City of the Dead 2012


Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall

Ryan Acker

Have you ever wondered what happens when Decimation Haunted House joins forces with City of the Dead? It’s utter chaos. So many senses are involved and it’s just overloaded with props, in a classy haunted house way. As we entered the tent within the Mile High Marketplace, I immediately went deaf. I couldn’t even hear security telling me what to do in line, let alone the guy taking my tickets and giving me rules. (Who happened to be from 13th Street Manor!)

Sudden loud noises are my point of falling apart. I can’t handle them without having some sort of major reflex and it pisses me off how I can be pinned against the wall by a demon and feel nothing but jump because of a random whistle in my ear. City of the Dead is filled with many of these sudden loud noises. I jumped countless times and I’m not proud of myself. Actors go to town banging on walls and cars in their city streets. Occasionally, I found an actor who wasn’t cussing me out or screaming. My favorite is Dolly

City of the Dead is filled with amazing props and attention to minor details. Not many props have changed, but they still amaze me whenever I walk through. One thing I found interesting was seeing a little container with bubbling fluid in a room filled with so many other things. These guys know what to do to get a good score! However, as always, there is an overabundance of black curtains. I know Fire Marshalls force rules and regulations, but I still believe there is a creative way to hide those.

Everything from the Set and Prop perspective scored a 10, but acting seemed to lack. Actors make the scenes come alive, and I didn’t feel as transported into their city as I had hoped. Instead, it was a bit of annoyance. Master Baitman’s scene was specifically an area that I just wanted to get out of. They changed the design and it hadn’t looked like a swamp as it has in previous years, and now they added two chainsaws which ended my hearing for the next 5 minutes. Also, I found it kind of funny that the finale chainsaw contained no blade.

With everything said, it is still a tremendous haunt to be reckoned with. It hasn’t lived up to the expectations it’s set in previous years, but I still loved it. We’re here to provide the public with reviews so they feel confident where to spend their money, but also to critique and help haunts improve in years to come. With a little tweaking and adjusting, City of the Dead will be back on top kicking ass and taking names!

Pros: Props/Sets, Attention to detail, length.
Cons: Constant noise, some amateur acting.

Bill Bevis

Unbelievable. Detail. Detail. Detail. Full sensory experience. Sights, sounds, smells, mind-bends. This is a Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Hell. Who thought this up? The air raid siren never stops. And it’s loud. It’s perpetual night. How could there EVER be a HINT of sunshine and daylight in this world? The characters are very scary. Very Scary. The guy with all the syringes sticking out of his head? What’s HIS story? I don’t wanna know. The various-and-sundry varieties of staggering zombies? The wrecked cars, and trashed buildings? The devastation of the wasted city? You FEEL the big bass subwoofer. Is there a jet engine somewhere nearby? The sets stink of filth and rot. How could they not? WHAT HAPPENED HERE? Don’t take your kids to this one. There are adult characters talking about adult things. This is nightmare fodder. The stilt-guy with the big hammer strolling around outside the haunt? I’m staying OUT of his way. There are carnival games and a midway feel as distraction before and after the haunt. Zombie Carnies? Well, THERE’S a few who WON’T make my Thanksgiving Invitation List this year. I liked the monitors set up along the entry approach letting you see odd-angled snippets of activity within. Good tease. I can’t imagine what the “team-meeting” looks like prior to opening every night, or how these actors get out of character long enough to get some sleep–or go to the grocery store, for cripes sake. This is all consuming. The effects and animatronics were almost unnecessary, given the level of quality of set detail and acting, but they’re fun to see anyway. This carnage seemed real, almost like this could be possible. It’s that scary and well done—to make one imagine that this could be REALITY. Wow.

Pros: Sets. Actors. Detail.
Cons: None. None. Chainsaw guy!

Victoria Maez

City of the Dead is like having all of your senses on crack! Visually, there is a lot going on here. Tons of stuff to look at, it makes me wonder how long a set like this takes to set up. Each room was packed to the max, nothing lacked in the visual department. Hearing: everything was so loud, even the actors. Who knew the dead liked to make noise! The acting was extremely intense! No one broke character, and each played their role to the T. Sometimes the noise was so loud, you could feel it vibrate your bones! On top of everything else, they even incorporated some wonderful smells one might encounter in a city ridden with the dead. Overall, could have been just a tad longer with some scares that aren’t always in your face. A little variety could go a long way.

Pros: Creative, fun, intense.
Cons: May be slightly overly intense

Jason Peterson

While pulling into the Mile High Market Place, a few large banners and a reaper direct you to a tent much like DIA in appearance and shape. They have a spot light beaming and the sound of sirens and chaos bleeds all the way to the car. We approach the ticket booth that’s painted with amazing zombies and topped with matching 12 foot reapers! We meet with one of the owners and while talking to her, I can feel the rumble coming from this massive event tent. First thing we see stepping into this tent is a row of games they call the Carnival of Chaos. This Carnival had a life sized zombie operation game with a convulsing zombie as your game board. You could also shoot hoops with a severed head, or try your hand at the turd toss. This was hilarious! They also had a zombie paintball arcade; this was not ready yet but looked really cool.

Now we begin our way over this louder than life attraction. As we wait our door man takes his time playing with us. I focus my attention on the LCDs being displayed across the front of the haunt and each screen are flashing scenes from within the haunt in real time. Really fun to watch people getting scared.

We start our way through, what looks to be a security area and must duck down into a hole in the wall that appears to have been blown up with dynamite. Waiting for us on the other side of this tunnel is a crazed zombie bouncing from wall to wall, in and out of my comfort zone until we flee the area. Next we find ourselves passing through a few sets filled with torturous bloody detail and amazing props. The actor here was very shocking as well. then stepping out of this torture area, you step out into what appears to be a city in ruin, complete with building facades, downed telephone lines, abandoned or totaled vehicles. All types of debris you find in this city of ruin. No details were spared in this city setting. Zombies roaming, running, and convulsing in the city streets all around you. It was a whole scene within itself, just moving from building to building.

Dolly Donut’s was one of my favorite sets and characters. She was definitely on my top actors list. She was disturbingly yummy. The chainsaw area in this haunt is over the top crazy! The best saw work I’ve seen in Colorado. Duel saws with an insane amount of yelling, screaming, and running after you, popping in and out of hallways and corridors. While they terrorize, I’m surrounded with gore and smells that add to this on slot, making it all the more terrorizing. After leaving this area, you feel dirty, violated, and hard of hearing. Thank you city, may I have another?

Custom made props, animations, costuming, and over the top makeup make this attraction outstanding throughout! It’s a pretty long journey so pack a lunch, and make sure to check out the Carnival of Chaos. I’m definitely returning for the turd toss and another fun filled trek through this zombie infested wasteland.

Pros: sets, makeup, carnival
Cons: ending lacked punch, could use more zombies in graveyard

Alex Gallegos

City of the Dead is a great haunt and this is my second year reviewing it. It’s very well done and it manages a level of authenticity that few others can even aspire to. The judgment of the living by the damned has been removed this year in favor of a new theme: nuclear fallout. All throughout the haunt air raid sirens blare, the steady thrum of deep engines reverberates, and train whistles… well, whistle. I could easily believe I’m in a city under siege, trying to escape before the military decides the best way to deal with the problem is to nuke everything in sight.

The prop work is incredible and the scene dressing is a real treat to behold. The difference between a haunt like this one and one where the owners are just trying to get a scare out of you is the level of authenticity. Some haunts are purported to take place in a hotel or a mansion, but the rooms are laid out in a way that they never would be in an actual place. The creators of City of the Dead seem to have taken an approach more closely fitting the zombie genre; you can tell that this was a city before something tragic and awful happened to it, and now it’s just become the backdrop for a horrible series of events. Buildings open out onto streets, they have windows and back alleys and everything else you’d expect to find in an actual city.

The actors did a good job too, being relentless and in your face, and at one point we came around a corner to find one person who was just properly dressed in street clothes being dragged away on their back by a zombie, probably to become their lunch later on. More haunts should include survivors along with the endless series of monsters; having actors on both sides of the conflict lends realism and a sense of urgency to the experience.

So if you’re the sort of person who’s really mentally alert then you might be asking, “if the acting was so good, then why is this the lowest that this reviewer has given to anyone for acting all year?” There were some glaring issues that I just can’t get past no matter how hard I try, and I felt I had to detract from the score somewhere for them. The haunt is, as I said, amazingly themed, with the best zombie experience you’ll find short of playing Left 4 Dead or renting a 28 Days Later, hands down. But there are a few glaring inconsistencies.

Last year I said in my review that I didn’t think it was realistic for the hordes of the undead to be capable of using power tools and coming after us with a chainsaw at the end, and I was sorry to discover that the creators at City of the Dead took that suggestion, sealed it in an envelope, set it on fire, locked it in a safe, and then buried the whole thing at the bottom of the ocean, because there are not one, not two, but THREE chainsaw actors. The haunt that is least suited to chainsaws in the entire world has more of them than any other haunt we’ve seen all year. Think about that for a moment. At one point we entered a cramped little room that led us through a twisty corridor made of chain link fence, and found ourselves besieged on two sides by chainsaw wielders. I rolled my eyes, saddened to see that they’d fallen in the trap of having chainsaws just because they think they need them, when really they don’t. Then I got to the end of the room, when an actor slammed a gate shut and pointed back into the start of the fence maze. “We just came from there!” we said, but he insisted we go through again. So we did the loop a second time, again besieged by the same two chainsaws. As they ran the offending tools across the ground in front of us and waved the de-chained blades in front of our faces, blowing hot diesel exhaust into our faces and I stood there, listening to my hearing actually evaporating, I realized what was happening… I was bored. I want you to take a moment to consider just how profound a statement that really is. I was standing, unscared and unflinching, while two zombies did the dance of death with chainsaws before me in a decaying, disaster-ridden city, completely bored out of my skull and just wishing these two guys would get on with it so I could go home.

I recognize that as a haunt reviewer some of the novelty starts to wear off and by the end of the season we’re basically scare-proof anymore, but I can’t help but feel I wouldn’t be the only one who would get tired of the whole thing pretty quickly. I also understand that sometimes actors want to split a group in two or just do something unsettling, and holding a couple people back is a good way to do it, but actors need to be able to read people, too, and to understand who they gain a benefit from stopping and who’s liable to be bored. Like me. Ultimately I would have been much happier if these two actors, after the first time I failed to flinch, had realized “You know what? It’s not gonna happen with this guy” and moved on.

Still, despite my objections it’s a great haunt and you should definitely check it out.

Pros: Feels like you’d expect an actual disaster during an air raid to feel, zombies are genuinely terrifying, use of actors playing victims as well as monsters.
Cons: Too Many Chainsaws. Too loud to hear what’s going on. Sensory overload.

Marlena Baker

Oh, City of the Dead makes me so happy! It lives up to its name and stays on theme so very well. This is your one-stop haunt for all things zombie. They really manage to bring their post-apocalyptic world alive, so to speak.

Even before you get into the haunt, it’s pure chaos. The sounds are deafening. As you’re walking through the haunt, that’s actually a problem. Sometimes it was hard to hear the actors. I don’t really want to suggest they drop the level of the ambient noises, though. They create such a great atmosphere of panic and fear. Then you enter the haunt, and are quickly ushered into a shelter, only to feel the ground shake under your feet. It’s not the only time the ground will shake, as if those air raid sirens are telling the truth. It’s very immersive. The next sense is smell. Walking towards outhouses, bathrooms, and a garbage dump, you’ll smell it before you see it. They don’t pull any punches and I was gagging in every scene they used the smells.

Then, of course, there’s vision. No actors just smeared with a bit of fake blood in this haunt. It’s all-out gore with props as detailed as you could ever imagine. The wide range of gruesome deaths they’ve come up with is astounding. The props are so realistic, you want to touch them to see if they’re really props, but then you don’t because you’re afraid they aren’t. They’ve set up such a wide range of scenes without reusing props, too. Each scene fits in a city setting, and maintains the atmosphere of the failed city, without feeling repetitive.

The acting was good. It was great. It was just shy of perfect. The costumes were amazing. They fit with the sets, which goes a long way. The acting was full of energy and the characters felt like they fit. They were believable as residents of this broken down city. Some were hungry, hungry zombies. They didn’t tell us to ‘get out’, they wanted to eat us. Some were the “survivors”, either broken down or gone mad, or both. They attacked us, propositioned us, and looked for some company that wouldn’t try to make a snack of them. It was a great host of characters. There were just some in the streets, transition spaces, that didn’t have the same oomph. I did like the girl being dragged away from us, though. She sounded downright terrified.

It’s a great haunt. It’s an intense experience. They really do engage you on every level but taste (and wouldn’t it be disgusting if they could?). Walking through City of the Dead is like being in your very own big budget zombie movie. I recommend it whole heartedly. Still, I think it’s only fair warning, if you can’t take loud noises, nasty smells, and lots of gore it’s certainly too much for you. If you want the nastiest, scariest haunt out there, this is it.

Pros: Fantastic props, sounds and smells added to immersion, good actors
Cons: Hard to hear actors

Corey Dunham

City of The Dead, located at the flea market is one of the best haunts I have seen this year. This haunt is totally insane from the moment you walk in. From turd tossing to chainsaws, it’s all here!

When waiting to enter you are instructed by the door man of the City’s rules, he starts the siren and you enter. Once inside, you are greeted by a consuming bass that rattles through your body from underneath the floor. To me this was awesome! I haven’t experienced that in a haunt before; it was extremely intense and overwhelming. After your brain is done rattling you come to find you have entered an infected city, overrun with the walking dead. I love the bio-hazard signs and the infected theme; it gives this haunt a Resident Evil type feeling.

The acting in City of the Dead was totally insane, outrageous, and full of energy! When walking through I couldn’t take more than ten steps, (or less!!!), without another intense actor in my face going for the scare! One of my favorite actors here is the grandma-doughnut lady, when you see her you will know what I am talking about. Anyways, she is totally awesome, she is hilarious, demented, and creepy all wrapped up in one disgustingly amazing package! She had me laughing non-stop from the moment I saw her til’ I went to sleep later that night. I give the actors huge kudos and know they can only get better as the season goes on.

The city of the dead is filled with anything you can imagine. They have everything, blown out bodies with the intestines showing, bodies cut in half, and so much more. The set design and realism throughout was spot on. When you’re walking through the city streets you really feel as if you have entered an infected city. It seems as if a nuke went off and the undead were left to play amongst themselves. The fog and sets were illuminated perfectly and set the scene for scare after scare. The makeup was great and the masks were very life like. I don’t believe I got one “boo” or “grr”, which was awesome because they don’t scare well. I was greeted with intense screaming and great characters that were believable with their different noises.

Altogether, this attraction was one of my favorites and I totally recommend it. This is a must see this year! This insane bunch totally has their act together.

Pros: Great smells, intense acting, awesome set
Cons: Needs to be longer, scares could be pursued more

Peyton Lucero

Upon entering this abandoned city filled with flesh eating zombies, death, and destruction, outside I wait for my ticket where I am blown away by the variety of sounds I hear coming from the event tent. Even the ticket booth was entertaining, as I gaze at the zombie murals painted across the booths. Entering, I’m immediately drawn to the Carnival of Chaos, where the dead have adapted and are now the operators of these sick games. They’re known as the operation table, dead-head basketball, the turd tosser, and soon to be open, zombie paintballing! Already having a blast and the haunt hasn’t even started yet! Waiting in line for our invite, we are entertained by one of the dead who tells us the rules and regulations. He also starts a funny conversation, getting us pumped to go in. he told me to push the siren, which was then our que to begin our descent.

Beginning my journey, I enter a security room that leads me into this bomb shelter like area that is closed off. In there, the entire room is rumbling and I’m attacked by this psyche zombie who’s jumping all over the place. He opens the secret door which turns into a small, dark tunnel of corpses and bones that spit you out into the grotesque zombie nature of blood, guts, meat eating, and more! As I travel through this chaotic city, I’m immerged in life like city Buildings such as Dolly’s Donuts, Triage, which is nothing but blood, guts, and gore galore, Blood Bank, Brain Dead Elementary school, and everything else you could think of that would be in an abandoned, destroyed city! One of my favorite rooms was Dolly’s Donuts. Entering the diner booths were set up with donuts everywhere, props of dead corpses, and zombies that were hungry for flesh. Then as I go into the kitchen I’m hit by a sweet sensation of all kinds of mouthwatering smells and not to mention Ms. Dolly herself. She was fantastic with her naughty sly moves and dirty talking mouth. She was making me laugh so hard and just when I can’t take anymore, she lets out this insane evil laugh that gives me the goose bumps and makes the scene come alive even more. Another set I absolutely loved was the Triage room. It is definitely Denver’s bloodiest and most disturbing room! Walking in, laying on a gurney in front of me is this zombie woman prop whose torso is mutilated from the stomach, down and attached are three babies, covered in blood and guts, flinging around the room. This is one of my favorite props in this haunt. So bloody and gory and the positioning on this prop was hilarious! One of the many sets I really enjoyed was the graveyard. This scene just blows me away every year! It was beautifully lit and the webbing in there was pretty fantastic, along with the corpses and tombstones. The actor in there was pretty funny. He held me up for a while, trying to split up the group. All these scenes and more are just amazing and are well thought out.

Here at City of the Dead, nightmares, monsters, and mutating zombies surround you with terror in every direction! There is not one area you will enter where you will not be mauled by crazed hungry zombies. This haunt is so intense with sets and acting that a good majority of customers chicken out within the first couple minutes of the haunt. Now that’s some extreme scaring! Every zombie in this haunt was sprinting, crawling, climbing, jumping or yielding a weapon and every one made some kind of sick, creepy zombie sound. These guys know how zombies roll! These definitely were no ordinary zombies and they were really hungry for flesh. Getting attacked by, not one chainsaw but three chainsaws was fantastic and definitely made it the best chainsaw experience I’ve come across. Chainsaw madness it was! The overall outcome of this haunt hit the maximum bar of intensity, gore, entertainment, makeup and acting. Once you enter this madness, you’re immediately drawn to everything and really feel as if you were in an actual city that’s ruled by zombies! City of the Dead is a place that has been infected by zombies and is surrounded with chaos and destruction; it almost seems like a war is going on and there’s nowhere to escape. It has everything from two story building facades to street destruction and nothing but fast paced, in your face zombies. If you’re looking for a haunt that will take you on a thrill ride with carnival games taken over by zombies, loud destruction and chaos, sprinting zombies and blood, then City of the Dead is the one for you!

Pros: fully energized actors, entertainment all around, beautiful sets/ facades
Cons: almost deaf when you leave, wish it didn’t end, might get spit on

7007 E. 88th AveHenderson, CO 80640
  • $16.00
  • $25.00 VIP
  • $20.00 Combo Pack #1 (Haunt & 2 Games) Save $1 w/combo!
  • $25.00 Combo Pack #2 (Haunt & 4 Games!) Save $1 w/combo!
September 28 – November 3:Friday and Saturday 7pm – 12amSunday and Thursday 7pm – 11pmOctober 30, 31
7pm – 11pm
Closed October 4, 29 for private events
Deep down below the bustling metropolitan cities of today lies a wretched city born of the undead. Where Zombies live like people, but their city shops and streets take a much more twisted turn. Ruled by the evil and feared Judge Graves, the City of the Dead breeds horror around every turn. You may visit the City of the Dead, but will you survive long enough to get out? Beware of the hordes of Zombies roaming the City streets looking for their next meal! Your skin will crawl and your blood will boil as you experience the most intense journey of your life! Join us and begin your descent into the City of the Dead!