City of the Dead 2014


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Kris | Alex | Jason | Marlena | Kennedy | Regina

Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall

Kris Kropelnicki

Dear City of the Dead,

You are a rotting, putrid full assault on the senses that is dingy and dirty with a loudness about you that penetrates to my very core and reverberates like a million burrowing, hooked millipedes, crawling and tearing their way through every inch of me. Thinking now on my tour of the City, my skin crawls and my ears bleed; I feel nausea creeping its way up my throat. I need to wash my hands…all of me, with a wire brush, in an effort to get the filth of the City off of me. I’m going to get vaccinated next.

You are amazing. Truly an experience and experiential, a spectacle of such hideous magnitude, it must be seen to be believed.

Yes, this seems like a terribly rude way to describe a haunt if you’ve never been to the City. Those who have seen know this is a compliment of the most sincere form. I mean every disgusted word. I feel like you crawled up inside me, chewed me apart and spit me out! (They’re flattered reading this, trust me)

This is not your grandmother’s haunted house, nor your mothers or yours for that matter. This is an exercise in true terror and mayhem that is second to none. If you are of the meek persuasion or faint of heart, this is not the haunt for you.

If you like the loud, intense, in-your-face, shocking, crazy thrill ride kind of terror, this is the only place you’ll find it on this level and the City is your dream come true!

Now that the niceties are over, allow me to take you on a brief tour of the City. Buckle up kids; this is definitely a bumpy ride!

City of the Dead starts the moment you park. Before you even exit the car you can feel the deep bass reverberation pulsing heavily from the tent; step out of the car and the roar of chainsaws fill the crisp night air to give you an extra chill. Still want to go inside? Alright, you were warned.

The attention to detail and eye candy are everywhere as I approached the ticket booth. Step back from it and you will see the diorama on the roof and a somber guard to watch over it. The booths are graphically painted to depict the horror that awaits inside. Definitely worth a look.

The massive chair in between booths decorated in skulls belongs to Big Death, the City’s largest inhabitant. Don’t worry about running into him, he’ll find you; he finds everyone in the darkness.

The chaos of a city that has be overrun by flesh crazed zombies bleeds out into the queue lines and other areas within the tent. There is the Carnival of Carnage, a must do carnival side show with many disgusting twists!! It’s amazing! There’s a zombie paintball booth, a bucket toss game, tic-tac-toe and several others that I refuse to spoil so I’ll say no more. Make it a point to visit the carnival after the haunts; they’re a gory good time!

Almost immediately upon entering the City, I was taken from the safety of the real world and dragged, kicking and screaming into this once quaint town turned mini hell. I found myself at the mercy of the City’s inhabitants, relying on them in a weird way which was very unsettling. As sirens wail incessantly and the heavy bass of something ominous pounds through my soul, the true terror of the City begins unfolding in front of me while I try to sort out the screams I’m hearing in the distance….are they other unfortunate victims, the rabid zombies or are they coming from me? It is so loud, I cannot tell and have to give up for fear the overload will render me impotent in my attempt to escape this wretched place.

Scares abound here and I found myself getting hit over and over in succession with one scare after another and they came from every direction and every means possible. Some scares happened simply because of my surroundings and uncertainty about what waited for me around the next corner, others because a well timed actor got me in one way or another.

Acting is well done and every actor I encountered was hideous, deranged and out for brains, mine to be exact. There were a couple of places that I couldn’t hear a word the actors were saying, (the chainsaw area for instance) because the background noises were so loud. It worked for me though because it gave the scares a new edge. I felt like the characters were so crazed that they didn’t care if anyone heard what they were shouting, they had chainsaws blazing and were hell bent on destruction. There’s something about the unintelligible shouting of a crazed maniac that makes me shudder. I think it’s because concern over being heard signals a shred of humanity left and to me that equates with a chance to escape. When they couldn’t care less, that’s trouble. Real trouble.

Sets are magnificent and extremely well done. There are two story buildings throughout, rich in details and once the filth and grime is wiped away, the remnants of this once bustling little town are revealed. I found myself weaving in and out of crashed cars, some with unfortunate victims still inside; the barber shop where the shave is a little too close and the local nursing home where I caught the latest episode of The Price is Right and also got a whiff of the incontinence problems there. Ewwwww is all I can say. Awesome cohesion of theme!

Now some of my fellow critics have indicated that the noise levels and dark sets are a drawback for them and I personally couldn’t disagree more. The sets, lighting and noise level are EXACTLY what I would expect from a city overtaken by a horde of crazed zombies. The city is in ruins, lighting is out, cars crashed wails of the living trying to escape and the sounds of mayhem are all around. They nailed it in my book because I am not expecting pretty flowers and a nice Neil Diamond song; I am expecting and want to see and hear chaos, absolute chaos. I got all I expected and so much more!

The length of the City is shorter this year because the Curse of Darkness has moved in. I expected this to be a problem and wasn’t sure how well the execution would be. The crew nailed this as well and rolled City of the Dead into Curse of Darkness so seamlessly it would have been impossible to tell where one ended and one began had it not been for a queue line between the two. This union of the two haunts kept City of the Dead from feeling too short.

City of the Dead is an incredible haunt filled to the brim with jaw dropping sets, gore galore and crazy, intense acting that will leave you breathless….if you survive! Head over to the City and see one of the most shocking haunts around!

Not recommended for children.

Pros: Sets, Acting, intensity

Cons: None

Curse of Darkness, part two of the City of the Dead experience starts where the City leaves off. I came out of a building in the City, rounded a corner and found myself looking at a beautifully crafted house front complete with a garage. The well kept home could have been any home in the suburbs which made me nervous; are my neighbors harboring a dark secret behind their neatly trimmed hedges?

I waited about ten minutes in line with my group to enter the house which was a mixed bag for me; it was nice to be able to catch my breath a minute, but the break was too long and the full suspension of disbelief I had experienced in the City slowly slipped away and gave way to the calm reality of patrons chatting in line and playing on their phones. I’m thinking if the queue line is removed completely, then place an actor outside of the house that leads patrons into the Curse of Darkness this may solve that and keep the suspension of disbelief flowing. I see the actor by the house looking normal but beat up from battling zombies; patrons come out of City and the actor(s) grab them, telling them it’s ok, they’re not zombies and they’ve found a safe place to take shelter…the actor(s) usher patrons into house, tell them to get inside and away from the windows and the transition is complete without interruption or down time. Just a suggestion.

There was an actor on the porch that remarked how nice I was bleeding from the zombies and how happy those inside would be to “Drink up” my wounds for me. Once inside the Curse of Darkness, everything changed dramatically and the sets were incredible and made that transformation happen very nicely.

I found myself in a funeral home filled with very thirsty vampires and there was a very somber atmosphere in spite of the sounds of the City bleeding through. I was calming and eerie at the same time and for me was a nice effect whether intentional or not.

Scene by amazing scene I made my way through and encountered nicely done sets and some amazing actors.

My favorite actor by far was the showering vampire. His role was so unexpected and surprising that he made me laugh out loud which was a great emotion to have in such an unexpected place and added some extra punch to it all for me. He was perfect in this role.

I really enjoyed the Curse of Darkness and was tickled to see how well developed the sets, storyline and acting all were considering this is the first year; it typically takes a few years before new scenes and concepts fully come into their own, that’s not the case here and I can only imagine how incredible it will become as time passes. Well done!

Pros: Sets, actors, theme

Cons: Lag time between haunts, vampires should be more aggressive – really sniffing out potential donors

Alex Gallegos

City of the Dead is an absolutely astounding piece of work, year after year, and it’s a pleasure every year. There is no other haunt anywhere in the state that participates in such a full-scale auditory assault – even standing in the parking lot 200 feet away it’s uncomfortably loud and getting any closer should be done at the risk of your eardrums. Getting inside makes it even louder, and there comes a point partway through the experience where you can feel the sound resonating in your chest more than hear it.

Zombies have taken over the city, and they’re not happy to see you when you make your way inside. As you venture through you’ll encounter hordes of insane creatures damned to a living death as they stumble across the Earth’s surface, reanimating more and more corpses into these living shells, husks that are only an echo of the former being they once were.

This is absolutely the grungiest, most disgusting city you’ll ever see – there are almost no surfaces that aren’t covered in layers and layers of crud… a layer of blood covered in a layer of sludge covered in a layer of dirt covered in a layer of sadness… that’s basically the entire place. Everything looks like it’s going to give you some sort of terrible nasty disease, and I didn’t want to touch anything at all – walls, floors, anything, least of all the actors. They look all kinds of terrible as well, and I shudder to think what kind of vile, putrid diseases they’re spreading around.

Be prepared to spend quite a lot of time in the City – not even counting the lines outside the haunt, which seem to spread out into infinity, the whole experience takes at least 30 minutes to get through, and that’s if you’re booking it. Long story short, don’t plan this as a quick stop on your way to someplace else.

My only complaints about the haunt are similar to those I’ve had in years past. The auditory assault is incredible to behold and flawlessly executed, but it’s so loud that you can’t hear what any of the actors are saying really well, catching a few words here and there but nothing more, and sneaky local amplification for some of the actors in the key rooms would make sense to me. Especially considering the amount of latex and masks these guys wear, hiding audio on an actor seems like it’d be a good workaround. If these were grunting and moaning zombies that’d be different but the actors are doing such a good job with their characters that it just seems like a shame that nobody gets to hear what they actually have to say. The other complaint is the light level, for the same reason – not because it’s too dark to walk through without being scared, but because it’s too dark to actually see the hard work someone has put into the signage, props, and sets.

Curse of Darkness is a new addition this year, and it starts up right where City of the Dead leaves off. Having escaped the zombie apocalypse and the radioactive fallout, we moved on to a funeral home populated by Vampires. This haunt did a lot of new and exciting things, which made me very happy. I especially appreciated that the story tied into the City’s story – the actor outside said that after having such a close scrape with the zombies, our blood was “glowing”, making us tasty tasty vampire bait. That was a creepy thought all its own.

The set is more subdued at the beginning, which is a nice touch. Whereas the City shows you the terrible aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, Curse of Darkness shows you what happens much closer to the moment of infestation, starting out pretty normal and getting creepier and scarier as the evening wears on. However, I felt like there were a few opportunities for creepier scares than the haunt opted for, like a morgue room that could have capitalized on some truly stellar Night of the Living Dead-esque effect but that settled on a modified drop panel instead. I appreciated the more subtle nature of the haunt but it wasn’t entirely possible to immerse myself in it because I couldn’t hear the implied silence of the funeral parlor over the sound of melting city next door. I’m not sure what to suggest in that regard, though… anywhere else I’d say to move the side attraction outside but at the City of the Dead, not even being in your car with the doors closed and the windows rolled up a long way away can drown out the noise, so it might just be some suspension of disbelief that the audience has to deal with.

Pros: The grossest, dingiest sets you’ll ever see, everything seems to be disgusting, authentic feelings of architecture and population

Cons: There is so much to appreciate that I don’t get a chance to because of lack of light and too much noise

Jason Peterson

Great atmosphere as usual. As we pull into the city of the dead parking lot at the Mile High Flea Market you can always hear the ripping sounds of chainsaws and the thunderous roar of heavy bass and screams coming from this attraction the moment you get out of the car.

The City made some big changes this season. Path changes and a few popular city dwellings seamed to be missing! I’m told that it was to make room for the new kind of undead tenants! After an insane trip in and out of some of our favorite dwellings and City streets with all its madness, we of course get the nastiest, loudest ,dueling chainsaws to accompany us on our way of the wretched City.

As soon as we exit the City , we see a large house facade, complete with a garage and a queue line. Waiting in front a very cool looking vampire thanks us for our blood donations and sends us on journey into the Curse of Darkness. This portion of the haunt had gorgeous set work and attention to detail. The acting in both attractions is fast and furious. Loads of startle scares and if you like gore, this attraction delivers the goods. You won’t experience any dead space without an actor a prop or an animation to help terrorize you. If that’s not enough, the sounds and smells will help engage the senses. I was attacked and stalked by a vampire wearing nothing but a towel! He was rubbing is man boobs and talking all vampire nasty!

I enjoyed both sides of the undead this season.

Can’t forget the Carnival of Chaos! Refreshments and video games to pass the time as well. Keep an eye on for the Hammer wielding giant ,while exploring this City! He is so angry!

Pros- Loud, Gory, Filled with detail!

Cons- Bring earplugs! The Chainsaw sisters are very loud!

Marlena Baker

City of the Dead lives up to its name. I always get excited for this one because it doesn’t feel like a haunt. It feels like I’ve walked into a city during the zombie apocalypse. Is there anything more awesome?

I love the set. It’s super detailed, fits the theme to a “T”, and the atmosphere is like nothing else. It seems like they damn near built a city for us to wander through. Whenever we left the buildings to make our way across the debris strewn streets I could see down the street a ways. That makes this haunt seem so much larger than it is. The detail they put into all the sets always wows me, which is why I’m so sad about the lighting. It was far too dark in many of the rooms for me to even see the set. I could see silhouettes of props, but due to the lighting I couldn’t get a look at them. A few rooms were better lit; the delivery room, the bunker, and blood bank all come to mind. I enjoyed those rooms so much more than the dark rooms. It was so cool to see what the insanity of the zombie apocalypse had wrought in the city. So, I’d love to see the lights turned up, just a bit, so we can see all their hard work.

It’s very hard for me to comment on the actors. Their makeup was good, but I don’t feel like I can comment much on their acting. It was FAR too loud for me to hear them. I only caught a few words here and there throughout. It seemed to me like the intensity was lacking this year, but I only have their movements to go on. I understand the reason for the sirens and the sound effects of a city in chaos. It fit perfectly. I’m so torn on this matter. The sensory deprivation that stems from so much chaotic noise is a nice touch. It disorients us and puts us on edge. There’s no way to know what’s coming if you can’t hear. However, I have to recommend turning down the sound so that the actors can deliver their lines. The actors are so essential and the crazy that I’ve seen in past years from them was a huge part of the haunt’s charm.

After City of the Dead they’ve added a mini haunt called Curse of Darkness.  The new scenes are really well built. I particularly liked the crypt. The bathroom was also really well built, but it seemed oddly placed to me. Overall the acting was good. I didn’t really get the vampire theme from the actors, though. Maybe the dialogue needs to be tweaked to include more about drinking our blood or keeping us as a food source.

After the haunts you should be sure to check out the Carnival of Carnage. They have made some crazy carnival games. I was pretty bad at all of them, but I still had a lot of fun. They’re all classic games but with a makeover as zombie themed. I particularly love the Zombie Autopsy, which is a giant game of Operation. All around it’s a good time.

Pros: lots to see and do, fantastic sets, great atmosphere

Cons: too dark, too loud to hear actors, three chainsaws at once

Kennedy Horstmeyer

City of the Dead is a spectacular, sensory overloading, piece of art. This haunt is spectacular and such a unique feeling that I have never gotten walking through the haunt. Even walking up to the doors I was getting excited but nervous because of the sounds, and lights that you could see.

I was very scared most of this haunt. Not just because actors jumped at you but the way the sense are used. The sounds and lighting and smell overwhelm so much it has you on edge and in fear. Entering the haunt a siren flares and you start to look around in disbelief. The actors also provide a very strong scare. Several of the scares came from areas that were very well hidden, others were a more blatant scare but the intensity of the scene worked with the actors to still provide a scare. My favorite scare was in a scene where you walked through wondering where someone was going to move towards you and the scare came at the very end from a hidden actor.

Acting in this haunt is very unique. The environment changes the way the actors can interact. There is not as much talking interaction, but demeanor is played very well. Not all the actors were scary, some were a little more average which allows for a moment of relaxation in the chaos. My favorite actor is one who is not decked in gore and evil just because it allowed me to breathe for a second. Do wish that the actors would have been more interactive even if they just followed you or were up in your space. I still loved the acting because it was very strong but it was also a source of calmness in the haunt.

The sets/FX are very authentic, detailed and different. The one bad part is some rooms were too dark to see the detail and sets. I love walking into a haunt and believing I truly am part of it, City of the Dead pulled this off. Each room was different and something not seen often. I loved that smells matched the room and the blood looked real. It is very hard to put the detail and authenticity of a set together and match it with actors. The use of lights also played a large role in the feel of the room.

The length of the haunt was very good. I felt immersed but not excessively long. I also liked that there was a second smaller part that had a different theme. This break up gave a break in the haunt but also more to look at when you go through.

City of the Dead doesn’t include just one haunt. There is a second part to the haunt as well as a small carnival with games. The second part of the haunt has a different theme and is much more calm and eerie. I loved the calmness and change in theme because of the intensity in the City of the Dead. The carnival was fun there are games like poop toss, operation, tic tac toe and throwing heads.

I truly loved this haunt, how there were differences all at once but it also didn’t clash. The intensity is something you don’t get from many haunts.

Pros- intensity, detail, scare

Cons- some rooms to dark, verbal interaction limited

Regina Kropelnicki

When you first pull in at City of the Dead, you will hear very loud sirens and chainsaws, making you feel very nervous about what you are about to enter. There are actually two haunts at this location now, both included in admission.

Upon exiting City of the Dead, you are immediately in line for the next haunt. After both of the haunts, you will find yourself able to play some gross twisted carnival games, they were so much fun! Join the fun and play the turd toss, throw some heads into a basketball hoop, or test your skills at a good old fashioned game of Operation….on a dead body of course. I always love getting to see Big Death after the haunt as well! Don’t worry about looking for him, he will find you.

City of the Dead is very intense throughout the entire haunt because the chainsaws are so loud and nonstop. While I did enjoy the intensity initially, by the time I got to the actual chainsaw part, I was very desensitized to the sound and it failed to provide a scare even with actors sticking chainsaws near us. It became too loud to hear some of the actors unless they were right next to me and some of them seemed to lack energy, probably because they were having to compete with the noise of the chainsaws and sirens and knew we probably wouldn’t hear them anyway. I think in the future, using only one chainsaw and only using it to scare groups as they come through would be very beneficial on multiple levels.

Although a bit dark and hard to see, the set was amazing. I really started to feel as if I were in a very gross destructed city full of dead psychos. It really did feel like this city underwent a ton of chaos and zombie attacks before I stepped foot into it and I was visiting the aftermath while trying to avoid becoming one of them. While I do enjoy it being kind of dark, I’m hoping they incorporate a bit more lighting so I can really see the detail and hard work they put into it and others as well. I know it would blow my mind! I enjoyed a scene where you walk “outside” and find a car crash with the poor victim still in the front seat. I found myself wondering what kind of chaos went on in the city to cause this accident. They could totally take advantage of the fact that you are busy staring at the car and the body inside looking for movement to have another actor scare the pants off of you!

Once you exit City of the Dead, you will find yourself in a vampire themed (No Edward is not in there, chill out girls) Curse of Darkness. I was so excited upon entering this because it was much quieter and the lighting was great. The detail in this set was so good! I found myself hesitating to enter the morgue. I walked very slowly through it expecting one of these white sheets to slowly start getting up to come after me. I felt very nervous as I looked at the morgue refrigerators while wondering if one of the doors would pop open. It would be awesome if they could somehow make this room feel really cold! Morgues creep me out, so I was super excited to see it in a haunt and it definitely kept me on edge. I entered the bathroom and saw such an inviting, relaxing bath tub filled with blood and candles around it, just waiting for me. Out of the shower popped an amazing, funny actor who was in nothing but a towel rubbing blood all over his chest and stomach telling you how he couldn’t wait to be rubbing your blood all over him. It was so funny and creepy at the same time, I loved it!! Another favorite scene of mine was a church with a funeral going on. This set was sooo good! I again found myself walking through very slowing wondering if someone was going to jump out of one of the benches and get me. I really loved the photograph of the person is the casket, it was great! I won’t ruin the surprise, but you will definitely get a good scare out of this room! Overall, I loved City of the Dead and Curse of Darkness. I found myself almost in favor of Curse of Darkness which is amazing since it is a much shorter haunt and not their main one. I am so glad to see they did not just throw something up and call it good. They really worked hard on this set and the ideas for it and it shows. I think I preferred it mainly because the sounds weren’t so intense and the lighting was a bit brighter. With a bit more lighting and some of the noise toned down, City of the Dead would be on top! Can’t wait to come back!

Pros-Detail in sets, felt real and authentic, creative scenes and unique ideas

Cons-Too loud, needs more lighting, actors need a bit more energy

7007 E. 88th Ave. (Inside Mile High Flea Market)
Henderson, CO.
  • $25 For 3 terrifying attractions!!!
  • $35 VIP
  • Discount tickets available  here
  • September 26th – November 1st 2014
  • Thursdays to Sundays and the entire last week of October
  • Closed October 2, 2014
  • Thursdays & Sundays – 7pm-10pm
  • Fridays & Saturdays 7pm-Midnight
  • Monday-Wednesday October 27th-29th 7pm-10pm
                                                RATED # 1 HAUNT IN DENVER!
Massive in size, the City of the Dead boasts an intense 20+ minute journey through a wretched City born of the UNDEAD where relentless Zombies feast upon the living souls that dare enter. Completely updated for 2014, come see the all new City of the Dead as you’ve never seen it before!
                                      BRAND NEW FOR 2014!

A terrifying journey through an abandoned funeral parlor run by blood sucking Vampires looking for their next meal! Brand new for 2014, come face to face with the creatures of the night that dwell within its walls torturing the lost souls unlucky enough to get caught in its immortal curse!


 Enter the Carnival of Carnage, a midway of twisted carnival-style games, Zombie photo ops (beware, they bite!!), Big Death stilt walkers, a Zombie Bar serving up cold Coors Beer, arcade games on FREE open play, scare zones, side shows, and more!  A unique interactive attraction where you get into the action!

City of the Dead Haunted House

Curse of Darkness Haunted House

The Carnival of Carnage


At the Mile High Flea Market

I-76 and 88th Ave
Only 10 minutes from Downtown Denver!
7007 E. 88th Ave. Henderson, CO. 80640

  • Drakmor

    Oh city of the dead how I love thee. All of the critics were dead on. The city is as disgusting asever and I love it. The sets, the acting everything is on point. As for the second haunt . There were only 3 actors that I counted. The sets though we’re stunning. I highly recommend visiting the City. Score: 9.4 out of ten