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Haunted House in Dallas Texas Reindeer Manor Review
Thu, March 27, 2014
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Dallas Texas' - Reindeer Manor

By Hauntworld Magazine


Dallas Texas Haunted Houses are some of the scariest and best in America! rates and review the best and Scariest haunted houses, haunted attractions, and Halloween events in America!  Reindeer Manor is located in Red Oak Texas, Just outside of Dallas and has one of the scariest haunted houses in America!  Prepare to scream!  Sit back and prepare to scream through our review of Reindeer Manor. This Halloween you can't miss the scariest and best haunted attraction in the entire state of Texas, Reindeer Manor. Reindeer Manor is the longest running Texas haunted house and one of the longest running haunted houses in all of America.  Finally we are able to review one of the longest running haunted houses in Dallas Texas.  

To learn more about Texas' Reindeer Manor visit their websit below:



   40 years. That’s a long time for lots of things. Sid Vicious and Buddy Holly changed the face of popular culture and only lived approximately half that amount. That’s 10 times the length of U.S. involvment in WWII. It’s certainly a tremendous amount of time for a haunted house. Almost no other haunted attraction in the world can boast a 40 year history. Yet this is not where our story ends… but where it begins.
Reindeer Manor in Red Oak, Texas is getting a serious facelift for 2014 just in time to kick off its 41st season and will begin a new era in the Dallas/Fort Worth haunted house market.  The new owners are Alex and Jennifer Lohmann, who already bring you the iconic 13th Street Morgue and the heart-pounding Dungeon Of Doom. These two are no strangers to the industry and have been haunting for 15 years as a couple.  To better explain how this all came to be, perhaps it’s best to start at the beginning with a bit of haunting history.

Picture in your head the following story:

Around 1910 James Sharp, a prominent gas and well mining shareholder, had a few hundred acres of property and rented out the main house to an immigrant family. Disaster struck when lightning hit causing the house to catch fire. The destruction was horrific and all 4 members of the immigrant family were killed.  Mr. Sharp decided to rebuild in brick, bringing to the property a manor home, water cistern, generator house, barns, and servants quarters. Before construction was fully completed James Sharp was found dead, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
From there James' son Matthew inherited the farm. Matthew and his wife did quite well raising race horses and turning his father's vision of a southern estate into reality.  Then, the stock market crashed in 1929. Having lost most of his inheritance, madness and depression set in, and Matthew poisoned his wife in the manor house and hung himself in his beloved horse barn.
After the Sharps’ tragic end, the property changed hands many times over the coming years, ever haunted by its past. The size and span of the property also dwindled. In 1974 a group of folks had a strange request of the owners. They wanted to use the manor house for Halloween and charge people to get scared. That’s the year Reindeer Manor was born.
In 1982, Boy Scout Troop 1 took over the reins of operating The Manor. Under their leadership, the haunted house began to thrive. Some outrageous custom effects, especially for that time, were employed: Tesla coils, a falling ceiling room, a hollowed out graveyard for monsters to lurk out of, and even a flaming pond! They continued on this same path until 2004.
Enter The Lohmanns
Alex and Jennifer Lohmann always had a passion for Halloween and haunted houses.  In 1999, they started as yard haunters, and by 2003, their yard haunt was actually larger than the house itself.  They decided it was time to go pro.  Alex had already founded the Dallas Trocars (a hearse club), and they used the hearses to check out as many local haunts as they could to get to know the industry.  Armed with their home haunting experience, they opened up The 13th Street Morgue in Alverado, TX in 2004. Already by the end of their first season as pro haunters, they realized a need to up their game to a bigger market and better location. That’s when a mutually beneficial deal was struck with Reindeer Manor Haunted House. Reindeer Manor needed another attraction to survive in the ever-expanding Dallas market where multi-attraction venues were on the rise. In turn, The Morgue needed a new home. It was a perfect haunted house partnership, so with the beginning of the 2005 season, Reindeer opened as a multi-element haunt park: 2 haunted attractions, a midway, games, concessions, and lots more pyrotechnics.
In 2008, the Lohmanns acquired a sister haunt to go along with The Morgue. Dungeon Of Doom Haunted House had been located in the Arlington Museum Of Art since 1989. Their owners, having decided to retire, struck up a deal with Alex and Jen.  Dungeon Of Doom would then be relocated to the same property with The Morgue and Reindeer Manor. The haunt park now had 3 attractions, and the next few years saw promising growth all around.
To add a little more to their plate the Lohmanns launched a second company in 2013 called When Hinges Creak ( It is a small haunted house prop company that focuses primarily on resin casts of neat and unusual detail pieces. This little company has grown and become a large part of the Lohmanns' lives.
There’s an old saying that nothing ever stays the same. The Dallas Fort Worth area is a hard market in which to maintain a haunt. Dallas customers will drive an hour just to check out the next bigger and better show. Also, there is never a lack of new shows in the DFW market. Reindeer Manor found itself having a hard time keeping up. Every year fewer and fewer folks were interested in doing what it takes to keep a haunt alive in Dallas. Haunting had become much more of a business than just a pastime. At the end of the 2013 season, Reindeer decided they could not face the major overhaul that was needed to stay competitive.  A decision was made, and Alex and Jennifer purchased Reindeer Manor.  The culmination of all this effort will result in the upcoming Reindeer Manor Halloween Park, a 33-acre fear park which will be expanding over the next several years.  It's not a rebranding per se, but it is giving things a new facelift that’s long overdue.  To quote an orchestra conductor, "Again…with gusto."

 Alex and Jennifer won’t be doing all this alone. Over the last 15 years they’ve put together a talented crew, many of whom have stayed involved for well over a decade.  Like many haunted house crews, theirs is like a family with a strong sense of kinship and dedication and love of haunting. Folks outside the industry might just see it as a bunch of weirdos (and they’d be right), but this bunch of weirdos will march right into the mouth of Hell for what they believe in. They believe whole-heartedly that this fear park has the potential to be the best.  Over the years their crew has faced many challenges and have always risen to the occasion. Alex and Jennifer see no reason for this challenge to be any different.
Two of the most predominant people in the off-season build crew are Daniel Burnett and Kevin Cook. Daniel has been working with Alex and Jennifer for 10 seasons. He started a few weeks before their first season at Reindeer, doing his internship in the morning, attending his day job in the afternoon, and working at the haunt until the wee hours of the morning. Essentially, he didn’t sleep much during that period of time. Daniel also takes care of the park audio, graphics, web design, off-season promotions, design, construction, lighting, and tends to be the one to make sure things stay organized. Kevin Cook has been with the Lohmanns for 8 years and does construction, design, lighting, maintenance, and is generally called upon for heavy lifting. He was married at the haunt with Alex officiating.  Both his wife Tiinia Auler and best man Chris Greene act and work off-season promotional events. Daniel and Kevin act in the show as well and are actor managers over their areas.  Their annual motivation is to have the scariest, most-theatrical actors of any Dallas haunted house around.
This entire group also has another, even odder side. They have a band called the Reindeer Morgue Of Doom Midnight Hour Jubilee Chorus.  They dress up in costume and play instruments: Alex on accordion, Daniel on banjo, Kevin on the ugly stick, Chris on the triangle, and Tiinia playing the bells. They sing songs ranging from 80’s hits to old Irish drinking songs.

After a 40-year history the original Haunted House at Reindeer Manor is getting a major overhaul. The show format will change as well.  Instead of a theatrical “skit” being done in each room, it’s being converted to a modern, walk-through type attraction that will play on both the house's actual haunting history and a solid scary backstory to really bring the creep-factor up. This will be backed by a remodel of the haunted trail out behind the house. There will be many iconic features that will stay right where they are, the same as customers have come to expect. 2014 will showcase the best scenic design the crew has done to date, and they are ready for the challenge. There will also be a dramatic shift in character development, costuming, and makeup this year. Plans are already underway to get a new shop up and a running as well to make custom masks, prosthetics and costumes for the park.
With a talented haunt crew at the helm, this year’s haunted house park will be unstoppable. The Lohmanns are dedicated to making sure their customers get the most value for their money, and that value grows each year. 
haunted house in dallas texas, review
  Posted by Larry 11.46 AM Read Comments ()
Haunted House in Seattle Washington Georgetown Morgue Reviewed
Sat, March 22, 2014
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Seattle, Washington's - The Georgetown Morgue

By Hauntworld Magazine


Washington Haunted Houses are some of the scariest and best in America! rates and review the best and Scariest haunted houses, haunted attractions, and Halloween events in America!  The Georgetown Morgue is located in Seattle and has one of the scariest haunted houses in America!  Prepare to scream!  Sit back and prepare to scream through our review of The Georgetown Morgue. This Halloween you can't miss the scariest and best haunted attraction in the entire state of Washington, The Georgetown Morgue. The haunted house industry in Seattle has barely begun with very few haunted houses however the Seattle market is one of the biggest in the country and haunts are bound to start sprining up.  Seattle Washington Haunted Houses are coming on fast and if you are looking for simply the best and scariest haunted house Seattle then you've found it the Georgetown Morgue.  Now sit back and read all about the scariest Haunted Attraction in Seattle.

To learn more about Washington's The Georgetown Morgue visit their websit below:



The Georgetown Morgue (1928-1983)
Author: James Henrikson February 12, 2000

The Georgetown Morgue stands out among historic morgues, not for its unusual industrial surroundings, but for what can only be described as a series of colorful (albeit at times horrifying) events in its relatively short (and fairly recent) history.  

Some people have questioned why this little-known morgue made the Historic Morgue Society's "Most Intriguing Historic Urban Morgues" list in 1999, but with a little background, the reader should have no problem understanding why.


History of the Georgetown Morgue:
Built: 1928
Original Name: Kolling Mortuary Services of Seattle
Original Owner: Scottland Timothy Kolling
Original Purpose: Processing and preparation of the deceased.

Kolling Mortuary Services of Seattle constructed the 3-story facility in 1928 as a single-purpose funeral preparations facility.
Change of Ownership: 1939
New Name: Broughton Brothers Funeral Services
Owner: Charles and Henry Broughton

Owners Charles and Henry Broughton, 1946 From Seattle Times archives, the Broughton Brothers purchased the facility in 1939 with more ambitious plans, transitioning it from a simple funeral preparations home to, by 1943, a 100-body-per-day Crematorium. The extended facilities were erected from the South-facing wall, including two 110-foot smoke stacks (approved by the City of Seattle but not without some degree of public outcry).  In addition, Charles Broughton built a small brick home on the west side of the property, where it remains to this day.

On April 29th, 1965 a 5.7 magnitude earthquake rocked the Puget Sound area, and while other businesses in Seattle suffered only moderate damage, tragedy struck the Broughton Brothers when crematorium Tower 1 collapsed into the west side of the building, taking out the upper floor, and killing Charles Broughton.

Brother Henry Broughton continued the business, and necessary structural renovations included the removal of the third floor. Tower 1 was rebuilt in 1967.
Change of Ownership: 1969
New Name: The Georgetown Morgue
Owner: City of Seattle

City of Seattle's Georgetown Morgue: The City of Seattle acquired the facility after Broughton Brothers Funeral Services defaulted on their loan.  Once again, the facility underwent a significant change.  The City converted it to a morgue. At that time, the area was part of the Georgetown District, and the City chose the Georgetown Morgue as a suitable name.  Interesting side note: the City did not abandon the crematorium part of the facility, and instead continued to utilize it for the purpose of processing animal carcasses for their Animal Control Department.

The City operated the Georgetown Morgue until 1983, when a modern morgue was erected in Downtown Seattle at 5th Ave S. and Seneca Street.  The City offered the property for sale, but received no interested buyers until 1989 (perhaps due in part to its intriguing albeit morbid history).
Change of Ownership: 1989
Owner: Richland Processing Corp.

The Richland Processing Corporation purchased the facility from the City of Seattle with the intention of converting it to a meatpacking transfer station. They sold crematorium towers 1 & 2 to nearby Simmons Foundry Works, where they were relocated in 1990.

The Building Today:
Once home of the late Mrs. Charles Broughton, the building has undergone significant structural change and bears only a slight resemblance to the former Georgetown Morgue.  The footings of the former crematorium smoke stack towers are still evident along the South-facing wall of the Richland Processing facility. The adjacent brick home of Charles Broughton’s widow (who remained at the residence until she claimed her own life in 1979) still remains.

The Fascinating Historic Backstory of the Georgetown Morgue...
The Georgetown Morgue had a strikingly colorful 43-year history as a funeral preparations home, crematorium and morgue.  City of Seattle public records, Police Department records, and Seattle Times microfiche records paint a colorful and horrifying picture. We will summarize a few of the more intriguing events below.

1940's Jazz Great, John "Figgy" Dorsey:
When jazz trumpeter and nationally-acclaimed band leader John "Figgy" Dorsey died in 1947, he was brought to Broughton Brothers for funeral preparations.  At this point, events turned horrific.  According to police reports, Charles Broughton reported a break-in to the facility, and during the police inquiry, the body of Mr. Dorsey was discovered to be missing from the embalming procedure table.  The following morning came the gruesome discovery by Mr. Dorsey's wife of her late husband's dismembered body on the front lawn of her home at 5465 Eldridge Ave. in Ballard.  Not to be deterred, Mrs. Dorsey had the body returned to Broughton Brothers Funeral Services to be reconstructed for public viewing at his funeral.  Media reports at the time were sensational, making for an even higher profile burial of the already high profile musician.

"Seattle Crematorium Massacre" followed by the Change of Ownership to City of Seattle in 1969:
The transfer of ownership from Broughton Brothers Funeral Services to the City of Seattle in 1969 followed one of the most gruesome crimes on record.  Coined by the Seattle Times as the "Seattle Crematorium Massacre", there has been a great deal of unresolved speculation as to exactly what occurred during the evening of October 25, 1968.  On that evening, during a business meeting on the premises, 2 (perhaps 3) suspects (assumed to have been armed), entered the building and forced all 9 attendees (the entire facility staff of Broughton Brothers Funeral Services, including company owner Henry Broughton) to be bound.  In what is considered to be the most horrifying unsolved crime in Seattle history, each attendee was forced into the crematorium chamber.  There were no surviving witnesses, nor were suspects ever identified.  This crime is unique in its nature.  Speculation has always abounded in regard to motive, but character witness testimony on police record does indicate a suspicion of less-then-legitimate business practices at Broughton Brothers.  As a result of the crime, Broughton Brothers Funeral Services had no living employees.  Broughton family members had no choice but to foreclose on its loan, at which point the City of Seattle acquired the facility.

Public outcry over the construction of the two 140-foot smoke stacks in 1943:
The industrial boom of the early 1940's to support the war, while critical for the nation's production of needed materials, did have the unwanted effect of contributing to some of the worst air quality in the nation.  Seattle citizens groups took interest in preserving air and water quality in the Puget Sound area.  The sensational nature of the proposed crematorium smokestacks made for high profile headlines.  However, the City of Seattle eventually approved the construction of the stacks in 1943, and the project was completed and in production by 1945.  The Georgetown Morgue ranked number 4 in the Historic Morgue Society's "Most Intriguing Urban Historic Morgues" list in Sept., 1999.

Written by freelance writer and easy screamer Denise Roundy of Kingston, Washington

The Georgetown Morgue: Northwest Premier Haunted Attraction    
The KUBE 93FM Haunted House at the Georgetown Morgue in Seattle attracts more than just adventurous city folk looking for a good scare.  Thrill-seeking guests make the journey from all over the Puget Sound region, because the Georgetown Morgue isn’t just a haunted house, it’s legendary.  And now the legend has spread:  The popular Seattle haunt is the first in the Northwest to be selected as an affiliate member of America Haunts, the premier group of haunting attractions.

A modest building on the exterior, this haunt blends into its industrial surroundings.  It sits just a few miles south of Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market and the sports stadiums for the Seahawks and Mariners.  Visitors flock to the haunted house—even if it means a train or ferry ride—for what is guaranteed to be the Pacific Northwest’s best fright.  While rumors of a rainy Seattle are not exaggerated, owner Scott Kolling says wet weather doesn’t discourage visitors from making the haunting pilgrimage.  “If they’re planning on going, they just go,” Kolling says. “One night, it was raining so hard the street was flooding, but it was our busiest night of the season.”

Especially popular with college students from the nearby University of Washington, last year the haunt welcomed four busloads of students from sororities, prearranging their visits online with group rates and times to accommodate their numbers.  Groups are especially welcome at this haunt. — Who will notice a lost coed or two in the morgue?
Even in a long, rainy line, guests huddle together, getting a taste of the frights inside.  Performers get up-close-and-personal right from the get-go, sometimes stalking the folks still getting out of their cars.  Loud BOOMs and screams from behind the haunt’s walls keep visitors alert and full of horrific anxiety.  

Georgetown Morgue, owned and operated by Kolling’s parent company, SeattleHaunts, makes for a first-rate fright.  When you come to visit, prepare for some chilling scenes: dismemberments, disemboweling, demented janitors and the lingering dead.  What can you expect from a place with such dark history?  

Kolling and crew make the most of their morbid theme, with a 1970s red Cadillac hearse (nothing but the best for Georgetown Morgue’s deceased), bloodied morticians, corpses, and wanna-be corpses.  FYI, it’s an open casket event.  But while guests will encounter a gruesome fright, the emphasis is on the scare.  Kolling prefers to keep the gore to a minimum, and credits talented, well-placed actors with providing the true old-fashioned scares.  His haunt boasts some impressive FX of animations, automations, pneumatics and more, but their primary function is to strategically position the visitors as haunt targets for the performers.  A demonic automation might be cool, but it’s the reaching zombie, and the specter zeroing in, that will make grown men scream like little girls.  “If you have a dark room with nothing in it, but you have a good actor in there, they’ll still scream their heads off,” Kolling says.
In the late 1970’s, Scott Kolling was finding his love and passion for haunting.  His father was a member of the Jaycees community service group, and he remembers following his father around the haunted house they were organizing as a Jaycee haunted house fundraiser.  He helped to build many haunted rooms, and enjoyed going through the haunt when all was finished.  Many memories, fun times, creativity, and the camaraderie of the experience would stay with Kolling for the years to come.

In his early 20s, Kolling joined the local Jaycees as a volunteer and was nominated as president during his second year.  He decided to join the ranks in the haunt industry by building his first haunted house as a way to earn money for their community activities.  It was a great success.  The location of the haunt was moved to a more central location at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Wash.  This proved to be a good location for haunting with another year of fright-filled success.  

Kolling then made a career change.  Instead of building and running a haunted house for a non-profit organization, he went into business for himself starting his own haunted house company and making a living doing what he loved…HAUNTING.  Haunts Northwest, Inc. was formed.  Kolling’s new company specialized in the design, construction and operation of dark attractions.  The new theme based on its fairgrounds location was Scaregrounds.  Haunts Northwest, Inc. built and operated Scaregrounds and other haunted houses throughout nine different cities in the area during the next six years.

In spring 2002, Kolling was presented with an opportunity to take over the KUBE 93FM Haunted House. The KUBE 93FM Haunted House at that time had been around the Seattle area for 23 years.  Kolling took on the challenge and has been designing, constructing, and operating the KUBE 93FM Haunted House for the past 12 years.  He has also kept at least one other haunted house running at the same time during the Halloween season in different cities in the area.

In 2008, the KUBE 93FM Haunted House moved its location to the Georgetown Morgue, which was a huge success, and where it resides to this day.  SeattleHaunts was formed, and now is the sole owner of the KUBE 93FM Haunted House at the Georgetown Morgue, now entering its 35th year of operation in Seattle.

During the 18 years that Kolling has operated his haunted house company, he’s always had two or more successful haunts running during the Halloween season.  He has been in over 15 different cities in the Pacific Northwest, before finally finding two permanent locations for his haunts.

Dedicated haunters are hard to find. Kolling has two others besides himself that have been involved in his haunting enterprise for 20 years.  Deanna Kolling, his wife of 22 years, is the chief financial officer, also over employment and other administrative duties (too many to name), and Gary Sundseth is operations manager for the Nightmare on 9 show.  Other long time staff members include 16-year veteran Schyler Granstrom, makeup artist and electrician for both haunts, Daryl Rogers has been working alongside Kolling for the last 12 years as production manager/public relations for both haunted houses and Brandon Green, operations manager for the Georgetown Morgue since 2003. Kolling’s oldest son and his friends are part of the 20 or so other staff and actors who have been with him for an average of six years or more who love the haunting business and have a great time working throughout the year on various projects.  With so much haunt experience and monster training, they’ve been referred to as the scariest haunted house actors by both locals and out-of-town guests.

Haunting in the Northwest
The Georgetown Morgue’s enduring popularity and its standing in America Haunts is largely due to Kolling’s yearly remodeling.  Every January he canvasses the haunt and sketches out changes to keep things unpredictable.   As a result, each Halloween season more than a third of the haunt has a new look.  Last year’s main update was the big basement reveal.  Guests walk over grated flooring to see what new evils have recently been discovered below.  But while they’re busy looking down, look out!  Wicked things are waiting in the shadows all around.  What changes are coming this year?  Only Rigger and Mortis, the morgue janitors, know for sure.

Kolling is a hands-on haunt owner.  He not only designs new looks, but he and a small crew build the changes themselves, ensuring creative control.  Producing a top-quality haunt in Washington State isn’t the easiest endeavor, he’s found.  Safety regulations restrict stairways, slides, and other physically creative structures that haunts often use.  Years of trial and terror have helped him navigate the maze of restrictions and compliance requirements, allowing him to build a haunt that passes inspection without compromising the experience.  During the season, though, he keeps a cast and crew of about 60 to help the gruesome mortuary run smoothly.  Online admission sales help too, moving people through the line more quickly and giving guests a chance to pre-purchase discount tickets.  

Well-detailed scenes, talented scarers, and professional makeup are important at both of Kolling’s haunts.  Quality prosthetics (such as nose, eyebrows, and chin pieces) topped with makeup and airbrushing make for a frightfully realistic look.  Masks are still used but only occasionally.  That’s a new development in the decades Kolling has been in the business.  “We used to have one or two artists in the makeup room.  Now we have seven or eight.  It takes longer, but looks better and more professional.”
During the year, Kolling himself and his crew make several public appearances in the Seattle area promoting the Haunted House.  In full costume and makeup, strutting around town with various characters, they are quite a sight to see!

The KUBE 93FM radio station comes in one Saturday afternoon during the season for Kids’ Day.  During that time, families can experience a less threatening version of the haunt:  lights on, no actors.  “It’s still a bit scary, but fun.  If they bring three cans of food, kids get in free.  The radio station brings games for the kids that day, with popcorn and activities.”

A less tame event is Finger Flashlight Night, offered during the season’s opening weekend.  It’s a sneak peek—a dark peek—of what to expect from this year’s Georgetown Morgue.  “You go through the haunt, full of actors, but no strobe lights, no lights at all.  All you have is a tiny light on your finger.  So it’s freakier than the regular haunt that’s going to freak you out the next week.”

With a haunt as popular as KUBE 93 FM Haunted House at the Georgetown Morgue, vendors are a must.  Kolling’s vendors have included different kinds of mouthwatering foods like scones and kettle corn, t-shirts, stickers, and calendar sales, as well as a popular face-painting booth where locals often come to get gored up before heading to Halloween parties.  With thousands of guests around nightly, Kolling keeps Seattle city officials happy by hiring off-duty, uniformed police officers to keep things orderly.
Besides being the biggest haunt attraction in the northwest, Georgetown Morgue prides itself in keeping deep community roots.  Kolling and his staff participate in local parades and other events, most recently appearing in full terrifying costume outside Seahawk stadium.  (Who says the 12th man can’t be a zombie?)   It also helps that the community recognizes KUBE Georgetown Morgue as locally owned, staffed wholly by northwest loco yokels.

Snohomish Nightmare on 9
In the 20-plus years he has worked in the scaring business, Kolling has run numerous other haunted attractions in the greater Seattle area.  Currently, he runs a horrific sister haunt, Nightmare on 9, at a farm in Snohomish, WA.  The location of the second haunt north of Seattle allows family and longtime haunter friends to work closer to their homes and jobs.  It’s worked out well.  Kolling’s oldest son and six or so of his buddies, age 17 now, were taught to haunt and scare in their early teens and are the 4-year veteran crew on site.  At Thomas Family Farm, Kolling’s haunt is itself a vendor.  Nightmare on 9 is a slaughterhouse gone wrong, a perfect complement to the farm’s spooky corn maze and zombie paintball hayride.  Being a horror vendor on the farm is a nice contrast to the Seattle location, as Kolling can focus on the haunt but still enjoy the benefits of other Halloween attractions and amenities on site.  Guests running screaming out of the slaughterhouse’s exit, for instance, can head right over to the concessions stand to buy some pulled pork sandwiches, yum yum!

Kolling and crew are revving up for the 2014 haunt season. Changes are being made at both haunts. Marketing and other projects are underway. Next up is Transworld’s Halloween and Attractions Show in St. Louis, MO with new haunters to meet and lots of things to do and see.  So if you are traveling to Seattle and would like a special tour, look up one of Kolling’s crew members at the show and receive a free pass to the Pacific Northwest’s Premier Haunted House!

haunted houses
  Posted by Larry 2.23 AM Read Comments ()
Chicago Haunted House rated and reviewed by Hauntworld Basement of the Dead
Thu, March 20, 2014
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Aurora Illinois' - Basement of the Dead Featuring Shattered 3D

By Hauntworld Magazine


Chicago Illinois Haunted Houses are some of the scariest and best in America! rates and review the best and Scariest haunted houses, haunted attractions, and Halloween events in America!  Basement of the Dead is located in Aurora, Illinois and has one of the scariest haunted houses in America!  Prepare to scream!  Sit back and prepare to scream through our review of Basement of the Dead. This Halloween you can't miss the scariest and best haunted attraction in the entire state of Illinois, Basement of the Dead. Basement of the Dead in Aurora Illinois which is just outside of Chicago Illinois is simply put one of the best haunted houses in the country.  Their attraction features some of the scariest actors, crazies scenes, and amazing set design, plus one of the industries best 3D haunted houses.Now sit back and read all about the best haunted house in the Chicago Illinois area The Basement of the Dead.

To learn more about Illinois' Basement of the Dead visit their websit below:



Basement of the Dead Haunted Attraction in Aurora Illinois is not the biggest attraction in Illinois, but many consider it to be the best and even scariest.  Like most top haunts, the Basement of the Dead is run by a talented and passionate group of people who love the haunted house industry, and this group is actually family… a family who through hard work and faith in themselves turned their dream (or nightmare) into a reality.

Jason, David, Sara, Craig, and mother Patrice Seneker along with their aunt and uncle, Tressa and Todd Baraniak, began their haunting life at a home in Joliet Illinois.  Every year, the whole family would start working in early August to transform Patrice’s home into a terrifying house of horrors.  In October, thousands of people braved their way through the yard and home.  After four years of creating nightmares in a home haunt, they wanted more.  David remembers, “That’s when I knew we could be very successful at running a commercial haunted house.  We were doing all that work for just the joy of scaring people.  I knew if we could get the funds and find a place, it could work.”  But before the family became professional haunters a different business opportunity presented itself. The Seneker family learned that the mask division of Scarecrow (a company known for their realistic vampire fangs) was for sale. The family obtained the mask molds and began creating foam latex mask out of the basement of their home. The business, Arrival Mask Company, was successful, but the idea of running a professional haunt never left.
Todd never did stop looking for a good location to create a professional haunt. “There are many great haunts in the Chicagoland area and we didn’t want to open a new haunt in some other haunt’s backyard.  It’s not easy to find a good location, and then when you find one, the building owner does not want to give you a lease for just a few months to set up and run a seasonal haunted house.”  That’s when Todd learned of an established haunt that was for sale in the area.
George Carpenter founded Basement of the Dead haunted house in 2000. Right away, Basement of the Dead won best new attraction of the year from a local Chicago haunted house review group.  From there, George and his family successfully ran the Basement of the Dead for several years, but due to an illness, George put the Basement up for sale. 

Todd said, “George was happy with the number of people he was putting through, and because of the illness there was not much change to the Basement in the last few years he owned it. It was a very strong foundation, and we felt with the right marketing strategies, renovation of the existing space, plus expansion into unused parts of the building that Basement of the Dead Haunted Attraction could become one of the top haunts in Illinois and in the Nation.”

The haunt is located in the basement of a 100 year old building in downtown Aurora Illinois just 30 short miles outside Chicago.  Immediately upon walking inside the building, it’s clear this place would be frightening even if there was not a haunted attraction inside.  The decrepit brick walls, old pipes and eerie creeks make for a perfect haunted setting…a very strong foundation indeed.  So the family bought the business in 2010.  Todd fondly recollects, “When we bought the haunt from George, he and his family helped make our transition into the haunt world seamless.”   

In 2013, the family’s hopes were becoming reality.  Attendance greatly increased, the haunt was named #1 Haunted Attraction in Illinois by the Chicago Tribune Newspaper, and it was also listed in the Top 30 Haunted Attractions in all of America by Hauntworld Magazine.  The Basement of the Dead turned to Facebook and other social media to get the word out about their haunt.  Todd explains, “We are very active on these sites. We post pictures and videos not just in October, but all year around. We feel it is good to keep the Basement of the Dead fresh in everyone’s mind and to show them the work we are put in to make us #1 and keep us there.  We also run contests on these sites and give prizes away to our fans”.  
The Basement also keeps their website updated with new information throughout the year.  By this Halloween season, the haunt will be 100% remolded from when it was purchased. The new rooms going into the Basement of the Dead are highly detailed, but not overly lit, providing that perfectly creepy atmosphere needed to achieve the utmost in scares. You can see where the Basement gets its soul. Silent Hill, The Hills Have Eyes, Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Insidious are definitely the horror movie inspirations, but not a carbon copy.  David tells, “We believe that if you want to really scare someone, you need to help them forget that they are safe and that these are just a bunch of actors in masks and make-up. We do this by creating rooms that are so believable our customers get engrossed in the atmosphere. Then, the customers can’t help but believe they are in real danger.  For example, we want them to think they really could be locked in our broken down walk-in freezer with a humanoid pig freak.”  
They also spend much of their time training actors providing them with a good acting base.  From there, the actors are creatively allowed to develop their individual characters.  “We give them an idea and let the actor build their own character. We help them do this by putting a lot of thought into the costumes and masks & make-up FX.  I am usually very surprised by the depth our actors take their character. This makes them much more believable and terrifying when a customer first encounters them. We are blessed with a very talented group of actors,” says David.
Subtlety in lighting is truly an expertise found inside this haunted house.  Lighting is perfect; it’s delicately placed in some parts and purposely absent in others.  We asked David to expound on their intent.  “Just because you spent a lot of time and money on a room, does not mean you need a ton of light. We believe there is nothing scarier than the dark.  All demons, monsters, and boogie men are born from the dark.  We purposely harness that primal fear from the second you take foot down into the Basement.”

In 2012, Shattered 3D was created. Shattered 3D is a black lit 3D clown themed haunted attraction. The art inside Shattered 3D Haunted House is beautiful and grotesquely sinister at the same time. From floor to ceiling you are engulfed with artwork that is eye popping. David reveals, “We had the space, and we wanted to do a new haunt. Specifically, we wanted to explore a different way to scare people. The Basement is dark and while we love the dark, we thought the logical thing to do was make a contrasting haunted house. We wanted the most eye-popping blacklight haunted house with the most creative artwork, but we also wanted every actor in Shattered 3D to wear a completely 3D costume and every prop fully painted in 3D. We made sure to build solid scares in every room so our actors could use the 3D to their advantage by blending in with the art.”  
They certainly accomplished just that, because last year not only was Basement recognized, but Shattered was too.  One haunt reviewer reported, ‘Shattered 3D is a great haunt on its own, the 3D makes it an incredible haunt.’   
The Basement also did a revamp of the line entertainment. By adding two talented stilt walkers, two Stalkaround costumes, a chainsaw, a boom-stick, and a live DJ every night on stage that moves from inside the building out into the crowd.  The DJ wears an unbuckled straight jacket along with a zippered, canvas mask while mixing classic rock and heavy metal along with modern beats.  Jason told us a story about how his signature move (binding the hands and mouth of customers with Duct Tape) was born. “On my first night as DJ, I was so worried about not messing up the music that I forgot my main job is to scare. I heard one customer say to her friend ‘he’s not scary.’  I knew I had to change her mind, so I looked around my stage for something I could use as a prop weapon to go and terrorize this girl.  The only thing I could find was a roll of Duct Tape I used to anchor down some loose cables. The sound the tape makes when forcefully peeled off the roll can be terrifying in the right situation, because it can bring a connotation of being bound and abducted. I leaped down from the stage and ripped the tape out extremely close to the girl’s ear. Once she got off the ground from collapsing in fear (and her friend stopped laughing at her), she came up to me and asked for a picture together. I brought her up on stage and put the tape over her mouth and wrist. The crowd went crazy and from there everyone wanted to be abducted by the DJ.”
Hard workers all around, this family does not rest.  They plot, plan and work for the opening of their haunt year round and this year is no different as they plan to allow customers to live out their zombie apocalypse fantasy.  Full costumed zombie actors will roam the grounds while customers blast their way (with I-Combat laser tag guns) through the Basement of the Dead and Shattered 3D for the right to live another day. Todd states. “We always want to be pushing the envelope, to give another way for people to face their fears. That’s why we started, we wanted to scare people, and what can be more frightening than having to fight flesh hungry zombies while trying to find a way out of a dark basement?”  
In a world crazed for the preparation of a zombie apocalypse, I couldn’t agree more, but whether zombies or mutants or clowns are your affliction, one thing is certain…When you come to the Basement of the Dead and Shattered 3D, you will get scared inside, outside, in the dark and in the light!

  Posted by Larry 12.49 AM Read Comments ()

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