Texas Haunts – Haunted House News and Reviews

Halloween Week

With the exception of Screams, all haunted attractions are open on Halloween, and many are open Monday-Wednesday. Check listings here for the haunts you want to see. My recommended haunted houses are here. Most haunted houses will also be open Friday and Saturday. I will have a post later in the week for haunts that will be open past Halloween.

For all things Halloween, check out the following pages. All have been updated for this week.

Statewide listing of haunted attractions

Halloween movie and TV listings

Halloween Parties October 29-November 2

Other Halloween Activities

Haunted House Reviews

Halloween links

Cutting Edge Haunted House Review

14.10.2019 (7:18 am) – Filed under: Cutting Edge,Reviews

October 13, 2019

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-October 18 from 7pm-12:30am, October 19 from 7pm-1am, October 20 from 8pm-10pm, October 24 from 8pm-10pm, October 25 from 7pm-1am, October 26 from 7pm-1am, October 27 from 8pm-10:30pm, October 30 from 8pm-10pm, Halloween from 7pm-10:30pm, November 1 from 9pm-10:30pm, November 2 from 9pm-10:30pm.

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 $3.75 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 $3.75 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 $3.75 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 $3.75 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 $3.75 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 $3.75 fee

Group rate timed ticket-$38.25 online plus a $3.75 service fee, $45 onsite.

Group rate Speedpass-On sale for $46.75 plus a $3.75 fee

Coupon Promo codes here.

Parking is $15-$20. Parking is now across the street. Credit cards are accepted for parking.

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. Now you can get something to eat and spend some time outside the haunt, before or after you go in.

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. 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.

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

Cutting Edge began changing it’s outside two years ago. What used to be their main parking lot is now used for music, concessions, and space for people to move around. Figures on horseback line the area around the haunted house entrance, and the giant skull that you walk through to enter the house is shrouded in mist. 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. Mist in this area was a nice touch.

There is a nice wasteland zone, with actors jumping around, and props that look like something out of a zombie movie. Shortly after the wasteland, 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 very 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 some areas.

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. There is a area that transitions from the cemetery to the funeral home that looked great, with reddish lighting and interesting props.

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.

A clown area replaces the old blackout maze. 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.

There is a heavily misted area close the end of the house that I mistook for the beginning of the bubble tunnel. At the end, I decided to take the bypass before the tunnel filled with bubbles. The bypass is in plain site this year, just go left instead of right.

 

Final Thoughts

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, or entertainment on screens, 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. Some sort of clown programming was in the third break area, before the clown house. 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. The price of parking has gone up, but the extra convenience is worth it.

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. This is probably the best year ever for Cutting Edge, so make sure you it at least once!

Texas Scaregrounds Review

12.10.2019 (11:39 am) – Filed under: Reviews

October 12, 2019

Score-9

Site here

Facebook here

Online tickets here

Dates and hours open-Open every Friday and Saturday in October, plus Halloween and November 1 and 2. 7pm-midnight.

Price-$20, group rates and combo ghost hunting tickets are available. Ghost hunting tickets, without haunted house tickets are also available, and are $20. Text 817 819 6773 for details about group rates. Bring a can of food and get $5 off the regular haunted house admission price.

Phone-817-819-6773

Address-314 NW 4th Street Mineral Wells TX 76067

Parking-Free. A lot for Texas Scaregrounds is available at Hwy 281 and 4th street, and there is plenty of parking on the streets around the Scaregrounds.

Number of attractions-One, although a ghost hunting trip can be purchased to go with the haunted house.

Walk through time-12-15 minutes. Possibly longer if you aren’t good at mazes.

Review

The setting for Texas Scaregrounds is one of the best I’ve seen. Scaregrounds is located in Mineral Wells, a small town west of Ft Worth, in an old multistory building called Nazarene Hospital. The hospital itself is allegedly haunted, and Baker Hotel, only a few blocks from the Scaregrounds, is on all of the paranormal sites. Nazarene Hospital is a big, creepy looking building, and it’s at the western edge of downtown Mineral Wells. When you drive down the street to the Scaregrounds, it looks like you’re driving off into the country, which helps set the mood for a haunted house. The front of the hospital building is brightly lit with what look like LED lights shining onto it, and the hospital lobby, now the ticket booth, is nicely decorated. The decor in the lobby reminds me of old school 90’s haunted houses, and it’s appropriate for the look Texas Scaregrounds is going for.

So far, Scaregrounds hasn’t used much of the huge hospital building. They are only on the first floor, but they have made the of the most of that area. Greeters begin your experience with a talk about rules and expectations within the haunt. They’re in costume and in character, so the usual bit about house rules is turned into something fun.

Most of the rooms in the Scaregrounds are like mini mazes. They don’t have obvious exits, so you have to feel along the walls and push on doors to find a way out. There are actual mazes in the haunt, which are difficult enough that one group of girls accidentally exited the house and had to be let back in to finish their trip through. Lighting is dim or dark, for the most part, which makes the mazes and mini mazes even more difficult. Actors are allowed to touch in the Scaregrounds, and they usually went for my ankles, while they were under a bed, or behind a door. When you combine very dim lighting with difficult to navigate rooms, and actors grabbing at your legs, you end up with very startled guests. There was a great deal of screaming inside the Scaregrounds. Much of it came from guests, but a fair amount came from the actors. There were several actors who screamed loudly and frequently, and I have to admit that it was unnerving. There were also lots of actors in every area and room. I use a voice recording app on my phone to make notes while I walk through haunted houses, and I like to speak into the phone when there are no actors around. In the entire haunt, I was only alone twice, so I ended up making notes with actors around me, screaming quite a bit of the time.

Props and decor inside the haunt do their job, which is to set you up to be scared by the actors. I like the creative use of space to break the place up and increase the walk through time. Being as dark as it is, some of the guests were frightened enough to panic and back up, and, as I mentioned, one group backed up all the way out of the place. It’s an intense experience, so you might want to avoid bringing very young kids, unless they are very difficult to frighten. I was nervous most of the way through, and I’m pretty desensitized to haunted houses, so most guests will end up jumping around at least a few times.

The price at Scaregrounds ($20) is great, and you can get another $5 off by bringing a can of food to donate. I wish that I had scheduled a ghost hunt to go along with my visit to the Scaregrounds, and I suggest that you do just that. You can do both for $35 (with a donation of a can of food) and, if you have the time, you can also go by the Baker Hotel for a ghost walk. That has to be scheduled as well, but you can do it all if you plan a few days in advance. If you are from out of town, highways 180 and 281 have lots of dining options, fast food and restaurants. I suggest that you plan ahead and make a night of your visit to Mineral Wells. I live in middle of DFW, and it took less than an hour and half to get to Mineral Wells. People in Fort Worth and the rest of the western side of DFW can get there in much less time. Ghost hunting at Nazarene Hospital and the Baker Hotel, in addition to Texas Scaregrounds, will make your trip more than worthwhile.

Thrillvania Haunted House Park Review

12.10.2019 (3:40 am) – Filed under: Reviews,Thrillvania

October 11, 2019

Score-9

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. Saturday, October 12, from 8:30-10:30pm, Friday, October 18, from 8:30pm-10pm. Saturday, October 19, from 8:30pm-11pm. Friday, October 25, from 8:30pm-10:30pm, and Saturday, October 26, from 8:30pm-11:30pm.

Price-General admission tickets are $32.99, plus tax. Speedpass tickets are 52.99, plus tax. A $3.75 is charged for online ticket purchases. 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. There is a second concessions stand just inside the park, but it only has snacks and soft drinks. Go to the concessions stands and see Verdun and Cassandra’s before you enter the trail. The trail leads to the park exit, and you will not be able to reenter the park after the trail. 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

Improvements have been made in all three main attractions at Thrillvania, and there were far more people in the park than last year when we reviewed. All animatronics were working, though there seemed to be fewer of them than in the past. It would be nice to see more merchants in the midway in coming years, since 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. Food concessions are still in place, with the main concession close to Verdun Manor, and a smaller concession close to the park entrance. When you’re at Thrillvania, you need to get at least one corn dog. Your visit won’t be complete without it. The main concession stand has great corn dogs, plus frito pies, funnel cakes, and other carnival food. The smaller concession stand has candy and soft drinks only. 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.

This year, a park employee greets you as soon as you enter, and lets you know that you won’t be able to reenter the park after you’ve exited Sam Hain’s trail, and suggests that you see everything before entering the trail. You can start with Verdun Manor, but I think it’s best to begin with Cassandra’s House of Clowns. It’s right in front of the park entrance, and the line won’t be long if you arrive early, so 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 climbing the fences. High energy, club music plays loudly, which is disorienting, and makes it more of a challenge to get through the house. The actors are the best part of Cassandra’s. 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. They make good use of hiding places and sometimes circle back to scare you again.

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. The lamps around the trail and entrance to Verdun were great looking, with about six lights per lamp. The graveyard in front of Verdun was heavily fogged, which got customers in the mood for the Manor.

Once you get into Verdun, you walk through the parlor, dining room and library. They look good, much as they did 20 years ago. Attention to detail in decor has always been a strong point for Verdun. The actors blend in well with life sized figures, and have good enough timing to frighten guests regularly . The stairwells aren’t as well decorated as in the past, but this isn’t a big deal. I like the upgrades to the laboratory, the catacombs are as good as ever, and the evisceration area is still cool looking. The residential area upstairs is probably the best part of Verdun now. It didn’t seem like Verdun took as long to go through as usual, but it’s still fun and the props and decor are great.

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. There are three shacks that are large enough for actors and scenes, including one that has fog some fog in it. There are lots of hanging figures in the trees, and the lighting is effective in creating an eerie atmosphere through the trail. The actors do a pretty good job of frightening the guests, for the most part, but it would be nice if the actors in the very good looking jack o’lantern display would either let people just enjoy the display, or jump out and scare people, instead of standing there trying to carry on a conversation.

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 if you’ve seen it many times in the past.

 

 

Screams Halloween Theme Park Review

06.10.2019 (2:31 am) – Filed under: Haunted House Listings,Reviews,Screams,Screams Review

October 5, 2019

Score-10

Site here

Facebook here

Tickets here

Phone-972-938-3247

Location-2511 FM 66 Waxahachie, TX 75167

Directions-from Dallas: Take I-35E South to Exit 399A, Go west on FM66 1.6 miles

From Ft Worth: Take Hwy 287 South to I-35E South, Take I-35E South to Exit 399A, Go west on FM66 1.6 miles

From Waco:Due to I-35E construction, the exit for Screams has temporarily changed to exit 397 on northbound I-35E. Proceed to FM66, go west 1.6 miles

Attractions-Five major haunted attractions, plus a cemetery trail, food court, multiple taverns, a great full service bar and cafe (Full Moon Cafe) games of skill, a climbing tower, live music, Scaryoke, Halloween related merchants, a psychic, Henna tattoos, wax hands, palm readings, and more!

Full Moon Cafe is the full bar and full service cafe at Screams, on the west end of the Food Court area. Cheltsea and Michael are excellent bartenders, and Rachael looks after the dining area. This is the only place in Screams where you can eat, drink and pay with a credit card. Full Moon has plenty of seating and is well decorated. It’s dimly lit, with a cozy Halloween feel to it, and the bartenders and servers dress up in Halloween costumes. I spoke with a few people who said that this is their favorite place to go in Screams. The food was excellent on our visit (we had bacon and cheese fries, plus cheeseburgers) and I love the Dracula’s Kiss drink. It’s refreshing, and has a kick since it’s vodka based. Cheltsea has come up with a peanut butter and banana flavored drink that tastes like ice cream, that was very welcome on the incredibly hot night of our review. Other Halloween specialty drinks are available, and Michael and Cheltsea can take requests. Full Moon is a great place to begin, or end your night at Screams.

Dates open-Fridays and Saturdays in October, from 7:30pm-1:30am. Ticket sales end at midnight.

Tickets-General admission is $35 at the box office, $32 online (plus a $1 service fee) while group tickets are $30 for groups of 15 or more. Group tickets have to be purchased in advance and are not available at the gate. Fast passes are $20 each, and are highly advisable later in the season. $4 off coupons are available at participating T-Mobile stores.

Parking -Parking is free

Miscellaneous info-Always wear comfortable shoes or boots at Screams. You will have problems in high heels. This is a park, and the terrain is natural. On warm nights, dress in your coolest clothing, but on colder nights, remember that Screams is in the country, so it’s going to be several degrees cooler than DFW or Austin. Remember to not wear costumes or masks. For security reasons, guests can’t wear either at Screams.

Walk through time-Around an hour for all of the attractions combined. Please keep in mind that this is a haunted park, not just a haunted house. A great deal of the fun at Screams is being able to walk around, checking out merchants, music, and eating and drinking. It’s best to allow a good part of the night to spend at Screams. You can go through the attractions as many times as you want, although having a fast pass really helps if you want to see the attractions multiple times. On our review, we arrived before the park opened, and left around midnight. We could easily have spent more time in the park. This is a place to take your time, have fun, and relax.

Review:

Screams is the largest Halloween park I’ve been to, and it helps to have a plan for seeing the main attractions. I always advise people to see the attractions first, and eat and drink afterward. I save checking out the games and merchants for after dinner and drinks. It’s also fun to mix it up and alternate between roaming around the park and visiting the food court and Full Moon Cafe, but see the attractions first. On busy nights, Screams can be kind of hectic, so below is the schedule that I follow when I review Screams. It’s worked well for me for many years. If you need to orient yourself, a map of the park is located next to the entrance to the cemetery trail, in front of the park entrance. A signpost pointing out the direction of the attractions and services is in front of the souvenir shop, also close to the park entrance. Reviews of the individual attractions follow my guide.

As tempting as it is to go through the cemetery trail in front of the park entrance, it’s always best to start with the Witches of Terra Mythica Castle. The line for the Castle becomes long early in the evening, and even the fast pass wait can eat heavily into your evening. See the Castle first, then go to your right after exiting the Castle, walk uphill to the trail from the food court to the park entrance, and take a right. That will take you to Hotel D’Feers, which will be on your right. After the Hotel, head straight across the park to Blood Harbour, the 3D pirate themed funhouse. When you exit Blood Harbour, take a right and go to Carnival of Chaos, a clown themed maze. Zombie Wasteland is the main trail at Screams and is located behind the food court. From the Carnival exit, head straight across the park to the food court, wrap around the food court, and you will find Zombie Wasteland. The lines at Zombie Wasteland are usually not as long as at the other big attractions, so I save it for last.

Once you have been through the main attractions, you’ll have worked up an appetite, and the food court is next to the exit for Zombie Wasteland. For food, you have a choice of the full service Full Moon Cafe, located on the west side of the food court, or a wide variety of carnival food at the court itself. Fajitas, pizza, turkey legs, barbecue sandwiches, chicken or sausage on a stick are some of the offerings at the food court. 21 and over can find alcohol at Taboo Tavern, Spider Web Bar, and the Morgue Tavern. All are located in the food court area. Full Moon Cafe is the only place in Screams with a full bar.

After you’ve eaten and visited the taverns, you can turn your attention to playing and shopping. Across from the food court, by the exit for the Castle, are the games, and a well decorated kettle corn stand. Henna Tattoos is now located catty-corner from the food court. Nightly Scaryoke is held at the stage under the pavilion by Taboo Tavern (it’s the King’s Pub Stage during Scarborough) and the main stage (at the back of the park, Crown Meadow Stage during Scarborough) features live musical acts. If you want to rock climb, or just watch people climb, a climbing tower is located close to the Carnival of Chaos.

For shopping, head to Merchant’s Row, located close to the park entrance. Waxed hands, Glo items, jewelry, tombstones, glass pipes, feather extensions, a psychic, tarot card readings, and palm readings are all on Merchant’s Row. Screams also has a souvenir shop located between Merchant’s Row and the park entrance. Before you leave, don’t forget the cemetery trail, with some of the coolest lighting and props in the park. It’s located directly across from the park entrance. There is no line for this trail, you just walk in. It’s a nice way to wind up the evening, and you can get some good pictures without using a flash.

Main Attractions:

Cursed: The Witches of Terra Mythica Castle

The Castle has a great setting. You can see pictures taken from the trail leading to the castle in the gallery below. I love the lighting of the Castle walls and the flames shooting out, near the Castle entrance. You walk over a little bridge to get into the Castle, passing under a gate. Action comes as soon as you are inside, with actors all around you while you’re surrounded by undead armored knights. Dark hallways lead into the dungeon, illuminated by dim lighting, alternating between red, blue, and green. A swampy area follows after a bridge, with heavy fog and orange lighting. Look for the library in this area, it has some of the best decor in Screams. The sound effects are creepy, with werewolves and bats seemingly around you as you descend into the catacombs. This is my favorite part of the Castle. It could be my imagination, but the walkway seems to narrow in this area, and the lighting is perfectly adjusted to unnerve you. An extra long vibrating bridge frightened the group in front of us, and actors kept popping in and out of the hall. A group of angry witches follow the catacombs, giving you a proper send off, although there is more to be seen just outside the Castle.

Throughout the Castle, halls are narrow and well decorated, with actors blending in with the scenery. There are two actors who are so well camouflaged that they can’t be detected until they jump out at you. If you want to try to look for them, they are in the swamp and catacombs. I thought that the one in the catacombs was part of the wall. This is the largest and best decorated attraction at Screams, and it’s probably the most intense, though Hotel D’Feers gives it strong competition in that department. I’ve mentioned this before, but be sure to see the Castle first.

Hotel D’Feers

Actors in the Hotel waste no time. Two or three are there to “greet” guests just past the entrance, with quite a bit of movement and screaming. The screaming girl must use a bag of lozenges a night because she didn’t stop until we were well past the front room. Playing elevator music after the front room was an interesting choice, it made for a sharp contrast with the chaos at the entrance to the Hotel. Heavy fog follows and guests move very slowly in this area, due to limited visibility, so slow down too and avoid forming a conga line for the rest of the Hotel. In addition to heavy fog, there are lots of twists and turns in the hallway, plus animatronic props popping out. The actors interact with you, asking for a donation of body parts from time to time. A foggy swamp changed the mood of the Hotel, apparently the place has fallen into such disrepair that heavy vegetation has taken over. Try to find the camouflaged actor in the swamp. You won’t be able to, but you’ll have fun trying. White strobes and more fog are disorienting just past the swamp, with wooden fencing keeping you from wandering off the path. The residential part of the Hotel that follows has a run down, Texas Chainsaw look and feel to it, with energetic actors making almost as much noise as the screaming girl at the front.

The Hotel is loud, foggy, and designed to keep you on edge. It’s not as long as the Castle, but it’s close to being as intense. The actors are the main attraction of this haunt. I’m not sure how many there were, but they didn’t let up on the guests at any point.

Capt’n Barbarossa’s Blood Harbour

This year all of Blood Harbour is 3D. The outside of the haunt is dark, with the exception of the area around the sign, but the inside is covered in bright neon paint, with props appropriate for a pirate ship.  The vortex tunnel and the hallway of crabs are my favorites, but the shaking hallway is fun too. 3D glasses make it difficult to see the doors the actors use to pop in and out, so they nearly always surprised me. The laser and smoke effect that makes it look like you’re waist deep in water worked much better this year. All animatronics were in good working order, sound effects were loud enough to be distracting, which helped the actors sneak up on our group. This is one of the last dedicated 3D houses around, so be sure to check it out after the Hotel. Everyone in Blood Harbour seemed to have a good time, including the actors.

PT Harmum’s Carnival of Chaos

This is a clown heavy maze, with chain link fencing, and lots of strobes to disorient you. The clowns give terrible directions and harass throughout the maze. Loud carnival music also makes it difficult to concentrate. For the first time ever, my group found the exit quickly, and with no outside help. Randell, a member of the review team, has a freakish ability to navigate mazes. He heads for the middle of the maze, somehow pictures the layout from there, and finds the exit quickly. We did see an interesting circus scene made of dinosaur bones and clowns, and a four clown animatronic with Pennywise that moved like a train. If not for Randell, the strobes and clowns would have kept me in the maze for a long time and would have forced me to do what I usually do, which is to use an emergency exit to get out. Try Randell’s strategy and get to middle of the maze, then try to go straight ahead from there.

Zombie Wasteland…Apocalypse

The location of the zombie trail is important. Being at the back of Screams allows the trail to seem isolated once you enter, and the surrounding Scarborough buildings add to the eerie atmosphere. The terrain does look like a wasteland, with overturned cars, burnt out electronics, and ruined buildings around the trail. Creepy sound effects block out sound from the rest of the park, and set the mood for the entire trail. Props are perfectly lit, and the zombie computer room is probably the first of it’s kind. Strobes are well placed, and alternating between red, blue and orange lighting in different areas works well. I love this part of Scarborough (Holly Field) and I had thought that it would make a great haunted trail during Screams. I would like for the trail to go deeper into Holly Field, but it’s winding layout does give actors plenty of opportunities to scare guests. Speaking of the actors, they really get into their roles. They deserve a lot of credit for going all out on an incredibly hot and humid night. Their level of intensity makes me wonder how great they will be on colder nights, when people and makeup aren’t melting. I heard more screams from guests in Zombie Wasteland than in any other attraction at Screams. The actors were so in character that the guests were freaked out by the end. This is an attraction to go through more than once, especially if you have a fast pass.

2018 was a season that featured major upgrades at Screams. 2019 continues the park wide upgrades. New props and decorations by the ticket booth and front gate get people in the mood to be scared, the main attractions have all improved, and the cemetery trail is a full length trail again. New merchants and games have been added, while the park is even better decorated than before, with great attention to detail from the outside of the park, all the way back to Zombie Wasteland. Screams has never looked better, and it’s still the best overall value in North Texas. It is possible to see the attractions pretty quickly, if you arrive early or get a fast pass, but Screams is so much more fun if you take your time and make a night of it. This is the greatest Halloween festival close to DFW, and the weather is finally going to feel like Fall this coming weekend, so see Screams while the cool weather lasts!

 

 

 

 

Waco Haunted Houses Review

30.09.2019 (12:17 am) – Filed under: Reviews,Waco Haunted Houses

September 28, 2019

Score 9.5

Site here

Facebook here

Phone 254 826 7473

Location 14656 I-35 N Elm Mott, Texas 76640

Directions- On the northbound access road for I-35, about 10 minutes north of Waco, in Elm Mott. Take exit 345, you will see red lights on the buildings.

Facilities-Two haunted houses (Dead Zone, Chainsaw Nightmare) and a gift shop. Music is played through a large tower. There is a karaoke stage and an ATM.

Dates open October 5-6, 12-13, 19-20. Nightly October 26-Halloween. November 1 and 2. Open 8pm-midnight.

Admission-$22 for adults and $13 for under 10.

Promotions-Grand opening weekend October 5-6, featuring a free t-shirt with four paid admissions. Heart of Texas Pro Wrestling Food Drive October 12-13, with $2 off with 2 cans of food. October 19 is the Carter Blood Drive, with a free t-shirt and free admission for one pint of blood. The Carter Blood Drive is not to be confused with the Dracula Blood Drive, which features the far less generous offer of one free admission for all of your blood. October 25 and 26 is Zombie Karaoke weekend, with a free t-shirt for singing. October 30 and Halloween is the Halloween celebration. November 1 and 2 is the Day of the Dead weekend.

Parking-Parking is free

Miscellaneous-Wear shoes or boots with good traction since the floor in the Chainsaw Nightmare really is ground, and is uneven in some areas. Wear something cool since it looks like a pretty warm October is coming. If it does cool down, remember that this is in the country, so it will be cooler than in DFW or Austin. A nice gift shop is on the grounds. It has costumes, props, decor, t-shirts, and Halloween music CDs. The gift shop is cash only. There is an ATM by the music tower.

Walk through time-Varies, depending on your group. There is a large lobby (Museum of Horrors) before the Dead Zone haunted house. A guide leads you through the Museum, and gives information about local urban legends. Generally, the two haunted houses take around 20-25 minutes to go through, combined.

Review

Waco Haunted Houses is a haunt park in Central Texas, in the village of Elm Mott, just north of Waco. It features two haunted houses (Dead Zone and Chainsaw Nightmare) as well as a gift shop and karaoke stage. Museum of Horrors, in the lobby of Dead Zone, has a large collection of life sized characters from horror movies, and macabre art. I like the gift shop because it has a wide range of props, decorations, costumes, souvenirs, t-shirts, and Halloween CDs. I’m probably forgetting some items they have. The gift shop is definitely worth a look. They have some things I haven’t seen before, and I go to Halloween shops all the time. Just make sure to bring cash, or go to the ATM by the music tower. The gift shop is cash only. Speaking of the music tower, it really is a tower. It’s two stories high and plays Halloweenish music all night. The karaoke stage is next to the line for the Dead Zone, and roaming actors entertain guests in line. One of the great things about this park is that you’re never bored. Even on busy nights, you’ll have plenty to occupy you while you’re in line.

Before you enter Dead Zone, a guide leads you through the Museum, with stories of local urban legends, then hands you off to the executioner, who explains methods of execution, before frying an unfortunate soul in the Museum’s electric chair. After that, you begin the Dead Zone.

Dead Zone is a dark haunt, with dim, moody lighting and occasional bursts of light from props, which never failed to startle the group I was with. Like Chainsaw Nightmare, there isn’t much space in the walkways, so there is also a claustrophobic effect. Speaking of claustrophobic, they have a huge prop called a claustrophobe, which you have to squeeze through. While in it, you’re surrounded by it’s walls, and they put some pressure on your body. If you start to freak out, turn sideways and walk through. That always makes getting out of a claustrophobe faster and easier.

Dead Zone has an eclectic array of scenes and props. There are no empty areas in Dead Zone. There are props or actors everywhere. The attention to detail in the decor is also first rate. This house has been around for a long time, and I’m guessing that it’s added onto year after year. I don’t like to give away too many details, but I will say that I really enjoyed the school bus, and the poor guy chained to a wall gave a great performance. Movie characters from 80’s slasher films and clowns are probably the staples of Dead Zone. The clowns are both irritating and frightening. They got my group to scream a few times, and they would not stop coming after us until we were well clear of their area. My favorite part was the horror movie zone. The actors do a good job of blending in with the life sized characters, so you never know what is real, until it jumps out at you.

Actors in Dead Zone and Chainsaw Nightmare seem to be sensitive to the age of guests. They will pull back with younger guests, and older ones who are having a difficult time. The tour guide in the Museum spoke with one member of our group who didn’t really want to go through, due to fear, and then pointed out the exit for her. These are high intensity haunted houses, but they are safe to bring younger kids to.

After exiting the Dead Zone, you go to Chainsaw Nightmare. This haunt is a little different from most places. The floor is dirt. It’s uneven. You won’t fall down, but it’s natural and adds to the theme of the place. Imagine if Texas Chainsaw Nightmare (the original, not the remake) had been set in the late 1800’s and you’ll understand this haunted house. I’m tempted to describe the decor as Old West Gothic, but it’s more rustic than that. It really feels like you’re in a different century when you walk through. Again, I don’t like to give away too many details, but I have to mention the scenes at the entrance. With dim reddish lighting around you, you see fire and a demonic creature on a raised area, looking down at you. That really set the mood for the rest of the house. This is also a very dark haunt, and the wooden fencing is narrow at times. There is a difference in elevation in parts of Chainsaw Nightmare, which adds to the fun. Creepy doesn’t begin to describe the atmosphere here. I’ve been through haunted houses all over Texas, and this placed unnerved me.

The actors in Chainsaw Nightmare really get into their roles. They have great costumes and make the most of the terrain when they sneak up on you. I usually don’t like chainsaws (they tend to be used as a means of getting you to exit the house quickly) but the actor with the chainsaw did a fantastic job! He came so close to me that I thought he was going to hit me with the chainsaw, and pulled back at the last second. The actors won’t touch, but they manage to get so close that they may as well be touching you. Second haunted houses are sometimes an afterthought, but Chainsaw Nightmare is fun from beginning to end, and is something that you will remember long after you drive away from the park.

In addition to great haunted houses, Waco Haunted Houses also has great prices. $22 for 10 and over, and $13 for under 10 is a bargain today. There are also discount weekends (see above in Promotions) and each weekend has a theme or promotion. It’s great for people living in Waco and Temple, and I didn’t mind the drive from Dallas, considering how much fun I had. Austin is well within range too. This haunt park has a real Halloween festival feel to it. I hadn’t visited since 2011, and I’m definitely going back next year. I’m sure you will have a great time here, so check the list of remaining dates and promotions above, and come out to see Waco Haunted Houses!

 

 

 

These are a few of the photos that I took on my visit. I took over 100 pics, but as I mentioned, these are dark, atmospheric haunted houses, and the park itself is kept pretty dark in most areas. That makes for a haunt park that feels like Halloween, but it’s not great if you’re taking pictures without flash photography. You can check out their Facebook page for hundreds of much better pics.

 

 

 

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.