Brutal Planet 2011

Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall
Kris76797.25
Ryan65897
Kathie771088
Alex G867107.75
Justeen1010999.5
Alex K88888
Marlena64686
Overall7.4285714296.5714285717.8571428578.7142857147.642857143

Kris Kropelnicki

Have you ever wondered what your neighbors really do in their spare time? Is old George down the street really restoring an old car in the garage or is he up to far more despicable deeds? Brutal Planet gives us the opportunity to take a look in the neighbor’s house and find out once and for all.

Before entering the haunt our group was given instructions and some details about the houses inhabitant and he did so in a delightfully eerie manner. He spoke softly, yet his voice was filled with foreboding and malevolence, which added to the tension and anxiety levels. His costume and makeup were both well done.

Once inside the haunt, I found myself walking across the front lawn of a house badly in need of repairs, but I got the feeling that the home owner had different priorities. To enter the house I had to walk around the corner and navigate my way through what appeared to be the laundry, hanging on the clothesline. These sheets looked as though they needed to be burned rather than hung out and the stains on them were painting a picture of doom.

Entering the house through the front door I found myself standing in the living room. The television was on and white noise seemed to be the program of choice. From the living room I went into the kitchen which made me lose my appetite when I saw what was in the refrigerator. If the smells had matched the scene it would have really turned up the authenticity here. There is an actor lurking about and he did a fair job. I would have liked to have seen him really intense about his request to leave his cat alone, but he was quite flat and monotone.

As I went around the corner I came across a wall covered in missing person posters that really did get under my skin. There was something very unnerving about seeing all those faces on the wall and I had to ask myself if they were actual missing people.

The remaining rooms of the house held dark secrets including a room filled with black robed figures, a disturbing array of mannequin parts strapped to the walls and a glimpse of the killer as he was disposing of yet another victim. The laundry area was creepy and as the machines banged their way through their cycle, I thought of an off balance washer filled with human remains. I’m thinking that they were being cleaned in preparation to be displayed as trophies in the flesh room. The majority of the scenes flowed with the theme of the house; however there were a couple of rooms toward the end that seemed like last minute additions that lacked detail and cohesion.

The ending of the haunt holds a new twist on an old favorite and if the actress in this scene really interacted with guests it would ramp this final scene up to amazing levels.

Pros: Theme, sets, lighting

Cons: Actors a bit flat, end rooms lacked detail, lacked smells

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Ryan Acker

Brutal Planet has been out of the Elitch Gardens picture for a while now, but it is finally back. I remember reading some great reviews about this haunt when I first began reviewing and this is the first time I have gotten to experience it. Taking place of The Suffering, Brutal Planet didn’t really change anything from previous years except add a house. When you arrive to the property, an actor tells of the eerie story about a deranged murderer and sends you in. I enjoy haunts with story lines, but I only saw the story line in the first few rooms.

When you enter, you are walking through the yard of a rickety old house. I’ve been impressed with the first rooms at the Elitches haunts this year, but it seems as if that’s the only place they care about. From the yard, you go through white sheets which left me wondering where the house went. Then, we went inside the house and I was totally confused. Sadly, this would not be the only time. However, I enjoyed the actual house when I knew where I was. Dead cats in the fridge and hundreds of missing children posters graced the walls of this old house and I loved it! After the bedroom though, the house disappeared and lost all understanding of what the true theme was.

This haunt is definitely the one with the best props at the amusement park. Original? Not so much. However, I enjoyed the way they incorporated them into the setting. They tend to use the same scare tactics throughout. Putting you in a room with more than one of the same prop and leaving you to guess which prop would come alive or which actor would jump happened twice. The same also applies with hanging objects. Heads, body bags, and even hair were found within this haunt. The highlight of the Brutal Planet experience came at the end. Just before the exit, you will find one of the longest, coolest claustrophobic bags. Complete with windows, I love the idea of what they made but the actor didn’t do much.

The actors didn’t do much. They are the better of the bunch though. Some had dialogue, others (from what I saw) just stood up. The man at the entrance told us the best place to be in the group would be in the middle. I believe this was true because I was in the front and got nothing in terms of actors attempting to scare me. Yes, he suggested being in the middle, but I think actors should strike the front at least once in order to give the entire group a good experience. If you go to Fright Fest, I would recommend this haunt more than the other 2. It still has its flaws, as does every haunt, but I believe it could get much better with just better acting. As stated in my bio, actors make or break a haunt!

Pros: Props, length,

Cons: Theme was all over the place, actors, scare tactics used more than once.

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Kathie Holt

It’s a Frightfest at Elitch Gardens with some interesting little side shows that you really should see. The Grueling is bloody good fun. White Noise is loud and in your face. Hurl has some gruesome and juicy stunts, and of course The Wheel of Misfortune, live cockroach anyone? Kid friendly by day and terrifying by night. This haunt is one of three haunted house attractions at the park this year.

This is the house of a serial killer and at there are many things that will convince you of this. There were some actors in here that really just didn’t seem to fit in but the sets and props are pretty awesome. The man who greets you before you go in is incredible. I do not know if he really has a foreign accent or if he is just acting but it’s cool.

Once inside you can see the front of the house then pass through several bloody curtains to reach the living room with a dormant occupant. It’s not hard to see where to go next because the kitchen is very bright and leads the way like a beacon. Once in the kitchen, there is a skinned cat in the fridge. The crazy guy jumps out and tells you not to pet his cat…..why would you want to? It would have been better to actually be able to smell the dead cat rotting.

Once you make your way out of the kitchen, you enter the family hallway, but this is not your typical hallway lined with family photos but instead hundreds upon hundreds of blood splattered missing persons posters. THAT WAS CRAZY!!!!! My entire review team was curious as to their authenticity. Then, on to the bedroom with a blood soaked bed and then through the closet full of blood spattered clothes. The laundry room had some nice touches but would have been even better if the machines were running or someone popped out of the dryer or something.

You will find yourself going through several black freezer door curtains in this house which seems a bit odd, but perhaps to a serial killer they are ideal passages rather than doors. You will make your way through a few hallways with a girl in a cage begging for your help. There is a room literally full of heads to navigate through and the room full of hanging hair was just creepy. It hangs down in your face and you have no choice but to touch it and it feels pretty nasty. I liked the room with skinned faces on the wall but it was really dark and the flesh just didn’t look realistic but the ideas was outstanding.

The room full of black robbed reapers or monks will have you wondering who is real and who isn’t and honestly I could not tell. Just when I thought I knew which one was going to move, I was way wrong and they are very close to you while walking past. The room with all of the mannequin parts hanging on the wall is interesting, and with some work could have great potential.

Ok folks, I know that I have been saying, “Wow, gee another claustrophobic bag?”, but this one has a super, wonderful, crazy cool twist. No spoilers, so you just have to go see for yourself.

Pros: loved the theme, missing persons wall, claustrophobic bag

Cons: Actors that didn’t belong in a serial killers house that could only moan or growl. The skinned cat could have some great potential but is pretty boring just chillin’ in the fridge. Ha ha. The length was a bit short

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Alex Gallegos

Brutal planet is a serial killer’s house, the second paid haunt at Elitch’s this year. I was surprised at the theme considering the name – Brutal Planet makes me think about aliens, or maybe dinosaurs or something prehistoric and primitively evil. But a serial killer is a potentially interesting idea, and the concept is pretty well implemented, at least at the beginning of the experience. The first room is a facade of the porch of the house, complete with AstroTurf and shuttered windows. We started by entering the kitchen with rotting cats in the fridge and bloody handprints on the walls. The next couple of rooms looked like a house as well, with bedrooms and such, but after that the theme fell apart and gave way to corridors of soulless black plywood. Some of that was well decorated, of course; my absolute favorite was the wall with hundreds of flyers for missing persons. Someone seems to be a collector. Another wall was covered in dried skin samples and faces from the victims of this deranged killer.

While I was happy to see the decorations there, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that everything was just… fake in some way. The actors didn’t do a very good job of making it immersive either; if they’re supposed to be fellow victims, why are they popping out to scare me? Wouldn’t they be begging for freedom?

One actor did stand out; we entered a room with a guy chopping a body to the sound of hissing steam. We figured he was a pneumatic prop until he came after us with the axe. Kudos to that guy; he was my biggest scare of the night.

The biggest problem here was that I never got to see the serial killer himself. I would have loved a chance for an encounter with him towards the end of the haunt, but this was more like a tour of a deranged psychopath’s house than actually feeling like a potential victim.
Overall despite the potential of the concept the haunt is just not sick, perverted, or twisted enough for me to be really terrified or feel like my life was in danger in any way.

Serial killers have, pardon the pun, been done to death, and to make the concept interesting you’ve got to do something original. It’s an attention to detail that’s missing from this haunt and it’s missed all the more because the first couple of rooms are done so very well. But once the theme falls apart, all you’re left with is a series of disjointed rooms full of brutal scenery.

Pros: First two rooms, missing posters, fake pneumatic actor

Cons: All subsequent rooms, let theme drop away at the end of the experience, unbelievable actors in a disjointed setting

Justeen Walters

Alex Kratz

Brutal Planet was a great haunted house and the best at Elitches.

I really loved Brutal Planet’s use of sets and rooms. They had some great ideas that were executed very well. Even better, when all of the elements are brought together, it has some great scare moments. There are only a couple of notes I made that really took me out of the moment.

Open ceilings. I know they aren’t always avoidable, but looking up and seeing the top of the walls and ceiling really detracts from the atmosphere. Beyond that point, Brutal Planet was able to nail some rooms and scenes I have never seen before. A hallway covered in what looked like peeled human flesh isn’t something that one comes across everyday, but it was really cool. It was a shame that I could barely see it because there wasn’t enough light. While the skin hall was one of many really cool rooms, I couldn’t grasp any kind of theme. The opening is an outdoor cottage facade, but after going in, the house aspect gets lost completely. It’s not too terrible though, because the rooms all looked great and there were some really amazing scares.

I have to say that I adored the man who brings you into the haunt. He was creepy and freaky just to look at and he delivers his lines in such a disturbing way. Most of Brutal Planet was full of the sudden surprise scares, and it actually worked rather well. More often than not, I couldn’t tell which way they were going to come from and that was a welcome uncertainty. I must make a mention that all of the actors had on walkie-talkies and ear pieces. I really do understand the need to communicate with the actors, but it is noticable and detracts from everything.

A lot of the issues I have with Brutal Planet are small things which is good. It was still a great haunted house and a good time. No night at Elitches during October would be complete without a trip through Brutal Planet.

Pros: good scares, great rooms, unique ideas

Cons: A bit too dark at times, walkie talkies, no theme or cohesion

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Marlena Baker

Brutal Planet is the longest Elitches haunt. It’s got good length, not too short or too long. The theme for this haunt was established, and they mostly kept to it. It did weaken as the haunt went on, but they didn’t deviate too far.

The settings started out very developed, and lost details as we went. We started out in a fully formed kitchen, but by the end it was just black walls with props. I liked that kitchen. I wanted to see the house theme taken through the rest of the haunt. I liked the rooms that hinted at insanity without throwing it in your face. There weren’t many of those. The props were okay, but they were sparse. Each room only had one thing going on, which made them rather flat. One good effect at the end didn’t save the haunt for me.

Acting was also flat. There was very little going on with the various characters. Even the guy at the front didn’t do it for me when he told us the back story. The actors inside the haunt weren’t much better. The characters they were playing weren’t much either. They just had one action, growl or boo. None of those were all that good.

Brutal Planet was a disappointment. The beginning set me up for something much better than the rest of the haunt. The few details I liked were overshadowed by the flat acting and drop off in settings.

Pros: great settings, props, length

Cons: theme wanders, acting