Outreach Director, Tessa Morrison here reporting my findings from the press party for House of Torment. I attended with fellow horror hounds from Blood Over Texas and we got the behind-the-scenes tour of the new haunts. If you have never been to House of Torment before, this is the year to go! Or if you’ve been already, it is worth a repeat visit because they have different themes and upped their game. The themes this year are Blackthorne Penitentiary (zombies), Darkest Dreams (dream demon), and Trick or Treat (witches, ghouls).
One of the highlights of the haunts are the performers decked out in full costume, faces painted/masked, with a full commitment to their role. They will pop out to scare you or follow close behind you quietly and then do a snarl in your ear. No worries though, performers are not allowed to touch you (and you are not supposed to touch them either).
This year also touts new and improved animatronics. Some are motion-detected so the timing is just right, and they pop out as you round a corner. Even the stationary creature statues are professionally sculpted and painted. I was duly impressed by the paint job on one that was supposed to look wet and decomposing in a bathroom scene.
Taking things to another level they've piped in smells via the fog machines. Smells like urine, burning flesh, and dirt. I found this a nice touch to the whole experience and added a layer to the horror by getting our sense of smell engaged. When you walk through, see if you can catch hints of these charming aromas.
I was a big fan of the Darkest Dreams haunt with the disorienting* rooms and the vortex**. Most people have nightmares at some point and sleep paralysis is a real thing so this theme is super relatable. So, if zombies don’t scare you then this might be more your jam. In addition to the three haunted houses there are two bars, a VIP room, a gift shop, photo op mini-sets, carnival games, and mini escape rooms. So, there is plenty of opportunity for photo ops outside of the haunts as you are not allowed to do any photography or video once you’ve entered the exhibit.
For those that like the mini-escape rooms and puzzles, there are larger escape rooms around the corner at Mindspark! I highly recommend them; we got to try out the one called Terminal. It was pretty hard and we nearly solved it … but not quite. If you are not familiar with escape rooms, it is a room that you look around and solve puzzles until you meet the set goal which varies from room to room. It’s a great team-building exercise and you might just find out a friend’s hidden talent.
Don't have any plans for Halloween this year? Well now you do! Go to House of Torment for a spoopy good time!
* I’d advise against wearing high heels, they have a hand railing, but if you get startled you might take a tumble.
**Drinkers might want to wait on any heavy drinking until AFTER you do the Darkest Dreams haunt.