Come on and scare me

By Dustin Gardiner, Danny Letz and Lindsey Sine

A&E’s storied reviewers size up this year’s haunted house offerings, complete with statistics to let you know how each one measures up in terms of the three most important aspects of any haunted house:

A. How stinky the actors’ breath is (10 being the best-smelling breath)

B. The quality of the scare the haunted house provides (10 being the best, most bladder-release-triggering scare)

C. The trashiness of the crown in attendance (10 being the least trashy).

Dare we say it? We hope you pee your pants-repeatedly.

Nightmare on 13th

300 W. 1300 South

$15, or $18 for Xtreme Nightmare scare

Monday through Thursday: 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 7:30 p.m. to midnight

Through Oct. 31

Since it’s Rocky Point Haunted House’s last year in operation, one could feel a special sort of giddy excitement in the air of archrival Nightmare on 13th.

It was an excitement that said, “Thank you, Jesus, we won’t have to be the underdogs for much longer.” And it was an excitement that brought the level of the show from crappy to?meh, still pretty crappy.

Nightmare on 13th is the degenerate haunted house that you look at while you wait in line and think, “it could be so much more if they just tried.”

For starters, Nightmare had nowhere near enough actors. There were parts of the haunted house in which it seemed as though they had just turned the lights off and made us walk around aimlessly in the dark.

We actually ran into walls.

If we wanted to be scared that way, we could just turn off the lights in a bedroom and run into the furniture like a bird into the windshield of a semi truck.

This year, the Nightmare, or the might-be-a-waste-of-your-time-mare, as we like to call it, on 13th has a little addition called “The Extreme!”

Wow!

It was supposed to be more intense than the rest of the haunted house-you know, a little more like a “nightmare.”

But in all actuality, it was, again, void of actors, so we were left to wander-again-aimlessly through dark rooms where, wow-stinky crappy water dripped from the ceiling onto us.

The best part was exiting the haunted house where we found cameras hooked up to televisions so that other guests could watch people walk through.

Great, now we feel like asses and we smell like poop.

The saddest part, though: their attempt to mimic Rocky Point’s theme of “Pirates of the Scaribbean.” There was just a guy walking around pretending to be Johnny Depp pretending to be Keith Richards. Was there going to be anything good about the “nightmare”?

Well yes, actually, the one saving grace of this place was that the actors didn’t have bad breath? phew.

STATS:

Breath of actors: 9.5

Quality of scare: -2

Trashiness of crowd attending: 10

Rocky Point

3400 S. State Street

$16

Tuesday through Thursday: 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 7:30 p.m. to midnight

Through Oct. 31

Why, why, why?

WHY is Rocky Point Haunted House closing its doors after this year?

On an unrelated note, does anyone know why the people who come to haunted houses always look like they belong in an episode of Jenny Jones?

Not important, probably.

Anyway, part of us just wants to give Rocky Point a bad review out of bitterness, as we now will have to subject ourselves to places like The Haunted Woods or the might-be-a-waste-of-your-time-mare at least four or five times in order to get a Rocky Point-level scare.

But we won’t give it a bad review-we’ll give it a great one, because there is nothing like Rocky Point.

It managed to turn part of the haunted house into part of the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and not only was it scary, it felt as though you were actually on a ship because the whole set swayed like a boat on the ocean.

You see, that is the great thing about Rocky Point-the owner, Cydney Neil, comes from a film background, so every set is realistic and true to the Hollywood blockbuster from which it came.

In addition to the spectacular sets, Rocky Point actually had enough actors-known to Neil as her “little misfits”-to fill every role needed. And while they may remind you of the creepy kid you sat next to in high school shop class, they were good enough at scaring to make you pee your pants twice.

Then, as you move through the haunted house with urine running down your leg and into your shoe, you come to what might be everyone’s greatest haunted house fear: the chainsaw.

At Rocky Point, they had not one, but three rooms for chainsaw fear, modeled after the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” They even had fake hanging animal carcasses that stunk like rotting flesh.

Next year, if we could, we’d go again. Only, this time, we would wear Depends.

But, since we can’t, we’d like to say farewell Rocky Point. You’ve given us lines so we can’t wait to get in, you’ve played “Dead Man’s Party” on repeat, given us vampires who speak French, an excuse to grab onto a stranger in the dark, thriller dancers on weekends, the spinning tunnel of doom, bat people and, most importantly, memories?misty water-colored memories of the way we once were.

STATS:

Breath of actors: 10

Quality of scare: 10

Trashiness of crowd attending: 10

Castle of Chaos

3300 S. 120 West

Weekdays: Adults $13 (online price)

Weekends: Adults $14 (online price)

Prices increase if purchased at door.

Tuesday through Thursday: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 7 p.m. to midnight

Through Oct. 31

Attention role-playing fanatics: there’s now a place to come and participate in a haunted adventure that isn’t digitized, minimized or portrayed through the use of playing cards.

The name of this villa of villainy, this ghoulish grotto, this manse of mendacity-is none other than Salt Lake City’s Castle of Chaos.

Anyone who’s a fan of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books or any of the cadre of popular videogame RPGs will enjoy Castle of Chaos’ vast arena-dubbed “The Asylum.”

Organized much like a restructured insane asylum, complete with a hospital nursing staff that provides clues to aid in the completion of your “adventure,” the asylum breathes a new conception into the oft-repetitive structure of other “typical” haunted houses.

Your objective while in the asylum? Expose it as a locale of lunacy and a tavern of terror. The reward for participating in this dinner-theatre-cum-scare-alley? Prizes that range from candy to coupons to the all-mighty “Castle of Chaos” T-shirt.

Though at times campy and a little constructed, the Castle is by no means a haunted house to pass up, especially with the added bonus that the Castle’s X-Scream Terror attraction is free of charge this year for ticket holders.

One of the most horrifying attractions for anyone afraid of tight spaces, darkness, rodents, blood or men with chainsaws, X-Scream Terror comes with the appropriate disclaimer: not for the weak of heart.

As a whole, Castle of Chaos is one of the best haunted attractions around, especially considering its relatively low cost.

STATS:

Breath of Actors: 7

Quality of Scare: 9

Trashiness of crowd attending: 8

Lagoon’s Frightmares

Lagoon, 375 Lagoon Dr., Farmington

$25.95, plus $7.00 parking

Friday: 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Through Oct. 28

The scariest thing in Farmington- aside from road construction or families of four driving 50 miles per hour in the fast lane-is Lagoon’s Frightmares.

A non-traditional scare attraction that includes something for everyone in the family, Frightmares continues to be one of the most popular venues along the Wasatch Front, despite its overwhelming ticket price.

For the little ones, Frightmares boasts its ‘Spook-a-boo’ walk-through, with fun, friendly, former theater
majors, which promises to be pleasing to children of all ages.

Stepping it up a notch, there’s “Psycho-Dave’s Junkyard,” a glorified maze made out of man-made corn stalks (read: used auto and wreckage parts) that is one of this year’s premier attractions. Followed closely on the scare list by “Hal O. Ween High,” an attraction structured around the premise of bringing your worst school nightmares to life. Sadly, it doesn’t include the brunette from first period who wouldn’t take no for an answer-that’s terrifying.

The final installments in Frightmares’ barometer of fear are “Haunted Hollywood” and the “Fun House of Fear.” “Hollywood” is set up around rehashing old horror tropes from the list of famously horrific horror films, and “Fun House” is a scare-tastic fun house filled with kill-crazy clowns. Imagine Jason and Pagliacci (the morose clown of Crazy-Joe-Divolla fame) on steroids and you get the point.

All in all, Frightmares is a great venue for all-around fright and entertainment and fulfills those expectations, yet again, this year.

STATS

Breath of Actors: 6.83

Quality of Scare: 7

Trashiness of crowd attending: 5

Christopher Peddecord

A Freddy Krueger puppet emerges from a furnace to engage the audience at Nightmare on 13th.

Mike Terry

Li Tian gets harassed by a chainsaw murderer at her first haunted house experience at Rocky Point on Wednesday night.

Christopher Peddecord

A zombified schoolbus driver pokes his head out of the in an attempt to scare this Chronicle photographer.

Christopher Peddecord

Evil clowns run amok scaring patrons at Frightmares at Lagoon in Farmington.

Christopher Peddecord

An actor playing Michael Myers blinds unsuspecting patrons with a newfangled laser pointer at Nightmare on 13th. Myers abandoned knives for lasers to keep up with society’s growing demand for technology.

Christopher Peddecord

A tomato-sauce stained performer at the Castle of Chaos cringes at her exploded can of Spaghettios.

Christopher Peddecord

A performer at the Castle of Chaos sets the tone in the first portion of the haunted house.