Enter if you Dare: Sacramento’s Haunted Houses

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As Halloween approaches, ghoulish attractions and shows rise to frighten and delight scare-seekers. This year, the Express visited four of the region’s headliner haunted houses.

Heartstoppers Haunted House

2300 Mine Shaft Lane, Rancho Cordova
Admission: $20 to $25, depending on the night you attend

Located at what used to be the Mine Shaft arcade and mini golf course about 20 miles from campus, Heartstoppers takes advantage of a spacious building, huge basement and the defunct mini golf course to house five haunted attractions through October.

Deadlands

This Wild West haunt is in the Mine Shaft’s expansive basement, making for some excellent environmental lighting. There were well-timed scares and a consistent and creative theme running through the entire haunt. Occasional bad puns on the level of Disney’s Jungle Cruise were pretty awesome and didn’t detract from the frights. Though rated medium on the scariness, it was one of the better-produced attractions.

Scream Pitch: Medium

Dr. Lash’s Sideshow

As the name suggests, this haunt was creepy circus-themed. Clowns seemed to be everywhere this year. This side show was kind of weak compared to the other circus-themed scares available.

Scream Pitch: Low

Steamghàst Asylum

For traditional scares, the Asylum was really good. There were unnerving situations, blood everywhere and some excellent acting. The butcher scene in the attraction had some of the best gore of all the haunts. The final scare sent us running out of the room.

Scream Pitch: High

Tomb of Shadows

The Tomb of Shadows was possibly our least favorite haunt because it was so stressful. The haunt is a completely blacked out, find-your-way-in-the-darkness affair, and seemed to take forever to make it through. Don’t attempt this one if you’re claustrophobic. Overall, the experience was more frustrating than frightening.

Scream Pitch: Low

Blood on the Bayou

This outdoor attraction had a voodoo theme and lots of creepy kids who aren’t afraid to interact with scare-seekers. The constant threat of human sacrifice throughout was unnerving. Heartstoppers used the mini golf course to surprisingly great effect for this haunt and gets bonus points for creativity.

Scream Pitch: High

Corbett’s Grindhouse of Horrors

360 North Sunrise Ave., Roseville
Admission: $20

Corbett’s Grindhouse of Horrors is right across from the Roseville Automall, about 20 miles from campus, and is absolutely worth the trek out there. It boasts three attractions, all worth walking through. Corbett’s is set up in a large warehouse, and roamers — ghouls who creep around the area and are not tied to a specific attraction — keep guests on their toes even when not in a haunt.

Corbett’s House

A well-done traditional haunted house, with a detail-oriented set design. Tributes to iconic spooks like Chuckie and Slender Man were very effective.

Scream Pitch: Medium

Carn-Evil

More creative than frightening, this circus-themed attraction featured black walls painted with fluorescent paint, and lit with black lighting. This sounds relatively normal — and it is — until you put on the 3D glasses provided by Corbett’s. The whole experience shifts into a pop-out, disorienting experience.

Scream Pitch: High

Zombieland

If you brave only one haunt this year, make it this one. In the midst of a zombie outbreak, patrons are armed with laser guns, and get to “shoot” the oncoming zombie hordes. Very well-executed environments, including a hospital, plane crash site and wrecked cars along a would-be stretch of highway, and excellent zombies. High levels of fun and fright in this attraction.

Scream Pitch: Highest

Scream Park California

4909 Auburn Blvd., Sacramento
Admission: $20 to $40, depending on date and level of access

Scream Park seems to be aimed directly at a young — in their 20s perhaps — demographic. About 12 miles from campus in a warehouse not-too-far from Highway 80, Scream Park houses three attractions.

Mind of a Killer

This haunt generated outrage when it was originally conceived as a Richard Trenton Chase-themed scare. Local families of his victims understandably protested, and the Vampire of Sacramento idea was scrapped. The attraction morphed into a more generic haunt, still with murderous intent throughout, but not specific to one serial killer. That said, the scares were effective and the set was well-constructed. A solid traditional scare.

Scream Pitch: Medium

Asylum

This attraction is very dark, and patrons are given a dim flashlight to light the way through the scares. Doctors and patients alike have lost their minds — or are very close to losing them — in this creepy asylum.

Scream Pitch: High

Bad Acid Trip

Much like the Carn-Evil at Corbett’s, the haunt features black walls, fluorescent paint and 3D glasses to distort everything. This attraction is recommended for mature audiences for good reasons, including graphic depictions of nudity.

Scream Pitch: Low

Fright Planet

Cal Expo, Gate 9, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento
Admission: $19.95 to $49.95, depending on level of access

Fright Planet is Sacramento’s biggest haunted house, located at Cal Expo. It features eight attractions and excellently scary rovers to keep fright-seekers jumping.

Blackout Live

This attraction is a very dark maze with occasional scares. Much like Heartstopper’s Tomb of Shadows, the experience was more frustrating than frightening.

Scream Pitch: Low

Buried Alive the Ride

If you’re claustrophobic, don’t do it. Patrons climb into a coffin that simulates being driven to a dumpsite and buried alive. Immersive and definitely scary, this one is not for the faint of heart.

Scream Pitch: High

Cannibal Cabin

A small cabin in the woods turns from idyllic to terrifying when residents turn cannibalistic. Lots of blood, guts and gore.

Scream Pitch: Medium

The Little House of Carnage

An absolutely disgusting diner, that definitely puts one off eating out. Blood-soaked and gory, this one is high on the “gross” scale.

Scream Pitch: Medium

Distorted Maze

This deceptive haunt was not the scariest attraction but was very cool. A zombie-filled maze with fog and strobe lighting keeps scare-seekers looking for a way out. Zombies who weren’t afraid to interact with patrons make the experience fresh.

Scream Pitch: High

Höbart’s Doll Factory

Dolls are creepy, and live dolls that follow you around and move in unnerving ways are downright scary. Repetitive music and sound effects are definitely unnerving.

Scream Pitch: High

Jatinga: the Forbidden Temple

A voodoo-themed indoor haunt, with creepy swamp dwellers and human sacrifices. This attraction is more presentational than interactive but still effective. The set in is particularly well done, creating believable outdoor scenes inside a warehouse.

Scream Pitch: High

Red

This twisted circus-themed attraction is rated R. The haunt has the potential for disturbing adult situations, but things appeared relatively tame. Creepy clowns wait to pounce around every corner.

Scream Pitch: Medium

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