14 Haunted Houses Worth A Visit This Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner and while children everywhere are trick-or-treating, adults and teens are heading to haunted houses. MSN.com has released a list of the best haunted houses for Halloween this year. They made a point to pick out 14 of the most ” unusual and terrifying haunted houses around the country.”

Creepyworld, St. Louis

According to MSN (http://local.msn.com/travel/best-haunted-houses), one of the biggest draws to this haunted house site is the zombie hayride. Fans of the genre and especially George Romero films, will get a chance to enact their zombie killing fantasies. The hayride is a paintball zombie ride with guns mounted to the wagon. “As you drive through the hayride, you shoot ‘em with paintballs. It’s interactive and you get to man guns. It’s not really scary, but people really like it,” said Larry Kirchner of Hauntworld.com, one of the owners.

The Nest, Phoenix

Having already been featured on Good Morning America” for its spectacular spookiness, The Nest is the haunted house most likely to grasp you in our technological world. The haunted house is run by Steve Kopelman who has more than 30 years experience. What makes this haunted house unique is that it is the first to feature RFID (radio frequency identification). In simple terms, if you sign up for it, it will tie in with Facebook Connect and you can be tracked as you go through the 40,000-square-foot attraction.“When you go into our cemetery, your name and date of birth will be on the headstone,” Kopelman says. “When you walk into the room, your friends’ and family’s pictures will be on the wall. We’ll take pictures of you getting scared and post it on your Facebook page. It’s just wild.”

Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, Anaheim, Calif.

You can’t have a haunted house list without The Haunted Mansion. Kopelman also commented on this attraction saying,  “It’s a lot of where this whole thing started,” he says. “It’s still fun. They’ve got great holograms and ghosts that fly through. The sound is perfect. It’s something that everybody should experience. It’s not as scary as other haunts.” Also, The Haunted Mansion is open year-round for those looking for thrills during the rest of the year.

Blackout, New York and Los Angeles

This haunted house forgoes the common practice of creepy noises and attractions and instead scares you with the most basic terrifying theme: darkness.  Entering its fourth year, the New York based production is true immersion theater. Participants of the event will have to go through a house alone in the ark.  “Everything comes down to exposing people to intensely basic and raw fears: pitch blackness, tight spaces, sensory deprivation. It’s basically about making everybody confront those basic fears. That’s Blackout’s biggest strength,” Says co-creator Josh Randall. Don’t worry, if you want to leave early there is a safe word that will get you out. “There are no monsters, no vampires and very little blood used,” Randall says. “We basically we strive to create a genuinely scary experience.”

Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House, New York
Sometimes real life is scarier than fiction and that is what creator Tim Haskell and producer Kopelman bank on with their high concept haunted house. According to MSN, it “features tableaus from famous — and not so famous — murderers, including Ted Bundy, Charles Manson and Lady Bathory, who is said to have killed 300 virgins and bathed in their blood to keep herself young. The entryway of the haunt also boasts a collection of anonymously donated serial-killer memorabilia.”

Terror Behind the Walls, Philadelphia

This haunted house is unique in that rather than being held in a warehouse or somewhere similar, it is held in an old penitentiary. And not just any old penitentiary, this one held some of the worlds most notorious criminals. “Al Capone was incarcerated there,” Kopelman says. “It’s a great production. They stick to their theme.”

The 13th Gate, Baton Rouge, La.

This highly praised haunted house received praises from Hauntworld.com’s Kirchner, saying that walking through it is like “walking through a real movie set,” and “The special effects are “over the top and nothing like you would see in a typical haunted house.” The location is a 40,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor space has a multitude of sets, including catacombs with a giant wall of skulls, an asylum, a swamp and a pirate’s ship. The haunt is near the top of “best of” lists, coming in at No. 3 on horror magazine Fangoria’s 2010 overview.

Blumhouse of Horrors, Los Angeles

Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum is the mastermind behind this haunted house with an elaborate back story. It follows the disappearance of a magician in the 1930s and employs a cast of more than 50 actors to lure in the unsuspecting visitor. The house of horrors is set in a theater in downtown L.A. and the production along costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. However,  Steve Biodrowski of Hollywoodgothique.com commented, “Currently, its greatest strength is the wonderful location. In fact, during our first trip through the Variety Arts Theatre, we found ourselves thinking: Walking through this place alone, in the dark, would probably be much more frightening than anything the show can achieve.”

The House at Haunted Hill, Los Angeles

This one has also landed as one of Biodrowksi’s favorites. Starting out as a simple homage to the Disney Mansion’s Madame Leota in 2000, this location has since become a major haunted house in the home of Matt Ford and Lori Merkle Ford. The back story follows a young starlet who is married to the wrong man and remains trapped inside the house. It features some of the best special effects and music available for the genre.

Woods of Terror, Greensboro, N.C.

The Woods of Terror has something for all horror audiences. The long and winding property will take you about an hour to defeat and it contains 10 different themed attractions.  Though he praised the pirate-themed section, which features a giant ship, and a “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” house in the woods, he said the part of the attraction that’s the simplest is the scariest. “As you go through a heavily wooded area, people are popping out from behind.”

Pirates of Emerson, Fremont, Calif.

Pirates are always a popular theme and this one has been going strong for 21 years. The location has eight different attractions including the Mental Maze, Arachno and the Pumpkin Patch. But Biodrowski likes the Pirates of Emerson portion the best. “The most remarkable one — they do a really good job of re-creating the sense of being inside a pirate ship. The floor rocks and rolls underneath your feet,” he says. “You do kind of feel like you are on the ocean.”

Goretorium, Las Vegas

If you are a fan of films like Hostel and Saw this is the attraction for you. Especially considering this one was made by Hostel creator himself, Eli Roth. The Goretorium is set in the fictional Delmont Hotel which houses a serial killing family and their prey – the hotel guests. The gory Hollywood-produced spectacle is year-round. When you’re done getting frightened, have a drink at the Baby Dolls bar.

Delusions: The Blood Rite, Los Angeles

Haunted Play is responsible for this interactive haunted house. The attraction takes visitors on a 40 minute long experience within an old run-down mansion. Highly skilled actors with top-of-the-line special effects are used to create a truly terrifying experience.  “You feel like you are in a real place,” Biodrowski says. Another unique feature of this haunted house is the “Choose Your Own Terror” experience that allows you to take part in the narrative. The actors take unwilling people and send them down a pitch-black corridor, and then, Biodrowski says, “slam the door behind them. You hear screams through the door and they come running back.” This year they were even more highly regarded as Neil Patrick Harris  officially signed on as a co-producer with creator Jon Braver.

Bennett’s Curse, Baltimore

Americasbesthaunts.com has voted this attraction as one of America’s best haunts. It is set during the medieval period and includes three major attractions:  House of the Vampryes, Zombie Kingdom 3D and the Sanctuary of Insanity. “It’s realistic to the theme.” Kopelman says. “He’s got the right columns on the buildings and the right costumes. He’s got as many props and animatronics as anybody in the country. It’s very scary. … I went through with a group, and they were, like, on the ground.”

About Sarah

Sarah is journalist and artist who lives in the city. She loves movies and television. She reads early and often. Leader of Optionated.com

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