It's finally October, which means two things: grocery stores will probably start playing Christmas music ... and the Valley will finally be taken over by zombies, candy corn and, you guessed it, Haunted Houses. We're on a mission to scout out the best (and worst) ones and share our experiences. Hope you packed an extra pair of pants...
Location: The Door Christian Fellowship, 585 E. Frye Rd., Chandler
In Brief: Final Destination V may include special effects, actors, professional lighting and booming sound, but it's not your typical haunted house.
Our Experience: We arrived at 7 p.m. on opening night (Thursday). We were first in line, but several people stood around eating food from the concession stand and talking with friends. The event is held at a church, and a small stage was set up outside where music (radio hits of today and some jams from the 80s) blasted over the speakers.
The event website advertises a 45-minute experience, but the only 45-minute experience we had was waiting in line. (The actual walkthrough took 20 to 25 minutes.) We're not sure why the event, which was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., did not get underway until a few minutes before 8 p.m., but by the time we were finally escorted in, the line had lengthened.
We were brought into the "haunted house" as a group of nine. When we entered we were told to look at a flashing light and listen up. The Devil gave us a chance to quit before things got started, but no one did. "Every life has a beginning...every life has an end..." he said. Shortly after we were guided through a dark tunnel and entered the depths of Hell.
So was the Hell House as scary as we imagined? Read more after the jump ...
Scariness (1 to 5 Scale): It's subjective. We'll give it a 2.5 because it's a haunted house that is realistic. People with chain-less chainsaws won't chase you around a dirt lot, but you will witness scenes from real life.
Worth the Cash?: It depends on who you are. If you believe in Hell, this might give you a scare. The $10 price tag is relatively inexpensive compared to a lot of haunted houses, but even the cheap price may not be worth it for those who do not believe in Heaven or Hell. A $20 fast pass wristband is available, but the night we went, the lines weren't long enough to warrant it. The fast pass also allows re-entrance for all nights of the event.
Who should go: If you're under the age of 13, you will not be admitted. There are no exceptions. If you don't believe in Hell or religion, this may not be the haunted attraction you've been looking for. The event addresses controversial issues including abortion, suicide and homosexuality. If you're easily offended (some of the content is really raw) or adverse to organized religion -- don't bother.
Best Scare: The Hell part. Attendees are guided into a dark, smoky room with red light and demons. Hellmates tell you what sins they committed to end up in the fiery pits of Hell.
Fail: Billy the clown from the Saw movies. During part two of the tour we were shuffled into a small room and told to watch a TV. Guess who pops up on the screen. Just guess. Did you say the clown from Saw? If so, you're absolutely right.
What does Billy have to do with Hell? We're not exactly sure, but for 3 to 5 minutes we listened to him tell us that the Devil sees everything we do and can be in anyone and everything. The busty blonde at the office? Yes, that could be the Devil. The peeping Tom you thought went away? Didn't go away and yes, that's the Devil. He also says that social networking is a drug and tells us to update our Facebook status because...we're in Hell.
The TV shuts off and we're guided to a new room. And guess who is there riding his tricycle. Guess. Did you guess Billy? Right again. The clown rides around for a few seconds. Lights flash on and off. Dead people (we think they were dead) stand around.
All we could say was -- "WHAT?"
Overall grade: C
And the scaring doesn't stop there. Check out our other haunted house reviews so far ...
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.