Prison of Terror 2011

Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall
Kris89988.5
Ryan88787.75
Steve99978.5
Kathie8101078.75
Alex G10910109.75
Justeen10101099.75
Alex K78587
Marlena88767.25
Overall8.58.8758.3757.8758.41

Kris Kropelnicki

Have you ever watched one of the multitudes of, ‘Scared Straight’ programs on cable that shows at risk youth being introduced to hardened criminals in an effort to scare them into making better choices? Most of us have seen at least part of one of those shows. Did you ever watch thinking, “There’s no way that would scare me”? Well, put your ego away for this haunt in Longmont because if the opening scene doesn’t get to you, well, I’m thinking you may be in denial. Warden Willy is definitely in charge here and if you dare think for a second that he’s not, he’ll be more than happy to crack the whip on you to remind you! This is one intimidating warden!

This is a fantastic haunt that is all volunteer based and they are also nonprofit and have donated to many wonderful causes. Canned food donations get discounts for the haunt and the food goes to local food banks. The fact that this haunt does all of these community outreach projects only makes it that much better.

Located in the Twin Peaks Mall, I admit I was skeptical about the quality of the haunt. Once I stepped inside, all doubt was quickly removed and I realized that I was seeing a truly creative and professional production. This haunt exceeded my expectations tenfold! Great set design combined with some very good actors, makeup and costuming to create an unusual experience that was scary, entertaining and fun!

I really liked the ‘Hall of Echoes’, the eeriness of this space stayed with me long after I left and the voices I heard in there still whisper in my nightmares. Moving past cells only to be rerouted in a room filled with doors was a nice twist and when I first found myself face to face with inmates I thought I had gone the wrong way. The inmates were not happy that I was in their space and made that very clear.

Dark spaces, black light everywhere and some neon paint made some props really stand out and the lighting made them quite interesting. The fly girl was quite disturbing as were the bizarre experiments that were being carried out in the infirmary.

Lots of details, lots of darkness and a crew of some pretty deranged and intense characters made this visit a journey into to utter madness and fear! This is a haunt that will easily be ranking with much larger productions in years to come and I know it won’t take them long to achieve that goal based on what they already have going for them! If you love to be scared and intimidated and contribute to some great causes in the process, this is the haunt for you!!

Pros: Acting, sets, scenes
Cons: A couple places needed a few more details

Ryan Acker

When you arrive at Prison of Terror, the first thing you words you would never think of are Non Profit and Volunteer. However, that’s exactly what this haunt is. The facade of the haunt is great. My biggest pet peeve in a haunt is seeing painted stones, but out here I didn’t care as much as I usually do. After a worker went in to notify the actors that we were on our way through, I started hearing this loud and obnoxious noise that actually got me nervous for a minute. When I walked in and discovered what it was, I used all my power to get away and was actually frightened that he might direct it in my path. This object was a bull whip and when you go and see for yourself you’ll probably agree why I wanted to get away!

Anyway, the first room was complete with detail that I was not expecting in a mall haunt. The officer with the whip told us the rules of the haunt and allowed us to proceed into a jail scene. I enjoyed this scene for the most part, it was not authentic as there were black lights but other than that it looked great. We walked passed into a room with a lot of doors and a actor peering through a door with a creepy little voice telling us to pick a door which eventually led us back and around the scene we went through. Once we came into this room again, another door had opened which allowed us to proceed into the rest of the attraction. I enjoyed this very much because it adds a good twist on the multiple door scenes.

The rest of the haunt was filled with some great sets and actors which pushed me to the point of disbelief that everyone was a volunteer. Most of the sets in this haunt were very clean and didn’t look authentic as to the prison theme. Some areas didn’t stick with the theme at all, but I liked it! Actors filled each room with and showed great pride that they were working there. Some actors only needed to make a move as slight as a head turn to get to freak out and hurry through the scene and others got all up in your face and set off pure havoc toward the end of the haunt.

So, the final summary of this haunted house is pure greatness. Truthfully, I was expecting this to be a short little haunt with a few actors here and there but I was totally wrong! It seems as if the trend this year is if I expect a haunt to be bad, it turns out great, vice versa. This is the haunt that definitely proved it

Pros: Acting, unique ideas, the doors
Cons: Black lights used mainly throughout, sets looked very clean, little short

Steven Acker

This is a very unique haunt in that it is non-profit with a totally volunteer cast! It’s set up in the Twin Peaks Mall in Longmont and I must admit that my first impression was not very good, especially knowing all of this information ahead of time and seeing the unimpressive store front entrance! But then you walk in and are instantly greeted by the receptionist and whip wielding warden and your perceptions start changing really fast. The sets were first rate all the way through and the actors were great!!

The premise of this haunt is basically pharmaceuticals gone bad and they really pack a lot in a short package…after the welcome party and greetings from the warden you’re instantly treated to a misdirection by way of a roundabout and you are immediately aware that just because someone is doing something for free, doesn’t mean that they’re not any good. The only thing that I wasn’t impressed with was the length; it was so good I wanted it to go on much longer. But even if it wasn’t that good, it was still probably 10 minutes short of making it a good haunt.

Some of the great things in this small package were the hall of echoes, where you got some nice scares with people popping out of the walls and of course a lot of echo voices, and some very dark hallways with moaning coming from the dark shadows…you don’t always see the spooks but you know you’re not alone. One of the best costumes that I really enjoyed was the wolf man and the rat people were very disturbing. Some of the scariest moments in a haunt are not when actors are yelling at you to get out but when they’re looking at you with a very icy stare with maybe a hint that they’re coming in your direction. There were a couple of these in here that I really enjoyed! One of the very nice touches that I enjoyed in here was in the butcher shop…they had the great imagination of not just hanging body bags, like most other haunts do, but a lot of them were wet!!! Talk about making you wonder what was in there and what you were really touching!!!! LOVED IT!!!!! My son told me I laughed and enjoyed the shower scene but for the life of me I can’t remember what was happening in there that caught my funny bone, and I do apologize for this. Getting old really sucks!

They had a very nice and chaotic ending with the death row chaos scene on your way out of the haunt, complete with very loud sirens, whistles and alarms going off. It definitely made you feel guilty and looking over your shoulder, concerned about who, or what, may have been chasing you out of there. Real police or ghoul police!?! I wanted much more but just another 10-15 minutes would make this a top haunt on the Front Range! But great job, people…I Loved It!!!!

Pros: Warden, Hall of Echoes, Butcher shop, all actors
Cons: too short, too clean

Kathie Holt

This haunt is located at the mall in Longmont and it is by far the best I have seen in a mall setting. It is completely contained even the ceilings are closed off making it possible to create an incredibly spooky sets. This haunt is put on by the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department and I am pleased to mention that all of the actors here are volunteers in an effort to raise money for Habitat for Humanity RESTORE program and Community Food Share. Be sure to like them on Facebook! This is a great cause and I know that all of the haunt owners appreciate you coming out and spending your hard earned money to see these fabulous haunts that they work so hard on.

This haunt is Warden Willy’s prison and he is doing some pretty bizarre experiments on his inmates and the effects are mind boggling. When you enter you will meet the Warden and his crazy little secretary who has endured having a few experiments done on her as well and she is nowhere near sane. The warden has a brutal flashlight and a very large bullwhip. Watch yourself and don’t get out of line or he will crack that bad boy and scare some justice in you.

While you are listening to the warden you cannot help but notice this very anxious man standing on the other side of the door and he is brimming with excitement to let you in. Once inside you will walk by a few prison cells occupied by a couple of unhappy prisoners who feel you are violating their privacy as one is urinating and the other is grooming himself with a really big knife. Once you get past them you will enter a little area where there are several doors to choose from and if you pick the wrong one you will wind up in the cells of the angry inmates. They might just pee on you if you linger too long and you might get a manicure with the really big knife. You will be redirected back to the multiple doors and and this time you will encounter a creepy little clown that tells some really bad jokes but I suggest you laugh at them anyway. Once you pick the correct door you will be directed to the hall of echoes and there are a bunch of white faces in a very black room and some of them move.

There is a giant fly girl mutant in the kitchen that is really worth checking out and a giant spider girl mutant as well but I cannot recall which room she was in. You will wind up in quarantine and solitary confinement as then on to the lab were the warden is having all of these bizarre experiments performed. This haunt like many that are inside a mall are a bit short but this one is jammed packed with goodies that will definitely prove to be a great experience.

Pros: Great props in every single set and the actors are really enjoying themselves. I also like the fact that once you are inside you forget that you are in a mall because as I mentioned they have completely enclosed the haunt from the ceiling down. I really enjoyed this haunt.
Cons: I don’t know that I have anything that I really didn’t enjoy here. There are a few prisoners who yell at you to get out and that’s a real bummer. I would think they would love to have a fresh face to talk to and interact with. I wish this was just slightly longer but as they are in a mall setting they are restricted in making that possible.

Alex Gallegos

This was easily one of my favorite haunts of the entire year. The theme is one that hasn’t been done everywhere and I was happy to see it. The actors and the sets really sold the theme for me, from the crazy warden at the beginning to the prisoners in their cells to, later, the genetically modified prisoners running amok.

The warden is at it again this year, using his prisoners as human test subjects, this time for genetic experimentation. I really have to wonder how this guy keeps his job, since according to the backstory this isn’t the first time he’s pulled this either. Oh well. Eventually, at some point the people will get tired of horrifying monstrosities coming out of this prison and demand the city council do something but until that point we’ve got a horrifying prison to tour, so I really can’t complain.

The best haunts don’t rely exclusively on actors to generate scares, but use the sets and location to help accomplish that. Either one working well by itself can do good things; both of them working together will be great. That’s what this haunt accomplishes. For example, the room that creeped me out the most was the butcher shop, with maniacal pig men chopping up meat. The actors could have come running at me with the knives making horrible screeching sounds and chased me from the room, but instead they stood stoic and silent, just watching me, but also impeding my progress. They forced me to take a more round about path through the room, running into as many of the hanging slabs of meat as possible. And when I discovered that they were actually coated in something red, wet, and sticky by running my face into one of them, that was enough to put me over the edge and change a mildly frightening room into one I wanted to exit quickly enough that I shoved a team member out of the way; taking the lead to venture into the unknown was better than hanging around in there.

My only complaint in the acting department was an actor near the start that seemed to paint himself into a corner from which he could not extricate himself – or me. He held me back with a knife to my throat while the other three went along, and I think he was expecting me to get scared and run, but when I didn’t he wasn’t sure where to go. Finally he said, “Well, I don’t want to keep you from your friends for too long,” which is almost exactly the worst thing a deranged psychopath in prison can say while trying to stay in character, with the possible exception of “Oh, what a cute little puppy dog! Would you care to stay for tea and cake?” Plus, I hear that because I stayed back too long, I missed getting peed on by the next guy, and that’s an experience you just can’t get everywhere, so I feel like I missed out.

Pros: Sets and actors working together for maximum creepiness, good use of sound and effects, dark enough to be scary but bright enough that I could actually enjoy the set design instead of just creeping around in the dark.
Cons: Ends somewhat abruptly, one actor detained me too long

Justeen Walters

Alex Kratz

Prison of Terror is a really fun haunted house with a bunch of good scares and creepy scenes. There were small complaints here and there, but I do have one major issue with Prison of Terror.

Neon paint! There was so much black walls with neon paint everywhere. It got pretty overwhelming pretty quick. Other than the first couple of rooms, I lose the prison theme pretty quick. It seemed more like a mental asylum where the patients have taken over. One of the rooms I remember the most was the classic butchered bodies room. It had the feel and lighting that screamed blood and guts but the big surprise was the plastic bags with parts in them hanging from the ceiling. When we brushed by them, they were actually wet! It was a small touch but it really made you feel grossed out like it was real blood. While I appreciate rooms like the one with crazy people who are acting like birds, it doesn’t seem to fit into a prison theme all to well. Despite the prison thing fading quickly, it’s still a really well done set. There are plenty of little details to make for a uneasy feeling, which leaves you open for the scare.

I was really impressed all the way through the haunt by the actors. It was far more than just scares as they acted crazy and weird so you couldn’t guess who was gonna try to get you, even if they were right in front of you. Not being able to predict things can really take the scares in a haunt to a new height. For example, you walk by a cell with an inmate peeing into the toilet. After a couple of corners, you wind up in his cell where he quickly turns and gets it all over you! I know it was just water, but it was unexpected. I will give my props to the warden at the beginning. He was intense! It was a great way to start the whole thing.

Prison of Terror has so many good things going for it. Good looking sets, great acting and plenty of scares. It’s just the heavy use of neon paint and the prison theme disappearing so quickly take away from the experience.

Pros: sets, acting, atmosphere
Cons: NEON PAINT, theme disappears

Marlena Baker

Prison of Terror was a great experience. It uses its theme very well, keeping to the idea of a prison gone mad. The layout was insane, very non linear and well put together. From the very beginning they set the story, simultaneously interacting with me and drawing me in.

The sets were great. Each room had character, and it was obvious what part of the prison we were supposed to be in. The path was so much more interesting too. We were taken through rooms more than once in different ways, really making use of the sets to their full potential. The props were well used, and a little sparse. That didn’t bug me so much as remind me of a real prison, so it was well done.

The acting in this haunt was great. The characters were mostly well suited to the prison theme. The mask and costumes were mind blowing. They twisted the normal people who would be in a prison and made them monsters. That was great for keeping the theme strong.

Prison of Terror is a look at reality that’s been taken over by insanity. The residents have all become twisted monsters, and they’ll give you a scare or two. While I wish the experience had been longer, it was still a very scary trip.