- Awards Season
- Big Stories
- Pop Culture
- Video Games
From Haunted Houses to Zombies: The Most Frightening Scary Horror Games
Do you enjoy the adrenaline rush of being scared out of your wits? Are you a fan of horror movies and looking for a new way to experience fear? Look no further. In this article, we will explore some of the most terrifying scary horror games that will leave you trembling with fear. From haunted houses to zombies, these games will push your limits and keep you on the edge of your seat.
Haunted Houses: A Classic Thrill
If you’re a fan of haunted houses, then horror games that feature eerie mansions or abandoned buildings are sure to provide an exhilarating experience. One such game that comes to mind is “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.” Set in a dilapidated plantation house in rural Louisiana, this game combines atmospheric horror with intense gameplay. As you navigate through dark corridors and solve puzzles, you’ll encounter grotesque creatures and terrifying jump scares that will keep your heart pounding.
Another notable haunted house game is “Amnesia: The Dark Descent.” In this first-person survival horror game, players find themselves trapped inside an ancient castle with no memory of how they got there. With limited resources and a lurking presence that feeds on fear, this game is guaranteed to make even the bravest players feel vulnerable and terrified.
Zombies: A Never-Ending Nightmare
Zombies have been a staple in horror culture for decades, and scary horror games featuring these undead creatures are always popular among thrill-seekers. One standout title in this genre is “The Last of Us.” Set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by infected humans turned into zombies, this action-adventure game blends intense combat with an emotionally gripping storyline. The realistic graphics and immersive gameplay make every encounter with the infected a heart-pounding experience.
For those seeking a more intense zombie experience, “Resident Evil 2” is a must-play. This remake of the classic survival horror game takes players back to Raccoon City, where a zombie outbreak has turned the population into flesh-eating monsters. With its atmospheric setting and relentless undead enemies, this game will keep you on your toes as you fight for survival.
Psychological Horror: A Mind-Bending Challenge
If you prefer horror games that mess with your mind, then psychological horror games are perfect for you. “Silent Hill 2” is often regarded as one of the best examples of this subgenre. As players control James Sunderland through the foggy town of Silent Hill, they unravel a deeply disturbing story filled with symbolism and psychological torment. The game’s haunting atmosphere and psychological twists will leave you questioning reality long after you’ve put down the controller.
Another mind-bending horror experience is “Layers of Fear.” In this first-person exploration game, players step into the shoes of a disturbed painter as they navigate through a constantly changing mansion. Delving into themes of madness and obsession, this game uses clever storytelling and visual trickery to create an unsettling experience that will keep you guessing until the very end.
Survival Horror: Fight or Flight
For those who enjoy intense gameplay and heart-pounding action, survival horror games provide an adrenaline-fueled experience like no other. “Outlast” is a prime example of this genre. Armed only with a camcorder, players must navigate through an abandoned psychiatric hospital filled with deranged inmates. With no means to defend yourself other than hiding or running away, every encounter becomes a tense battle for survival.
Another standout survival horror game is “Alien: Isolation.” Set fifteen years after the events of Ridley Scott’s iconic film “Alien,” players assume the role of Ellen Ripley’s daughter as she tries to survive aboard a space station infested by one relentless xenomorph. The game’s AI-driven alien enemy constantly adapts to the player’s actions, making every encounter a nerve-wracking game of cat-and-mouse.
In conclusion, if you’re a fan of being scared senseless, these scary horror games will provide an unforgettable experience. Whether you prefer haunted houses, zombies, psychological torment, or survival challenges, there is a game out there that will cater to your darkest fears. So grab your controller and prepare for a night of terror as you dive into these spine-chilling virtual worlds.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
MORE FROM ASK.COM
What's Your Question?
How to Find Out About the History of Your Home
Your home holds many memories, and not all of them may be yours. Or you may question whether your house could be haunted or contain hidden treasure. If you’re wondering about checking the history of your house, get ready to learn how to uncover your home’s past.
Taxpayer Assessor Online Databases
Search online for your town’s taxpayer information. Once there, if your town offers an online database including every property, you might find out a lot about your home.
One tax assessor company, Vision Government Solutions, maintains online databases for states on the East Coast. Click on the state and you’ll see a list of your state’s towns. Some of the towns have accessible databases, and others don’t. Follow prompts to take you to your property’s information, including previous owners.
Hidden on Trulia’s website is a list of U.S. assessor records for every state. Search for Trulia’s property sitemap, and once on the page, you’ll see your state listing. You’ll be taken to a page with your state’s counties. Keep clicking to pinpoint your search.
Some towns host online assessor databases. Once on it, type in the property address or parcel number to visit a page of information about your home.
Realtor Websites With Home Information
Finding your home’s property listing, even when your home is not for sale, also offers some history. In addition to dipping into the websites of the major real estate agencies in your area to find your property, try the following sites:
Also try the Multiple Listing Service site directly. Head to MLS.com and you’ll see a map of the United States. You might find the history of your neighborhood or a home next door that may be for sale or in foreclosure, which could give you some hints about your own home.
Finding Out About Your Home’s Hauntings
Head to DiedInHouse.com, a website that keeps a database of people who have died in properties. The site may be able to tell you if someone actually died in your home. There’s a nominal fee to see the information.
Dig Up Land Records and Historical Maps
If you’re a genealogy enthusiast, you know the value of historical maps and land records. If you’re new to this type of search, start at the National Archives (archives.gov) to initiate a search into your property. You’ll find land transactions and even what the average cost was to build your house.
You can search for, download and enlarge historical maps of your town or neighborhood. Or go to your town hall and local library for copies.
Find Your Local Historians
Do some footwork to find the history of your home, neighborhood and town. Try the following:
- Historical societies: Your town’s local historical society can target your home’s history. Head to PreservationDirectory.com to find a database of local historic organizations.
- Real estate agents: Try calling a real estate agency to help you locate information on your home’s history.
- Neighbors: Pick the brain of a long-time neighbor. You may be surprised with juicy details.
- Physical evidence: Consult with an architectural historian, according to ThisOldHouse.com. Researching layers of paint or wallpaper helps identify what year your house was built.
MORE FROM QUESTIONSANSWERED.NET
NOW OPEN - SELECT NIGHTS
Add To Your EXPERIENCE
More thrilling activities at this location.
Are You Brave Enough?
- Interactive Experience
- Total Darkness
EVENT MAY BE TOO INTENSE FOR CHILDREN 12 & UNDER
Sign Your Waiver
13th Floor Haunted House Phoenix
Phoenix's best haunted house, 2710 w bell rd ste 1180 phoenix, az 85053.
- Terms & Conditions
Site contents Copyright Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group unless noted otherwise. All rights reserved.
Come with us as we attempt to explain the legend of the 13th Floor. In some countries, as it is here in the United States, the number 13 is considered unlucky and building owners will sometimes purposefully omit a floor numbered 13.
CHICAGO ● DENVER ● HOUSTON ● JACKSONVILLE ● PHOENIX ● SAN ANTONIO
Fear Farm and Haunted Corn Maze is Phoenix Arizona’s largest Halloween event. Visit our haunted fairgrounds and come spend a night on the farm.
Experience Austin’s premier haunted house. Each Halloween season presents new attractions and scares.
Experience the brand new haunted attraction. The Old Joliet Haunted Prison is Chicagoland’s only haunted house inside a real abandoned prison.
Experience Nashville’s premier and largest Halloween event. Nashville Nightmare features up to six haunted houses.
Experience New Orleans’ premier Halloween event, featuring two new attractions each Halloween season.
Board the Terror Train to the Fox River. T ake a ride into terror with one of the world’s most unique haunted attractions at Terror on the Fox.
Shaqtoberfest is a massive Halloween festival in Long Beach, California. With The Historic Queen Mary as the backdrop. This event has something for everyone. Featuring frightfully fun twisted trails at night, exciting live entertainment, and delicious food and drinks!
1550 Larimer St. #277
Denver, CO 80202
722 W. Cienega Ave
San Dimas, CA 91773
2632 Ridgepoint Drive
Austin, TX 78745
© 2023 Thirteenth Floor ™
13th Floor Haunted House
“ Some rooms even had different aromas to make you feel like you were in an insane asylum or zombieland . ” in 5 reviews
“ We got the fast pass tickets at Costco - so glad we did because the waiting line was so long for regular admission. ” in 18 reviews
“ Highly recommend and will be taking more of my family members here as we get closer to Halloween . ” in 15 reviews
Location & Hours
2814 W Bell Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85053
You Might Also Consider
Claire G. said "Wow. This place is nice. It's like if a casino and a bowling alley joined forces. Huge bar area, great arcade, luxurious bowling areas with great lighting and couch-like lounge seating. Private party rooms. It was definitely an…" read more
in American (new), Arcades, Bowling
FatCats - Mesa
Sarah L. said "My husband and I go here every week now, and we really enjoy the food (that they bring to your seats!) and the "Oh-so-very" comfortable recliners! Our one complaint is their "family friendly environment" was dampened by a very loud…" read more
in Cinema, Bowling, Team Building Activities
The Chill Spot
4.3 miles away from 13th Floor Haunted House
Tim K. said "My wife and I saw a sign spinner on 28th and Peoria advertising a mexican buffet so we had to find it. Inside there were foosball tables and a dj booth. The dj played music videos and offered karaoke. We were promptly greeted by a…" read more
in Arcades, Mexican, Buffets
Amenities and More
Ask the community.
Ask a question
Any discount promo codes?
You can get discount tickets at Costco
- 1 star rating Not good
- 2 star rating Could’ve been better
- 3 star rating OK
- 4 star rating Good
- 5 star rating Great
Select your rating
We arrived at 6:45 and did not have fast pass. Our tickets were for 7 PM. We waited in line almost an hour and 45 minutes. It was hot and frustrating. This is the third time we have been but the event has gone down in quality. I think they are short staffed. There weren't as many people that jumped out and some of the props like the big snake didn't work. In the past they were dancers that we had our pictures taken with. No dancers this year. Also, it used to be the event started the second you walked in. Now you go through a 15-20 minute wait as you get your photo taken before you get into the haunted house. My grandkids are 12 and 13 years old and they thought it was a lot of fun but like I said. It's gone down in quality over the last couple years. Advice; get on their mailing list and buy your tickets 2 to 3 months in advance for $13 with the fast pass which is $10 so you pay $23 a ticket. Worth it! Also if you buy later on closer towards Halloween, check Groupon before you buy your tickets. In the past we have bought our tickets through Groupon which included the fast pass for free. Worth it's weight in gold. I saw people wait in line last night over three hours. What's your time worth?
I definitely appreciate all the work that goes into putting this production together. I love that characters were engaging with customers in the line outside, made the wait go by quick. It would've been nice if the temperature inside was cooler, it was pretty toasty. It also would've been nicer if guests were more spaced out so the element of surprise made it scarier. I really like that there was hangout place with food trucks. Overall, a great time and would recommend definitely checking it out.
Before the lines opened
I wanted to like my experience, but as I look back, I feel like youre paying for a glorified, halloween themed interior design expo. I was fortunate that there was no ridiculous line on a wednesday at 8pm. I stood in line for maybe 8 minutes before being let in. The whole experience was probably 25 minutes, and the lack of scares left me perplexed more than frightened. It doesnt help when theres a group of local teenagers are actively commenting on how the quality and staff has gone down. There were a few good jump scare setups and a few rooms that I liked the setup. But for almost 35 dollars, dont bother.
Overall, I give this place 3 stars because it has potential! However, It wasnt scary enough, too many people in at the same time and I just think overall the experience can be upgraded especially for $50! There was no monitoring the times for groups (why have that on the web if its not something that happens). I hope 2022 brings evolution of this place and some new ideas!
One of the best haunted mazes I have ever been to. They did a great job at this one. I have been to several of these throughout the states. Hands down best one. Several times throughout the place had me jump out my skin. We were laughing and running very fun. The makeup amd the visuals they had here did a great job depecting horror. From jurassic dinosaurs to slaughter houses to murder house to Egyptian... wow great job everyone who put planning and time into this.
Best haunted house in all of Arizona! I definitely recommend the fast pass just so you can skip the line...but wow, what a remarkable experience :)
This place is so not it, don't waste your time/money... anyone know an actual good spot? Message me! Went here on a whim last night. Line for the regular entry ($40 with taxes and processing fees) but I paid an extra $5 for the flex time. They don't care about times...in fact you can walk right through the metal detector and say you wanna upgrade to "skip the line" (which means you "only" will pay for they phrase on your ticket and they don't even verify that you already bought!) For another $20ish in taxes and fees...there is a middle option to skip to a shorter line to wait just 2 hrs...for $10 more dollars. Anyways, I hate this system. This is what I get going on a Saturday night. With the hype of their amazing commercials and all the awards they supposedly have here, the haunted houses I've been to in Utah and in North Carolina have been better...honestly. It was just a hodgepodge mess with no storyline, still don't know why it's the "13th floor" when it's all one level, hello this is Arizona. No references to famous villains or movie storylines. I'm giving it two stars because the car/plane crash were pretty great. But the rest was just a mess with no consistent point. Here's a dirty kitchen, here's some old rooms, some old paintings, an old swamp. An old closet. And the actors were just all talking In the same groggy/scratchy voice that is supposed to be scary?? I wasn't scared once and I'm a scardey cat for the most part! These actors are probably overworked and underpaid...so I feel for them. If the production level that were put into last years commercials were present, this might be a fun spot. Don't recommend unless your in the younger crowds and spooked EASILY. Even my 25 year old sis who is usually scared of everything was clapping and laughing...not impressed. what a waste of $65! love my sis but had I known I would have PASSED. 13th floor was disappointing. I'll stay in my 4th floor apt and watch ghost hunters instead, I'll get a better thrill.
Scariest part was the amount of money I spent on this "haunted house". Probably the worst, least scary, waste of money I've ever been to. If you want something scary, don't waste your money here. It seems like they just want to get as many people in to make as much money as they can rather than actually making it scarier for the customers coming in. If it was just my group of 4 going through, i think it might have been a little bit more scary because there wasn't 100 people walking in front of us but not by much. Honestly, just disappointing spending as much as I did on something my middle school could make scarier.
Purchased five tickets for my son and his four friends (ages 15/16) for Saturday night at 9pm. They got in line and they were told that it's a 5 hour wait. FIVE HOUR WAIT! They ended up not going. What a big waste of money. I purchased the 9pm tickets and there were still 190 available for that time slot. Besides pure greed why sell so many tickets if you can't accommodate that many people in a reasonable time?
This is a super fun place! We got the fast pass tickets at Costco - so glad we did because the waiting line was so long for regular admission. We were able to go in really quickly with our fast passes.
22 other reviews that are not currently recommended
The Painters Lounge
12.8 miles away from 13th Floor Haunted House
Jessica C. said "I found the Painter's Lounge while searching for a paint and sip venue that would work for a last minute(ish) bachelorette party. As I live out of state and my friend is a recent transplant to the Phoenix region, I had an additional…" read more
in Paint & Sip, Party & Event Planning
School of Rock
11.3 miles away from 13th Floor Haunted House
Jill T. said "This school is awesome. It's amazing how some of the students here blossom. The instructors are great at working with the kids by teaching them and supporting them to achieve their best. I've been to a few of the productions and was…" read more
in Musical Instruments & Teachers, Performing Arts, Specialty Schools
Collections Including 13th Floor Haunted House
Escapes and Adventures
By Nicole H.
Surprise! Fun Things To Do
People Also Viewed
AZ Field Of Screams
Rob Zombie’s Great American Nightmare
Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs
Castles N’ Coasters
Great Arizona Puppet Theater
World of Illumination
UZA MysCreation Haunted Attraction
Arizona Science Center
Things to Do
Haunted Houses Near Me
People found 13th Floor Haunted House by searching for…
13Th Floor Phoenix Phoenix
Fun Date Night Ideas Phoenix
Fun Places For Teens Phoenix
Haunted Tour Phoenix
Horror Themed Bars Phoenix
Movie Theater Phoenix
Night Time Activities Phoenix
Scary Places Phoenix
Stranger Things Phoenix
Teen Birthday Party Venues Phoenix
Weird Attractions Phoenix
Other Haunted Houses Nearby
Find more Haunted Houses near 13th Floor Haunted House
13th Floor Haunted House
Own this Attraction?
“PHOENIX’S LARGEST HAUNTED HOUSE”
13th Floor Haunted House is a Haunted Attraction located in Phoenix, AZ.
2814 West Bell Road, Ste 1430, Phoenix, AZ 85053
( Click for Fullscreen Map )
About This Attraction:
# of Attractions: 2
Dates & Hours:
Always verify the attraction’s dates and hours prior to visiting.
2023 Schedule September 23, 29, & 30 October 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, & 31 November 3rd & 4th Lights Out Opens at 7 PM Tickets starting at $24.99
In most buildings, the 13th Floor does not exist. This Halloween Season, explore the legend of the 13th Floor at one of the most horrifying haunted house experiences ever, the 13th Floor Haunted House!
The 13th Floor is an intense, graphic, theatrical show that will take you on a gut wrenching ride of visceral thrills and psychological horror. Sixty thousand square feet of shocking twists and horrifying turns are waiting for you at 13th Floor Haunted House!
Free Parking, Handicap Accessible, Food/Concessions, You will NOT be touched, Indoor/Outdoor Waiting Line
Have you visited this attraction?
Submit their First Guest Review!
See anything that needs updated? Let Us Know!
Disclaimer from The Scare Factor: Our listings are usually only updated a couple of times per year. A lot can change in that amount of time, especially during Halloween season. For this reason, even though we try our best to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information possible, it is ultimately your responsibility as a customer to do your own due diligence and research the attractions directly that you would like to visit. We are not liable for any mistakenly inaccurate information that you may find on our website. We appreciate your understanding and, as always, stay scary! ~ The Scare Factor
The Scare Factor provides reviews and directory listings for Halloween haunted houses, haunted trails, haunted hayrides, scream parks, and other types of haunted attractions.
All rights reserved. Copyright 2023©️
NOW OPEN - SELECT NIGHTS
NOW OPEN THIS WEDNESDAY - SUNDAY
"top 5 most terrifying haunted houses in the u.s.a.".
DENVER HAUNTED HOUSES
Halloween lives here, about 13th floor haunted house.
Experience the world-famous 13th Floor Haunted House, Denver’s ultimate Halloween event. Halloween lives here!
What customers are saying
5 star google reviews.
Checkout what our customers and media outlets are saying about 13th Floor Haunted House at the link below!
Phenomenal!! This was so much fun... I'd go again over and over. 13th floor really puts on a great show.
Always a blast and already looking forward to the next event! 12 out of 10, would recommend!
I enjoyed every minute..my daughter and I had so much fun. I was very impressed by everything. Cant wait for next year😊
Add To Your EXPERIENCE
More thrilling haunted house activities.
ENJOY SPOOKY LIBATIONS
- THEMED COCKTAILS
- drinks and snacks
Concessions will be available at our on-site bar. Our 21+ patrons can enjoy spooky libations at the Shriekeasy before or after experiencing the haunted house! IDs will be checked on site.
The Sacred Skull: A Tiki Tarot Experience
Tiki tarot reading.
- SPOOKY LIBATIONS
Around the corner tucked away inside the Shriekeasy you will find the Secret Skull where the mighty tiki totem will ask you questions to reveal your special tiki cocktail.
No Name's Clown Chaos
Don't become a shideshow snack.
- ENTER IF YOU DARE
Everyone’s favorite clown has returned to 13th floor, and in big fashion. Come visit no name in his Curtain chaos attraction. Do you know how to get out? Do you know what may be lurking around the corner? Follow the music to find a special concert being played. No name is full of surprises. Which of you will come out of his curtain of chaos? Join us and see which of your friends will survive.
ADD TO YOUR AXEPERIENCE
- COMPETE WITH FRIENDS
Become intimate with a 1.5lb piece of whirling wood and metal as you learn, practice, and then finally square off toe to toe at Class Axe Throwing!
The Piggy Bank Shot Spot
Horror themed bar.
- COCKTAIL CONCOTIONS
In a dark corner of the 13th Floor, you will be lured into a secret bar, where you can cool off with a refreshing shot straight out of a nightmare fairy tale. The only spot within the haunted house where you can take a picture with our big bad wolf.
PRIVATE VIP EXPERIENCE
- PRIVATE CABANA
- terrifying surprises
Private indoor, heated space for up to 8 people. Free bucket of 6 beers or spiked seltzer’s of your choosing (soft drinks can be substituted). Enjoy activities like jumbo jenga and Hook & Ring game. 10 free axe throws. A visit from an Icon character with guaranteed selfies. $13 off merch. Does not include tickets to the Haunted House attraction.
The Graveyard Shift: A Zombie Shooting Range
- LIVE ZOMBIE ACTORS
- GELLYBALL SHOOTERS
Welcome to 13th Floor Denver’s newest attraction, the Graveyard Shift! Here you will enter a shooting range guarded by death, where you will enter coffins and pick up a jelly ball gun. It is your mission on your shift to seek out and destroy all things that go bump in the night. Who amongst your friends will become the victor? Join us and find out.
World's largest halloween entertainment company
Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group is the world’s largest Halloween-themed entertainment company, with over 15 locations and counting! We bring a premier haunted house experience to markets all across the country.
Sponsors & Beneficiaries
EVENT MAY BE TOO INTENSE FOR CHILDREN 12 & UNDER
Sign Your Waiver
13th Floor Haunted House Denver
Denver's best haunted house, 3400 e. 52nd ave., denver, co 80216.
- Terms & Conditions
Site contents Copyright Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group unless noted otherwise. All rights reserved.
'Fresh meat!' Behind the scenes at the 13th Floor Haunted House in Phoenix
Jacob Redwood has a confession to make.
“I don’t like zombies,” says the general manager of the popular 13th Floor Haunted House in Phoenix.
“I know that sounds really crazy because everybody loves zombies. But, ‘brain-dead dude wants your brains’? I never got it.”
Nonetheless, Redwood gleefully serves as patient zero for a horde of undead every year at Arizona’s largest indoor haunted attraction. With a cast of 100 shrieking, shambling actors and more than 40,000 square feet of intricately decorated homages to every horror trope in the book, it’s a prime example of how the seasonal scare industry has grown in recent years.
And at the 13th Floor, Halloween is 365 days a year.
RELATED: 9 haunted houses for Halloween around metro Phoenix
“The most common question is, ‘What do you do the other 10 months of the year?’” says Redwood, who was born and raised in Phoenix. “And it’s like, ‘Work on the show.’”
Shows, actually. The 13th Floor has two haunts, a greatest-hits-of-horror maze — this year has an Egyptian mummy theme dubbed “Ancient Evil” — and the post-apocalyptic “Zombieland: Biohazard.” But it also hosts off-season events such as “Valentine X,” featuring a serial killer with a teddy-bear mask, and “Krampus: A Haunted Christmas,” inspired by the demonic Yuletide punisher of European lore.
“We redid it all with Christmas lights, and we had evil elves running around and toy soldiers and Krampus’s minions,” Redwood says.
The 13th Floor moniker originated with a haunt in Denver, which merged with another company in Austin to form the Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group . It expanded to San Antonio and then, in 2011, to Phoenix. It now has a dozen attractions across the country, including the Fear Farm in Phoenix, after yet another merger.
Redwood, 40, says he got into the haunted-house business “accidentally,” after leaving a corporate management job at exactly the wrong time, just before the Great Recession. He auditioned as an actor at a local haunted house just to have something to do, and immediately became hooked.
RELATED: Our theater critic reviews haunted houses. He seems confused.
He was working at a “volunteer haunt” (with unpaid actors) called The Haunting Haunted House at the same location, a converted grocery store at Bell Road and Interstate 17, when that company closed and the 13th Floor expanded into the space. He stayed on and worked his way up to the top job.
Things To Do app: Get the best in events, dining and travel right on your device
When the new owners took over, they immediately beefed up the attraction, adding a spooky mansion that had been salvaged from the defunct Rocky Point Haunted House in Utah, known as a pioneer in the industry for its massive, Hollywood-inspired set pieces. (It’s ranked as the No. 9 haunted house of all time by hauntworld.com , behind the likes of Disney’s Haunted Mansion and Netherworld in Atlanta.)
“This is a piece of haunted-house history up here,” Redwood says. “The actors like to talk about the ghosts that came with it. I think it’s really cool that the Valley has a piece of that.”
Keeping the scares fresh
For Redwood, planning for next year is already under way. He’s quizzing customers on what they do and don’t like, and as soon as the Halloween run is over, he’ll start brainstorming changes. About 20 to 30 percent of show is new each season, he says. The opening section will get a makeover and a fresh theme, and he and his design team will consider tweaks and embellishments throughout.
Some sections have classic status, however, including the disorienting “tilt room,” with a vertiginous walkway and crackling Jacob’s ladders.
Smaller shows, such as those that pop up at malls, also begin planning early. Operators from around the country converge on St. Louis every March for TransWorld’s Halloween and Attractions Show , where they can check out the latest trends and purchase everything from costumes to walls to animatronic creatures that can cost more than $10,000.
The 13th Floor, however, builds most of its sets in house. In the back of the building, past a fading grocery-store sign announcing the seafood department, are an actors’ lounge (with big-screen TV) and a scene shop. One evening last month, a week before opening, crafters were halfway through carving a mummy’s sarcophagus out of foam. The room is filled with tools, lumber and various resins, paints and adhesives used to add realistic-looking surfaces to the lightweight sculptures.
In the loading bay there’s a mobile air-conditioner the size of a truck, jetting cool air through Slinky-like ducts into the building.
Redwood is one of only two year-round employees at this location, but there are many seasonal workers, including scenic and lighting designers and behind-the-scenes traffic cops with titles such as “runner” and “sweeper.”
A monster population
The 100 or so actors make between $700 and $1,100 for six weeks of work, but first they sign up for workshops, starting in August, where they hone their monster skills with games that would look familiar to anyone who’s been to a fancy drama school. They learn how to use vocal variety and asymmetrical body movement to maximize the creepy factor.
The most important thing to learn is letting go of inhibitions, says Justin Moffitt, 24, who works as “icon manager” (icons being the monsters who hype up the crowds waiting in line outside).
“We want our show to come off with a natural vibe, so that when you come to experience the show, you’re actually part of the show and the monsters seem real,” he says. “If you’re holding onto your inhibitions, you come off just as someone in a mask. You have to get into the vibe.”
Most of the monsters are in their teens or early 20s, either horror-movie fans or aspiring community-theater actors. More than half only work for one season, but many come back year after year, says performance manager Taylor Phillips, 22, who started as a volunteer actor at The Haunting before the 13th Floor came to town.
“A lot of people come in just because they’re curious, and then they see how much goes into it and get hooked,” she says. “This obviously isn’t a movie set, but it is a really cool set and has almost the same effects, and it’s live and in your face.”
With haunted houses getting more and more elaborate, Redwood expects plenty of “fresh meat” — that’s the call-out as guests enter the maze — coming through the doors year after year.
“It’s an underground kind of thing where I don’t think the general public realizes how big the community is,” he says.
“We’re not as big as Disneyland, but you put us all together, all across the country, and we are.”
Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-4896.
The 13th Floor Haunted House
When: Through Saturday, Nov. 4.
Where: 2814 W. Bell Road, Phoenix.
Admission: $26.99-$33.99 (add $10 for fast-pass reservation, $20 for skip-the-line option).
Details: 602-456-2250, 13thflooraz.com .