The Grindhouse Butcher Shop 2011

Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall
Kris78877.5
Ryan67856.5
Kathie610888
Alex G66666
Justeen8910109.25
Alex K34222.75
Marlena43634
Overall5.716.716.865.866.29

Kris Kropelnicki

I would consider this attraction a mini event rather than a full scale haunt production. Something creepy, not very long, but enough to get your blood pumping. It’s a nice compliment to the other events happening at Fright Fest at Elitch Gardens this year. By day, this location houses, ‘Face Your Fears’, a kids haunt with minimal scares and a kid friendly length meaning it isn’t very long. When the sun goes down, a disturbing transformation takes places and a once tame set has become a sinister place where death and gore are hidden.

Entering this attraction I quickly realized I was in the butcher shop. There is a refrigerated display case and it appears as though any cut of anything is suitable. Are you in need of some severed feet? Entrails? I am pretty sure they have what you need here. This room is fairly dark and has good details on the walls so it is working well. The actor here was wearing a white butcher’s jacket and had a very disturbing pipe like halo around his shoulders and head. The type of halo frame you would see on an individual that has had a serious head or neck surgery. It was unique and added dimension to his character which was fairly well developed. He seemed slippery, slimy and very untrustworthy in spite of his pleasant demeanor.

As I came around the corner I see something coming at me on a cable. There is Plexiglas between us so it bumps the glass just in front of me. I saw the intended effect but it just didn’t quite have the punch it needed. Speed the prop up so it slams into the glass and add realistic touches to the prop and this scene would be a great aftershock to compliment the butcher shop.

Toward the end of a hall there was a severely mutilated body hanging upside down. Take a good look at this prop, it is very detailed and disturbed me on some inner level I would rather not go to. This was well done in all facets and really it just needs a couple of realistic touches as well and it would become quite unnerving all by itself.

There is an area that is filled with skeletons and some strobe effects and it is reasonably done. What makes this memorable is the actress lurking within. You’ll know her when you find her, she’ll look at you with cold, dead eyes and you will for a moment, feel death. Excellent job taking a fairly innocuous scene and making something deeply dark about it.

A strobe filled maze rounds out this little diversion into insanity. It is not too long as mazes go and there are some little jumps in here as well.

Pros: Some details very good, Actress in skeleton room, opening scene actor
Cons: lacked a few details, shorter than other haunts.

Ryan Acker

For 2011, Grind House is the newest and goriest of the haunted attractions located in Elitch Gardens. Located literally right next to Ghost Blasters, this haunt can go from a gentle kids haunt to a gory mess in a mere 2 hours. When you begin your walk through, you are greeted by the sounds of the haunt and the sounds of Ghost Blasters. Hearing the ride destroyed all scare factor for me, knowing that there was a park attraction a wall away from me. Also, because of the location, this was a bit too short for my tastes.

As you enter, there is a man wearing some strange headgear that looks like a contraption straight from the “Saw” films. He does his thing, welcoming you to his newly founded Butcher Shop, but does not really provide any scares until you leave. This is the only time the three simple letters “Boo!” work for me in a haunt because I feel he was taunting us for what was to come. The rest of the actors didn’t do much because there weren’t actors to do anything. Props are the only consistent thing you can find in this haunt.

The props found in here were totally unexpected, as this is an amusement park haunt. Gore galore! A nude carcass greeted you in the display window of the butcher shop, a skinned dog pounded against a window, and an upside down woman hung victim to gruesome torture, and surprisingly, these were good! I must add that pneumatics for the dog were slow, and some props smelled like latex. Other than that, I loved it.

This is the only free haunted house at Elitches, so if you go this is a must see if you are into gore. Yes, the scare factor was lacking but I assume that can be easily fixed by the time Halloween rolls around.

Pros: Props
Cons: Length, smell of latex, lack of actors.

Please do not quote in whole or part without author’s permission

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 a kid’s haunt by day and a more mature audience by night. In saying that, this haunt is not very long but there are some pretty gruesome props and the best set is the very first thing you will see.

You will be greeted by a bizarre little man who is in a cage. Not that kind of cage but the kind one would wear if they broke their neck. He is a peculiar little fellow who looks like he is going to shake out of his skin and it’s rather amusing. You will proceed down a little hallway with some weird random things and then WHOA!, there is an upside down beheaded girl who is literally bleeding all over the place, kind of graphic but very cool.

There is gigantic gargoyle looking thing that takes up the whole wall. There is a skinned dog on a zip cord, but it is behind glass which sort of kills the effect of a skinned dog flying at your face at a rapid rate of speed. Well that’s just my opinion but it has the potential of something really cool.

I really enjoyed the skeleton hallway with miscellaneous bones from the human body illuminated by a faint red light in each piece. This was just a creepy quiet little walk with nice lighting. Then, you are on to the hanging body parts and some little bloody faced ghouls who will come growl at you while you make your way through a maze of black walls and strobe lights. Then, you make your way to the hanging corpses that would have been pretty cool had they not smelled like latex. When I see gore, it would be only right to smell the gore.

I think that all of the actors here had a great ability to scare but the setting just didn’t quit work for them. I believe it was referred to as owning a car and not being able to drive it. You can also see Kris Kropelnicki’s review for the kids haunt during the day.

Pros: Great props throughout the haunt as well as great lighting and strobe effects. The actor’s makeup and costumes were really fitting to each room.
Cons: This haunt is not long at all, but as I mentioned it is an appropriate haunt during the day. I would liked to have had a better scare here but it had some really cool stuff and if you are going to do gore, do it all the way. Gore should smell like gore.

Please do not quote in whole or part without author’s permission

Alex Gallegos

The grindhouse butcher shop at Elitch’s is a haunt with some good ideas… well, one good idea… that definitely needs to be further developed. The first room sets the scene really well, with a refrigerated case stocked with body parts and a creepy shop attendant wearing some kind of roll cage on his head. He offers to let us into the back to find something to our liking, and we’re released to the bowels of the shop.

The butcher shop motif continues for exactly two more rooms, one of which has a skinned body of a dog or a calf or something hung on a conveyer belt. Down another corridor we found a decapitated body hung upside down and splayed with chain, and that was it. That’s where the butcher shop ended. From there we were led into a bland corridor with a giant demonic mannequin, and then into a Strobe Lit Maze of Doom.

The Strobe Lit Maze of Doom went on far too long and had far too few scares to keep it interesting. The actors were even starting to get tired of us, starting with"you’re gonna be lost forever!" and a few minutes later ending with "seriously guys, it’s this way." We must have passed the exit twice, before they finally showed us out. During that time I found several darkened corners, ran into speakers from the sound system, and failed to get scared around almost every corner.

There’s not much I can say about this haunt because it’s so mind-bendingly short, but it is free with admission to the park, so you get what you pay for, I guess. But even though the park is done up family friendly, with whimsy-Halloween instead of creepy-Halloween decorations, that doesn’t mean you should take your kids in here. The ladies certainly have a rough time at this haunt; in the first room was a naked female torso with one breast shorn off and covered in gritty meaty nastiness. Additionally, the decapitated female body later on was experiencing what I can only describe as a menstruation catastrophe. Definitely not appropriate for audiences of all ages.

The rest of the park is done up pretty cool, with creepy clown zombies honking horns at you and barrels of toxic sludge all over the place. Also once the sun went down a lovely toxic mist started to spray out from the planter boxes and covered the entire park (including the graveyard) in choking fog from hell. Ah, October, such a lovely season.

Pros: First butcher shop room was well done, great costume on the opening actor
Cons: Much too short, maze section took too long, special effects not well hidden

Justeen Walters

Alex Kratz

A short little jaunt through some bland scenes and dull acting.

Just to give this review a little preface, during the daytime, this Elitches haunt is actually a haunted house for kids. In the evening, they quickly switch it over to Butcher Shop. This is not an easy task to pull off in an hour, even for a place as small as Butcher Shop. Unfortunately, this really affects the quality of the place.

There isn’t much to say at all about Butcher Shop. It really only took a few minutes to get in and out. A huge issue that stands out in my mind is the props. They all looked like plastic and none of it seemed real. It really bothered me when I was walking through a hall with skeletons hanging from the ceiling and it reeked of the latex they were made of. Fake bones should at least be plastic with a matte paint on it. The walls were just black plywood and that is really about it. The strobe light maze at the end was so strangely designed that we had to be shown the exit. The only thing I liked, but still needed some work was a dead, skinned animal of sorts swinging at the audience on a meat hook. However, if it had swung a lot faster, it would have been a lot better.

There were only a couple of actors in the whole haunt and except for the one in the beginning, they were all really dull. The costumes were basically just dark clothes and some strange makeup. It also really takes away from everything when every actor has an ear piece and walkie-talkie on them. The only one who seemed to be putting any effort into it was the guy right at the beginning. He had some fun dialogue to go with.

If I was to say one thing about Butcher Shop it would be to just leave it as a kids haunt, even at night. It really isn’t worth it to have that big of a turn over with such poor results. Either that, or make a dedicated adult haunted house. It could become better with better props, settings and acting, despite being so short.

Pros: actor at the beginning, meat hook thing
Cons: too short, boring props and scenes, dull acting

Please do not quote in whole or part without author’s permission

Marlena Baker

There’s not a ton to say about Butcher Shop, it was sadly short. I think there was a lot that could have happened if it had been longer. There was really only one set, but it was well done. The rest of the haunt was just a walkway with props and a maze with nothing going on at all. The props were a little too fake, but I liked them anyways. They pushed some boundaries that I haven’t seen at other haunts. I certainly didn’t expect that at Elitches, but it was a good surprise. Unfortunately, there was a latex smell that killed the atmosphere. The acting was very boring, there was little enthusiasm, and only one of them had any kind of character. It’s an alright momentary distraction, but it’s over in the blink of an eye and it’s just creepy. There weren’t any actual scares.

Pros- the one set was done well
Cons- length, acting, latex smell