Friday, October 2, 2009
Video: Slaughter House in Dallas delivers classic haunted house experience
Chainsaws, strobe lights, and terrified teenage girls. But is Slaughter House worth your money?
Full disclosure: I haven't been to a haunted house in 10 years. And when I used to go regularly as a kid, I would get so freaked out I'd have nightmares for weeks. (But I kept going, so as not to expose myself as that guy.) When it came time to review Slaughter House haunted house in downtown Dallas, I am wise enough to admit now that I had reservations.
DALLAS Slaughter House doesn't look like much from outside – it's on the ground floor of a parking garage on Lamar Street. Halloween was still a month out on the night I attended, so the crowd was a little sparse. While waiting outside for a big enough group to go through with, I tried to get myself geared up for what was about to go down. It occurred to me that as someone who aspires to report on wars and conflict at some point in my career, my level of apprehension over going through a haunted house was … pathetic.
Photo by Jake Kemp
Doesn't look too scary from the outside, but just wait for the guy with the chainsaw: He's decked out with dingy-looking operating beds and screaming mutilated patients.
Three teenage couples clad in hipster gear got in line and paid for their tickets. This was the group I would go through with. Before we even got inside, they were already saying stuff like, “I bet this'll be sooo lame.” We'll see.
As we started our slow walk through the maze, guided primarily by strobe lights, I felt the adrenaline start to kick in. The eerie graveyard-esque music was blaring, punctuated by deafeningly loud bus horns. The standard haunted house fare was present early: people in creepy masks jumping out and yelling at you, crazed-looking zombies in “cages” shaking their doors and yelling at you, and other, more stationery types standing still and yelling at you. A lot of yelling.
As generic as a lot of this stuff was, it was executed well. The zombies and their “cages” looked pretty life-like, and there were some horrifying costume designs. I, for one, am extra-terrified of the mask from the Saw movies. It made an appearance.
Some of the guys working at Slaughter House look like they would have been scary without their costumes and makeup. Getting surprised and screamed at is scary, but having big burly dudes with thunderous voices charging at you takes it up a notch.
Such was the case with the man handling the chainsaw duties at Slaughter House. The guy was huge, and he had this bellowing laugh that I can still hear. He occupied a room that was decked out with dingy-looking operating beds and screaming mutilated patients.
This was definitely my favorite part of the attraction, and it was also the part where the hipsters started to lose it. The girls were screaming bloody murder, nonsensically cursing at the workers. The guys were repeating over and over what I have decided is the greatest line you can possibly hear in a haunted house: “Which way do I go? I don't know where to go! JUST TELL ME WHICH WAY TO GO!” Like the guy in the Saw mask or the 350 pound dude with a chainsaw is going to stop trying to scare the bejeezus out of you to politely point you in the right direction. Not gonna happen, guy.
Slaughter House haunted attraction
At this point, we're only about five minutes in, but I am loving Slaughter House. I'm the good kind of scared, where you're really excited to find out what's coming next. And then ... it ends. A door opens and you're back standing on Munger Ave. What? It's over? Didn't these things used to be like 20 minutes long? Letdown.
Still, Slaughter House has some well-done elements to it. The people who work there all do a really good job of playing their parts, and the costume and set designs are almost cinematic in quality. The Ed Gein chainsaw scene is one of the scariest, most life-like scenes I've ever seen in a haunted house. But it needs to be longer. A lot longer.
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