Haunted House Review: Doomtown at Rawhide

Where: Doomtown at Rawhide, the I-10 at Wild Horse Pass.

Overview: Halloween is a great time for the Valley's various tourist traps to cash in, and Rawhide fits that bill. This old timey town of weathered wood facades that's home to a steak house, saloon and regular gunfight dramas is one of Chandler's more charming attractions. At Halloween, Rawhide's operation, while on a small scale, delivers. This house is very, very well crafted and manned by some of the better actors in town. It's short but sweet, which works for us.

Price: $17 for both houses or $13 for one. Definitely do both, our group was split about which was better.

Who Should Go? This is an all-around good house that'll fit pretty much anyone. It's light on the demons and gore making it nice for families but maybe a little too short and tame for hardcore horror fans. This is also a great place to go on a weeknight since so few area haunts are open Wednesday or Thursday.

When We Went: A fairly dead Wednesday night. It's a shame we couldn't get there on a Friday or Saturday but with so few other houses open weeknights we had to drop by when there was no conflict. The atmosphere, while short on people, is fantastic though. The deserted and dusty streets of Rawhide make for a great setup.

Best Scene: The picture frame scene in The Crypt, where a single monster can get multiple scares from behind a wall covered in creepy family portraits is a true classic that should be emulated in every house around. Likewise, the peeing skeleton and broken-down hearse in the graveyard scene are very impressive. The morgue room in The Asylum, where a single monster can pop out from any of a dozen or more doors, is great as is the opening scene, a lobby with fuzzed-out security camera TV monitors and creepy actors. Lighting is nearly perfect throughout the house, which uses plastic drapes to slow your progress through the fairly condensed mazes. Also, great music really adds something to many scenes.

Scares of the Night: The creepy giggling girl in The Asylum gave me the chills. The peeing skeleton also got all four people in our group.

Most Valuable Monster: The chainsaw guy at the end of The Asylum is one of the best ones in town. After completing the house we watched him work on two or three groups, perfectly timing his appearance and scaring one teenage couple back halfway through the house.

Loved: The mazes, the music, the lighting.

Hated: Nothing. The houses felt too short though. Maybe a storyline would help slow the first scene down a bit.

Overall Grade: A-

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Martin Cizmar
Contact: Martin Cizmar