle Blood’s Valentine’s Show - Monessen, PA

If you’re finished with all that mortal kissy smoochy romantic stuff, come take this special scary tour and learn the truth. Love and Death, Revenge of the Heart. Castle Blood’s Valentine’s show is a cynical, sarcastic look at this human tradition, and how only we are truly capable of declaring someone their immortal beloved.

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure: My Bloody Valentine – Gatlinburg, TN

Stay Close to the One You Love… Because you never know what might happen when you’re in the Haunted Adventure on Valentine’s night.

Moxley Manor’s Valentine’s Day Massacare - Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX

The DFW Haunted House will be open in February for our 3rd Annual Valentine’s Day Massacre! A wicked kind of love will be introduced at Moxley Manor’s Valentine’s Day Massacre Haunted House in Dallas / Ft. Worth, Texas. The haunted attraction will be open for 3 nights of fright for those of you looking for an alternate way to celebrate the Valentine’s Day Holiday.

The Cutting Edge - Dallas, TX

For the ultimate romantic evening this Valentine’s Day, complete with candlelight, roses and zombies, Cutting Edge Haunted House presents “Twisted Love,” a night of hair-raising, spine-tingling terror, that will send your date into your arms faster than you can say, “Don’t worry honey, I’ll protect you.” Guests will negotiate the treacherous hallways of the World’s Largest Haunted House aided only by candlelight, dodging jealous, lovelorn zombies and bloodthirsty ghouls bearing roses, chocolates and chainsaws.   Nothing says “I love you” like a bloodcurdling scream, and no one brings you romance gone awry like Cutting Edge Haunted House in Dallas / Fort Worth Texas. Put some adrenaline into your Valentine’s Day plans, and give that special someone a fright to remember at Cutting Edge’s “Twisted Love” monster date night extravaganza!

Dollz Haunted House: My Bloody Valentine - Dallas, TX

In the early 1900s a young entrepreneur established a doll store and factory in an old abandoned warehouse in downtown Dallas. The business soon took off and became well-known for its quality and attention to detail. The dolls were remarkably human-like and sales were brisk. Before long, business was so good that it became difficult to keep up with the orders. To make matters worse, the company found itself unable to maintain enough inventory of doll parts to meet the demand. With an overwhelming backlog of orders and not enough parts to fill them, the young businessman and his family resorted to drastic measures.

The Haunt House Dallas - Dallas, TX

Come see what lurks behind the corner! The Haunt House is having a one night Valentine special event for you creeps out there. Bring your sweetie to FRIGHTS OUT Saturday Feb. 16th 8-11pm.

St. Albans Sanatorium - Radford, VA

For nearly a decade paranormal groups have investigated St Albans and the reports of full bodied apparitions, shadow figures, levitating objects, disembodied (often threatening) voices and physical contact are just some of the documented occurrences. A “ghost hunt” at St Albans Sanatorium is much more than an occasional slamming door, benign EVPs, blinking flashlights or rolling balls. It promises to be an evening complete with anticipation, excitement and fear!

  We hope you have a horrifyingly FABULOUS Valentine’s Day NIGHT! 

13 Haunt Stalking Destinations for 2012

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

It’s a  new year so it’s time to start planning our 2012 haunt stalking. With the haunt industry booming, there’s going to be even more ‘scare-tivities’ to endure… err enjoy in the new year. Looking at our past experiences and the highly anticipated haunt events of  the new year, we’ve complied a list of 13 haunt destinations for 2012. So count up those frequent flier miles, put in for vacation time and keep your resolutions to set out on some terrifying travels. Remember this may be the last year any of us will get to haunt stalk.

 

1. Friday the 13th Haunts: Friday the 13th occurred only once in 2010 and ’11. However, this year, we get 3 unlucky Fridays in January, April and July! A few haunts will be open this month on Friday the 13th and we only hope that even more will be open during the other ‘Friday the 13th’ dates to give us some continuous mid season scares.

2. Valentine’s Weekend Haunts: More haunts are sharing the fiendish love with special openings Valentines weekend. Here are a few of  the top haunts offering Valentine’s day massacres: Sinister Pointe (Brea, CA), Moxley Manor (Bedford, TX) and Blood Manor (New York, NY)

3. TransWorld Haunt Show (March 8-11, St. Louis, MO): For the last 16 years, TransWorld’s annual Halloween & Attractions Show has been a “must attend” event in the Halloween & Haunt industries. This year is no exception! This is the only trade show that features vendors, from across the nation and overseas, that cover every aspect of the business, from ticketing to makeup and sound FX to giant animatronics. In addition, local St. Louis Haunts open their doors to attendees. If you are a pro haunter (want to become one) or a True Blood haunt stalker, you cannot afford to miss this event.

4. Monsterpalooza (April 13-15, Burbank, CA): This is an annual convention featuring Hollywood’s award winning FX Artists, Monster and Horror related art work displays, presentations and special guests from horror and Sci-Fi. For us the highlight is the Walk-thru Monster Museum!

5. HauntCon (May 3-7, Monroeville, PA *Pittsburgh): We attended this event last year and believe it’s worth a visit if you’re a haunter or stalker living on the east coast. This is the first year HAuNTcon will be in a convention center rather than a hotel in Monoroeville, PA which just happens to be next to the Monroeville Mall, most famous for its appearance in the George A. Romero horror film Dawn of the Dead.

6. Midwest Haunters Convention (June 8-10, Columbus Ohio):  This is the largest Halloween show of its kind in the US serving a primary audience of Haunted Attraction Producers, Actors, Artists and Home Haunters.  It provides regional businesses and residents the opportunity to shop for professional quality Halloween related products along with educational seminars and workshops and networking activities for haunted attraction industry professionals. Of course, the main reason to go is for the world’s largest haunted attraction bus tour.

299641 10150421988157110 525162109 10813190 1431436499 n 1 Tides of Torture: Worlds 1st Horror Con at Sea

7.  Tides of Torture (Dates TBD): We know that seeing Kathie Lee Gifford in a bikini could be scary enough, but this Caribbean cruise promises even more terrors at sea. This cruise convention will feature a Fangoria-sponsored film festival and some of your favorite horror actors including Jason actor Kane Hodder who really enjoys being on a boat.

8. London (UK) Haunts: Last year our friends at Theme Park Tourist shared some great reviews of the UK haunts and with the 2012 Olympics taking place this summer in London we highly recommend the trip over the bloody pond to experience their renowned year round and seasonal haunted attractions.

9. New York Haunts: We now know why this is the city that never sleeps. It’s because everyone is having nightmares! NYC boasts some of the nation’s most extreme haunts and offers haunts in unique metropolitan locations all the way out to the dark woods of Sleepy Hollow in upstate. This is a “not to be missed” destination during the fall.

10. Pennsylvania  Haunts: While in NY, you might as well head down to PA as well. Pennsylvania is home to some of he nation’s most highly rated haunted attractions including; Jason’s Woods, Bates Motel, and Field of Screams just to name a few.

11. Texas Haunts: Texas is a big state which provides a lot of room for haunts. Throughout the year and especially during haunt season Haunt Stalkers can find a haunt (or two or three…) in nearly every town with the Dallas-Forth Worth area and Austin leading  the terror with their renowned haunts such as Cutting Edge, Hangman’s House of Horrors, and House of Torment.

12. Central Florida Haunts: If you’re a fan of haunts and Theme Parks then Central Florida is the destination for you. While there are only 2 major haunts, Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights and Howl O Scream at Busch Gardens; these 2 offer more than enough mazes and scares to make for a satisfying trip.

13. Southern California Haunts: From Hollywood down to San Diego; Southern California offers just about every kind of haunt experience a haunt stalker would want. There are first class Theme Park haunts, hayrides, stand alone professional haunts, boat haunts, and impressive home haunts. You’ll need to plan at least a week long visit, covering two weekends, in order to sample some of the SoCal’s top haunts.

“The NightSCARE Before Christmas” at Moxley Manor

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

It seems that in addition to Valentine’s Day haunts, a new trend of haunts is growing: Christmas Haunts!

Moxley Manor Haunted House, in Bedford, Texas, will be presenting “The NightScare Before Christmas,” a Christmas-themed overlay to their usual haunted house.

The haunt will be open every Saturday night from November 26 through December 17, from 8 to 10 pm. Tickets are $15, or buy online and use the code name “Santa” for a special price of $12.

If spending the holidays with your family isn’t scary enough for you, be sure to head down to the haunt for some extra terror!