By Martin Cizmar
Ghoulfland Country Club and The 60 Mesa
The good: Lots of startles throughout maze-like house, other fun activities at Golfland.
The bad: Fairly short, scenery is often a little cheesy.
The ugly: None.
Who knows why Glendale and Mesa – the Valley’s two largest suburbs – have so many haunted houses, while Phoenix itself is pretty much barren. Whatever the reason, only about a mile from Shadowlands at Fiesta Mall, you’ll find Ghoulfland.
They’re close geographically, but the attractions couldn’t be more different. While Shadowlands has three attractions, only one of which I enjoyed, and concerns itself more with storylines than scares, Ghoulfland's The Gauntlet is all about the “gotchas,” packing a big batch of startles in to a fairly short maze. Shadowlands has some great scenery though, while Ghoulfland has only a few good scenes, with the rest of its props looking like they were picked up at a Halloween store the week before the attraction opened on the second floor of the amusement center, which normally houses Laser Tag.
The house itself is $12, which isn’t bad, but the unlimited fun pass is a great deal at $30, including unlimited trips through the house as well as bumper boats, race cars and golf.
The indoor house has well-designed corridors that have more places for people to pop out from than anyone could predict. My companion, Kirsten – we dropped by about 8 on a Friday night, but don't wait in much of a line – thought the house was way too well lit, and that darker hallways would increase the scare factor exponentially. I agree, though I still found myself jumping back after a few well hidden monsters jumped out.
Though most of the props were a little cheesy, several torture themed scenes were cool. Rooms with a guillotine and a rack were well done, each packing a good scare while you looked on at the spectacle. Overall, it’s a good house, surrounded by even better attractions, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back.
I'd be careful what I wore on the bumper boats though – turns out it's easy to get wet on those, even if you gracefully outmaneuver your opponent at every turn.
If you operate a Phoenix-area haunted house you think will stand up to a New Times review drop us a line and send tickets to Music Editor Martin Cizmar:
Martin Cizmar Haunted House Review c/o Phoenix New Times 1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix, AZ 85032