Underworld 2014

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Kris | Alex | Jason | Marlena | Kennedy | Regina

Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall

Kris Kropelnicki

The Frightmare Compound brought us the Underworld Costume Shop last year and this year that shop has grown, relocated and has a haunted house named after it as well at the same location in Northglenn in an empty grocery store space. Looking back at the words I just typed gives me the feeling that this is an interesting combination here and all manner of strange things are apt to happen.

I left out a key piece; a very key piece. The haunted house itself is being built by the Henry brothers of Decimation fame three years ago. Remember Decimation? If you went to either one, you’ll never forget.

Now that I have that out I can say with certainty that yes, some very bizarre things are happening at this haunt and above that, some extremely disturbing and frightening ones as well.

Pulling up to a long abandoned grocery store that I once shopped at gave me a funny feeling. Definitely a bit creepy all by itself; like I was committing some sort of sacrilege by prowling around it’s stripped shell. I wasn’t expecting that at all, but there it was and it helped set the mood to see the beginnings of a long awaited resurrection.

The entrance is a bit normal for a haunt in spite of having a large prop there. Because this is a store, there are many challenges this build crew faces still and the entrance is a minor one. The bigger challenge is the sheer size of the space here. This is a vast space and filling it will be a challenge. I have full confidence in the ability of this crew; given time, they will turn the entire building into a horrifying event!

Walking in I see that the costume store is to my right and the haunt to my left. I of course immediately go to the left! Before me stood a ramshackle old house that could easily be out in the deep woods,(great way to backfill empty space around outside of haunt) the plank board construction showing weathering and age was a nice touch. The queue area is quite large and seems disproportionate to the haunt itself and it did make the haunt appear smaller than it is from the outside. Don’t be fooled. Remember the vast amount of space? It makes everything short of a football field appear small. Optical illusions are fun.

There was also a DJ off to the side blasting techno music and for me this was a major distraction and stripped some of the overall creepy mood with its sheer volume alone. Blasting techno and creepy houses do not mix; no offense, but ditch the club sounds and simply loop a track of eerie music and the overall effect will be much better

As I approached the front porch of the house I met up with an old codger that I personally was thrilled to see! The actor before me in bib coveralls with his creepy backwoods charm is one of the best, longest running actors in town and he was playing this new role to the hilt! He gets this look in his eye, when he’s watching you from the corner of it that is the most evil, malice filled stare I have ever encountered. I have goose bumps now just thinking about it. Outstanding as always and he is merely a mild introduction to the scares and characters I was to meet within this house of horrors!

The scare factor here is very good and scores will only go higher as this season progresses and characters are fully developed and matured. I reviewed this haunt on its opening night so everyone was still finding their niche. My scares came from sets and from actors only which is delight. Not one scare from a prop or an animatronic in this haunt and for me, this was refreshing in and of itself.

As I moved from room to room I found myself incredibly creeped out in some areas and downright scared in others.

If you’re tuned in you will feel the malicious energy coming off the actors and that vibe in and of itself is enough to make most people run. Tie your shoe laces before you go in, don’t need anyone tripping when they make a break for it.

Yes, the vibe is that strong here. Don’t worry if you’re not the tuned in type, the evil in this house will make sure you feel every last bit it has to offer. The kind of scare served up here is the kind that seeps into your soul and festers, oozing terror into your brain, night after endless night after the sun goes down and you’re afraid to close your eyes. It stays with you long after the haunt ends.

The acting here was overall very, very good. Remember, this was opening night and actors are finding their best tactics to terrify the masses and fine tuning them. With this in mind, there were a couple of actors that need some dialogue work and by now I am sure that it has come a long way already. There were some performances that stood out and still have me disturbed. Grandpa, raging while swinging his cane at me is one of them; his costuming is so good I find myself upset because this little old man is so enraged at me. It’s a part well played. The psycho in the kitchen definitely made me feel very unwelcome but when I arrived in the dining room that’s when I knew I had to get out of this house of hillbilly horror. An extremely well versed, polite man was in there, with another man, (I’m not telling the rest) and this gentleman was asking if I would like to stay for dinner. Initially it seemed harmless enough until I saw what was on the menu that evening; I felt it best to graciously decline. While this actor said nothing weird whatsoever, his creeper vibe was putting out radioactive energy that was better than if he had gotten in my face and threatened me directly. Incredible!

Next up was a tall bloke in a tuxedo with an eye patch. He was disheveled in spite of his tuxedo and that sharp contrast to the previous gentleman was scary somehow. It didn’t make sense that Mr. Perfect would allow such lack of personal care, yet here he was all the same. His tall lumbering frame towered over me as his whispered terrible, horrifying things in my ear. Then, with the finesse of a true artist, he stepped back as though finally allowing my passage only to spat and hiss his contempt for me at a distance that was so uncomfortable my knees nearly buckled. He had my full, undivided attention and still does. Most excellent!!

Remaining actors were also very creepy and I especially liked the woman in the bedroom, sitting at her vanity mirror admiring her newest look. She asked what my group thought of her look as we entered and wanted to know if she was pretty; when we realized where her new look came from, we got out of there and fast.

The little girl in the bedroom…GOOD GRIEF IS SHE SCARY!!!! That’s all I’m saying about her because I can’t give it away and even if I could, I could never articulate just exactly how she got me, but man did she!!! She’s very, very good in her role!!

Actors in the end of the haunt had less defined roles when I went but again, like the others, did a great job of giving me the heebie jeebies. I’m anxious to see how everyone has defined their characters so a return visit this season is a must!

Sets here are what most would call sparse or unfinished in a lot of areas. While there were some spots that did need a bit of polish, a great deal is completed and the sparseness is deliberate. To clarify, the sets and props are not sparse in the least, the sets are raw. What’s the difference you ask? The difference is that sparse is a haunt that has very few props and set details while raw is a set that has deliberately stripped away the unnecessary elements, allowing the actors full creative license to use the full scene space, rather than a small area. In doing this, it allows actors to really execute commanding performances with no restriction to their body movements which is critical in an actor driven haunt, which this is.

When I first encountered a raw build from this crew in 2010, I really thought they were in some serious trouble; I couldn’t have been more wrong. The performances delivered made the “sparse” sets come to life in a way I never could have expected. The same is true now.

There will be some final adjustments and tweaks made I’m sure, but no matter what is done to sets, the actors’ performances will turn the sets into masterpieces, just like magic. Watch throughout for the little details like fresh looking gore and innocuous pictures that somehow are disturbing; they solidify the horror here.

I enjoyed the floor plan here because it felt like a proper floor plan for a house, not a zig zag pattern back and forth. Moving from room to room seemed right as well as room order, it all made sense.

Even heading for the backyard seemed in order as did the tool shed. Some ground cover here and fine tuning will have this area looking great!

The length was a bit shorter than I would have cared for, but as sets and scenes are adjusted here and there and final touches put on, I am confident the length will be the right size for the production.

Add this new/returning haunt to your list of haunts that need to be experienced to be fully believed and appreciated.

Not recommended for children or those faint of heart.

Pros: Acting, theme, details

Cons: A few actors need to define characters, DJ playing music in queue line


Alex Gallegos

Underworld is a pretty good production. I won’t beat around the bush, it’s nowhere close to being jaw-dropping when compared to some of the other haunts in the area. It’s true, there are haunts you can go to where the sets look like a Hollywood movie, and this is not among them. A lot of the haunts we review blast you with in-your-face spectacle from beginning to end, cluttering every single second with a 5-pronged assault on the senses. Underworld doesn’t do that. But there’s a difference between a haunt that thinks that it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread when it’s really a disappointment, and a haunt like Underworld that’s going to be climbing up the ranks every single moment, constantly shifting and evolving, because everyone in there loves finding creative ways to scare you. That is why you should go.

The biggest issue I saw with the haunt was the setwork. Underworld is put on by the same team who brought us Decimation a few years ago. That haunt, built inside an old school, was awe-inspiring, mostly because they used the pre-existing rooms to create their scenes; nothing feels quite as real as… well, actual reality. The best sets in this haunt were the ones that were out on the exterior walls of the building they were in – a disused grocery store – where you could see out into the structure of the building, or where pipes and bricks melded together to really make the place feel industrial. The crew used these areas as boiler rooms, and that’s the thing that’s most laudable – they turned the set work that they did towards creating rooms that they couldn’t get out of the building location itself, and used the building as a prop for the pieces it already provided – no reason to re-create the wheel, right?.

A lot of the sets are well detailed and interesting to look at; the biggest complaint I could really level was that they were spaced out a little too much. It seemed like there was more space in each room than they could fill with the props and actors to flesh out the room’s real meaning. I like it when there’s the odd large room instead of cramming everything in so tightly, but this goes a little too far in the opposite direction, making me feel like I have plenty of space between me and the scary stuff, which always makes things feel a little safe.

The effects that were present were fantastic, however, including a dummy that had had his face peeled off by the crazy psycho sitting next to the body, and I could tell that was the case because she was wearing it. I’ve never seen so accurate of a face peel, and the blood and skull were particularly horrifying.

The standout star of the show, however, is the acting, and when you think about it, that’s a tradition that’s gone on as long as there have been productions at all. Back in the days of classic sci-fi, for example, the sets were terrible. They’d wobble if someone closed a door. So the acting had to be good, because that was all that was left to sell it. Before that, Shakespeare’s actors in the Globe Theater had almost no sets to work with whatsoever, using dialogue and visual cues to create the rest in the audience’s mind. Underworld won’t make you imagine everything, but the same principle is true here.

The actors in this haunt are doing things that are new and different. They aren’t the same old played-out things we’ve seen a thousand times before, and that’s really refreshing. One absolute breakout performer got right up in my face, stared me down (with his one good eye), sniffed me and said, “I can smell your heart beat,” and then moved on, and it was so creepy, I just got chills up my spine again when I wrote it down.

Mark my words, good things are going to happen at this haunt, and it doesn’t strike me as the kind that would only change things up between seasons either. The whole thing should be improving consistently as time goes by, and I for one can’t wait to see what else this team comes up with.

Pros: The actors are very good and memorable, a few outstanding sets, good use of materials already in place at the site

Cons: The sets feel a little too open, leading to a sense of sparseness, outdoor areas need some more TLC

Jason Peterson

Review coming soon!

Marlena Baker

Underworld is a brand new haunt. There’s no real theme to this haunt as far as I can tell. It’s got some solid craftsmanship behind it and I enjoyed it a lot.

It starts off seeming like it’s a haunted house theme and that part was probably my favorite. The sets were sparse; there’s definitely room for improvement there. However, there were some really cool details throughout. The living room and the kitchen were okay, but the dining room was even better. I really loved the human torso we were graciously offered. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time for dinner. Further in, there’s a fantastic room with a partially skinned corpse that I just love. Their gore in general was very good. There was a head in a bucket and the blood looked fresh and wet. It was nauseating.

The actors were generally good, but there were some that really stood out. The actor in the dining room kept trying to get us to try the torso. Then there was the one eyed actor. He was dressed to the nines and quite the sweet talker. He was very good at engaging with us and he made some noises that made my skin crawl. There was this girl with a stitched up face that I loved. She was super creepy and her room was really well done. She had a line of faces in front of her as she tried them on. Ugh. The only issue is that there were some dead spots. As with the props, they need more.

It needs some work, but I see a really good foundation in this haunt. It seems to me that they have the skills to make a truly awesome haunt. I saw good sets, great props, and intense acting. They just need more of everything.

Pros: detailed props, intense acting

Cons: sparse sets, dead spots, needs polish

Kennedy Horstmeyer

Underworld has detailed sets and amazing actors. I cannot wait to see where this haunt goes and how it takes their strength in actors to improve the haunt. Part of Underworld Costume shop, you also get the chance to explore all the costumes, wigs, masks, etc.

I jumped several times as actors moved around their scenes to scare me. I think the biggest scare comes from they are in your face but not making it uncomfortable. Some of the actors were creepier just playing with props and eerily staring as you walked through. The eerie stares often are creepier to me than jumping out as you round the corner. I did love the amount of scare that was in this haunt because there is so much more to look at then a startle every corner. So kudos to the Underworld for finding a balance.

The actors are dead on amazing in this haunt. Their attitude provides a baseline strength that just builds as they interact and bring you into their world. Some sat back and watched, others would be there in front you following your steps. There is a different feel to these actors, they are intense but more as their personality not in your face. I love it. A few more actors and there would truly be a magnificent crew that blows your mind.

I was impressed with the sets but some areas were definitely a little bare especially in larger spaces. There was a lot of detail in each room that truly created the storyline. I was most impressed by a room where there are pieces of faces with an actor. The set work didn’t look cheesy and with the actor the scene was believable. Several rooms really stick in my mind because they had so many props that went with the scene, instead of having a few props.

I think the length was perfect. You were immersed just enough to want more but not to become bored. The big thing about length is being able to become part of the haunt. Loved it. I think adding actors and some more sets in larger rooms will really solidify the length.

Pros- actors, detail, length

Cons-scare, larger rooms have less detail

Regina Kropelnicki

When pulling up to Underworld, I found that it is inside of what used to be a grocery store. At first I thought this would kind of ruin it because I used to shop there sometimes as a teenager and I would just remember it as a grocery store, and not think of it as a haunt or allow myself to get lost in it. I think it actually worked for me though because it definitely has the abandoned feel which became kind of creepy. This is a haunt/costume shop combo with the haunt leading you out into the Halloween store to check out when you’re done. When you are getting ready to enter the haunt, you enter through a door of a house with boarded up windows. I love this idea! It would definitely help if the house looked more worn and the wood on the windows was not new. I think making it look like it had been abandoned for quite some time would add to the suspense and fear of what you may be entering. The acting in here was good and it is what made the haunt. I encountered “Grandpa” who was very upset about my group messing up his TV show and demanded we come back and fix it. His costume and makeup were great and I really felt like he was some old deranged grandpa. I also encountered a fellow with a messed up eye who can smell your heartbeat. He has such a creepy demeanor to him, he doesn’t  have to say much to put some fear into you. He was one who definitely tested the boundaries of personal space which is always a bit intimidating. I about died when I walked into a room with a girl asking if she was beautiful while wearing her beautiful “face mask”. You are also invited to Christmas dinner with some scary new friends who insist you stay and sit down for dinner. The main course consists of a torso of some unfortunate soul. This part really made me feel on edge! I really did enjoy parts of the set. I really enjoyed a room that had a bunch of old photos hung on the walls. I enjoy when normal things are thrown into the mix of the psychos. I think they have a ton of potential with this haunt and it’s set! They have a lot of room to work with should it continue in this location. I found that some rooms were a bit too open with not much going on in them. The length of this haunt was pretty good, not quite as long as I would like, but not bad. Overall, I had fun checking out this haunt and I really think they have some good ideas and some really good actors. This haunt does have some big potential and I hope it continues to build on what they already have as I think it can become very good!

Pros-acting, old photos, mask wearing girl

Cons-Set needs more detail/props, big open spaces, set needs more authenticity

1000 W. 104TH AVE.
Northglenn, CO 80234
  • $15
  • $25 VIP
Open October 10th – November 1st7PM – 10PM Sunday – Thursday7PM – Midnight Friday & Saturday
A small town family lived in what was once a nice, little farm house – until one day they got very, very sick. They didn’t know why, until one day the father went to the old well where they got their water. He noticed something odd about the water. The well had a mist rising up from it that was green in color. The father realized then that the well water was poisoned. The mysterious water did not kill the family, but it made them become violent and literally rot while they are alive…
…are you ready to visit the underworld?