View Full Version : Who has the best haunted house and why?

06-18-2009, 11:31 AM
Tell me show me... post a video. Not a collection but just the best 3 you've seen.


Ken Spriggs
06-18-2009, 07:27 PM
I don't get out much......nor do I have time to look for videos to prove anything

Not completely and not even with show lights on but let me tell you........it is truely awesome.
It is huge....and it isn't a museum

Netherworld.......Never been there......But if Bens attention to his haunt are like his toys and costumes......AND BESIDES IT WAS USED TO FILM A COOL MOVIE...not like the one filmed at ours that will never be released

Dream Reapers....why not? No we are not the best at anything....just crazy when it counts!!

Oh Dead Acres looked awesome and was a good haunt .... I may have had an issue but it was cool!

Many haunts will never get the recognition they deserve

Does having the most toys make you the best? NO
Heart and soul black walls and darkness will beat a million dollar budget anyday!!!

Wish I could go back to that now!

06-18-2009, 08:36 PM
Being that I work during Halloween season, I too don't get out much, but the best one I've ever seen in terms of all around quality and themeing has to be the Dent Schoolhouse in Cincinnati.

I would like to See Netherworld, House of Shock, Erebus, Pirates of Emerson, and whatever that one that Alice Cooper designs for his kid's school fundraiser someday...

Haunted Illinois
06-18-2009, 08:50 PM
Seeing that 95%+ of this board consists of haunt owners, especially this time of year, most people answering this thread will be haunt owners plugging their own place. LOL.

06-18-2009, 08:57 PM
WIth the stipulations it will turn into "who has the best haunt videos" instead of who has the best haunt as well. As usual, I think this is a silly debate, unless you at least are being judged by someone who has been to all the top haunts in person to experience it.

As for my own experiences, I have had some haunts I've liked, but I'm willing to bet I haven't seen the best one yet.

06-18-2009, 08:59 PM
Any haunt with slick videos is now considered one of the best.


06-18-2009, 10:55 PM
Actually since 2007 I have been to 64 haunted houses all over the US, many of them without a doubt some of the best around. If I spend the time I can actually walk through them in my mind and I also have lots of notes.

What I can say that has REALLY surprised me is how DIFFERENT they are from each other! Often ones in the same towns or regions have certain simliarities, and I only go to ones I want to see, but let me tell you all there are some AMAZING haunted houses out there and I have NO doubt there are many more we have never heard about on these boards.

Larry is alway asking me is this one better then that one, etc, and I always am cagey with my answers because they are very hard to compare. Many I have seen without actors, many I have seen on haunt tours off season, and a few on off nights early or late in the season.

Any haunt owner knows that on some nights your haunts is great and on others so-so. It is hard to say! What does shine is absolute dedication and true creativity. When you find haunts that excell in detail, or in tight operations, or in really great actors, or in original scares, or crazy special effects you know you have something special. And when you have many of these factors working together you have something amazing.

I agree that videos and photos don't make a haunt the best, but they certainly don't make it the worst!

I tell my actors 3 things really matter to me, Talent, Work Ethic, and Seniority.

IMO the same things make the best haunted houses. If you have a place the really has amazing talent behind it, talent that is obvious, something about it that is unique and special, then that is the first sign. And if it is very clear that they work very hard to make the best haunt they can, that is the second sign. And if they have been doing both of those for a long time you have it all.

Also we cannot forget the ultimate judge, the public. You might be able to fool them for a while, but good haunts stick around and grow because the public supports them, a very telling sign.

I do not envy Larry the responsibility of making this list because there is so much richness to choose from and so much creativity. But if the fact he makes it challenges any of you to try that much harder or gives the media another reason to cover us then good job.

Anyway to all of the haunts I have seen, thanks for the inspiration, they always make us want to work even harder that is for sure!


06-18-2009, 10:55 PM
DANG! Why's everyone hatin' on the videos??? Is there some better way to show off a haunt, aside from a personal tour???

From a non haunt-owner perspective, I think that a crappy promo video shows a lack of attention to detail on the owner/promoter's part and that would lead me to believe that the haunt itself is half-assed. On the other side, I think time, effort, and money put into a promo video would lead me to believe the haunt is worthwhile.

Of course, then we could get into the debate that sometimes more time, effort, and money is put into the video than is put into the haunt and that it's sometimes misleading, or that sometimes the footage is stock footage purchased from a stock footage company (or just plain stolen from another haunt) and that this is also misleading... Or one could argue that not EVERY haunt in the WORLD will post a video, therefore it is not possible to judge which one is the best (or one OF the best) having not seen them ALL... AND THEN one will undoubtedly dismiss the authority of the person or panel of persons in charge of the judging or counting of the votes...

DANG! AGAIN!!! Is the man just supposed to print blank pages in his magazine???

Twin Locusts
06-19-2009, 09:28 AM
DANG! Why's everyone hatin' on the videos??? Is there some better way to show off a haunt, aside from a personal tour???

From a non haunt-owner perspective, I think that a crappy promo video shows a lack of attention to detail on the owner/promoter's part and that would lead me to believe that the haunt itself is half-assed. On the other side, I think time, effort, and money put into a promo video would lead me to believe the haunt is worthwhile.

Of course, then we could get into the debate that sometimes more time, effort, and money is put into the video than is put into the haunt and that it's sometimes misleading, or that sometimes the footage is stock footage purchased from a stock footage company (or just plain stolen from another haunt) and that this is also misleading... Or one could argue that not EVERY haunt in the WORLD will post a video, therefore it is not possible to judge which one is the best (or one OF the best) having not seen them ALL... AND THEN one will undoubtedly dismiss the authority of the person or panel of persons in charge of the judging or counting of the votes...

DANG! AGAIN!!! Is the man just supposed to print blank pages in his magazine???


- in addition; no one will have personally experienced all the top tier haunts, yeah absolutes are rare but in this case true, so the media presentation through video is what people use to estimate the quality of the haunt.

Also, when you're part of the industry, you will judge through your lens of experience, which is okay, but your opinions will be that of insiders not the potential market.

Jolly Pumpkin
06-19-2009, 11:09 AM
From my experience in reviewing over 50 haunts a year for the past 6 haunt seasons and visiting haunts since I was a young boy, I've come to the realization that the best haunts are the ones that evolve over time and create trends rather than follow them. The haunts that are incredible year after year are ones that are aware of their competition and try to work together with them, but at the same time improve their haunt based on what their competition is offering.

Years and years ago before the internet was as popular as it is today and animatronics and incredible special FX weren't as readily available, haunts were simpler and didn't rely as much on high tech props and special effects. They focused more on acting and atmosphere, but as technology advanced so did haunts and more and more popped up all over the United States and now competition is fierce.

Customers have seen everything and the only way you can impress people now is to offer something unique that the haunt down the street isn't bringing to the table. Incredible haunts make people fear for their life, but in the back in their minds they know they are in safe hands. A haunt that deserves to be on the Hauntworld Top Haunts List should be intense, awe inspiring and simply take your breath away.

06-19-2009, 11:29 AM
Best one I have been to, all things considered, 13th Gate. I never really get to see many haunts during the season, but saw that one last April and I was blown away....

06-19-2009, 12:36 PM
I am not a haunt owner, but there are a couple here in Kentucky that really stand out:

The Nightmare Haunted House in Lexington

Hustonville Haunted House in Hustonville

Both are excellent haunts especially since neither one have huge budgets to work with (which is probably the case with most haunts), great scenery and great scares, cant ask for much more than that!

06-19-2009, 01:32 PM
THIS IS YOUR OPINION BASED ON WHAT YOU THINK makes a haunted house GREAT! It could be the detail, special effects, level of fright or whatever.

Here is my take... as for being scary any haunted house that has been in business 5 or 10 years straight is scaring people because if you can't do that part you are out of luck. For all the people who said the Darkness was scary you don't know anything... come back in October when we have a hired trained staff and you can walk through with real customers who don't stand in front of everythig they see taking pictures. If you can't scare people first and foremost you just won't stay in business its that simple. Scaring people is first and foremost.

I've said for years if you can't scare people get out of the businss because you won't last...

Our haunt is scary, both of them but as I've said ALL HAUNTS SHOULD BE SCARY, ALL HAUNTS SHOULD HAVE CRAZY ACTORS who get after it maybe not every night but most nights.

Soooo... in my mind what makes a GREAT HAUNT? Someone who can hit all the marks not just one and not just two.

We have some haunts who hit all the marks with marketing, Spookyworld would have been the best at marketing. That is actually an element that must be considered as the mark of a great haunted house.

But some haunts can do the marketing great but not the attraction and that alone keeps some in business. But what else...

Originality, creativity, theming, use of sound, use of lighting, clever scares, make up, costumes, custom props or animations, special effects, and like I said marketing of the event from the website to the flyers to the promotions.

When you can do all of the above you are a great haunter and should be putting thru huge crowds of people... you hit a handfull of those marks and well you are still stratching your head why is my haunt not doing 50k people.

So again to wrap this up in my opinion its all of the above...

Lets take 13th Gate because someone brought them up...

They make custom videos and commercials to promote their haunt, awesome scenes, they go to no end to create realism, and their costumes and make up are near the top. They hit all of the marks high.

So does a lot of other haunted houses like Netherworld.

My personally I think you can tell a lot from photos or video because they typically don't lie... I don't need to visit a haunt in person to know if the haunt is good or not because when you put that much time and effort into the photos or video you know they are scaring people.


06-19-2009, 01:32 PM
Thread will be all over the board and will be a hard one for sure. I wish I could visit more haunts when they are open thats the worst part of being a Haunt owner. From the ones I have seen in person Atrox, Netherworld, and even the Darkness is more than impressive for me. I will say this after Christmas me and the bus is going on a Haunt tour if I cant see them up and running I will see them more on a personal level. Shane and its man this is going to be a hard one! Shane this time.

06-19-2009, 02:04 PM
I could see Nightmares haunted house being on a list like this.... but Hustonville? Really? -Tyler

06-19-2009, 02:36 PM
Video representation was a big part of my Transworld seminar this year -- I think it's important to show off your attraction as much as possible through video and photos, but those images must be accurate representations of what people can actually expect to see in your show.

If your video looks better than the actual reality - or if you use too much animation and post-production wizz-bang stuff - people will sense that you are trying to hide something... or worse, will come away disappointed and cheated when the actual experience doesn't compare to what was on tv/online.

I spend a lot of time and $ on all of the HD stuff we shoot - but there is almost no tweaking of the images in post (other than some fiddling with black and chroma levels). In some cases, we're actually shooting the scenes with the existing lighting (just using considerably higher watt bulbs)

We don't add any kind of CG or do anything that isn't actually visible by the naked eye when people visit the attraction... and I think that's key. Likewise, all of the characters and actors seen in our big spots (like the one below) - were actually in the haunt every night: same actors, same costumes, same sets, etc.

So when people entered the little kids room (seen at the start of this trailer) - they knew the creepy girl was coming ... and boy did she nail them good once they recognized her from all the commercials.


Jim Warfield
06-19-2009, 04:43 PM

06-19-2009, 08:35 PM
There is a line from Stephen King’s “Kingdom Hospital” that says, "And now, we will venture into the biggest, spookiest haunted house of them all. The human mind." I tend to agree. So, my vote goes to the human mind as best haunt of them all. I know mine is pretty damned scary.

06-19-2009, 09:27 PM
House of Horrors Buffalo NY.
Detailed and more animations then any other haunt out there!
probably over 150+ animations
A show over 50,000 sq.ft.

06-20-2009, 05:32 AM
Animations doesn't make a good haunt! In fact, the more animations a haunt has, I see it as a lack of creativity and kinda "showboating". So don't judge a haunt and call it great by the number of animations it has, it doesn't matter! -Tyler

06-20-2009, 08:39 AM
Animations don't make a Haunt good?

Anything you do to haunt makes it good!!!

But good to one person dosn't meen good to another, we all know you can't make everyone happy.
but adding animations can sure set one haunt apart from another.
don't say animations can't help a haunt!
If thats true then WHY do so many people go to Transworld and drop thousands of dollars on animations?
WHY,To add to there haunt to make it different and bertter!

Jolly Pumpkin
06-20-2009, 09:46 AM
Well if I had to just pick 3 haunts they would be as follows.

Industrial Nightmare (Jeffersonville, IN)
Industrial Nightmare is just one of those diamonds in the ruff that many people don't know about, but in my mind it stands out as being one of the most innovative and jaw dropping haunts in the nation. The amount of detail, unique scenes, intense actors and amazing animatronics few haunts can match.


The Haunted Hotel (Louisville, KY)
The Haunted Hotel is one of the most intense haunts I've ever been to and one of the most unique in how they deliver scares. Nearly every room is timed to startling music and intense lights that release actors that are just downright in your face. There's a reason they block off the streets when this haunt opens. It's that damn good and it gets better and better as time goes on. While they might not have the best detail, they have some of the best actors and intense scenes around.


Dead Acres (Pataskala, OH)
Dead Acres is simply one of the craziest haunts in America today. When it was just the Haunted Hoochie they mostly relied on intense graphic skits contained inside wooden huts. But when haunt technology evolved so did Dead Acres. This haunt was taken to a new level by combining amazing high tech scares with actors that were just relentless. But a few years later they would bring back the haunted hoochie style scenes that made this haunt famous in the first place. Some of the longest lines can be found at Dead Acres and some of the most dedicated haunt fans can be seen in the lines full of thousands of people. This haunt truly has a cult following.


Unfortunately these videos don't do the haunts justice at all. Couple of the videos from Dead Acres have the music disabled because of copy right issues, so I didn't use any of those and there really isn't any video of actual footage from Industrial Nightmare. The video of The Haunted Hotel makes the haunt look like an entirely different haunt because they couldn't pick up how many of the scenes are pulled off.

damon carson
06-20-2009, 11:27 AM
Scares, Detail, and imagination, and being original is what I think makes the best haunts. Here's a list of some of my favorites.
Edge of Hell KC Missouri
The Beast KC Missouri
The Darkness Stl Missouri
Ravens Grin Inn Mt Carroll Illinois
House of Fright Mexico Mo :)

06-20-2009, 05:20 PM
I'm not plugging my own home haunt, nor do I work for any haunts. I've been to several in Texas and one stands heads above the others:

House of Torment

I've actually been to this haunt and others in Texas on many different occasions, and this one continues to amaze me. Every year it improves ten-fold. You can now buy advance tickets so that there is very little waiting, but even while waiting, it's great fun because movie-quality monsters are everywhere scaring people, and animatronics keep startling the crowds. There is also now food, drinks, and shopping for novelty items while you wait, something that wasn't available when this haunt began a few years ago, although my understanding is that it actually began as a home haunt before most of us knew it as House of Torment.

Now they also have two attractions instead of one, and both of those keep shocking and improving by so much that it doesn't seem possible. Illusion Manor is terrific, and Contagium was so scary this last year, with people dropping down at you unexpectedly. The sets, which I understand these guys build themselves, are awesome. And they also recently held events called Dark Stalkers, where people had to go through with the haunt pitch black, carrying only glow sticks, another new twist.

Their marketing is also over the top, with a billboard primely located in town, great radio promos and television commercials, and the guys that run the place are genuinely nice and go out and actually talk to their customers to promote the haunt and get to know their customers. They also get competing schools to come to the haunt and try to out-do each other and promote this on radio shows so that other schools want to get in on the action. Oh, and that creep call promo that they did last year was a great marketing addition.

I don't have any of their videos, but I've seen the videos on this site, and their control room, with many TVs watching over all rooms in their haunt is terrific. I've been through both attractions with many different people of all ages, and I know (because the scared ones always ask) that they have exits available everywhere for those that get too scared and want to leave immediately. When the scaredy cats don't make it all the way through the haunt, they give them the option of whether or not to have their picture put on their Wall of Shame.

I'm sure I'm forgetting lots of info about them, but I truly hope that they will be nominated and will be recognized and that they will post more videos for all of us to see. They don't post here much but I believe that's because they are genuinely humble guys (but with an often overlooked spectacular haunt because they don't post here enough). This is just my opinion.


06-20-2009, 06:05 PM
More info on House of Torment...



06-23-2009, 11:08 AM
I don't post that much on this forum, except when I have input on video related topics. However, I'd like to take a minute to give my perspective on this topic as well as give my input on two very incredible haunts and the two insanely driven men who operate them. In my opinion their haunts should be considered among some of the very best.

I must first say that I am not a haunt owner or creator. I'm a videographer. Over the past 5 years I have had the privilege of producing videos for Eric Lowther's "Haunted Overload". More recently I have also had the privilege of producing videos for Tim Dunne's "Fright Kingdom". I have personally been witness to Haunted Overload's rise from a local home haunt phenomenon to an immensely successful professional haunt. I am now witnessing the immense expansion of one of the most unique indoor haunts in New England.

Haunted Overload is simply one of the most creative places that I have ever been to. I compare it to a Hollywood movie set, an outdoor venue that features 30-foot tall ghosts, scare crows, and goblins patrolled by a headless horseman who rides a huge draft horse set on a spacious New England farm surrounded by towering oak trees and acres of corn fields. Nearly every prop is hand made in meticulous detail. What sets this haunt apart from others is that fact that it focuses on the tradition of Halloween. You'll find very little blood or guts, just incredible one of a kind creations that embody the spirit of the holiday.

Tim Dunne's Fright Kingdom is entirely different from Haunted Overload. This haunt has it all. The scary part is that it is expanding from a 16,000 square feet to a 50,000 square feet building in 2009. If I know Tim he is already worried about running out of space. Fright Kingdom is the entire haunted house package and then some. This haunt is actually two haunts and counting under one roof. I liken Bloodmare Manor to a classic haunted mansion and Psycho Circus 3D to an insane asylum for demented clowns. They use some of the industries most state of the art animatronics and employee a staff of extremely talented and dedicated actors. Like Haunted Overload, this haunt is like a Hollywood movie set. Except more like a Hollywood horror movie set. In fact, both these guys could rent these places out to film makers. Mmmmmm it's had me thinking.

I have filmed patrons at Haunted Overload falling, crying, screaming, hyperventilating, and even sprinting for the parking lot. Last year the porta-potty "Suck Truck" operator complained that there were loads of women's panties stuck in his pump that had to be removed before he could finish pumping out the portable toilets. Scare footage captured at Fright Kingdom is some of my favorite scares from over five years of filming. Tim's human actors and live creatures (the likes of real snakes and tarantulas) are strategically set up to optimize scares. Like Haunted Overload, patrons get their monies worth. These haunts pass the "scary test". I have hours of video to prove it.

The thing that impresses me most about these two haunts is the creators. Both Eric and Tim are haunted house fanatics. They simply live, sleep, and breath haunted houses. Each waking moment of their days are spent on dreaming up ways to improve their haunts. Each year these guys come up with something bigger and better than the previous year. More impressive is their desire to promote the haunted house industry. Both of these guys are board members of the newly created HHA and although they are technically competitors, due to their proximity to each other, Eric and Tim focus their efforts on cross promotion instead of self promotion.

I have seen both of them put their hearts and souls into their respective haunts to the delight of their patrons and my video camera.

Eric just showed me this cross promotion he and Tim have been working on. I think it's great that two business like this in the same market can work together to become stronger.


I could go on and on about these two haunts. I truly expect that folks on this forum will be hearing about these haunts for a long time to come. I don't see any shortage of gas in the tank of either of these two guys.

Here are a couple of videos that I hope demonstrate both the creativity and intensity of these two haunts.

Haunted Overload Post 2009 annual after party video:


Unreleased Fright Kingdom Promo Video:
Please note the password is: timbickford



Tim Bickford
Creative Cinema Video Productions

06-28-2009, 09:10 AM
I havent been on here in forever....

busy making the worlds most kicks ass haunt ever...

but when i read your comment Ken...

it made my day

I know i am a hot head...just just like you...
I like Dream Reapers too....alot

and i have seen some kick ass haunts...

and another that comes to mind right now is the Darkness...
Hats off to you Larry...
it takes alot to impress me...
and when we took our tour at transworld...
we were amazed ....
from the beginning to the end...

and one more...
netherworld...of course...
oh..and erubus..
when i start thinkin bout great haunts...
i hate to leave any out...
13th gate

i think all haunts strive to achieve what these haunts are...
they are impressive...
they make you say wow...
that was amazing

06-28-2009, 10:09 AM
Is........ Well its ummmmmmm. Well you see its located in ummmmmmmmmm. Well you see they have all this amazing stuff. I hnow the name its ummmmmmm. Well its ummmmmmm and oh they got this big azz monster that eats guest then they come through! Its an awsome haunted house. Let me see the name of the haunt is ummmmmmm well its ummmmmmm well damn I cant think of the name of it but its good I can tell you that. Shane and its for the life of me I can't remember their name! Shane this time.

06-28-2009, 07:22 PM
Are you talking about that 10-story haunt that if you make it all the way through, you get a full refund? I've heard it's in Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Dallas, Atlanta, etc. Nobody I know has seen it themselves but their family and friends all have or they at least know somebody who knows somebody who has! Obviously kidding!

Haunted Illinois
06-28-2009, 07:41 PM
Well, the 10 story haunted house is so hard to find because it is constantly on the move! Just Like HauntCon, it changes locations every year. But honestly, I have been to it a couple of times and it's awesome! Really!!! :p

06-28-2009, 07:50 PM
Right, Adam! I am so sure! I believe you (coughing to disguise it - NOT!)!

It's like a rave then, isn't it? Only the select few are given directions and the secret password to get in?

So did you get your full refund??? :)

06-28-2009, 10:17 PM
ok. so ive been thinking really hard about what makes a haunt "THE BEST"
it comes down to this,. A haunt is a business!
We would all judge that Microsoft is a better company than say Marcos Pizza.
Its just a fact, Microsoft is a billion dollar corporation and Marcos Pizza is not.
So with that info said. I judge what haunted house is best by how successful they are and how well they run there haunted house from a business aspect. I mean we cant judge what haunted house is coolest. But numbers dont lie.

So i vote for

The House of Torment.
I mean honestly folks, have you seen that sucker!
They are the only haunt ive heard of that gets TOO many visitors. How many haunts actually have to turn guests away?!
There haunt design is the only one of its kind on top of that, they built a fully permanent multi story city in there building. Its no joke! If you think there is a haunt that is better than theres, then take a look at there numbers.
Check out the hauntworld magazine for more details.
I just honestly cant see any haunt thinking they are better than that.
Its insane!!!! lol

James Lurgio
07-01-2009, 08:52 PM
It's difficult to find a haunt the size of Fright Kingdom with an owner who put his all into the place the way Tim Dunne does. I've seen the place progress over time and now they're in a space nearly twice the size of their former location which was right next door. From the top down the organization is admirable, the scares are classic and innovative at the same time and the quality can't be beat. I can't wait to go again this year with the fam!

James Lurgio

07-16-2009, 05:22 PM
what you end up doing for this larry?

07-16-2009, 10:42 PM
Good to see you. I can tell you Graystone Manor often has sell out crowds on weekends and so does Atrox. So yes we often have to turn away people too. But that don't mean where the best haunted house. It just shows that we want to make sure all of our customers have a great show. This is about giving everyone from the first to the last person all the same show.

We do not and will not heard them through like cattle just for their money. So just because we turn people away don't mean we have the best haunt. This is in no way to dis HOH but I think they see it as we do. Also who don't think they have the best haunt out there lol well other than me I am the only one of my bunch that seems to think that for the most part!! I myself can see past my haunt and can say there are lots out there better. Then again there are lots worse lol. But then again I think me and Shaun have seen a lot more than the rest! Anyway at the end of the day its not what I think. or Nick thinks, its what YOU the person thats seeing it in person thinks. Everyone has different views on this and am I in no way talking that away from anyone its just as I see it. There are so many awsome haunts out there that don't share its unreal. The call is really up to those whos judging. Shane and its just my thinking Shane this time!

07-17-2009, 12:38 AM
I appreciate everyones comments. I have consulted several haunt owners to help me decide this years list(s). We will announce them very soon. You can't make everyone happy you never can but we'll do our best to make a list that hopefully puts the spotlight on some different haunts who deserve more for all of their hard work.

We don't want the sam 13 haunts each year we need to mix it up there are simply a lot of great haunts out there and some people are doing some amazing things.

The list has been created. The article is being written and Brainstorm will lay it out and it will be uploaded to Hauntworld.com.

Thanks again for all your help! It really does help when you guys go out of your way to upload new videos, photos, or roll out the red carpet to some of the Hauntworld writting staff like Ben Armstrong who has seen more haunts than anyone I know.

That really helps. If you don't make the list this year remember, who ever heard of 13th Gate before we added them to our list, who ever heard of Haunted Overload, and who was Scarehouse??? I had no clue! What about House of Torment I never heard of them until last year. You don't have to be a 10 year running haunt you just need to be proactive.