Ghouls Gulch 2013

Scare FactorActingSets/FXLengthOverall

Kris Kropelnicki

Review coming soon!

Alex Gallegos

If you want to see an incredible haunt, you certainly don’t have to drive down to Colorado Springs from Denver, but if you decided you were going to do so, it would definitely be worth it to go to Ghoul’s Gulch. On the other hand, if you live in the springs anyway, then you have no excuse whatsoever, and you should probably pack up and go now (Maybe you’re sitting there smugly thinking, “Ha! My excuse is that I’ve already been!” but if that’s the case, then you know as well as I do that it’s incredible enough for a second run through. Now admit that I’m right and slink away in defeat).

These are about the best pieces of set work I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something. There are animatronics in here that are especially impressive, both in terms of their abilities and their sheer scale. At one point, a snake popped out at me that I was pretty sure could have actually eaten me, and there was a huge stone gargoyle sitting on a throne that stood up and bellowed at us when we entered the room that was about the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Some of them were disturbing because you couldn’t even tell what they were at the moment, like some enormous twitching thing in a meat locker and a plant with spiny arms and a mouth that seemed a little too friendly as far as I was concerned, and there were a lot of times I came around a corner only to look at the scenes of carnage and weirdness before and scream, “What the hell’s that?!”

People who’ve read my other reviews will know that one of my biggest problems with haunts is actors who are either incapable of participating in a little improv with me – or are unwilling to do so. That’s not to say that I go around calling out non sequiturs all throughout the haunt – well, I mean, sometimes, but that’s beside the point. I don’t just throw in whatever comes to mind to try to trip up the actors. But certain lines invite you to do or say something. Some of the biggest culprits are:

  • Will you play with me?
  • Won’t you stay with us?
  • Where are you going

And my all time favorite…

  • Help me! Get me out of here!

This is the biggest one. I imagine most people don’t say a word, or they just run, but if you ask me to get you out of a place, and I say, “Sure, come with me,” then you better have a damn good reason for not doing it when you brought it up in the first place. And to his credit, a guy in a jumpsuit in the graveyard did exactly that thing – he told me he couldn’t leave because his soul was trapped here. Stand up and take notice, everyone else: was that so hard?

It’s very easy to become disoriented in here, but the owners saw to that as well – several times I’d throw open a curtain only to be met with a very intimidating actor standing right in my face and telling me, “Wrong way!” which was effective because it not only got me to fall back like I was supposed to but it didn’t require breaking character, like often happens when an actor totally turns off their crazy to say, “That’s an actor door. Exit’s this way.”

Ultimately the Gulch crew have realized that if they can keep me immersed in the experience as long as possible then I’ll enjoy myself more, and be more enthralled by the entire haunt experience, and that’s a goal they pull off perfectly.

PROS: Great immersion, actors who can improvise, awesome props

CONS: None to mention

Marlena Baker

Ghoul’s Gulch was awesome. The beginning is creative and unique, and that same awesome set building doesn’t slow down at any point. The creepy atmosphere and neat effects does not flag or falter once.

The sets are amazing! They were detailed and varied. The haunt didn’t have much of a defined theme and the sets didn’t make much of one either. I think we were in someone’s house and that was brought up a few times, but there was a whole swamp and snake room that didn’t really fit, among others. That room did have one of my favorite animatronics, though. They went HUGE with the moving props. They have some really good ones and they only made them better by situating them in scenes that made sense. It really helped me stay immersed, even when I could hear the sounds of the prop moving. They paired them with sounds too, though they didn’t always cover the behind the scenes sounds. It was a good touch, none the less. There was a lot of detail, stuff that helped make each scene that much more immersive and real. Little stuff, like making the blood look wet, helps a lot. I also loved how the floor in the swamp room was a little tacky. My shoes stuck to it just enough to give it a cool effect but not so much that it was annoying. They threw in smells to scenes that had gross food or a wood fire. It all worked so well together.

The acting was the finishing touch. There were rooms that could stand on their own and there were rooms that couldn’t. Good news, the actors made it all work without a dull moment. They had a really high level of energy and well developed characters. One girl gave us the story of selling her soul and recommended we do the same. She was so very creepy. She wasn’t screaming about killing us or telling us to get out, but she was scary. I loved the subtle unnerving effect. Another area where the actors really shined was the very end. It’s an unassuming asylum themed maze where we were stuck with some patients. They worked well together trapping us in the maze and confusing us. One was very insistent that there was a button I needed to press on a blank wall. It was great.

Ghoul’s Gulch rocks. It has a few weak moments, but they are completely overwhelmed by all the great elements they have. Sets, props, illusions, actors, smells, and so much more create a spooky scream worthy experience. It is a fantastic haunt worth checking out.

Jason Peterson

This haunt has a beautiful front entry with a ghoulishly dead host dressed with his top hat and suit. He ushers us into the front entry to a circular shaped room with curtains and statues. Then the floor begins to spin! Our attention is focused on one wall and bam the door opens behind us. So we begin our journey into some of the finest set work and acting I have seen in a long time. This haunt oozes fresh and new and up to date. With the set walls and props, lighting and Fx. The painting seen throughout this haunt is fantastic. Any set walls that dont have a custom effect or dressing was painted with a skilled hand.

If you have a phobia of snakes you should avoid this haunt at all costs The snake room is epic! It’s hard to say what room I liked the most. I guess if I had to. Choose I would say the Doctor and the whole hospital scene was over the top entertaining and fun. The set in this scene could be used in a Hollywood film. The doctor and his assistant trying to get the patient to cooperate was complete madness. Scene after scene with great makeups and

Any masks used are very high quality, like the red demon walking the queue line out front. This guy’s costume and mask are really cool.

One thing I missed last season was a strong ending. Well this creative team of haunters did just that! I can’t explain exactly what happened, but there were no chainsaws present, no giant animations. Just three actors with control of your getting on to the exit! Pure insanity from these actors. It was fun loud confusing and a fresh way to end a fantastic journey without chainsaw fumes.

The acting in this haunt was phenomenal and believable. A few actors got caught of guard or showed signs of the inexperienced rookie. Watch your step in this haunt they just waiting to catch you of gaurd.

Pros-Sets!/Acting/ Props

Cons- Wish it was longer

Peyton Lucero

Entering the haunt, we are placed on this rotating floor with a dark, catacomb type feel to it. We are given the rules and as it turns us to the openening where we thought we were going to exit, it actually distracted us while a different actor came up behind me and opened the real door. I thought that was a very neat effect. From there, we are kicked out into the dark world that looks like it’s been taken over by gargoyles or something. This world is known as Ghouls Gulch and we were ready to begin our vast adventure through the thickness of the dark.

We enter this underground, tomb looking building filled with stones and architectural statues of demons and gargoyles. This room was very cool, very well set up, and had me excited to continue! Doing so, we came across a lot of gargoyles, spiders, maniacs of all sorts and much more! There was certainly way too much going on in order for us to focus on everything! The actors in these amazing sets were FULL of energy, loud, intense, in your face, in your comfort zone. and so much more it’s too much to name them all! You would just have to come down for yourself to find out everything.

The sets and detail that were put in this haunt were incredible and the props and animatronics they used to fill these rooms with flowed and balanced each other out perfectly. There was so much to look at! There was a forest like scene filled with everything a forest would have, like big trees, stumps, animals, hedges, mushrooms and more. There was also grandma’s house, a plant room with mutated, tentacle like plants, biochemical room, and the Jackal. That room was awesome! The guy who played the Jackal was very believable and the make-up and costume looked great. Awesome imagery and gorgeous set work. My favorite room was the asylum cell at the end. Man, what away to end the night! I won’t give everything away but let me start by saying wow! I was really impressed with the actors in there. There were about 4-5 actors with a huge maze cell room to roam around in and they used it to their full advantage. They were full of energy and there dialogue was spot on, nasty, and made your mind go carry, in a good way though! As I say, what a fantastic way to end the night.

 Ghouls Gulch is a fantastic haunt and is filled with amazing sets, animatronics, props, and over the top actors. Oh, might I add in that each actor / actress seemed to have their own make up & costume and I saw a lot that had their own contacts as well. That just shows that these actors mean business and know what they are doing. This haunt is packed full on with a punch with great set design, awesome props, animatronics; fantastic actors and are always ready to put a on show! I certainly got one and so will you if you come down and get the experience yourself. you will enjoy it just as much as I did!

Pros- set design & detail, make up and contacts, acting and dialogue

Cons- maybe some lighting in rooms, some actors seemed a little nervous starting dialouge but finished off strong

Crystal Gallagher

My main comment about this haunt: WOW! I was blown away. I could review this haunt with six words: Go here, you won’t be sorry. Seriously. But then Kris would make sad faces at me, so I’m going to tell you all the reasons why you should go here. Well, all the reasons that I can fit into a review of a reasonable length. Guarantee I won’t fit them all, but I’ll try to hit the main ones.

First off, the actors were phenomenal, and there were a ton of them. There were several staged scenes between actors which were very intense and believable. They were frightening, and they subtly set the pacing as well – you stayed to watch as much of the scene as you could stomach, then it was time to move on. It was quite brilliantly done. They had characters which they stuck to, but they also responded to things we said. I usually like to point out specific actors who I really enjoyed, but I cannot think of one in specific for this haunt, because I loved them all, from the doorman who pointed us in the wrong direction at the very beginning to the white haired ghoul who stalked us as we made our way out to the parking lot at the end.

I cannot think of anything that could be improved with set design. There were smells and sounds and tons of things to look at. I didn’t feel like animatronics were overused, and the ones that were there were amazing. There were so many things I liked, it would be a lot easier to point out what I didn’t like – nothing. The attention to detail was impeccable. All the little things added up to create total immersion. In the kitchen scene the microwave was on, with a light and the plate spinning. The stove burners were glowing as disgusting looking and smelling things cooked. The blood throughout looked wet. The ground in the cemetery area was squishy. Every aspect of the environment was used, including the ground beneath your feet. And the disfigured bodies, lordy! I won’t give away how, but there were a couple towards the end which were amazing and got me good. Be on the watch for those – you’ll know them when you see them. I also loved the room where we were herded and trapped, with no visible way to get out and several actors banging and jumping around us. You don’t get out of that room until they’re ready to let you leave… better hope they don’t like you too much for your own good!

Pros: Everything!
Cons: It ended.

Eric Guetterman

This is what it’s all about in my book! Well lit movie like sets, blood that looks wet enough to stain your clothes, great actors in great make up, and scare after scare after scare! I haven’t had this much fun at a haunted house in a long time.

The sets were generally beautifully done and illusions built correctly so the method of deception was not visible. The scenic accuracy and focused detail communicated the scenario quickly as you entered the room, bringing you into the demented actor’s reality. Room after room my jaw dropped open in awe as I entered a new environment, usually a split second before a perfectly timed performer scare hit me in the diaphragm forcing out a scream. The make up was good to great, with one blind woman’s unfocused stare undoubtedly casting some evil spell onto us through the cloudy milky white of the cataracts ruining her sight. Even the smells accentuated the reality, with a particular burning flesh smell seemingly stuck to my clothes after we left but likely just burned into my mind instead.

The actors seemed mostly to be seasoned pros, with their characters, intensity and timing spot on even on our very early season visit. Attacking from multiple angles, teaming up, clever dialog and some blood fixing screams added a variety to the actor’s scare techniques. At one segment of our experience a woman gave me a good scare and then transmogrified into an impossibly contorted creature with a twisted yet seemingly agile method of movement. One small complaint is it did seem that too many of the performers focused on scaring the front of the group. I hope they are flexible enough so that on a busy night when groups are larger or run into each other the actors can work at scaring different segments of the group and not leave everyone in back of the group disappointed.

The animatronics and pneumatics they used were timed correctly to hit at least one person in each group with an enjoyable scare. The shifting and moving floors in different sections of the haunt added to the physical challenge of the experience which I personally enjoy. This house offered several disorienting areas that added to my helplessness in avoiding the torturous actor’s hard hitting scares. The designer/builders of this haunt’s successful use of some magician’s illusion techniques should be an example to the many haunted houses I’ve seen through the years who’s weak attempts at an operating table illusion are more comical than believable.

There were too many great sets to begin to start a list, but the combined effect of the theatrical arts employed in setting the stage for the relentless performers haunting this Ghoul’s Gulch left me wishing all haunts were this good!

Pros: Scenic Arts & Lighting
Detail without overload

Cons: Front of group focused scares left some in back wanting more
Lack of compelling storyline
I don’t live in Colorado Springs so I have to drive a ways to go back

3910 Palmer Park Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO. 80909
  • $15.00
  • $20.00 VIP
  • $20.00 Ghouls Gulch & Mind Seizure
  • $30.00 VIP Ghouls Gulch & Mind Seizure
September 13, 14, 20, 21 And October 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, 29, 30 And November 1, 2  7-10pmSeptember 27 & 28 And October 4, 11, 18, 25 & 31st   7-11pmSeptember 5, 12, 19, 26  6:30-11pm
Ghouls Gulch

  • Tyler

    How can you give 9’s and 10’s for length??!! I’ve been through there, and tons of my friends… It only took 5 minutes to go through the whole place!! Ghoul’s gulch really sucks!! Pathetic.

  • Kris

    Hi Tyler!
    Thanks for commenting. I’m sorry your experience was not what you expected and can only say that our reviews are based on each critics experience when we went through the haunt. We had a great time and really enjoyed the production. We actually time each haunt when we go through and we timed Ghouls Gulch at 23 minutes, which for a haunt is a great length. Were you and your friends hurrying through the haunt to clock a 5 minute time? There is only one haunt we’ve ever seen that was very short and it was timed at 8 minutes and that was years ago.

    Because haunted houses are a live show, anything and everything can happen and each visitors experience varies based on personal preferences, actor timing, prop functionality and so on. We have actually gone into the same haunt several times in one evening to see just how much it can change and we were astonished by the results. There were times we scored it perfectly, times we didn’t. Times we went through quickly because people behind us were rushing through and hurried us along, times where we caught up to others because they were stopped dead in their tracks. Haunted houses and all live shows are tricky business, it’s impossible to please everyone.

    We’d love to see your review of the haunt, as would the owners I’m sure. It’s always good to get feedback about what’s working and what’s not. If you’d like to write up a review here in the comments, we’d be happy to share it with the owners.