Sanitarium 3D Haunted House 2014

Jump to Review:

Kris | Alex | Jason | Peyton | Marlena | Kennedy | Regina

Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall

Kris Kropelnicki

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be insane? Truly insane? Well, here’s your chance and I can honestly say, it’s a truly bizarre ride. The creators of Ghouls Gulch have come up with a second winner in Colorado Springs and I’m still reeling from the fact that this is a first year haunt because it sure doesn’t look or feel like it. These guys know their stuff from top to bottom and execute every detail flawlessly.

I have to admit that when I found out this was a 3D haunt I was extremely skeptical as I am probably the biggest non fan of fluorescent paint and 3D anything, so I was not terribly excited and expected the worst. In my years of experience I have never experienced terrifying 3D, except for 3D that is scary only because it’s done so badly. Not the case here and I have never been happier about being dead wrong. As I waited to go inside, the man at the door in a blood splattered lab coat began chatting with me. I expected our chat to take a sinister turn but it never did. We chatted about weather, life in general and some of the creepy characters wandering around terrifying people. I also thought that this actor had decided to just be himself and not any character and was making a mental note to ding a point or two for his lack of character. I realized quickly that his demeanor was his character and as he led my group into the haunt like lambs to slaughter, he had actually been in character the entire time and did an excellent job of disarming me and getting me to let my guard down. That was the first of many mistakes I made here.

Scares from that moment on were intense and had my skin crawling and my hair standing on end. As I made my way into the Sanitarium I saw things I expected, a waiting area, corridors, filing cabinets, treatment areas, etc. What I didn’t realize was that this slightly slower pace initially was to give me a chance to adjust to my new life within these walls, rather than throw me into shock right away. The scares permeated my being and crept under my skin like the million bugs under the skin of one of the patients I saw. Fear slinked, crept and remained slightly veiled until the moment I was instructed to put on my 3D glasses. Once I did this and stepped out of the elevator, the intensity went right through the roof and never stopped.

Actors here were stunning!! The performances were top notch and those that portrayed the insane did such an incredible job I began wondering if I had taken a wrong turn somewhere and wound up in a real institution somehow. I encountered doctors that had been driven mad and mad patients posing as doctors. I have seen psychosis in real life and these actors nailed it spot on!! Everyone is truly remarkable and even when I encountered the more animated actors in the 3D portion, their performances did not weaken and even though their scenes did not match the rest of the haunt, they somehow made perfect sense because of the actors incredible talent and ability to fully immerse guests in their world and take them on a ride of insanity they won’t soon forget. Incredible job everyone!! OUTSTANDING!!!

Sets here are amazing and so well done it blew my mind. In the first half of the haunt they were appropriately run down and creepy they way I would have expected a sanitarium that has been taken over by patients to be. The second half, in 3D, allowed me to see life through the eyes of the insane and I honestly felt as though someone had slipped me something and I was hallucinating terribly. The use of 3D paint boggles my mind to this day and I’m still trying to figure out fantasy from reality. Every detail was a deliberate tie in to another element and the overall effect was phenomenal!! I found myself dodging things that weren’t there, trying to walk up stairs that didn’t exist and reeling from dizzying lights. What an experience!! If you enjoy being more than a passive spectator you’re going to love these sets!!

Length is great and it definitely lasts long enough to feel you got your money’s worth and not ripped off. The layout was fantastic and confusing which added to the feeling of going insane. I was inside long enough to definitely get my fill, but not so long that I became desensitized and bored. Perfection!!

If you have never been to Colorado Springs to see a haunt, you simply have to go and go NOW!!! Denver has some awesome haunts, but nothing like what awaits you down south. Do yourself a favor and get down to Sanitarium 3D, get checked in, checked out by staff and then be ready to lose your mind!! You can’t afford to miss this haunt!!!

Pros: Sets; Acting; Intensity

Cons: None

Alex Gallegos

3D gets a bit of a bad rap around the haunted house community. Though I’ve never seen it myself, I’ve been told that it used to be implemented really, really poorly. For those who aren’t in the know, 3D does actually mean something in this context. When I first heard it a couple years ago, I thought it was a gimmick, a sort of “Come see our attraction, it’s in 3D, har har har chuckle guffaw giggle,” meant only to bring in the foolhardy masses who didn’t quite grasp the concept that life itself is in 3D. But more experienced haunt-goers clued me in quickly – a 3D haunt is one that relies on special glasses and paint work to create images that pop out of the walls at you and swirl around your head.

“Well that sounds awesome,” you might be thinking. “What could be wrong with that?” And there isn’t anything inherently wrong with it, except for two minor issues. First, this reaction only happens in the presence of black light, making other objects in the haunt glow in a way that they shouldn’t, and 2, the paint used to achieve this effect tends only towards the neon side of the spectrum. You have exactly one second to name anything that’s ever truly terrified you while it’s day-glo orange.


Scary things are typically associated with dark colors, subdued spectrums, and darkness, not the funky disco rollerblade scene, and unfortunately that’s the way a lot of haunts went when they introduced neon and 3D into their venues. It’s the sort of thing that everyone sort of smiles and nods about, the same way you try to mask your pained expression as a smile when a fifteen-year-old tells you that they’ve found the love of their life. It’s a terrible idea, and everyone knows it but them.

So like I said, 3D got itself a bit of a bad rap, some of it deservedly I’m sure, but the point of all this is that there’s a tiny part of a haunt reviewer’s brain that heaves a little sigh of sadness when it hears that 3D is going to be utilized in a haunt. In this case I’m very happy to say that our fears were unfounded, and replaced once we got inside with newer, better fears (the kind that we wanted to have and were willing to pay money for).

What comes next in this review could be considered a spoiler but since the ticketing agent told it to our team lead while the tickets were printing I don’t think it’s too big of a deal, but read on at your own risk nevertheless. At first, upon going through the beginning of the haunt, I thought I had misread the signs, because we weren’t given any 3D glasses, and nothing was popping out at us. But about halfway in, we were given our glasses and at that point, things started to get especially weird. This is basically a haunt in two acts, and while act 1 places you in the somewhat typical role of a person dumped into the center of a bad situation and looking for an escape, act 2 lets you take a look at the Sanitarium through crazy-colored glasses and get a glimpse of what the patients are experiencing, and perhaps slip into madness yourself.

This is a beautifully executed concept, and the best thing is that it told a personal story of the most relatable kind – the kind involving me. While other haunts will craft elaborate backstories that only rarely get successfully communicated to the audience through narration, posters, or actor interaction, Sanitarium opted for the simple approach. “Here are some crazy people,” it said, and then once we got to a nice stopping point it pulled us aside and said, “Wow, those people sure are cuckoo. Wonder what it’s like to be them? Well, go find out then!”

The best thing is that the real craziness is saved for the second act, with more realistic set work, lighting, and costumes in the first bit, and the crazy extravagant stuff in the second part, and what’s fantastic about that is that it gives a rational reason for there to be weird things and costumes that one should never, ever find in a mental health institution, no matter how evil and corrupt its leaders are. Once you take a walk on the wild side, however, things are never the same, and this is the first haunt I’ve ever seen where those weird other rooms actually made perfect sense.

I could go on and on about this haunt, because there are several other things they’re doing so well, little pieces of innovation that seem so simple but that really tie the experience together (my favorite was an elevator that actually seemed to let out on a different floor due to some quick wall changes), but if I do that we’ll be here all night. Suffice to say that this may not be the goriest haunt you’ll see all year, or the most intense, or the loudest, or the smelliest, but I definitely give it my most innovative haunt of the year award. And fortunately everything else in the Springs is fantastic this year too, so there’s plenty of reason to go down and see what else the area has to offer as well.

Pros: Cool concept, excellently-executed psychological terror with just a dash of existential dread, innovative ideas that the industry would be wise to take notice of

Cons: I had a little bit of a hard time hearing some of the actors over the sound effects in their rooms, a couple of the very first rooms didn’t have the same level of detail that the rest of the haunt did further on

Jason Peterson

This is my second haunt and is under the same roof as Ghoul’s Gulch. This haunt has a very cool story line. It starts in 2D and I was just a visitor; once it switched to 3d I was able to see my surroundings through the eyes of the insane! Lots of new gags and scenes to discover in this new attraction. Some very clever thought went into this little gem. One scene in particular,we had two Guys dressed in dark suits directing us back and fourth looking for a button! This was way too chaotic and unnerving!

I enjoyed the 3D painting through the last half of the haunt. At one point I had to put on the 3D glasses they provided me with, just before entering the 3D section. It got more intense the further I went. Its not just on the walls either! A few areas had very cool paint in the ground as well. The 3D was done very well and the actors costumes and makeups look super cool.

I cannot wait to see what new ideas these haunters think of next! This could be the next big thing in haunting. I know 3D has been around for a long time and I have seen a few haunts try it, but these folks have the formula down!

Pros-Best 3D adventure, Very different ways to approach scenes

Cons- Next to another great haunt! Now you gotta pick one!

Peyton Lucero

Entering this haunt was a lot different than most. The unique thing about it was that we greeted a clerk who was standing behind a blocked off medical booth and instructed us to proceed through the doors to enter what seemed to be a psych ward. There we would encounter all the loons and psychos throughout the hospital and hear the craziness spouting through there mouths. Not only would we hear the craziness, we would actually see it through their eyes in the 3D portion of the haunt!

The Sanitarium, I thought, was well built and structured. The sets almost felt like they lacked some detail, but as I progressed through the looney bin, the crazier and more detailed it got. I loved the 3D visuals I got from here. They really captured my attention and made me want to stop and observe the detail even more! It was everywhere, from wooden & piped walls all the way to different steps & pathways on the ground. A few rooms that really stood out to me was the sewage/ dump scene. The texture in there, from the walls up. made me gross out and not want to touch anything. The scenery in there was pretty gruesome! It would be kind of cool if there was a little smell added to go along with the ooze of filth. 🙂 Another room that caught my attention was the spider room.

The actor had great dialogue and I liked how all the little spiders broke out and took over. At one point, the actor was screaming and shouting at us to look at his face. When I did all I really saw was blood. He had some great energy, but maybe to make him even more legit, add some pus boils or spider sacs melded to his face and maybe throw in a couple baby spiders on his face and body to help pull off the effect of infestation. Just add some latex and cotton balls to make a buildup of bumps & boils.

There was a lot of actor intensity and good dialouge used throughout this haunt. Many of the actors were on time for the scare & a lot of them stayed consistent with my group until we fully entered the next one. I did feel at some points through the first half of the haunt that there wasn’t enough or any makeup on actors. Even though the make up wasn’t there, the actors intensity, enthusiasm, and heart was shown all the way through. Because the actors are psycho people and not zombies, the make up becomes a little easier to apply. Small subtle wounds, like cuts, scratches, boils, etc… are always a good effect and pretty quick to make.

The sanitarium is an enjoyable haunt to go to. It’s great for just you & a friend or the entire family. It has great entertainment and provides a live expo show to enjoy before or after the haunts. It’s called Dr. Von Kitsch, who is also the spokesperson, and his show contains old oddities, reptiles, arachnopods, and more! Come get your mind wowed by, some out of the ordinary, 3D visuals. They just might have you spinning and losing your balance a lot! It’s a fun show for sure!

Pros: paintings, visuals, acting

Cons: needs more make up in areas, could use a little work on dialouge, plastic 3D glasses

Marlena Baker

Now this is a haunt with a theme. It was described to us as a narrative where, while we enter as guests, we gently, or not so gently, join the inmates in their madness. I like the idea and I love their execution.

From the beginning we are met with a somewhat unsettling scene, but still mostly normal. I love the use of the uncanny valley. It’s when something seems just a little off of normal, and that can be the creepiest thing of all. We generally like things that are normal to be fully normal and things that are horror be off on their own. When the two mix it’s very unsettling. The first thing we were greeted by was a receptionist’s desk for the sanitarium, normal but with a hint that something wasn’t quite right. As we moved through the haunt that feeling grew. Sparse, clean rooms gave way to masses of paper and blood on the walls. Panicked nurses hinted that something had gone very wrong.

Then, the switch happened. This is where the 3d comes in. We were given 3d glasses that made the neon paint on the walls and some actors pop out at us. It’s the best use for this paint I’ve seen yet. The paintings on the wall were subtle and creepy. I never found a point where they just slapped some polka dots on the wall. Instead there were monsters jumping out at me, distracting me so that an actor could catch me unaware. The inmates even put on an impromptu circus for us. I know I’m usually one of the reviewers who hates the sudden circus, but I liked this one. First and foremost it didn’t suddenly change the tone of the haunt. It was circus themed, but in the same tone that I’d seen up to that point. It also wasn’t childish, hoping to just rely on someone’s fear of clowns. It was downright creepy in its own right.

The actors in that section were some of the best too. They led us astray, taking us eventually back to the first room, but they did such a great job of managing the groups that we didn’t run into each other. The other actors didn’t disappoint either. There weren’t any dead spots. At first the acting seemed sparse and lower key that I’m used to in a haunt, but it was all part of the narrative. As we wandered further into insanity, the acting ramped up with the sets, build up very nicely.

Sanitarium tickled all my favorite haunt features. Great narrative, stellar execution, and wonderful atmosphere. The beginning, the hospital felt like a hospital. The use of 3d paint to give us the sense that we’re the crazies now, that we’re seeing things that aren’t there is genius. This is a great haunt. If I have one complaint, it’s that I didn’t get enough. I would have loved to spend longer getting to know my madness. Go check out this haunt. Join the crazies; we’re waiting for you.

Pros: solid narrative, fun actors, use of 3d paint

Cons: Not quite long enough for me

Kennedy Horstmeyer

Sanitarium 3D is in the same location as Ghouls Gulch but has a very different feeling once you enter. This haunt is themed as an insane asylum with parts being 3D. There is so much happening at once it almost makes you feel like you are crazy.

I wouldn’t say this haunt is a screaming, running type of scare. The scare is more of you are going crazy, don’t know what is happening, which I LOVE. The intensity of the theme and the actors definitely scared me. At one point I popped a bubble and the way the actors responded definitely made me jump and wonder what was going to happen next because of what I had done.

The acting in this haunt is one of my favorites this year. They did so well portraying that they were crazy and were hallucinating. The interaction of the actors whether it be in your face redirecting you, behind props or just sitting in the scene. With several of the actors you could say something or do something and get a reaction that fit the character being played. Some actors stood out more than others because of their involvement and demeanor, or that they were in a more simplistic room.

The props and sets were very beneficial in the theme. Throughout the haunt the props were realistic and created something I had never experienced. Multiple times in the haunt you are redirected through the same area but with a different demeanor. You may come into a room experience movement of the set and then enter a new room all within seconds. In part of the haunt the sets become 3D. You put on the glasses and see different faces and objects coming at you as you continue to walk through. One of my favorite things about this section of the haunt is a giant clown mouth that comes at you.

The length of this haunt was perfect. You were given enough time to be immersed into the full theme and to begin wondering if you would ever escape. There was so much but so little happening it made the haunt seem longer.

To improve this haunt I would provide props that were mentioned such as a red button. This just makes the scene more interactive and like you truly are a part of the asylum.

Pros- 3D, intensity, redirection

Cons- missing red button, scare

Regina Kropelnicki

Are you looking for a crazy, fun, and scary good time? Then head down to Sanitarium 3-D! Sanitarium 3-D is located in Colorado Springs and is the 2nd haunt at its location alongside Ghouls Gulch. I HIGHLY recommend seeing both of them as they are well worth your money.

I have not been to many 3-D haunts, but I never was very impressed with the few I have seen. Sanitarium 3-D did the 3-D so well! The whole thing is not 3-D though, so if 3-D is not quite your thing, don’t worry, this haunt is amazing and it’s more of the ending that is 3-D.

I loved the theme of this haunt because there are insane people in this world which makes it believable. I truly started to feel like I was in an insane asylum and was wondering if I would be admitted after this experience. The acting was right on through the whole haunt. I don’t think any actor missed a beat and their timing was excellent. I loved one of the girls who I ran in to twice screaming things like “Crazy! She thinks I’m crazy! Why does she think I’m crazy?!” while pointing to the poor nurse sitting down with a blood covered face trying to figure out where she went wrong. Once you find a room with strobe lights, be ready to experience an insane ride with some of the sanitarium patients!! I was getting screamed at while feeling rushed and panicked to find the button. I felt so much panic and fear through this part, I couldn’t believe it. It was nothing I had felt in any other haunt ever. So well done!

I enjoyed the “elevator” ride to reach the 3-D side. Before exiting the elevator, the lovely attendant will hand you your 3-D glasses and send you on your way. I really enjoyed how well they did with the set. I had so much fun looking at everything.

The actors makeup seemed to even be done to appear 3-D. All of the clowns were so awesome and their makeup and costuming was great. To me, they almost seemed like the overly happy insane type which is scary to me. I would not have even noticed this had Jason not pointed it out, but you actually go through one of the clown rooms twice, with them using nothing but blocks to block where you go through your second time through. Once he pointed this out to me, I stopped and looked to be sure and I was so impressed! What amazing timing they have to be able to pull this off! Sometimes, when reaching the end of the haunt, I find myself going “Oh man, it’s over already?”, but not with this one! I felt a sense of relief as we were exiting like I had finally found safety. Ahh so well done!!

Overall, this haunt to me is amazing! They did the sanitarium theme so well, better than I have seen anywhere else. The acting, costumes, and makeup were perfect. I really did feel like these people may be a tad crazy. The scare factor and intensity for me were perfect! Even if you live in the Denver area, I would definitely make it a point to head to Colorado Springs to see what they have to offer, you won’t be disappointed!

Pros – Strobe room, amazing actors, fun 3-D

Cons – The only con for me is that they are a bit of a drive from where I live

3910 Palmer Park Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO
  • $15
  • $20 VIP
  • $26 Combo ticket for Ghouls Gulch & Sanitarium 3D
  • $35 VIP Combo ticket for Ghouls Gulch & Sanitarium 3D
September 26th-27th  7-10pmOctober 3, 4, 5, 9, 12th & November 1st. 7-10pmOctober 16, 19, 23, 26, 28, 29 & 30th  7-11pmOctober 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 & 31st  6-Midnight
Ghouls Gulch
Ghouls Gulch Is Proud To Announce Our Newest Creation Of FEAR!
Sanitarium 3D Haunted House Is Colorado Springs newest Haunted House and only Haunted House in Southern Colorado with a 3D experience! This brand new haunted house takes you on a journey through the Eyes Of The Insane with 3D Glasses.