Trick or Terror 2011

Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall
Kris109989
Ryan89587.5
Steve10101089.5
Kathie8101078.75
Alex G1010101010
Justeen1010101010
Alex K67666.25
Marlena57576
Overall8.37598.12588.38

Kris Kropelnicki

Have you ever had a terrifying experience as a child when you were trick or treating for Halloween? Have you gone to a house that was really creepy and when the occupants open the door, you can barely whisper the words to get some candy because something about them just isn’t right?

Get ready to have all of your nightmares come true when you step up to the door at Trick or Terror at the Southwest Plaza Mall. The location, (Northeast side of JC Penney under the parking garage) is pretty creepy at night all by itself. Parking garages at night have always creeped me out for some reason and this one is no different. While my group and I were standing outside the haunt for a minute, a clown popped his head out of the door and asked us what we were doing, we answered and off he went back inside. Once we got inside, this clown, Harlequin, was very chatty and interactive with us the entire time which was superb! He has a funny voice, black and orange clown suit, orange hair and his face makeup is like a jack-o-lantern. While he is very friendly and nearly endearing, Harlequin has a rotten streak that surfaces here and there in conversation and makes me wonder more than once about his innocence. I believe he is far more sinister than he appears.

There are some fantastic scares along the way and one actor, in a giant killer rabbit costume, scared one of my critics so bad that he basically ran out of the haunt and he doesn’t scare easily at all! Very nice job! Some scares are the subtle creepy kind and some are in your face terror. There is quite a scare range here which is nice. Another actor that was great was Mrs. Walton. When she opened the door to greet me I saw nothing but pure madness in her eyes and honestly wanted to just pull the door shut and leave her in her house. She is very, ‘June Cleaver’, as she tells me to ignore the child in the strait jacket on the couch who is watching something twisted on a television that isn’t plugged in. Again, Mrs. Walton isn’t anything like mine or my friends’ mothers and her hospitality is quite unnerving. She explains to me that there is no, ‘Mr. Walton’, he had passed away. I asked her if she killed him and her response was to point out a large pot full of brains and various other human parts and smile sweetly at me. Fight or flight instinct kicked in and I truly wanted to knock her out and run out the front door, she was THAT creepy and I LOVED it!! It is very rare that I get scared and when I do it’s usually a startle scare. It is rarer still when I get creeped out so bad that I feel defensive and get the urge to run. My hat and my head are off to you Mrs. Walton!!! Positively exquisite!!

Working my way through the rest of the haunt I encountered numerous sights that jangled my nerves and kept me on edge the entire time. There is a room filled with desecrated plastic jack-o-lanterns that was a delight to me because some of the savagery that had been inflicted on them was reminiscent of things I myself had done as a kid. One girl in a Goth type room informed me that she had been bad and once I got around the corner I encountered another woman who popped up at me in a very unique way that was incredible! Narrow, spooky streets with ghastly inhabitants offered tricks, treats and distortions around every corner. Harlequin was more than happy to lure me right into the arms of the pumpkin Carver and leave me to fend for myself. (I KNEW I couldn’t trust him!!)

This is a fantastic haunt that offers unique sets and scares and really must be seen to be believed!!

Pros: Actors, sets, effects

Cons: Needs a couple minor details

Ryan Acker

Trick or Terror is a new for the 2011 season. For being a first year haunt, obviously it has flaws. But also, it has some amazing potential. I thoroughly enjoyed the theme of this haunt as it is very unique and I believe it can expand much further in future years. When I entered the building that this haunt is located in, I was in disbelief on how huge this space is. Sadly, the haunt only took a corner of this space but yet it was still a good length. That shows you how much they have to work with in the coming months and years.

As you lay eyes on the haunt façade, the first thing you notice is the classic crank ghost peering through a window. I love crank ghosts as they are never used in haunted houses but they look so cool! When you enter the haunt, it gets even better. The first thing you notice is a large fireplace and a small TV. After watching the TV for a few seconds, I seriously got creeped out about what I laid eyes on. This has never happened before and I got entirely pumped up for the rest of the haunt!

When you continue, you are walking through this deprived house complete with a kitchen and a bedroom. When you walk through the bedroom, into the closet, you are being transported to the “Halloween underworld”. A great laser effect filled this dark and narrow hallway which enchanted you to follow it to the source until you came face to face with the laser itself! Once finished with this, the most unique idea that I loved awaited us. Melted Jack-O-Lanterns hung from above at eye level. Other than this, I honestly can’t find anything else to boast about. Most of the sets were very spread out and didn’t have much going for them. However, the actors help make up for this.

From all the publicity on Facebook, this haunt is very proud of their acting team and I know why. Team TERROR! All of the acting in here was great. They got up in your face, had impressive dialogue, and just provided a good time. The makeup wasn’t that great, but again the actors themselves make up for this. In my book, the best actor I have seen this entire season resided in the outdoor waiting area and not even in the haunt. Named Halloquin, this actor provided comic relief and I loved him! So if you want to claim that you saw the beginnings of an amazing haunt, you need to make a stop here!

Pros: Acting, unique ideas, the television

Cons: Very spread out sets, not much detail happening in the “Halloween underworld”

Steven Acker

The first thing about this haunt is that it was a little difficult to find, but it’s worth taking a little spin around the Southwest Plaza Mall to find it! For the second time this season I gave a haunt a lower score on length, not necessarily because the haunt was all that short but because it was so great that that you wanted more of it. In their defense this is also a newer haunt and I can see having a shorter GREAT haunt, as opposed to a longer so so haunt. Then when you get a little more cash to work with and keep adding to the fantastic job they’ve already done they will be a top 5 Denver haunt. Actually they may be a top 5 Denver haunt already! What a Job!

The lobby clown was absolutely great and kept us Very entertained before and after the haunt, he just had so much energy and talent. Never once did he break character and how he does that high voice all night long, I’ll never know. But inside the haunt, great job of misdirection/shock & awe! The spider webs were great, the right amount of fog, including a great fog & laser tunnel, and the smells and detail of all the sets was really great! The bloody trick or treat pumpkins with the melted faces were great ghoulish effects and you could tell the actors just loved their jobs trying to make you jump and run!

Speaking of jump and run, the giant deranged death bunny got one of our team members so good he went running out of the set, to who knows where! Who thinks of these things?!? I loved the living room scene with mother ghoul and daughter ghoul and there was the TV that was unplugged but was still working, showing a movie…mother and daughter also increased the spook factor by following us down to the next set.

I was very disappointed when we walked out of a set to find out we were in the mall again…Way Too Short!!! Definitely the number one haunt in the southwest area and well worth going to from the opposite end of town, too! Very nice job, guys!!

Pros: Details, Actors, Skeletons with jack o lantern heads

Cons: too short, better signage outside

Kathie Holt

Trick or Terror is located at the Southwest Plaza Mall near the covered parking garage near JC Penny. There are no signs until you reach the haunt but it is easy to spot once you get to the covered parking garage. There is a clown here named Harlequin and he is a riot. He will carry on a conversation with you and never once break character. He gets a great big huge 10 because this guy has definitely got some issues and he has secrets and he will talk you into doing some crazy stuff. Harlequin will be inside and out of this haunt keeping you laughing, jumping and guessing what’s next.

Once you reach the doors you will be announced to the occupants of the house as “fresh meat” and you can hear those words reverberate through the entire house as they are all giddy with anticipation of your arrival. When the little girl lets you in to the living room you are confronted by a seriously deranged June Clever looking woman who behaves as though she was nearly caught doing something bad. Pay close attention to the television is really playing but not plugged in which was the coolest thing not to mention the slightly bizarre video playing.

The kitchen was so nasty, complete with cobwebs and rats in the fridge and all of the little knick knack pictures and clay molds like you might see at your grandma’s house. There is a really cool vortex light here that had me completely mesmerized and I nearly ran into it instead of turning to enter another hallway which is full of some seriously disfigured pumpkin head trick or treat baskets that you will need to work your way through. Once you reach the streets you will encounter so rather nasty individuals who want to give you candy and a whole mess of harassment but they are very good. When you swing behind the houses to the ally way there is a big dumpster that contains more than trash but I wouldn’t bother running because there is a bunny rabbit in here that has been drinking the radiated water too long and has become gigantic and will have you caught in no time unless you are Alex Gallegos who saw that thing and ran through the entire rest of the haunt missing some really amazing things along the way.

The graveyard is very creepy with some low lingering fog that seemed so authentic to a real graveyard scene but again with this being set in a mall there was a bit too much lighting for this to be too scary. I did enjoy the props in it though and was grateful I could see them. The young girl you will encounter and the end will warn you that mom is a bit fussy today and if you go in there you will be sorry and she was right. I had no idea anyone could jump that high without some sort of zip line or something but this will definitely make you jump back a bit.

Once you reach the end there will be one or two more gasping moments but I will not spoil the surprise for you on this one.

Pros: The actors in here are doing a fantastic job and I love the props that are in here. The giant rabbit costume is freaky as all get out but if you dare to stop and take a good look you will awed.

Cons: I think that this one is a bit short but once they decide to expand they are most definitely on the right track with this one and they can perhaps find a way to control or cover some of the overhead lighting that is creeping in but overall this was a great experience and would be worth a second trip.

Alex Gallegos

Trick or Terror is the haunt that finally did it for me. Out of everything we saw this entire season, Trick or Terror managed to scare me so tremendously that I missed three rooms of the haunt. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me, head down, because I was that scared. That’s really unusual for me, so I was pleased to finally have a haunt get the better of me.

Trick or Terror has us once again going through an old house inhabited by crazy people who want us dead. I have to wonder why we keep going into those kinds of places to begin with; I’m starting to think that someone is crazy and it’s definitely us. The whole waiting area is well decorated too, turning this from a simple haunt to a Halloween Megacenter, complete with card and palm readings and real paranormal investigators handing out information. There’s a creepy harlequin outside crawling around on top of the furniture and taunting the guests, and it was a lot of fun to interact with the actor before we went inside.

All of the actors did a really good job at scaring us, both by staring at us without speaking at times, and by jumping out screaming. These folks were really committed and I was happy to see that level of dedication. The sets were also really well done, and some of the best chilling moments were when we would encounter a variation on a familiar theme from other haunts that was just unusual enough to get our attention. A lot of haunts do hanging body bags or syringes to impede your speed and ability to see around the corners, but this haunt did the same thing with Halloween jack-o-lantern buckets like kids carry door to do for trick or treating, but with the faces all melted and deformed. It was the same effect at its core, but different enough to make you really take notice.

As I said, this haunt made me take off running, so I have to give real credit to that scene. We walked into a forest, at least that’s what it seemed to be with all the evergreen trees in there. Over against a wall was a big white thing which I was told later was a demented bunny rabbit, but which looked to me like a crazed Falcor the Wish Dragon from the Neverending Story movies, except with slathering jaws covered in blood. It made no effort at all to blend in, and it was obvious to me that it was going to start moving. But what wasn’t obvious was that as it swarmed me, another actor or two would come out of the trees and do the same thing. That was it, it was too much for me, and much to the amusement of the rest of the team I took off running. What was in the next two rooms? Don’t ask me. I ran through them with my head down until a crazy pumpkin man stopped me with a sword. I never saw the rest of them again until we were back outside.

Pros: This was the haunt of the year that made me book it like the place was on fire. Highest scores for scares have to be awarded; if I could give them an 11 I would.

Cons: The new pair of pants I had to buy after the haunt was over.

Justeen Walters

Alex Kratz

Trick or Terror was a decent haunt that had some great points and some weak points that added up to a fairly good haunted house. I just wanted to harp on the theme really quick. There wasn’t one. The whole house scene starts off but before you know it, your in a back ally and then the woods really quick. It would nice to see some better transitions as those things could all exist in a haunt nicely.

The opening set was really the best of the whole haunt. It actually felt like walking into a decrepit old house. It was all the little details like the TV being on, the spice rack in the kitchen and everything that made it. Unfortunately the haunts level of detail seemed to get worse as it went on. Getting into the back ally scene wasn’t very immersive because of the fake looking walls. The use of the dumpster in that set however, was brilliant. It felt so natural walking by it you don’t expect a guy to suddenly pop his head out and yell at you. As much as I hate to say this, the sets are really forgettable. There needs to be more props and just really streamline the scenes otherwise, there isn’t much to really look at. That topped with Trick or Terror seemed to employ just about every haunted house cliché in the book. There are a lot of good ideas out there and it would be nice for something different and unique.

On a positive note, the actors were doing a really good job through the entire haunt. The housewife at the beginning was absolutely brilliant. She wasn’t overly monstrous but still looked a bit bloody and creepy. She looks almost normal which makes it better because that makes you less suspicious about the haunt. There were only a few moments of the get out’s which was nice. The actors all engaged pretty well with the audience. The costumes were right on the money for every scene as well. The big scare with the 8 foot tall rabbit of death was really one of the major highlights for me! I couldn’t tell if it was a prop or not, but then it started moving and I thought it was amazing.

Trick or Terror isn’t a bad haunt by any means, but there are things they could improve on. I would say if you are in the area, since Littleton doesn’t have too many haunted houses, go to Trick or Terror.

Pros: great actors, good detail in first rooms

Cons: weird transitions, some dull sets, too many cliches

Marlena Baker

Trick or Terror is themed towards trick or treating, and that kind of works, but it kind of doesn’t. It’s a pretty weak theme that lets them include houses, creepy streets, and woods, but they throw in a few things that don’t seem to fit at all.

The settings themselves fluctuate, from a great start to a weak end. The setting at the start was great, and it had a nice creepy tone to it, from the weird video on the tv to the gross kitchen. The ‘outside’ portions were good, with some cool effects and the actors made really good use of the space. Later on, the theme loses momentum and while there were some good props and uses of the settings, it lost focus and I found myself thrust out of that great experience from before.

The actors were hit or miss. The costumes were too. Some characters were really clear, while others didn’t seem to know what they were all about. I found those much harder to care about, and much less scary. They didn’t evoke fear because they weren’t all that intense. Some of it was the acting, even when the outfit made it really clear. One of the best actors was actually outside the haunt, entertaining the line. If I could have seen more acting like that, it would have been so much better.

Overall, Trick or Terror is a different take on our favorite Halloween activity, trick or treating. As kids it was something we couldn’t wait to go do, and I’m sure most of us look back with fond memories. Taking that and twisting it was a great idea, and that’s what this haunt goes for, but it looses focus. With some restructuring and polish, this could be a great haunt. As it is, there’s some good stuff to see, but some let downs.