2013 Review Team


Kris Kropelnicki – Team Lead / Critic

When I go to a haunt, I am looking for a complete suspension of disbelief and authenticity. If I am supposed to be in an old abandoned mansion, I want the experience to be just that. I’m looking at the set design, lighting, props, smells, costumes and make up. If the set looks authentic, yet smells like latex, that ruins the overall effect for me. Consistency of theme is important as well. The things that scare me most are the unknown, especially in the dark. Allowing the suspense to build makes for a much better scare for me.


Alex Gallegos – Webmaster / Critic

As far as I’m concerned a great haunt provides me with an experience that’s somehow new and different. Jars of blood with shrunken heads in them, prisoners reaching at me from their cells screaming, creepy clowns that jump out at me from behind doors and a wailing demon straight from the fiery depths of hell can all be entertaining, sure, but these set pieces have a tendency to wear a bit thin. Something unconventional – zombie uprising, aliens, robot apocalypse… even a deranged undead Betsy Ross who stitches a five point star onto each victim’s corpse will make me sit up and take notice just for the sheer novelty of a unique experience.


Marlena Baker – Critic

A haunted house needs atmosphere first and foremost. I look for a haunted house that really draws me in and keeps me nervous between scares. A cohesive theme always helps me stay in the mood and really believe I’m surrounded by horrible things. Good haunted houses don’t overplay one particular scare and keep the pacing steady so the crowds don’t detract from the mood.


Crystal Gallagher – Critic

I’ve never been to a haunt of any sort before. So, while I’m super excited (and rather nervous!) to be part of Spooky Colorado’s 2013 review team, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll like or dislike about haunts. What I can share is a bit about my feelings on the horror genre in general. I love suspense. To me, the most frightful video games and movies are the ones that get into my head, that prey on my psyche and make me feel helpless. And you build suspense with the right ambiance, all the little details coming together into a coherent, chilling whole. On the flip side, my biggest turn off in the horror genre is superfluous gore. I can appreciate special effects used appropriately, but if it’s overdone, I’m not a fan. Sure, I’ll be plenty grossed out, but I won’t enjoy it.


Jason Peterson – Critic

What I look for in a haunt is a consistent theme, if there is one present, and set design, which is a big deal to me. A good set can make me forget that I’m actually walking around inside a warehouse, a mall, a tent, or even a trailer. I like to feel immersed within the set and with the actor. Acting and costuming help polish and bring a good set together. It’s also important that actors never break character and stay relentless in disturbing or frightening me. I’m a huge fan of props, if used correctly. I enjoy all different styles of haunting. I’m also a big fan of line entertainment, it’s always fun getting pumped up before the big show. This isn’t a necessity but it’s a fun way to pass the time while you wait. Length is great as long as it doesn’t consist of to many dead spots or dark undecorated halls. I look for originality, lighting, sound, smells, humor, make-up, and costuming.


Peyton Lucero – Critic

I have been acting and haunting for some of Colorado’s finest haunts. I worked my way into set design, became an established make-up assistant, and jumped into character to begin the scaring to all who entered my world. I have helped build, tear down, and everything in between. I have a special appreciation for haunted houses and love just about any style of haunting, from old school vampires to zombie or alien infestations. I am a gore hound! I love gory props & make-up, and I think it’s important to light up the gore so I can see it! Lights, sound, smell, along with good acting, that’s what I’m looking for. Never say “boo!” and not a huge fan of the line “get out of my room!” either. I have not been able to see many of the haunts here in Colorado, so I definitely look forward to the new season as I’ve never seen it before.


Eric Gutterman – Critic

I started designing, building and operating haunted attractions and entertainment in 1996 and I always visit several other attractions each season.   This is my first season not working in the industry since 1996 and I am excited to be invited to join the Spooky Colorado review team. In my opinion a haunt should offer good startling scares first and foremost but recognize the details in supporting the scare.  I pay close attention to art direction, cleverly hidden actors, disorienting, otherworldly and challenging environments, the consistency of the attraction’s details in supporting a storyline, lighting and sound design, calculated scares and the performer talent, direction and energy.  I also appreciate humor in a haunt – I love it when I jump from being startled and then laugh at what scared me.  I come to be scared, entertained, and enveloped in an environment that transports me into the story with minimal suspension of disbelief.

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