The chainsaws are being gassed up, the fake blood is ready to start dripping from the walls, and the cast members are getting their costumes and macabre-looking masks in order. The proprietors of several haunted house around the Valley are busy putting the final touches on their horror-inducing attractions as they're getting an early start on the Halloween season this year.
While most haunted houses are waiting until the calendar gets closer All Hallows Eve, a total of four different scare parks and fear factories will make their 2012 debuts next weekend as they'll open to the public on Friday, September 21.
Get ready to scream your lungs out and check out our rundown of who's opening early.
Chambers of Fear Haunted house impresario Paul Boyd has been scaring the bejeezus outta people for a quarter of a century. Starting with a relatively diminutive Halloween display built in the three-car garage of his home around 25 years ago, he's caused countless local residents to scream with his horrific haunts. The screaming has gotten louder and more frequent over the decade as Boyd and his company Graveyard Entertainment have created larger and more frightening attractions across the Valley, including his latest joint Chambers of Fear. For the past three years this surreal-looking Surprise attraction packs plenty of gory frights and fearsome fun into its macabre 25,000-square-foot milieu. Visitors wind their way through a twisting maze of rooms populated by reanimated corpses, autopsy victims, and other outlandish individuals. New features this year include the "Hillbilly Nightmare" (described as a "government nuclear testing zone") and the "Den of Darkness."
Hours and Prices: 7 p.m.-midnight, Friday and Saturdays through October 27; 7-10 p.m., Thursdays and Sundays starting October 4, and 7 p.m.-midnight daily starting October 17 through October 31. Admission starts at $20.
Fear Farm A pair of psychopathic clowns named Flinch and Tremmors are the poster boys for this West Valley haunted attraction, which has been around for more than a decade. And while the deadly-looking duo carry badass weaponry and are known to toss snarky insults at patrons, they're the least of your worries should you chose to visit. Four different "haunts," as well as a spooky corn maze, make up the Fear Farm, each offering a bloody good time. There's "Chainsaw Mayhem," where a Leatherface-like serial killer in training is learning the in and outs of how to induce both pain and fear in his potential victims (read: you). Inside the "Twizted Toy Factory," however, demonic playthings come to life with murderous intent and start stalking their prey. Meanwhile, "Sector 13" takes Fear Farm patrons deep into a cave where extraterrestials are plotting humanity's doom, and "Condemned" depicts a podunk town and its hayseed citizens that have been decimated by a killer virus.
Hours and Pricing: The haunts are open from 7:30 p.m.-midnight, Friday and Saturday starting September 21; 7-10 p.m., Thursday and Sunday; and 7:30 p.m.-midnight on October 31. Admission starts at $25.
The Nest Jacob Kell is arguably one of the most infamous Arizonans ever. How so? In the 1940s, the demented teenaged farmhand slaughtered a grand total of 35 people, including members of his own family, while living in the tiny rural community of Wenden. And he did it in less than a week's time. The grizzly actions of Kell, who some have dubbed "The Arizona Ripper," helped inspire the ultra-eerie atmosphere and some of the terrifying antics at The Nest in Chandler. Located on the grounds of Rawhide, it include a trio of individual attractions that each offer different kinds of terror. There's "The Nest" itself, which recreates Kell's child home his murderous misdeeds. A bucolic and blood-drenched 10,000-square-foot farm house is filled with high-tech special effects, kooky characters hoping to freak you out, and other things that go bump in the night. Elsewhere on the Rawhide property is "Bleak," a darkened labryinth that patrons must stumble through; and "Turmoil," a strange playpen containing 3-D scare, optical illusions, and crazed clowns eager to make your acquaintance.13th Floor
An abandoned Albertsons grocery store filled with dust, vermin, and darkness is already a scary enough proposition. The creators of this North Phoenix haunt made it even scarier by transmogrifying and transforming the place into a multimillion-dollar Halloween season destination with multiple themed rooms under one roof. One resembles a spooky swamp clouded in fog and containing horrible creatures of the night, while another is an unstable pirate ship that weaves to-and-fro. There there's Zombieland, where reanimated corpses stalk and stumble about. Thankfully, they won't try to take a bit out of your brain (as cast members can't break the "no touch" rule), but they'll definitely cause your pulse to pound and hair to stand on end.
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.