Elitch Gardens is right in the midst of their Fright Fest event and this is their best season in years! Everything has gone Halloween in a much bigger way than in years past and it shows everywhere you look. The midway has a new look this year with more of everything in terms of decor down to eerie new names for all the stores. Well done! Zombies are rampant throughout the park, the stages have tons of fun and gore happening, Trick or Treating during the day for the little ones, a very cool Séance and two haunted houses to round out the experience!! Elitch gardens has it all in one central location and don’t forget there’s awesome rides on top of everything else!! Where else can you have this much fun in a day and night??
While I could go on and on about all the park has to offer, I’m here to talk haunts; a specific haunt: Terror Chamber 2. The name fits for sure, that’s my first observation as I realize the concept of the newest innovation this year, and what a brilliant one it is!! Hey! Let’s make a pitch black haunt, throw a guide rope in to show some level of mercy and let guests have at it!! What do you say? I’m not being mean here; I’m actually trying to make a point. My above statement reflects the base core of the concept of Terror Chamber 2 and its simplicity is ingenious and long overdue here. Kudos to Elitche’s for mastering what we’ve said year after year. Use the KISS principle and you can never go wrong; KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid. Simplicity in haunting lends fantastic results as Terror Chamber 2 demonstrates. The more complex a scare, the more likely it is to fail. Badly. Simple scares work best because they allow a patron to become involved somehow and let their imaginations begin to run away; that is when the true fun begins.
Terror Chamber 2 is located in the bath house near the water park and makes a perfect backdrop for a haunt like this one. The buildings construction keeps it naturally cool and that cooler temperature comes into play later. Remember it.
Although I knew in advance that the haunt is pitch black in most areas and that there was only a rope to find my way with, there was something terrible in hearing those words pass the lips of the girl taking tickets at the door. I quickly thought, “This is easy…grab the rope, follow it, I’m out. What’s the big deal?” I then immediately had the realization that whoever had come up with this idea wasn’t going to let such a fabulous canvas go to waste and that’s when the bottom fell out from underneath me. I hoped, as I entered through the blackened doors that the darkness wouldn’t last the entire haunt. It didn’t, but watch what you wish for, you just might get it.
I stepped inside and along with my group, took a hold of the heavy rope that hung waiting for us. The rope is high, too high in fact in many places and this is really my only complaint. While I understand the need to suspend higher so no one clothes lines themselves in the dark, I had to give up trying to hold onto it and just feel for walls a lot of the time. I could be way off base and that too could be deliberate to throw patrons off. If that’s the case, it works!
The scare factor was higher than I anticipated as I fumbled my way through. Our group quickly became separated and I found myself with other lost souls which was unnerving because I didn’t know if I could trust them; they could have been actors there to throw me off, I had no way of being sure and not knowing who I was entrusting my safety to really was frightening. Even more scary than that was calling out, only to realize I was completely alone and lost in the dark. (A well timed whisper in the ear from an actor would be epic at times like these!)
Then there was the awkward groping of strangers in the dark and being groped back that turned the whole lot of us trapped in there into a bunch of giggling kids, and for that moment, I reclaimed a piece of lost childhood. A slumber party a million years ago, somebody cuts the light and there is an instant, frenzied scramble; bumping into each other in the dark, hands outstretched, tripping, laughing and having a blast trying to simply find the light switch. See? There’s that simplicity again. That experience was a very unexpected nostalgic trip and it was very cool.
As I finally broke away from the group I had found myself giggling with moments ago, I stumbled onto one member from my group and together we blindly worked our way forward. I had goose bumps from fearing what I might bump into in the darkness; I periodically put my hand out and touched cool painted cinder block. (Did you remember?) The texture, combined with the coolness were like touching a high voltage shock wall there in the darkness. The startle is stunning.
It’s really hard to score actors as there honestly were so few needed in here, so my score reflects both quantity and quality. The actors I encountered throughout did a good job overall even if a few scares were missed along the way; they really weren’t needed since the dark was making me scare myself anyway.
I did encounter a couple of actors both in the beginning and the end of the haunt that stood out to me, even though I barely saw them. Their timing was impeccable and their sounds and dialogue were well done.
Sets. Well again, this is an interesting new set to rate however the darkness was the set and it worked really well. There were a few places along the way that the darkness gave way to a pinch of light and in these rare moments there were props jumping out of the darkness to give me a start and there was also an area where the darkness gave way and blinding light poured in, brutal after being in the dark for so long. Strobes were extremely disorienting and if they weren’t enough, the heavy fog should finish me off.
Length was perfect in my opinion. What’s left to say?
This haunt overall was a scary ton of fun that deserves to be seen; it is unique and has nothing but potential. Go check it out along with all the other great activities, events and rides happening at Elitch Gardens now during Fright Fest!
Pros: Unique theme, scary in a new way, fun
Cons: Rope too high in places, could use more creepy dialogue from
Elitch’s haunts may not be the most hard-hitting we see all year, and they might not score fantastically well on our rubric all the time, but I will say this for them: every year I come here, I see some unique piece of innovation that I’ve never seen anywhere else before and probably never will again when I leave. Elitch’s is the first location I ever saw with an actor inside its claustrophobia bags, the first that ever gave me my own flashlight to explore with, and now, this year, the only location to put me in a pitch black haunt with only a rope to guide me.
Within a couple of rooms, the light totally vanishes, leaving you stumbling around in the absolute, “can’t see your hand in front of your face”-level darkness, hanging on to a rope high above your head as your only means of getting around.
It’s a bit difficult to know what to say, because so many conventions are broken here that our normal scoring model has to adapt a bit. The sets and effects are very sparse, but we only opted to rate the few things we could see as to how effective they were, rather than mark the haunt down for the lack of sets in the pitch blackness. The distinction, we thought, was that in this case, the haunt set out to do what it intended to do, rather than being found guilty of just sort of throwing something together at the last moment.
The actors were pretty intense coming at us out of the darkness, but there was little to no dialogue in their interactions with us, so at this point the most I can do is give them due credit for being able to locate us in the pitch blackness, time after time without missing anything.
There are places in the haunt where the rope just disappear into the ceiling and you have no choice but to make your way on alone, and after that’s done with, you’d be surprised just how happy you will be to see your old friend the rope again, like a dog greeting its owner after a long day at work. Thank you, rope, for being here for me! Only you understand me, rope. I thought you were dead, I don’t know how anything works!
It just goes to show you, there’s something for everyone, and even if you don’t find It right away, it’s worth looking somewhere else until you do find it.
Larger groups than normal can enter the haunt at a time because of the darkness and the rope factor, so the odds are pretty good that you’ll end up coming out with someone other than who you went in with, but that’s all part of the fun. Be prepared to get to know some strangers the best way possible – in the dark!
That… didn’t sound right.
Pros: Unique, Psychologically unsettling, good pacing is basically forced
Cons: Is a little sparse, without the rope mechanic it’d be done in five minutes
Review coming soon!
Elitch Gardens is one of the many exciting places to visit in Denver, but becomes even more of a thrill ride once October hits. This amusement park has 3 attractions total, not including the plethora of rides that are available at any time of the night or day. Walking into the amusement side, I see lots of zombies roaming around and terrorizing the patrons. This year really ramped up the game at the entrance, cause right away, I felt like I was in a haunted house. The stores were decked out to match the aroma of the dead along with the store names to flow with the theme. I could tell there was a lot of work put into building the outdoor facade. It was very well detailed with tombstones, fog, gravel and fencing and so much more! Great start to the night.
I finally approach the Terror Chamber and am told that all there is to guide me is rope and to hold on tightly. Hearing that made me wonder just exactly what I’ve gotten myself into. Walking, or should I say cautiously walking through this haunt, I experience many senses and feelings that disturb my comfort level. First, I’m thrown off that we have to hold on to a rope the entire time and second, my vision plays tricks on me, knowing I’m in the dark or a fogged out strobe area, and the ropes are no longer there. Now that’s some very well played mind games! This haunt executed the fear and disorientation fantastically. The few actors that were in here did a good job at being continuous with the scares. One thing I think might help and prevent from traffic jams and bumping into people is maybe have the rope waist to mid-torso high instead of in the air. Plus, it also allows the little or short ones to partake as well.
This haunt was very entertaining and thrilling. Even though there really wasn’t any set work or detail, the lights and strobes of the haunt brought the rooms to life. The length wasn’t so bad, but in a way, getting out of the clustered mess was all I could think about. This is a great haunt if you like your mind being played with. It is a sensory over load and sometimes you just need out!
Pros: interactive haunt, disorientation, balance between light and dark
Cons: needs more actors, no set detail, traffic jams
Terror Chamber 2 is really different from the Terror Chamber of years past. This year they tried something completely new. It’s a great idea too. The concept is to deprive us of our sight, either in near complete darkness or in bright foggy rooms. There’s a rope for us to follow, though.
I was really excited going into this one. The concept sounds really fun and I did end up enjoying it a lot. It just needs a little ironing out. First and foremost, the rope is too high. When someone was grabbing onto another part they’d pull it down, raising up the other sections so I couldn’t even reach them. Kids will have even more trouble. It would be best if the rope could be at hip height. I’d guess they didn’t do that because they didn’t want it in the way. If not that, then I’d suggest that each section of rope stand-alone so that a tug at one end of a hallway doesn’t leave the rest of us without a rope. There were parts where they didn’t have rope, making us search blindly. One of those parts was a super dark room with an actor warning us, “Don’t follow the wrong rope!”. That was a really fun room and it did a great job of confusing us.
All the actors did a good job. I can’t comment on their costumes as I could only see hints of them here and there. Mostly they were there to make noise. They seemed very high energy, surrounding us, making all sorts of noises in the darkness. It’s very disconcerting. It’s hard to say if I found it creepier when they were there or when we were left in the dark alone.
This is one of the few haunts where a larger group will work. They grouped us with some other people and it wasn’t too bad. We all just stumbled around in the dark together. In the room where we lost the rope, it became a team effort to find it. Overall, it’s a very cool concept. I want to see it expanded and refined.
Pros: unique concept, uncomfortable darkness, good acting
Cons: rope too high, I would have liked more
Terror Chamber 2 is another haunt located in Fright Fest. This haunt scares by disorientation instead of using actors. Teamwork with the people in the group is key in this haunt.
This haunt was pretty scary because it is very dark, lots of fog and strobes. There were a few actors who did jump out and provide a scare. I am by no means afraid of the dark but this haunt is designed to use darkness, fog and strobes to disorient causing fear in all. Several times I stood still wondering where my group was, if I was alone and where to go next. I loved this form of fear because it is different. I think to make it a little scarier I would add noises in the dark or more actors.
Acting was limited but pretty decent. The actors planned their scares around the lighting of the haunt which definitely was a plus. The actors in terror chamber would jump with the lighting then move and be in your face again. Lighting was their advantage. I think the actors could follow the groups a bit more.
Terror Chamber isn’t heavy on props but there is detail and the darkness is a prop within itself. One of the most simplistic props was my favorite. To get through the haunt you use a rope. The downfall to this prop is the height it is at, I would love to see it more at waist level. Even with the height I still thought it was so unique, different and interesting it is my favorite. The few props that were illuminated were very detailed with realistic looks and authenticity. The lighting was another favorite to the sets. Strobes and fog illuminated parts of the haunt so much it caused disorientation on the opposite side of the scale. I never pictured disorientation by strobes or by darkness to build a full haunt, but I was very impressed.
The length of this haunt is perfect. I think if any longer it would have been an overload on the sensation and would have become really uncomfortable. I began to wonder if I would ever make it out which is right when a haunt needs to be finishing in my mind.
The darkness in Terror Chamber 2 took away senses, caused disorientation and required teamwork to be able to get through. I love this haunt in a very unique way because of its uniqueness and twist on fear of darkness. Great job for thinking differently to make a haunt interactive with the rope but blind with the usage of lighting.
Pros- dark, detail in props, unique
Cons- few actors, limited props, rope above head
|2000 Elitch Circle
|Fridays & Saturdays October 3rd – November 2nd6pm – 10pmSundays October 3rd – November 2nd6pm – 9pm|
|Frights wait around every dark corner in this labyrinth of black caverns. Follow the rope as it is sometimes all you have to guide you through this terrifyingly dark environment. But take heed this warning… you never know where the rope may lead. Are you afraid of the dark?!!Fridays & Saturdays 6 pm – 10 pm, Sundays 6 pm – 9 pm.|