Demonic Retreat 2012

Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall

Ryan Acker

First of all, I must clarify that the reason Demonic Retreat’s score is so low is because there were literally no actors to be seen. I believe I heard 2, but it could’ve just been my imagination or a speaker. If they were actual humans, the sparseness of them and the lack of effort they put into their job would result in no better of a score.

Now, the sets and props were wonderful for a first year haunt. I did feel as if I were in a temple which was a retreat for demons. The biggest scare I received was a falling ceiling which I don’t remember seeing before. Also, crawling under live bugs made me a bit unsettled. However, the beginning of the haunt was quite boring. I literally thought the entire haunt was a long black hallway. When we arrived at the first scene, I was honestly quite surprised.

The props all had step pads which I stepped on and watched what the prop had done. The best idea they had going was a pitch black hallway with a moving floor in which I could not control where I stepped, and I was frightened that I would fall. So it was good for a Haunted House! We discussed with the owner that this year is his starting year and he wants to make his mark in the industry. Next year he has promised to bring it hard. I’m quite anxious to see how this will change and progress next season!

Pros: Sets, Moving Floor, Sounds

Cons: No actors, long hallways, prop step pads

Bill Bevis

This was a loooonnngg walk through a very dark maze with next to nothing happening. It was devoid of actors and there was no developed theme, really, at all. The animatronics were tripped by floor panels that weren’t disguised by much. Saw ‘em coming….sorry. There was one character at the front desk, who said we could just “go on through.” One actor in the middle, somewhere, who just kinda showed up and startle-scared one of our group—which was good, and HOORAY! And a guy wearing shorts and a t-shirt at the end, who had trouble starting up his toy chainsaw. On the PLUS side, their vortex left me completely disoriented, and the overhead bug panel was a nice idea—though when ducking down/crouching to go through such a low space, it’s difficult to crane your head up to look at it for long. I thought the sound was good throughout, and the meander through the maze left me anxious—waiting for SOMETHING that didn’t happen (maybe THAT was the gag?. . . . I dunno) There were some pretty good sets, although they happened kinda far into the haunt and, again, a little sparse on the acting. Just sayin.’

Pros: Vortex. Bug crawl. Sound.

Cons: Maze-meander with NOTHING happening, for too long. There might as well of been a sign with a big arrow, saying “STEP HERE TO ACTIVATE ANIMATRONICS.” Actors? What actors?.

Victoria Maez

If I had to sum up this haunt in one word it would be anticlimactic. This haunt has tons of potential, and with a little more effort, it wouldn’t be half bad.

Most of the set is designed with black particle boards. This isn’t bad, and actually utilizes the scare point of darkness well. However, walking through the maze of black walls gets old when nothing is happening. I literally counted three live actors in the entire haunt. I kept waiting for something to happen, and it never did. There were some animatronics in this haunt that weren’t bad, but needed to be followed up with something…anything, and there was nothing more than black particle board walls.

They did use strobe lights decently well, had a display of live bugs, and an alien room that was noteworthy. But at some point, I need more from a haunt than darkness and few cool things to look at. A little more interaction would go a long way. Utilizing the darkness to build anticipation and actually following it up with something startling rather than treating it like a maze would bring the scare factor up. More actors are a must. Way way way too many dead spaces. Filling up the dead spaces would bring the length score up as well. Quality over quantity is much more important in a haunt.

Pros: Uses darkness well and has a lot of potential

Cons: Too many dead spaces.

Jason Peterson

This haunt is in a store front setting with a large banner out front. Inside is a really cool castle style façade with a demon at the front register handling ticket sales; we get our tickets and are told to head on in. Upon entering this maze style haunt, we begin down one of many black hallways. Then slam! A drop window slams down and the actor gives a good shout. This was one of three actors I encounter through my journey.

We do stumble upon some very cool sets within this maze of twisted turns. Unfortunately no actors were present. Instead our scares came from pressure activated animations and the darkness. I can recall making a suggestion to our group that it would be fun if this haunt started making us go upstairs and had moving floors, crazy stuff like that. Not a moment later, I get exactly what I was wishing for. This happened just in time, it helped bring an element of fun. Shortly after this, we make it to the very last room, the clown and a very unenthusiastic saw man.

I really enjoy the concept of what the Demonic Retreat maze is after and enjoyed looking at very innovative set work. I think with a few dozen actors and some decent dialogue, this review would be completely different.

Pros: maze is fun, vortex tunnel, cool set work

Cons: needs actors

Alex Gallegos

I’ve got to clear a few things up right away before I start this review. This haunt has a significantly lower score than some of the rest and based upon that metric alone you might be inclined to think the haunt itself is an absolute catastrophe and start chasing after it with pitchforks and torches. But lay the hardware store militia to rest, dear readers, it’s not that it’s bad, per se, just… oddly executed.

The signage outside declares that this is a “haunted maze” rather than a haunted house, and I was genuinely excited by the concept. I was picturing an instance where we could conceivably end up running around in circles for hours lost and confused, trying to pick out one piece of black plywood from another piece of black plywood in a never-ending sea of black plywood and trying to navigate by it. While there are a few forks in the road here and there, the path becomes pretty linear two-thirds of the way through and once you stumble upon the exit path proper, your days of getting lost are pretty much at an end.

There are a few sets and rooms in the midst of the maze and the ones that are there are really well done, hence the high score in this area. The rest of the place is done up in monotone, dark paneling but I don’t really consider it a drawback in this case because it fits the experience they’re trying to craft. Mazes are almost always made out of singular, unremarkable materials that you can’t use to track whether you’re retracing your steps or not – concrete, mirrors, hedges, or even stacks of newspaper if you’re one of the Collier brothers. If you’re trying to create something called the Mansion of Terror or the Mechanics’ Shop of Blood or the Chinese Restaurant of Unspeakable Horrors, then your set designs should reflect that and you’d get marked down considerably for trying to get away with this kind of thing, but it isn’t an issue here.

The biggest complaint is the lack of scariness, and the lack of scariness comes from the lack of actors. Other reviewers say they saw more, but in my entire run through the maze I only saw one single solitary actor, a clown who glared at me menacingly from a little alcove. Any other place you would have expected someone to come from… they didn’t, and while the first couple times you think, “Oooh, that’s pretty clever, I guess, the way they’re ramping up the tension by setting up a scare and not following through,” after the fifth or sixth time you start to resign yourself to the idea that nothing is coming. This technique, like waving a fully inflated balloon in one hand and an unlatched safety pin in the other, will only work to keep your audience cringing on the edge of their seats for so long before they realize that the balloon is made out of solid titanium and the safety pin is less substantial than the broken dreams of orphaned children.

Ultimately the problem is that nothing is scary here, just unsettling… in fact my group of reviewers and I resorted to crouching down in the darkness, letting the rest of the review team go by, and then doing our own startle scares, and it’s around the time you start considering that as a viable option that you realize something has gone terribly wrong. I’ve been in parking garages that were scarier than this, and most of that came from the unspoken fear that lurking in the shadows underneath that flickering halogen lamp in the corner lurked a mass murderer waiting to strike at me from hell’s heart itself. On the other hand, realizing that you really are fully alone is only creepy and unsettling if you’re in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Pros: Cool, original concept. Great visual effects and what set design there was, was amazing.

Cons: Not really a haunt, only saw one actor the whole way through, the “maze” became a linear path towards the end.

Marlena Baker

Demonic Retreat is a new haunt this year. It doesn’t have a very clear theme. There were a few cool elements, but overall it wasn’t very interesting.

The start of the haunt is a long dark ‘maze’. There are a few turns where we weren’t sure what to do, but they didn’t go on for long. It was more of a path than a maze. It was dark and very plain. All the walls were painted black, with little to no decoration. We didn’t see any actors the whole time. After what felt like a long time walking through black walls, we came across some sets. Each room had a different theme, with some more black hallways between them. There were a few cool effects. The shifting floors were my favorite. It was pitch black, making it that much more disorienting. There was also a vortex tunnel and some live bugs in a box. The bugs weren’t really effective. We had to duck under them, which made it harder to look up and see them. The sets were a little on the sparse side, but they were well composed. I would have liked something on the ground to hide the trigger point for the effects. It was well lit enough in these rooms to see it easily, taking the startle out of the effect.

The acting is hard to talk about. We only saw 3 actors, all at the end. Two were startle scares and one followed us, but didn’t do much acting. Then we saw him again at the end with a chainsaw. He didn’t really come after us, and there wasn’t any enthusiasm. There’s nothing else for me to talk about for the actors.

Overall, this haunt has a lot of potential. Actors as we went through the maze would have been fantastic. What acting we saw needed to be ramped up some more. Some finishing touches to the set would be nice too. This whole haunt just needs to be pushed further.

Pros: good use of effects, nice sets

Cons: too few actors, lacked energy, needs finishing touches to sets

Corey Dunham

Demonic Retreat is a maze based haunt but not in a cornfield, this haunt takes a different approach and does it inside. As you walk through the maze you come to different sets and go back to the maze. I really liked the idea of the haunt but feel it could use more actors, I believe there were only three or four actors throughout the attraction. Other than that this haunt had great props, good lighting, and some really cool effects.

Once inside you come to the ticket man who has amazing makeup and he directs you to the entrance of the maze. The doorman at this haunt was a very creepy clown who doesn’t speak a word and had a very dark demeanor. He didn’t have the energy level I would have liked but he did a great job. As you walk through it is very dark and hard to navigate which is a lot of fun in a group setting. My teammates and I kept scaring each other in all of the different dark spots. In some rooms there is splattered paint on the walls with strobe lights going, it caused an effect that made the wall appear to be moving. I have never seen that before and thought it was awesome. As you keep going you come to different sets such as, the dining room with dead body parts all over the table. The set looked very professional and was believable. Also watch out for moving floors, there were plenty here and they are a ton of fun to go through.

All in all, Demonic retreat is a good haunt and you should stop by if you enjoy mazes. The only things I think this haunt could use is more actors with a ton of intensity to help you get into the scenes more and keep you on your toes, as well as more sets and a longer maze. Other than that this is a good haunt with great effects and tons of props to jump out and scare you.

Pros: Great idea, good set design and effects

Cons: Not enough actors, needs more length and sets

Peyton Lucero

Entering the building of this haunt seemed to have a very dark aura feel to it. It had really cool wall painting, dark music, and a demon head from hell staring us down above the door. It was set up very nicely and made your wait more exciting! Finally, it was time to enter this dark maze of mysteries.

Throughout most of the haunt it was really dark and you stumble upon unexpected creatures, killers, and moving objects. One thing I really enjoyed was the spinning vortex tunnel! This one was huge and really gave it the illusion that you were spinning along with it! The alien room was pretty cool along with the spider room. It was filled with webs and huge spiders everywhere! I thought the small bug tunnel was cool, having to look up as you ducked to see the live bugs in the tank. It was covered in webbing and really made you feel dirty and like you unknowingly collected some bugs to bring along with you!

This haunted maze was very fun and entertaining and had you feeling like you were going in circles and was never ending. The sets and props were pretty decent, but for it being pretty lengthy, I felt like it could have used a lot more actors. Especially in the dark areas, which seemed to be a lot of, but for it being a demonic maze it worked. To me, nothing is scarier than being in long dark hallways and having actors pop up out of nowhere with intensity and energy. I saw a total of three actors, all seeming to be in the middle and end, and I felt like they lacked a bit of energy and excitement. These actors should be all over the place, knowing it’s a pretty good sized haunt. That should be a blast for them with all that room to run around and come up with creepy ideas to scare people. One other thing is I saw a lot of blank, black wall panels. The haunt is Demonic Retreat, so it should have a good majority of demons or monsters of some kind, spread throughout the haunt whether they’re props or actors. Textures are great on walls! Any kind of texture alone is disturbing and gross feeling, especially in dark places where you have no idea where you’re going or what you’re touching. This haunt has a lot of potential to be demonically intense. Just a couple of detail touch ups and more actors and this haunt is amped up and ready to scare! If you’re looking for a family friendly haunted maze that’s full of entertainment, creepy crawlers, and mind tricks, then Demonic Retreat is the place to go!

Pros: live bugs, movement on the ground, choosing different paths

Cons: wish there was more going on in the dark hallways, no more than three actors, lacked some detail

5661 McWhinney Blvd.
Loveland, CO. 80538
  • $15.00 Adult
  • $10.00 Children & Seniors
  • $10.00 Matinee
October 4 – 21
Thurs. – Sun. 6-11PM
Open Every Day October 25 – 31 6 – 11PM
Matinee For Children Oct. 13, 14, 20, 27, 28
October 14 Special Day For Patrons With Disabilities
October 21 Realities For Children Benefit
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