The Suffering 2012

Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall

Ryan Acker

The Suffering has really improved this year! They have gotten rid of the unnecessary props and effects and expanded on ones that are good; the scenes and environment. For the first time, they had a TV telling us the history of the haunt. Don’t be fooled by the Samsung façade, as there is a scare waiting when the video ends. This first room was filled with chainsaw motors and electric tools which I loved, but I wish something more would’ve happened than what did. We were accompanied by two great actors which made the experience a bit better.

The façade for the house was also much improved, but the interior lacked the feel of a true home. The man who greeted us mentioned popcorn a lot, and I actually smelt the aroma of Popcorn popping away in the kitchen! This I actually enjoyed a lot, but why not the smell of burning or decaying flesh? Who knows, but at least they tried for something.

Once we exited the house, the entire theme went downhill along with the set design. The acting was very sufficient as they tried to shy away from the cliché lines, and they also worked with the sets they were given. As always, The Suffering would not be complete without a guy on Bungee Cords. He wasn’t as energetic as I’ve seen in the past, but it is still a sight to see when someone jumps down from the ceiling above you.

It seemed as if they had used props meant for specific sets and spaced them out throughout the entire haunt. Mannequins, Missing Posters (Which I loved in one of the beginning rooms, but not towards the end.), skeletons, etc. filled the haunt which frankly got a little boring. However, the ending was indeed spiced up a lot! If you are terrified of chainsaws, you will be terrified of this ending. I was even getting nervous! They have you crawl underneath a platform whilst a chainsaw guy is running mad all around you. I was in the perfect position for an instant slaughter, but was sadly spared.

Elitches is finally on a road to something satisfactory with their Fright Fest. The midway and the park definitely still need some overall work, but as of now I can tell their focus was on the haunts. Like I said with Blood Bath, just more time planning and you can get yourself a killer haunt in no time!

Pros: Acting, Smells, Ending

Cons: Same Props Throughout, Lack of Details

Bill Bevis

I liked the building that houses this haunt. It works, and fosters a feeling of dread as you approach. Kind of mausoleum-y. There’s a good character in good costuming and makeup at the entry, and he was fun to banter with. Other actors stroll by and engage, and their makeup (rat poking out of cheek) was well done and fun to look at. There are good characters throughout, and the butcher room actually had the odor of raw meat. Kind of a “yuck”. . . . but cool.

The props are good, and the hanging bodies have weight—an important detail so often missed by haunts, especially when people are expected to push through them. I liked the maze/corridor that got tighter and narrower as I moved through it. At one point, both shoulders were brushing both opposing walls—but then again, my shoulders are unusually broad and well-developed, so maybe that affect is lost on most? I dunno.

The guy hooked to bungees is a great idea, and that must be the best job in the entire haunt. A walking-dead yo-yo. The character in the crazy outfit with the brace/contraption bolted to his head creeped me out, but I think it would have been more effective if he had stayed seated and just watched me rather than jump up for a gratuitous startle-scare. He looked the part, though. Convincing, oddly menacing, and I wondered about his “story.”

The animatronics were very noisy, which detracted from the effect, but I really liked the writhing body under the sheet in the bed that had been made up, with him/her in it. And. . . what is it about off-balance, running, chunking washing machines in laundry room sets that is so coolly weird? I don’t know, but it is. The crawl through the “Gauntlet of Gore” with chainsaw guy (sigh) above was a good, effective exit from the haunt and buttoned things up nicely, thank you very much.

Pros: Actors. Cool set-up video at beginning. Bungee guy.

Cons: Loud animatronics. Chainsaw guy (again). Actual tour didn’t clearly support set-up video.

Victoria Maez

I like the way this haunt starts off. They have you in a room watching something on TV, and there is an initial unexpected scare, so they get your heart pumping right away. The next actor you come across was excellent! It’s this little girl, and I tell you, she is in character! She really draws you in the haunt…she even told me I will end up eating my friends. I had to laugh, but she couldn’t have done a better job.

The walls of this haunt have a lot of detail, and they’re not all the same. They use a bunch of different materials depending upon the scene. Some areas have big wall space, and some are very small. I appreciated the change ups to this aspect of the set. It definitely wasn’t boring.

A few more actors throughout the entire haunt as well as building more suspense like the little girl would be beneficial. This would raise the scare factor too. The scares in the haunt weren’t bad, but need a little more intensity. They need to work on building more suspense which will generate bigger scares.

Overall, this haunt seemed to end very quickly. It wasn’t very long, and didn’t have a very good ending. Going through a haunt, one that especially has a theme and seems to tell a story needs a good ending. One that is not predictable, yet memorable. Lengthening the haunt and changing the ending would bring the length score up as well.

Pros: Nice set walls and creepy little girl.

Cons: length and execution of scares.

Jason Peterson

As we make our way through Elitch Gardens theme park, we pass through the small crowd and the occasional zombie lurking alongside pedestrians. I wish Elitche’s was like this year round! We were greeted outside of the suffering by a gentleman with a two foot goatee and really fun dialogue. He tells us to enter the movie theater and watch and wait for instruction. This was a really cool effect, great surprise here, don’t take your eyes off the screen.

We start alongside a rustic cabin façade and get a decent startle from a bloody young lady. We then pass into the cabin residents’ clothes lines. The actor in here was definitely disturbed. I loved some of the wall distresses and sets throughout this haunt, like newspaper clippings for wall paper, or missing person’s wall paper, that was pretty creepy. One of my favorite sets was pretty simple but they executed it very well. Cell bars, in a dark setting with a single light shining down on a captive woman. She waits for our group to get closer before she gets into character. Visually, this was a really cool scene for me. I really liked the bungee jumping guy, I wish he had more of a costume though. There is tons of gore throughout this entire haunt in various scenes like a head room, a room with gory bodies, one really cool room was lined with human scalps and hair. This was just nasty!

This haunt had ceiling drops at different levels, and if that’s not enough, they drop you to your knees and make you crawl through, what I have affectionately named, the Box of Death. If chainsaws and confined places scare you, you’re not going to like the Box of Death. We had a great time at this haunt. It was fun and getting a few rides in is always a bonus!

Pros: lots of gore, fun ending

Cons: seemed unfinished in areas

Alex Gallegos

The Suffering at Elitche’s comes back for another year of missing persons reports, skin clinging to walls as if its life depended on it, and creepy prisoners who don’t seem to be able to find the way out. Terrible things are coming your way and it’d be in your best interests not to bother things that you don’t understand, but good luck convincing a haunted house reviewer of that. Sometimes I think when the actual zombie uprising comes the critics will be the first to go because we’ll be too enthralled with the realistic blood smears and splatters to notice that our own legs are being gnawed off.

The guide at the start of the haunt says there is a serial killer inside but I think I counted five or six by the time the whole thing had finished up, either that or the actors in other rooms were very keen also for me to donate my skin. The serial killer is in full swing this year, hacking up victims and displaying their remains all over the house, but then the question remains… what’s with all these other people in here? Does the serial killer hang out with a posse, or did he perhaps post an ad on Craiglslist in the “evil henchmen” section?

I won’t spoil any of the details but if you own or run a haunt in the Denver area, you have to come see what this place is up to. I’ve not made it a secret that chainsaws and I don’t get along in any way, usually because they’re overused and shoehorned into areas wherever possible, even when they don’t fit in. Chainsaw Dude, (from now on we’ll call him Randy) has only one job wherever he works; listen for people coming then rev up the chainsaw at them. Randy has nothing to do apart from this one menial task. Sometimes he chases people, sometimes he growls, but mainly he’s there to make a lot of intimidating sounds. The Suffering did something a little different, opting to have us crawl through a dilapidated garden while a guy revved chainsaws above us for maximum effect, because whilst you’re trapped under the garden there’s literally no place to run, and if you did have someone in your group who’s prone to taking off running, then this could be a frankly hilarious pileup.

Just remember, haunt owners, just because something is cool it isn’t carte blanche to copy it exactly, otherwise we’ll have the same problem with that in a few years.

Pros: Finally, good use of a chainsaw, good creepy deigned rooms

Cons: Feels a little short, lost track of the theme later on.

Marlena Baker

The Suffering starts out with a premise. There’s an actor at the door who gives you a bit of back story about the haunt. A few more actors turned up to show us into the haunt. They were all very good, and it gave me a good impression going in. The first room, however, was a video about that same premise. It was a lot of garbled footage and I’m still not sure why a sewing machine was featured in it so much.

They stuck with the theme pretty well. You start out in a yard, then transition into a house. They added a nice touch to the kitchen scene with smells. It smelled like something was cooking, but I couldn’t figure out what. It wasn’t really a nasty smell. Considering we’d been told we were walking into a serial killer’s house, that wasn’t comforting. Things quickly degraded as we walked between the walls. They did a good job with these sets, adding foam insulation to keep the feeling we were in the walls. After that we walked down some stairs and all the walls were a lot plainer. I think we were supposed to be in the basement, where all the really sick stuff was. The illusion was broken right away because we could see the ceiling of the building we were in. Some sort of covering on the set would have helped a lot. The props were kind of hit or miss. Mostly, I think they just needed finishing. The wall of hands was creepy. The skins on the walls just didn’t look quite right.

The acting here was decent. There’s a great moment where an actor jumps down from the ceiling. There are some others that have that same great energy. One guy that was chained to the wall was going all out. He got right up close to us before being dragged back to the wall. They all needed some help with their lines, though. Some were worse than others. One of the most obvious problems with the acting is that the lines didn’t always make sense. For example, one girl was in this path of bars, like a jail. She started by asking us why we’d locked her in there. Then we walked around the bars and she said that we’d be trapped in there with her. It didn’t work so well since we were already pretty much to the door out of the room. They gave the chainsaw cliché a pretty good go this year. There’s a crawling section, and right as you get out of the tunnel, he’s there above you. It’s much scarier to have a chainsaw in your ear when you’re on your hands and knees. Your motion is limited.

Overall, it was a huge improvement on their haunts from last year. It really needs polishing. That said, it needs a lot of it. The sets need finishing and the actors need better lines. The theme was a little fuzzy by the end, but there was a consistent atmosphere. I’d like to see it improve even more next year.

Pros: Atmosphere, high energy actors, some great sets

Cons: Inconsistent quality, odd lines from actors, needs finishing

Corey Dunham

The Suffering is one of two haunts located at Elitches. This is a great place for a haunted house as it’s located inside a theme park. As you enter the park you see that all of their Halloween decorations and props are on display which puts you into the mood! Also, there is rolling fog on the midway with monsters lurking around, be careful you may meet one even before you enter the attraction.

As you come to the entrance a speaker box gives you the rules of the haunt and then you come to the doorman. He is an older fellow who is hilarious and plays a great character. He tells you that a killer is loose inside and you must try to make it through without the killer getting you, then you enter. Once inside your body is overtaken by an overwhelming bass that rattles through you. This haunt is extremely loud which makes it disorienting and hard to navigate, keep up the volume!

The acting inside is intense and on point, all of the actors play good characters and present themselves well. The makeup used is amazing and looks totally believable. The detail and professionalism used on the makeup is totally outrageous and looks very realistic. The set design is good but could have its volume turned up as well. The layout is great but I think it lacks in detail.

Altogether, The Suffering at Elitches is a very good haunt that could use little improvement. The actors are intense and hungry for a scare and make sure you check out their makeup, it’s amazing. This haunt has a great set design that just needs a little more flare and it will be perfect. I totally recommend this haunt to all who visit Elitches this year and hope you have a great time.

Pros: Great makeup, good acting

Cons: Set not detailed enough, needs to be longer

Peyton Lucero

Walking up to The Suffering, my surroundings are covered in decorations of torn up cloth, props, a long graveyard trail, lights, and actors roaming around the theme park. Entering the haunt, our tickets are marked and we are pushed into the first room of the haunt, where we are placed in front of a TV and are told to watch. On the screen a short film of the history about The Suffering was playing. While watching it, you get a shocking surprise that was definitely unexpected and I thought was a really cool effect. It was time for us to continue on our journey and to be aware of our surroundings, now knowing the history behind the haunt.

Traveling along the paths of twists, turns, and unsanitary sets and smells, I come across some pretty cool sets that included animation, smells, dirtiness, flying actors and more within the haunt. One room I really enjoyed was the kitchen. Walking in made me get kind of a nauseous feeling from taking too big of a whiff of the room. It had smelled like left out rotten meat and the kitchen itself just looked disgusting and very unsanitizing. It was very gross. The laundry room and bathroom were pretty awesome sets as well. I liked the animations that were used in these rooms. Going down into the basement was awesome. Loved the set work and distressing that was done on the walls. Walking down these stairs, I already knew we were headed down to a basement. The ending of this haunt was a blast, having to get on your hands and knees to crawl your way out, not knowing that waiting on the other side for you is a crazed maniac running a chainsaw. Now that’s something I haven’t seen happen before and have to say, that that was a cool effect. Very cool detail and set work indeed.

The Suffering is filled with twists, turns, ducks, and crawls that put your body to work. Everything in this haunt was very well executed. The sets were detailed, props were used and placed well, and actors were full of energy. I did feel though that a couple rooms seemed a little empty or missing some detail work. Actors were intense but some didn’t really know how to work with their dialogue. Very short dialogue was spoken and I did see a couple that just stood there doing nothing while the group passed by. Actors should get pumped up and become a part of the scene and to not be afraid to let their dialogue roll out. That’s what I’m looking for in a haunt is intensity and disturbing dialogue from the characters within the scenes. I enjoyed my time here at The Suffering very much. It was very entertaining and had some pretty amazing sets and terrifying surprises. If you’re one who likes discombobulating, flying actors, tight, dark areas with frightening surprises at every corner, then The Suffering is the place to go. Great for friends and family and the best thing is, it’s located at a theme park, and so after or during the haunt, you can ride rides for free! Now that’s some fun entertainment.

Pros: lots of gore, detailed sets, entertainment all around

Cons: a few unfinished spots, saw some actors in street clothes

2000 Elitch CircleDenver, CO 80204

  • $8.00 + Park Admission 1 House
  • $12.00 + Park Admission 2 Houses
  • $29.99 + Park Admission Both Houses VIP

October 5 – 28

Friday: 6pm – 10pm

Saturday: 6pm – 12am

Sunday: 6pm – 9pm

Fright free family fun Noon – 5pm Saturdays and Sundays

The return of one of Denver’s most acclaimed haunted houses.  Guests visit a serial killer’s hidden lair.  Once inside they discover they are the ones being hunted by this masked killer whose fondest wish is to kill them slowly.  Now guests must run, duck and hide to try and escape from the labyrinth of hidden torture rooms.  Along their journey they find some of the killer’s victim’s who are still alive and begging for mercy.  This attraction will bring guests up close and personal with a truly horrific killer as they find themselves in a series of face-to-face encounters with the madman with a demented face.