Texas Haunts – Haunted House News and Reviews

Cutting Edge Haunted House

14.10.2018 (3:48 am) – Filed under: Cutting Edge,Reviews

October 13, 2018

Score-10

Site Here

Location-1701 East Lancaster Avenue. Fort Worth, Texas 76102. Just west of the I-30/I-35 interchange, on E. Lancaster. Cutting Edge is on the north side of the street, parking is on the other side of the street. Directions here.

Phone-817 348 8444

Dates and Hours open-Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in October, plus Thursday, October 25, Tuesday, October 30, Halloween, and Saturday, November 3rd.

Sunday, October 14, from 8pm-10pm, Friday, October 19, from 7pm-12:30am, Saturday, October 20 from 7pm-1am, Sunday, October 21 from 8pm-10pm, Thursday, October 25 from 8pm-10pm, Friday, October 26 from 7pm-1am, Saturday, October 27 from 7pm-1am, Sunday, October from 8pm-10:30pm, Tuesday, October 30 from 8pm-10pm, Halloween from 7pm-10:30pm, Saturday, November 3rd from 8pm-10pm.

Price-Cash only at the box office. Credit cards can only be used for tickets online. Click here to buy tickets. Tax is not include in the prices listed below.

General Admission-$34.99, plus a $3.95 fee online.

Timed Ticket-Allows you to drastically cut the wait time in line. No more than a 30-45 minute wait on busy nights. Choose your time when you buy the ticket. $44.99, plus a $3.95 fee online.

Speedpass-Allows you to skip the wait altogether on slow nights, and the wait is around 10 minutes on busy nights. $54.99, plus a $3.95 fee online.

Combo with Thrillvania General Admission ticket-Can be used on any open night. $70 if purchased onsite, on sale for $59.99 online, plus a $3.95 fee online.

Speedpass with Thrillvania Combo ticket-Can be used on any open night. $105 if purchased onsite, on sale online for $84.99, plus a $3.95 fee online.

Group tickets-Group rate tickets are for 15 or more tickets purchased, and they must be purchased online for the group rate discount.

Group rate General Admission-On sale for $29.75, plus a $3.95 fee

Group rate Speedpass-On sale for $46.75 plus a $3.95 fee

Parking is $10-$15. Parking is now across the street.

Miscellaneous-Cutting Edge is an indoor haunted house, but they have changed their parking this year to open up the area around the haunted house. With plenty of room, Cutting Edge has a souvenir shop,  a barbecue stand, and a stand with an assorted menu, including vegan offerings. Now you can get something to eat and spend some time outside the haunt, before or after you go in. A real chef runs the stand, so the food is a step above carnival food.

Even though the haunted house is indoors, it is a huge house, so you need to wear comfortable shoes. There are stairs, and some wet areas, so your shoes also need to have some traction. Do not wear anything that can’t get wet. There is a maze with a lot of mist, so avoid wearing anything suede, for example. Also, keep your phone in your pocket. You don’t want to lose it, or for it to get wet. Speaking of phones, remember that flash photography is not allowed inside Cutting Edge. This is to protect the actors. Their eyes become adjusted for the low lighting inside the house.

Walk through time-This will vary, depending on how fast you walk, and how good your night vision is. We made it through in about 35 minutes, but we did not go through the bubble tunnel at the end. Taking the bypass probably cut a couple of minutes off of the time.

 

Review

The upgrade to Cutting Edge includes the way the area around the entrance is decorated. Figures on horseback line the area around the haunted house entrance. Once inside, actors are on you quickly while you approach a high speed vortex tunnel. The tunnel was almost fast enough to force me to hold onto the rails to get through. The tunnel sets the tone for the rest of the house, fast and intense.

Shortly after the vortex tunnel, there is an interesting area with long racks of clothing. You have to walk between the racks, with very little room to move. Actors hide in the clothes and either pop out, or wave a hand in front of your face as you pass by. There are either lots of actors in this area, or there are some fast actors who stay on customers as they make their way through.

One thing I really like about Cutting Edge this year is the lighting. Throughout the haunt, there is great mood lighting with lanterns, which are used to light many of the hallways. They could be Victorian, or Old West.  Scene lighting is also effective, with red light in one area, while white light is used to reduce vision to almost nothing in the mist maze.

The laboratory/experiment area seems to have been worked on in the off season, and the detail is impressive this year. The dim lighting in this fairly dark sets of the props and decor nicely.

You go down a flight of stairs to get to my favorite area, the swamp. It’s something you would expect to find in Louisiana, in the bayou region. There are Voodoo looking creatures, and the actors have great makeup and costumes. This is the most atmospheric part of Cutting Edge, with beautiful decor, and ghostly lighting. The path winds tightly, and the bridge is very cool. There is one area, sort of like a crypt, that reminded me of graveyards I’ve seen in the New Orleans area. Swamp actors were active, there were lots of hands close to my face as I walked through. They got close to me on the narrow path, but not too close.

The funeral home has some good props, nice caskets, and what looked like a crematorium. There are some very dark areas toward the middle of the house. It’s not like the old days when you had to feel along the walls for a good portion of the haunt, but the dark areas are still effective, especially if darkness is a phobia of your’s.

My second favorite part of Cutting Edge is what I call the farm. It looks more like something out of Pumpkinhead than Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You go through the farm house, then the farm itself. It also has an Old West look to it in some areas. Parts of this area could pass as a mining camp. Whatever it’s meant to be, the effect is creepy. As with the rest of Cutting Edge, the actors really get into character and this area probably has better hiding places for them than in most of the haunt.

There is no five minute black out maze this year, and I can’t say that I missed it. There was supposedly a way out, but I never heard of anyone finding it. Mostly, the old maze irritated me. A clown house is now in it’s place. The first part of the clown house looks like what you might see in a macabre circus. There are extremely detailed props. A lot of time must have been spent painting this part of the haunt. The clowns do not make the mistake I’ve seen in other houses where they just stand in your way and honk a horn. The Cutting Edge clowns run around their area and are able to come back to the same group a couple of times. Once you leave the main clown house, you enter an area that I thought was a maze. There didn’t appear to be a way out, and around 20 people ended up in the same large room searching for an exit. A couple of clowns showed us to dead ends, and we were in this area for several minutes before a clown opened a hidden door to let us out.

After the clowns we entered a misty room with bright white light. The light and mist made it impossible to see, so I felt along the wall and eventually found the exit. The room was very wet from the mist and the air was thick. I got pretty wet, luckily I had taken my watch off when I first entered the mist. Stay along the wall, don’t go into the middle of the room, and you’ll get out in three of four minutes.

At the end, we decided to take the bypass before the tunnel filled with bubbles. The bypass is in plain site this year.

 

Final Thoughts

Cutting Edge has lots of animatronics, plus one large manually operated snake, or dragon head. There is an excellent animatronic dragon, but the one to watch out for is the snake. If you aren’t careful, you’ll be knocked back by it. It’s large, and it comes at you with a considerable amount of force, so once you see it, move to the side.

Cutting Edge actors are always among the best in the industry, but they are really special this year. They must practice getting their hands close to people’s faces, without touching. They did this frequently in all areas of Cutting Edge, and it’s a very effective technique when they can hide next to the path or hall. They are also great at finding places to hide so that you are almost on top of them when they jump out at you. Team work was impressive this year. Several groups of actors worked together, with one coming at you from the left, while a second later another jumped out on the right. The costumers, make up artists, and the set designer exceeded the level of quality of previous years. I didn’t see any actors without the ideal costume and make up for his or her part of the house. The decor is now approaching the level of places like Verdun Manor and House of Torment. Cutting Edge has always been intense and scary, and it now looks great too.

A major problem in all large haunted houses is that slow customers cause a pile up that leads to everyone walking through the haunted house in a long line, making it impossible for actors to startle anyone, and causing most customers to miss the effects that are set off by motion plates on the ground. Cutting Edge has solved this problem by having breaks through the house, where people can listen to live music while they wait to go further. A talented trio of drummers are in the first break area, and a band called Chasing Rent is in the second break area. After a few minutes you and your group go forward into the haunted house, without a bunch of people in front of you. The wait in line in the break areas might be irritating in a smaller haunted house, but Cutting Edge is so large that a brief rest is welcome.

Cutting Edge has continued to make improvements each year, and while previous upgrades went well, this year has seen a major leap forward in both the quality of the haunted house, and the outside area, which is now fun to spend time in. Even the parking is better this year. It used to be a pain to get in and out of the parking lot because there was so little space. The new parking areas are spacious, and exiting is now simpler since the cars aren’t crammed into a small area.

There are still plenty of nights remaining for you to see Cutting Edge, and it’s open late on Fridays and Saturdays. If you are going to buy a general admission ticket, I would advise you to go on a Sunday (or one of the weeknights later in the season) or to show up very early if you’re going on a Friday or Saturday. If you do end up in a long wait, you’ll at least be able to enjoy food and music, plus roving actors who provide some in line entertainment. This is probably the best year ever for Cutting Edge, so make sure you it at least once!

 

 

 

 

 

Thrillvania Haunted House Park

13.10.2018 (2:49 am) – Filed under: Reviews,Thrillvania

October 12, 2018

Score-9.5

Site Here

Location-At the southeast corner of I-20 and Wilson Rd in Terrell. 2330 Co Rd 138, Terrell, TX 75161. Across from the TA truckstop. About 25-30 minutes east of downtown Dallas.

Phone  972-428-9653

Dates and hours open-Fridays and Saturdays in October, and Halloween. Saturday, October 13th from 8pm-midnight. Friday, October 19 from 8pm-11pm. Saturday, October 20 from 8pm-midnight. Friday, October 26 from 8pm-11:30pm. Saturday, October 27 from 8pm-midnight. Halloween, from 8pm-10pm.

Price-General admission tickets are $29.99, plus tax. Speedpass tickets are 39.99, plus tax. Parking is $10 per car. Tickets can be bought online here.  Group tickets (15 or more) and combo tickets with Cutting Edge are also available here.

Miscellaneous-Thrillvania is a haunted park, so wear comfortable shoes with good traction. Thrillvania does have concessions, with great corn dogs, among other offerings. Go to the concessions stand before you enter the trail. The trail leads to the park exit. A pumpkin patch is located just inside the park grounds.

Number of attractions-Three: Verdun Manor, Cassandra’s House of Clowns, Sam Hain’s Trail of Torment.

Walk through time, for all attractions: 30-40 minutes, depending on how fast you and the people in front of you walk.

 

Review

Thrillvania has had it’s ups and downs over the years, probably more than any haunted attraction I can think of. Things are definitely looking up for Thrillvania this year, and it looks like this historic haunt park has a bright future. It would be nice to see more merchants in the midway in the coming years. One of the things that made the old Thrillvania special was that it was a Halloween festival, in addition to having Verdun, Cassandra’s, and Sam Hain’s. Fortunately, the food concession is still in place. I wish it hadn’t been raining so hard while we were there because I really wanted to have a couple of corn dogs and a frito pie. If it isn’t pouring rain when you’re at Thrillvania, you need to get at least one corn dog. Your visit won’t be complete without it. If you’re in the market for a pumpkin or two, you’re in luck because you have to walk through a pumpkin patch to get into the park.

With the way Thrillvania is laid out, it’s best to start with Cassandra’s. The line won’t be long if you arrive early, and it’s a fun way to get the evening started. Cassandra’s is a 3D clown house, featuring a vortex tunnel, lots of neon paint, an area divided by high wire fences, and lots of hyper clowns. There are some cool touches, like the shaking hallway and a bridge that feels like it’s sinking as you walk over it. The actors are the best part of Cassandra’s. They do some unusual things, like walking on the railing of the vortex tunnel, and climbing on the wire fencing. Getting in your face is their thing, and they do it in every part of the house. The 3D glasses reduce peripheral vision, so the clowns tend to come at you from the side. Hiding behind curtains, to the side, is their bread and butter. I could do without the chainsaw toward the end, since I hate the fumes chainsaws produce, but I guess every haunted house in Texas is obligated to have at least one.

The best time to get your corn dog is after Cassandra’s and before Verdun, since you have to walk through the midway to get to Verdun. The Manor was bathed in eerie red lighting as we approached, and the mist in the graveyard in front of Verdun enhanced the atmosphere. This short approach to the Manor looks good, but I do miss the old trail that wound behind Verdun and eventually led to the graveyard.

There has been a major change to the inside of Verdun, the lighting. The downstairs used to be pretty well lit, to allow the customer to examine the well decorated rooms. This year, Verdun is emphasizing fear, rather than decor, and the downstairs is as dark as a traditional haunted house. Actors now have the ability to surprise customers, by moving around in the dark. The trade off is that it’s not easy to see much of the gorgeous Gothic decor, but the change is a welcome one since Verdun had looked basically the same for almost three decades. The entryway, parlour, dining room, and library still look good in dim lighting. Perhaps the focus on scaring customers has energized the actors in Verdun, because they have never been this effective at startling people. The actors upstairs were great, and for the first time, I was caught off guard a few times downstairs. The drop down window after the swampy hallway was especially effective since it was paired with an actor who came up behind me when the noise from the window had my attention.

The stairwell in Verdun is still well decorated and well lit. The first part of the upstairs looks like a home, with a bedroom and a den. There are some creepy little girls in this area, and they seem to enjoy getting in your way, and not letting you pass. This part of the Manor seemed a little darker too, but not as much as downstairs. The home gives way to a funeral home next, then you venture into the laboratory. This has changed some over the last few years, but it looks like it is still an area to perform experiments on unfortunate captives, to turn them into something else, possibly werewolves. After the lab comes a dungeon, which makes sense given that test subjects have to be kept somewhere. The descent into the catacombs is still perfectly lit, and the catacombs are narrow enough to make me wonder how many people have had to be pried out of the narrowest parts. Werewolves and chainsaws await in the final part of Verdun, then it’s out into the park, and on to Sam Hain’s.

As I mentioned before, be sure that you do not want to do anything else before entering Sam Hain’s trail. You’ll exit the park after the trail. It was raining heavily on the night we reviewed, and had been raining all day. The trail was pretty much a mud puddle, despite the efforts of the ground crew. Seeing the buildings and old vehicles along the trail in this sort of weather was interesting, but I really wish the rain had stopped for a few minutes. Even in rain, Sam Hain’s is fun walk. It always makes me think of the area the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was set in. Hats off to the actors who made the best of the terrible weather and didn’t stop scaring customers.

There aren’t too many nights left for you to see Thrillvania, and it’s definitely worth a look, even if you’ve been there in the past. Enough changes have been made to keep it fresh, even for regulars. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for the haunt park that Lance Pope built. From what I saw this year, all signs point to a great future.

 

Screams Gallery and Update

07.10.2018 (7:55 pm) – Filed under: Reviews,Screams

I returned to Screams on October 6th to take more pictures, and because it’s a lot of fun. It was another hot, humid night, but the setting was great. There were thunderstorms to the east and north of Screams, but it didn’t rain in the park. The dark clouds and lighting added to the Halloween atmosphere. Next weekend will be an ideal time to visit Screams since the temperature will finally drop. Friday looks like it will have a high in the low 70’s, and Saturday should be a little warmer, in the mid 70’s for a high. It should feel like Fall for the first time this season!

I tried some more specialty drinks at Full Moon Cafe. Dracula’s Kiss is still my favorite, but Michael and Chelsea made The Bloody Bat (vodka based, like Dracula’s Kiss) and Harley’s Hammer (tequila based) and Bloody Bat is almost as good as Dracula’s Kiss. The food is good too, the portions are generous, and Rachel is a very friendly Harley Quinn/server. Full Moon is located on the far side of the food court building, close to the West Market Arch. I stop by Full Moon either before or after going through the Zombie Wasteland trail, since that is behind the food court area.

You can check out the Screams site here.

Parker House

06.10.2018 (2:04 am) – Filed under: Parker House,Reviews

October 5, 2018

Score 9.5

Site Here

Address  8550 West University Drive Denton Texas 76207

Phone 469 556 3475

Directions The entrance to Parker House is easy to miss. It is located on Hwy 380 (University Drive) and is 2.2 miles west of I-35, on the north (westbound) side of 380. From the south, take exit 469 from I-35. That is the exit for University Drive/380. Take a left on University. Drive 2.2 miles, and look for the entrance to Parker House on the right. Drive slowly, the entrance is easy to overlook. There is an old school bus with Parker House on the side, but the bus is so far back from the road that you won’t see it until it’s too late. From the north, take exit 469 (University Drive/380) from I-35 and turn right. 2.2 miles to the entrance to Parker House on the right.

Dates and Hours open-October 6,12,13, from 7:30-midnight. October 19,20,26,27, from 7pm-midnight. October 14 from 7:30pm to 10pm. October 18,21,25,28, and 30, from 7pm-10pm. Halloween from 7pm-11pm.

Price $25 for general admission. $40 for the fast pass. Cash only at the ticket booth. You can buy online here. There is a fee for online ticket purchases. There are group rates available. Call 469 556 3475 or email dfwfrightnights@gmail.com for group tickets. Your group ticket purchase must be approved before the ticket booth opens on the day of your arrival.

Miscellaneous-Parker House is in the country, so it will be a few degrees cooler than Dallas or Ft Worth at night, on cool nights. There is some uneven terrain, and it’s a large house with a trail, so wear comfortable shoes with good traction. Unless it’s a cold night, put on lots of Off, or some sort of mosquito repellent. The line to get into the house is long and it’s near a pond, which makes it a buffet for mosquitoes.

Walk through time-around 25 minutes total, for the main house, trail, and sanitarium. This makes Parker a good value, at the general admission price. The fast pass is only $15 more. On busy nights, it’s probably a good idea to spend the extra money on the fast pass because Parker House only lets in a few people at a time. That makes for a long wait in line later in October.

Last year, Parker House was being remodeled and only had a trail and a hayride. The house is back this year, along with the sanitarium. The trail runs between the two, and there is no hayride. The bridge over the pond is front of Parker House is not safe this year, so follow the cones to the entrance of the main house. The house is eerily lit, and it’s a great looking setting. The entry room still has a host, but there was no long talk this time, just directions. At first it does look like you’re walking through an old southern Gothic country house, with some macabre touches here and there. Actors become involved after you’ve passed through a couple of rooms. This year, the actors are a mixture of crazy country guys and crazy young women. There is a backstory to the house. Mary Parker was obsessed with blood and slaughter as a girl, while living with her parents at their funeral home. The parents died when she was still fairly young, she took over the family business, and all hell broke loose. The characters encountered in the house are mostly Mary’s minions and victims. There is also a sanitarium, close to the house, full of some other people who were involved with Mary Parker. This is the short version. You can read the full story on the Parker House site. This back story explains a lot of what you see while going through the house. The deeper in you go, the more it looks like a funeral home. Parker House is very well decorated, the actors do a pretty good job of finding places to hide before jumping out at you, and the lighting is just right to make the place look as creepy as possible.

There is a great trail between the main house and the sanitarium. It’s more fun on a cool night, but we enjoyed it, even though it was hot and humid when we reviewed. It’s a winding trail that passes some shacks, and ends up in the woods. Moonshiners are the main inhabitants of this area. They are a lively bunch and will follow you until the next batch of shiners find you. A couple of girls want to play games along the way, like rock paper scissors. Avoid them. There is a little shack along the trail where you spend a few minutes listening to the resident before being sent on your way. The shack even has a couch, so you can rest while listening to the woman talk.

The trail leads to the Ratliff Sanitarium. You’re greeted by an employee of the sanitarium (Alice Parker?) who fills you in on the rules of the place. There are some extremely dark areas, so dark that you will have to feel along the walls to keep going. Ratliff looks as much like a slaughterhouse as a sanitarium, which you will understand if you read the story behind the place. There is even a chainsaw wielding inmate to chase you around.

Parker House has something for everyone. I like haunted trails, and the Parker trail is the longest in this part of the state. The main house looks great, inside and out, and the sanitarium is a nice way to end the experience. Hopefully, the hayride will be back next year. The price is reasonable given the combined size of the three attractions. Even though Parker House is minutes from the UNT campus and Golden Triangle Mall, it feels like it’s deep in the country. I’ve been reviewing this haunt since 2008, and it’s still one of my favorite places to see each October.

 

 

Screams Halloween Theme Park

30.09.2018 (7:07 am) – Filed under: Reviews,Screams,Screams Review

September 29, 2018

Score 10

Site Here

Address  2511 FM 66 Waxahachie TX, 75167

Directions From the north, exit 399A from I-35 South, go west (right) and Screams will be on your left in about a mile and a half. From the south, take I-35 North, exit 399, go west (left) and Screams will be on your left in about a mile and a half.

Phone 972 398 3247

Price $35  for general admission at the ticket booth, $32 online (plus a $1 fee, except for group purchases) and fast passes are $20. Parking is free.

Discounts and coupons-North Texas Metro PCS stores have a $3 off coupon, Waxahachie Nissan has $2 off coupons, and Waxahachie Nissan gives two free tickets per test drive.  Screams offers a military discount of $3 off admission for active military personnel and up to four family members. Groups of 15 or more can buy tickets at $30, if all tickets are purchased at the same time.

Dates/Hours Every Friday and Saturday in October from 7:30pm-1:30am, but the ticket booth closes at midnight.

When to arrive/How to see the attractions-Unless you plan to buy fast passes (always a good idea if you arrive late or want to go through the attractions multiple times) you need to arrive no later than 7:15. The park opens at 7:30, but it will take a few minutes to walk from your car to the ticket booth, and the entrance lines become long by 7:30.  I arrive by 7, get my tickets, take some pictures of the outside, then get in line by 7:10. The order in which to see the attractions is something that I’ve tested for years. By far the best order is: The Witches of Terra Mythica Castle, Hotel D’Feers, Capt’n Barbarosa’s Blood Harbour, PT Harmum’s Carnival of Chaos, and Zombie Wasteland Apocalypse. No matter what, always see the Castle first. It’s the main attraction, with the longest lines, and the lines become long within 15-20 minutes of the park opening. You may be tempted to eat first, but it’s better to see the attractions, then eat. There is a booth serving drinks next to the entrance to the Castle, if you don’t want to wait to get a drink.

Number of attractions-Five main attractions, Cursed: The Witches of Terra Mythica Castle, Hotel D’Feers, Capt’n Barbarosa’s Blood Harbour, PT Harmum’s Carnival of Chaos, and Zombie Wasteland Apocalypse.

Walk through times for the main attractions-Screams has redesigned all of it’s main attractions for 2018, and some are quite a bit longer than before. I would say that the main attractions, not including the maze, take 45-50 minutes to go through, combined. Add 10-25 minutes for the maze.

Other attractions-Screams has a large food court in the back of the park, three taverns, and a full service bar and restaurant called Full Moon Cafe. Veg-ta-bul Justice is located in the very back of the park, next to the entrance to the Zombie Wasteland trail. Scaryoke is at the stage next to the Taboo Tavern, and there are musical acts and live entertainment on the main stage every night. Souvenir shops are available, as well as tarot card readings, wax hands, Henna tattoos, temporary tattoos, a climbing tower, and various merchants. Games of skill, an electric chair, and paintball are across from the food court. There is also a short haunt path across from the entrance to the park. The area around it is very well decorated.

Full Moon Cafe-I thought that Full Moon Cafe should have a special mention this year. Full Moon is the full service bar and restaurant in the back of the food court area, close to the West Market Arch. Like the rest of Screams, it has had a thorough makeover this year. Full Moon Cafe has never looked this good. It used to be sparsely decorated, but now it’s full of Halloween lights and props. The bartenders and servers in the Full Moon Cafe now have great costumes and makeup. This is the way I had hoped that Full Moon would look when it reopened a few years ago. There are new specialty drinks this year and Dracula’s Kiss is my favorite. It’s a vodka based drink, with blackberry flavoring, probably grenadine, and maybe a couple of other ingredients. It tastes great, and is surprisingly refreshing. It cooled me down when I was in a full sweat after walking around the park on a very humid night. The bartenders are fast and good at what they do. The restaurant serves short order food, like stuffed taters, chicken sandwiches, and cheese fries. The bacon cheese fries are my favorite, and the portion they give is huge. Full Moon is a good place to rest and relax while you eat and drink, and they take all major credit cards. This is the only place in Screams where you can use credit cards to pay for food and drink.

Miscellaneous-Wear comfortable shoes. Screams is mostly outdoors and you will do a lot of walking on dirt and gravel, and it won’t always be even ground. This is not the place for high heels. Dress warmly on cool nights, the temperature is usually a few degrees cooler at Screams than in Dallas. Do not wear costumes. Costumes are prohibited for customers at Screams for security reasons. Screams is mostly handicapped accessible.

Review

Every main attraction at Screams has been redone for 2018. The themes are different, the actors have a new, more energetic approach to haunting, the decor is different, and some of the attractions have been rearranged and lengthened. While in the main attractions, you’ll never go more than a few feet without some kind of action, either from an actor, an animatronic prop, or an air gun. The entire park has been upgraded this year. You’ll notice greater attention to detail in the way the park is decorated, especially around the park entrance, and the Taboo Tavern/dining area. There are more roaming characters around the park, and each main attraction has costumed characters by the line entrance to guide you in. Overall, Screams looks much more festive this year.

Cursed: The Witches of Terra Mythica Castle

This is the largest attraction at Screams. The Castle is impressive from a distance, with its walls and turrets illuminated by light from torch fires above it’s entrance. After a talk with the host, who is also a witch, you go through the gate, over the bridge, and into the body of the castle. The decor in the Castle is the best in Screams. It is heavy on witches and black magic, but also has some outstanding werewolf props. There is a strange werewolf prop after the entryway. I’m not sure what it’s doing, but it looks great. You’ll see more werewolves later in the first half of the Castle, but by then you’ll have witches all around you. The witches and minions have a lot to work with. There are entrances to the path you follow built for them all over the Castle, and they are usually well obscured, so you won’t see the actors coming. Some follow you, others startle you, they are all very good and well costumed. They don’t touch, but they come close enough to make you uncomfortable.

The witches have been busy, in addition to rooms for black magic, they have built torture areas, a great looking library and den, and they’ve even webbed up some of their victims. If you’re lucky, you’ll have enough time to check out the detail on the corridor walls and in the rooms. It’s outstanding, and worth a second trip through, especially if you have a fast pass. The path descends as you go deeper into the castle until you’re in catacombs with eerie lighting. This is probably my favorite part of the Castle because it looks like it’s straight out of a high grade horror movie. It’s genuinely creepy in the depths of the Castle, and the actors make the most of it by popping out when you least expect them. Like the Hotel, you’ll think that you’re about to exit the Castle, only to find more dark paths ahead. There is a great scene deep in the Castle with witches around a giant cauldron. It’s movie quality and typifies the effort put into the remodel of this attraction.

I went through the Castle three times and I could have gone through a fourth time, if I hadn’t needed to get home to write this review. This is an haunt where a fast pass comes in handy.

Hotel D’Feers

The Hotel has had a major renovation this year. It’s new theme is based on a mass murder, and the actors, props, and decor are better coordinated and more consistent than in previous years. The act begins before you enter, with excellent hosts setting the stage for the Hotel. The action is nonstop once you enter. I don’t know whether the Hotel has more actors this year, or whether they are just covering more areas, but I was never without an actor around me for more than a few seconds. They were as active as any haunted house actors I’ve seen, and they have lots of hiding places and blind spots to use to startle you. The props are a combination of hotel, and either hospital or slaughterhouse. The actors have outstanding makeup and can be difficult to look at some of the time. Fog is used pretty heavily in some parts of the Hotel, while other areas are very dark. The design makes you think that you are about to exit, only to have more corridors ahead. The Castle is much improved this year, but the Hotel is probably still the most frightening attraction at Screams.

Capt’n Barbarosa’s Blood Harbour

The 3D house at Screams has a new design, and a new look. The outside of the house has a strong dead pirate theme. The props outside are cool, and the host makes you feel at home at the entrance. If you’ve been to the old 3D pirate house, you’ll realize that the path through the place has been reversed, and an even bigger difference is that the first half is not 3D, but is instead a great looking pirate village. I think there are more actors in Barbarosa’s than in the old pirate house, and they really like to get close to you. The standout of Barbarosa’s are the crab men. Like some other actors, they do a great job of blending in with their surroundings. Moving planks, shaking halls, and creatively uneven flooring will keep you on your toes, especially when you put on your 3D glasses midway through Barbarosa’s. The vortex tunnel is probably a little faster this year. The people in front of me had to hold onto the rails to get through it. The 3D paint is very good, with enough actors in the 3D area to keep it interesting. This house is fun, and it has a good number of scares mixed in.

PT Harmum’s Carnival of Chaos

This is a very challenging maze. It has wire fences and you can see surrounding buildings when you’re on the edge of the maze, so you’ll think that it’s easy to find the way out, but this maze has an unusual design and you can’t find the exit by keeping sight of other buildings. The 2018 redesign took away some things that could help you find the exit, and of course, the clowns always give false directions to the exit. Speaking of clowns, they are great at startling guests, even though there aren’t many good hiding places for them. They are always around, and their constant chattering is so distracting that I probably missed the path to the exit more than once. I became completely lost in the interior of the maze and wound up reaching the entrance. I thought about going back in, then exited. This is the second year in a row I’ve failed to find the real exit. You’ll spend more time in the Carnival of Chaos than in any of the other Screams attractions.

Zombie Wasteland Apocalypse

At the back of the park, behind Taboo Tavern, is the entrance to the Zombie Wasteland trail. This year’s zombie trail is much longer than in the past. There are fewer wide open spaces, with a narrower path and lots of turns. The zombies now get into the trail with you, instead of mostly remaining outside the pathway. The result is that Zombie Wasteland is more intense and you are now having to avoid zombies instead of just looking at props along the trail. The actors must practice quite a bit because they were able to startle me several times on both trips through. Props are solid, post apocalyptic fare, with creepy sound effects through the trail. This is an effective, winding zombie trail, and a bonus is that it’s the least crowded of the attractions at Screams since it’s in the back of the park.

A great deal of effort went into the remake of Screams, and the hard work has paid off in a big way. Every aspect of Screams has improved noticeably, from the actors and props, down to the smallest details in outside decor. All this has been accomplished while keeping the ticket price reasonable. Screams is still the best value in North Texas. The new themes for the big attractions are creative and have rejuvenated a great haunt park. 2018 is without question the best year yet for Screams!

 

 

 

 

 

Halls of Horror

29.09.2018 (12:42 am) – Filed under: Halls of Horror,Reviews

September 28, 2018

Score-9

Halls of Horror is a new haunted house located inside of Music City Mall (formerly Vista Ridge Mall) on the second story, across from the food court. The entrance is inside the mall. Music City Mall is at the southwest corner of I-35 and Hebron Parkway in Lewisville. 2401 S Stemmons Fwy, Lewisville, TX 75067

Site/Social Media- https://www.facebook.com/hallsofhorrorlewisville/

Admission-$10

Hours can vary, check their Facebook page for updates. Generally, it’s 4pm until midnight, and from noon until midnight on Saturdays. I stress to check their Facebook page before going. They do close early sometimes, especially on weeknights.

Number of attractions-single attraction

Remaining dates open-Halls of Horror is open on days when Music City Mall is open, after 4pm, or noon on Saturdays.

Walk through time varies, but I would say around 7-8 minutes.

Review

This is the first time I’ve been to a haunted house in a mall since 2000. It’s a great idea for a location, but spaces large enough for haunted houses aren’t usually available in malls. I was surprised by how long it took to walk through this haunt. They did a great job of dividing their space up to extend the length of the place. The animatronics were very good, some of them jump out at you and are startling. Everything is well decorated, with good attention to detail, especially in the main rooms. They either use ground based foggers or misters, which enhances the atmosphere as you enter the main part of the haunt. The fog or mist is also used with lasers to create the illusion that you are moving through water in one area. All in all, a great job of using props and decor.

There are either actors or animatronics in every part of Halls of Horror so you won’t encounter dead space. Some actors seemed to be guides, but most were well positioned to surprise you. The costumes and makeup were good and went well with the decor. You’ll find as many actors per square foot as you will in any haunted house in Texas.

My group enjoyed the overall feel of the place. It reminded us of haunted houses when we were growing up. A plus is that you have a mall available to you when you exit (before 9pm) and plenty of other shopping and restaurants within a quarter of a mile. Cinemark has a recently remodeled theater in the mall, with late showings available. When possible, I like to eat and see a movie after going to a haunted house, so this is an ideal location.

Halls of Horror is a great buy at $10. That price makes it the least expensive haunted house I’ve reviewed, or heard of, this decade. It has extremely convenient hours, and because of it’s location, you can plan an evening around it. An additional bonus is that it’s located well within the Metroplex, just a few minutes north of Dallas, and next to Carrollton. With no haunted attractions within Dallas city limits, Halls of Horror is as short a drive as you’re going to have going to a haunted house, if you live in the northern half of Dallas or the northern suburbs. This is a refreshing take on haunted houses, and it’s the only new haunted attraction in north Texas this year. My group had fun here, and I’m pretty sure your’s will too.