You know, I don’t really get if it’s just because we were paying attention this year or if it’s always like this, but haunted houses across the country are REALLY bringing their “A” game this Halloween!
Growing up in the mid-west, a haunted house used to mean for us that one guy on your block did something in his garage, or a night spent at an actual haunted building with your friends. A la the “Spooky Church” that One-Sheet and I went to all the time during October.
Two blocks away from our neighborhood stood this abandoned church. And it’s still there too.
But this year at least, that’s no longer the only place to go on Halloween. Because across the country, pretty much every state has one hell of an awesome Haunted House attraction to go to.
So here are some of the best that I’ve been pining away for over the past month. And by “some” I mean not everything. And by “best” I mean the attractions that I personally think are both unique, well done, and perfect to get even the biggest Halloween Grinch into the mood.
Not just the ones that HauntWorld picks every year. Though there are a couple on here that I stole from them.
Blackout Haunted House (New York)
Manhattan’s Blackout Haunted House is quiet possibly one of the most intense and disturbing haunted attractions of the last 10 years. Now that sentence would normally make someone roll their eyes and call bullshit, because I obviously haven’t been ranking every haunted house for the last decade on some sort of scream ‘o meter.
This house is the most disturbing because it’s just common sense.
Visitors to this house must be at 18 years old to even hand the owners the money for the ticket and sign a waver form stating that they know that there will be “simulated extreme horror,” “physical contact” and “adult sexual content.”
Which from the videos they’ve posted looks like simulated rape.
Oh, and did I mention that you also have to go through it alone? Yep.
Add all that up and you have less of a fun Halloween attraction, and more of an awesomely fucked up double dog dare.
So heads up New York, this house isn’t for the tourists. It’s for hard-core horror fans ONLY. Though in all honestly, it might even be too intense for them, so thank god there’s a safety word. And it’s not Banana.
The ScareHouse (Pittsburgh)
Pittsburgh is known for a lot of things. But during this time of year, it’s Zombie-ville baby. The birth place of an entire horror genre also is home to The ScareHouse. An event that embraces it’s cities roots, and gives you ne of the best Zombie experiences you can ask for this year.
But wait…there’s more!
Zombies not your thing? Well ScareHouse follows a trend that seems to be becoming the norm in the industry lately, and offers more than one house. Three in fact!
The aforementioned Pittsburgh Zombies, Delirium 3D (also a big trend right now), and The Forsaken. Which features a giant axe wielding bunny wabbit.
The production value of the mazes and the scares look to be top notch as always. So if you’re in Pittsburgh, please go to this and let me live vicariously through you.
Theatre Bizarre (Detroit)
What if I told you about a Halloween attraction that opens up every year in secret, next to the now dormant Michigan State Fairgrounds in a largely abandoned neighborhood, and is constantly on the verge of getting shut down by the cops?
Sound like something you might want to go to? Ya, me too. And it’s the only reason why I wish we still lived in Michigan.
It might not be a traditional haunted house, there aren’t any mazes or scare actors here, but it is one of the coolest and creepiest yearly underground parties that I’ve ever heard about. And I’m so glad it exists.
If Halloween was an actual place you could visit each year, this is what it would be like.
PennHurst Asylum (Philadelphia)
Now a days I tend to shy away from the bigger attractions with the bigger sponsors (Halloween Horror Nights), but I’m in full agreement with HauntWorld on this pick for best Haunted Attraction of 2011. Though I can’t go personally, PennHurst Asylum is clearly one of those unique places where everything comes together to create something terrifying.
The fact that it’s a real building from 1908, with a real history of paranormal activity (Google it) doesn’t hurt things either.
I was really debating on whether or not to include Netherworld in this list. Mainly just because they’re one of the big bads and everyone knows about them. But damn it, they’re big bads for a reason.
Netherworld is legendary for their over the top scares and top notch production design. That alone would make them a must-see, but they’ve also been a driving force in the haunt industry for the last 15 years. So pretty much every thing you now think of when you picture a modern haunted house only exists in part because of the team at Netherworld.
I can’t wait to see what they do for this year. And neither can all of the other attractions across the country either.
Now this is only SOME of the houses that I feel are the best of this year. Keep in mind that since I can’t go to them all personally, I’m widdling this list down through the very scientific process of forming an opinion based on what I’ve heard, read, and seen on the Internet. So if I’ve missed one that you feel is better than one of the five events above, let me hear about it in the comments below!