Haunted House Review: Doomtown at Rawhide

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By Martin Cizmar Doomtown at Rawhide Rawhide, The 10 at Wild Horse Pass Chandler

The good: Great scene around the haunts themselves, awesome curtain maze, cool scenery in jungle room, good decoys paired with hidden scares throughout, great first scene in the asylum house.

The bad: Tons of wall thumping, annoying pissing skeleton, not enough actors.

The ugly: Very, very short for $16.

I would never knowingly contradict a Best of Phoenix. Therefore, I am not prepared to say that Rawhide’s Doomtown is not The Best Halloween Scare in our fair metropolis. I will, however, say it’s not my favorite.

Doomtown is in many ways the antithesis of my favorite house so far, Glendale’s Fear Farm, which my friends and I are still talking about four days after we went. While Fear Farm’s four houses make for a full evening of fun, we breezed through Doomtown’s two houses in about 25 minutes. While Fear Farm gave us no safety warnings and claimed to leave the blades on their chainsaws, Rawhide’s gatekeepers gave us a long list of instructions (turns out you are NOT supposed to touch the actors), pointed out that there were exits in almost every room and informed us we were on security camera through most of the house. While Fear Farm was crawling with actors, all adhering to the theme of their attraction, Doomtown had only a few actors including a few clowns that’d mysteriously infiltrated their asylum.

When I showed up with four friends – Fear Farm veteran Nicole as well as Laura, Abby and Abby’s cousin Eric – on a Wednesday night the faux old west town on a reservation south of town was dead. Kudos for being open on a Wednesday though. I was expecting a Western-themed house more like Arizona's Original Scream Park’s Goldminer’s Revenge, which may just be the best single-house I’ve seen so far, but instead I got a mish-mash of Haunted House clichés like an asylum, electric chair and very well decorated graveyard.

There were, however, some great moments, including an awesome curtain maze where one of the actors, dressed in all white to blend in to her surroundings, got me good. A little acting in the first scene of the asylum helped me suspend disbelief a little, which was nice, and one ceiling scare was brilliantly executed. A gauntlet-like line of stuffed monsters (which one is real?!) near the end of the second house also provided a little suspense.

There was tons of wall-banging, though, which is kind of lame, as anyone whoever worked in a haunted house will tell you it’s the cheapest scare you can get. Also, an electronic skeleton pissed on my leg, which was kind of annoying, especially since it happened to squirt directly on my cell phone.

All in all, Doomtown’s two houses aren’t bad, but they’re pretty short for $16. On a busy weekend the scene around the actual haunts would make the trip well worth it though, so maybe check it out then.

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