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...
Where: Rawhide: 5700 W. North Loop Road, Chandler.
In Brief: For the hefty sum of $25 a head ($35 for a fast pass) you get access to three houses, and you can expect to spend a full evening there. But go there on a Friday and Saturday, and you might be spending most of your time waiting in line for what ends up being a bit of a disappointment.
Our Experience: We went on a Sunday night, which is definitely recommended, as the lines can add up on other days: a 10 minute wait for tickets, up to 40 minutes to get to the house, then two more lines once you're inside.
The highlight of the whole event might actually be the waiting, though, since some solid actors milled around the spooky Rawhide grounds and creeped up on you when you weren't expecting it. But inside, the actual haunted house is a little overdone. If it was a feature film, it would be a Michael Bay movie.
More on what to expect from The Nest after the jump...
The first house, "Turmoil 3D," even comes complete with action-movie glasses. It's supposed to immerse you in the experience, but waiting for 10 people in front of and behind you to pick them out of a cardboard box doesn't really help add to the scariness. Some good actors working in this section is its saving grace.
"Bleak," the second house, was by far the weakest. It's a giant, pitch-black labyrinth that you have to navigate by feel for about 15 minutes. The only catch is that there's only about three actors inside, so instead of being scared of what's around you, you just get bored and sweaty bumping into fellow visitors.
"The Nest," the final house and the whole attraction's namesake, is by far the best, and would probably be the scariest section if not for the fact that, even on a Sunday, the crowds make the whole thing impersonal.
Scariness (1-5 Scale): 2. It could've been a lot higher, but when your haunted house is so popular that everyone goes to it, there's just no real fear behind it. It all kind of feels Disney.
Worth the Cash? Probably not. The Nest pulls out all the bells and whistles, but with that comes a lot of people and a lot of lines. If you don't mind, and have an extra $25 (or $35 if you really can't stand the lines) then go for it.
Who Should Go? It you're more into special effects than scariness, this is your house. Otherwise, you can skip it.
Best Scare: The actors outside working the lines really were taking it seriously, and having a good time while catching visitors off guard. As for the actual houses, "The Nest" house definitely takes the cake.
Fail: Funny enough, one part of "The Nest" might also be the biggest fail. In one room, a broken toilet sprays water on you. Yep. Nothing scary to see here unless you're a germaphobe.
The other fail? In one of the midway-through lines, before "Bleak," an actor entertains a group by showing them a spinning wheel, then counting down, and telling them to look at his head after 10 seconds (it's an optical illusion that makes it look like it's shrinking). I expected zombies to rush out once he finished counting down, but he just shouted "Look at my face!" Crazy disappointing.
Overall Grade: C