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San Antonio Texas is a vibrant city rich with haunted legends and deep superstitions. The culture is festive, the food is incredible, and the people will all tell you that even though San Antonio is one of the largest cities in the country its really just a small town. Spend a few weeks there and you'll understand what they mean. Gothic architecture is abundant across San Antonio's plethora of historic buildings and cathedrals that accent a beautiful downtown. In the heart of it all you will find the famous Riverwalk and The Alamo typically crowded by tourists from across the globe but well worth a look. A short walk down commerce from the Alamo under the I-37 bridge takes you to a set of train tracks where a 105 year old historic building sits looming over passers byes. This is where you begin to experience the horrific wonders of the 13th Floor San Antonio.
After making your way up the front steps into and out of the grand front entrance and foyer of the street level ticket booth you are led around to a moderately wide but building length long alley on the side of the 13th Floor which is guarded by tall wrought iron fencing and a Scarefactory Slayer. Careful on your way, air cannons have cleverly been placed beneath basement ventilation grating that is cut into the sidewalk. This makes for some very entertaining action on the street in front of the building. Past the alley way fencing the queue line awaits alongside the tone setting dimly lit historic brick two story warehouse. Superbly detailed costumes donned by athletic, intense, and energetic performers are peppered throughout the lines providing great pre show entertainment.
As you make your way to the front you suddenly realize that you are not entering the side of the building like you thought, rather being led down a set of stairs that opens up into the basement. This stair case was actually excavated and carved in to the concrete and brick basement walls by the producers of the event to create an exciting entrance into the first of the two highly anticipated haunts that are housed here. Inside the basement another small queue line forms around beautifully and naturally distressed brick and stucco pillars that die into a low ceiling littered with old wooden trussing. Flickering lights and dingy cobwebs surround you, and after a quick set of rules you enter the first attraction, Unearthed. (
Unearthed winds you through a series of underground scenes that tie together and quickly make you lose your sense of direction in its cavernous low ceiling labyrinth. Incredible hand carved hard coated foam rock formations come together to create a set of abandoned caves in which the corpses of victims have been entombed in the rock faces. Extensive sewers packed with well timed actors and pneumatics must also be endured and traversed by startled patrons. Boiler rooms, a maze, and many other well thought out and well themed rooms come together to round off the walkthrough. All scenes are detailed to the brim and carry a sort of cinematic production quality that is carried throughout. The feel of Unearthed is claustrophobic, dark, dingy, wet, and foul which ties the sequences together across this very unique and well executed theme. Spitting you out into a maintenance shaft and then up a flight of stairs, Unearthed lets you loose into the mouth of the Beast, the front doors of the 13th Floor. There is just enough time to catch your breath and appreciate more of this Haunted House’s incredible detail and custom hand carved foam work before entering the main attraction. )
The 13th Floor is set in a historic hotel that mirrors many of the cities finest places to lodge. A superb custom crafted elevator effect kicks this attraction off taking customers on a very well done and treacherous ride. Upon exiting the elevator sequence, ornamental and old world architecture is replicated flawlessly. Distressing and dark washes have attacked every corner of the immaculately detailed room you enter and suddenly you feel taken somewhere, which is a point to note about this haunted house and the producers of this event in general. Their attractions consistently enthrall customers with ultra detailed and dramatic environments that add a rare but magical layer of wonder to the haunts they create. Very rarely do attractions incorporate the level of detail, the attention to every nook and cranny, and the scenic and cinematic design it takes to create that magic, but these guys believe it is a must every time. (
The 13th Floor San Antonio is a testament to that principle.
As you steer your way through the rooms and halls of the hotel you experience a variety of scenes where terrible atrocities have happened to unfortunate visitors. In one room a fire has charred things to bits, in another, everything has flooded. From floor to ceiling the scenic design and execution are superb, but that’s just the beginning. The performers in the 13th Floor assault participants with sudden actions, forceful movements, and come from all directions. The actors here do a great job of scaring and are well timed and once you think you’re done with a room or are about to be terrorized by a sequence in a new room the performers deliver something more that is unexpected. Snippets of dialogue and well scripted one liners complemented by costuming that ties their story together lets these performers unravel yet another layer of this show, well placed theatrics. These quick lines of dialogue and well rehearsed movements add just the right amount of a theatrical element to this attraction without going overboard and letting stories get in the way of scares. )
Room by room you continue to experience new horrific acts of slaughter and terror but this haunted house isn't simply a series of rooms. There are several times you look back across scenes or down very long hallways you are about to or have already traversed. This perspective gives the attraction a real dynamic depth and feel adding to the enthrallment and the sense of realism that makes the show great. The creative and well executed set design and construction continues throughout as horrified patrons are forced to navigate a tilted room, crawl through a tunnel, and make their way past several surprising and un expected effects that round out the show nicely (I can't give everything away).
Once you're done with the 13th Floor San Antonio you're breathless, you're amazed, and you're scared, but most of all you feel like you've finally been through a haunted house in San Antonio that has come to the table and delivered a high production quality and well executed show that contends with America's best haunted attractions. The 13th Floor San Antonio is without question San Antonio's premier haunted house that will continue to shock and amaze for years to come.
The 13th Floor San Antonio was the brain child of Harbinger Events, Inc. producers of the House of Torment in Austin Texas and Screamworks Entertainment LLC producers of the Asylum and 13th Floor Haunted Houses in Denver, CO. For years the owners of both companies had planned to open a haunted house in San Antonio and through good fortune and a stroke of luck, met at Transworld in 2009. After lengthy discussion and months of planning Harbinger and Screamworks pulled the trigger on a joint expansion into San Antonio. (
"Our goal was to do a cannon ball" explains Warren Conard, Partner Screamworks Entertainment. We didn't want to slowly wade in, test the waters, and see how things felt. We were confident, well prepared and wanted to see what could be done if we really went at it. So we jumped off the diving board and did a cannon ball. We went all in right off the bat, and it worked." And worked it did. The 13th Floor San Antonio quietly became one of the highest attended first year haunted houses in history.
“This place is visually stunning and full of action packed horror but the real special thing about it is the people that made it happen and put in the work. The 13th Floor San Antonio isn’t just the product of Harbinger and Screamworks, it’s the product of Greg Salyers, Stevie Helm, David Prieto, Keith Troutt, Diana Whitaker, and all those who helped, put in the hours, believed in creating a great show and came together to accomplish the unthinkable.” explains Conard. We are very appreciative of Greg, David, and the rest of our team in San Antonio and look forward to expanding the show there for years to come. ” (www.13thfloorsanantonio.com)