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Serious Scares: Hotbeds of Horror for Halloween

Looking to go beyond your typical “things that go ‘boo’ in the night” scares for Halloween this year? We’ve scoured the country to find haunted houses that take terror to the next level, so here are our recommendations for places to face your darkest fears.

McKamey Manor, San Diego (limited engagement) – Something far more sinister than your traditional haunted house. This audience participation event allows you to live your own horror movie. Be warned: “The Chamber” – a brand-new presentation for 2016 – is a rough, intense and truly frightening experience that can last for up to eight hours. You will encounter thrills that you have never seen before, chills that test you to your very core. If things become too much, you can always quit… if the creatures let you.

Cutting Edge, Fort Worth (outside Dallas; opens Sept. 16) – A Guinness record holder as “World’s Largest Haunted Attraction” and “World’s Largest Walk Through Haunted House,” this dark attraction is filled with terrifying live actors, amazing special effects and incredible monsters. This intense, cutting edge, multi-story, multi-themed haunted attraction is widely considered to be one of the best Haunted Houses in the nation, full of chilling detail and unbelievable scares. Located in a 100-year-old abandoned meat packing plant in a section of Fort Worth historically dubbed as “Hell’s Half Acre,” the Cutting Edge Haunted House is built upon a foundation of fear.

Freakling Bros.: Trilogy of Terror, Las Vegas (opens Sept. 30) – Three separate experiments in serious, uncompromising, interactive horror in a single location.

  • “The Gates of Hell” is a sadistic experiment in absolute sensory overload. You won’t be a spectator; prepare for heart-pounding, claustrophobic terror. Face the reality of your own violent death, and experience a slow and painful descent into cold, black nothingness to meet the Prince of Darkness himself.
  • “The Coven of 13” pushes the boundaries of complete and total immersion while offering a unique take on one of Halloween’s oldest and most classic themes: witches, warlocks and black magic. When most of us are fast sleep, a pack of cloaked, ageless figures gathers and chants. If you listen closely in the night, you will hear them. They speak slowly, softly, deliberately, and with insidious intention. Their physical bodies are diseased, decrepit, and rotten, but when the Old Hag summons the dark spirit, and the High Priest channels the ferocity of its essence, they are empowered, and they are fierce. These are the dark witches of 13, born of sepsis and poison: You have been invited to make their coven complete. They call to you and welcome you in, to be vetted, initiated and even reborn as one of them. Do you dare try to make the cut?
  • “Castle Vampyre” is a master stroke of horror and illusion. Deep within the walls of this fortress beats the heart of pure, unadulterated evil. You can feel it, you can hear it, but is it really happening? Is there any way out? They say seeing is believing. You decide.

13th Floor, San Antonio (opens Sept. 23) – A multi-level haunted attraction that combines a pair of ghastly legends.

  • “Laughterhouse”: There’s nothing funny about this clown house. A roaming troupe of chainsaw-wielding clowns has taken over the fallen Blackthorne District’s Slaughterhouse, dubbing it the Laughterhouse. Anarchy abounds as the Laughterhouse’s clowns are strengthened by the screams and fears of all those who enter. Think you can survive going through the deranged clowns new stomping grounds? Good luck – just don’t become the punchline.
  • “Feral Moon”: On a distant hill overlooking the town of Blackmoor, lies a cemetery. This cemetery is filled with crumbling, cavernous crypts and tombs and has safely held a savage curse for nearly a century. If for nothing more than habit on the eve of a full moon, the town below prepares for the curse by locking their doors and boarding their windows despite the fact no incidents have been reported in their lifetime. The curse has been contained within the walls of the cemetery, allowing the creatures of the night a place to roam freely and feed in the moonlight. Serving as a reminder on these cursed nights, the people of Blackmoor can hear the faint echo of howls rising from the cemetery walls. But tonight, the echoes have grown stronger. The barrier that has kept them safe for so long has collapsed without warning. On the eve of this full moon, werewolves will once again ravage the town of Blackmoor. A modern interpretation of a classic monster of old.

House of Torment, Austin (opens Sept. 23) – Comparable to a trip through a modern horror movie with hauntingly detailed sets, towering animatronic monsters, iconic characters and chilling scenarios, with three separate attractions.

  • “Graveside Manor”: Many souls have perished within the dark walls of Graveside Manor up on Ridgeway Drive just east of town, but no one truly knows the story of the property’s gruesome past… or what lies beneath. Although the building has been abandoned for decades, passersby often report sightings of a decrepit old woman moving about the shadows. The macabre mysteries surrounding the mansion and the demise of so many of its guests have led to desperate search for clues. But, a dreadful fate awaits most who dare enter its doors in search of answers – will you finally uncover the secrets that lurk, or stumble into the darkness of your ultimate demise?
  • “The Frenzy”: The most demented nightmares of the human psyche become reality when you enter the terrifying world of THE FRENZY. What can only be described as a visceral manifestation of humanity’s most crippling fears, the walls of THE FRENZY will bring to your knees in terror as you encounter ghastly humanoids, deranged clowns and maniacal beasts – each determined to torment your mind and soul. Are you ready to confront your deepest fears in the darkness? Can you awake from the nightmare unscathed?
  • “Dawn of Evil”: A catastrophic virus outbreak originating from Promontory Point is destroying the lives of central Texas residents. The city has become a chaotic disaster area run amok with voracious, maniacal zombies frantically in search of food. The insatiable beasts are seemingly indestructible and only satisfied by the taste of fresh human flesh and brains. As the violent destruction of civilization looms, a few remaining uncontaminated humans work feverishly at the local hospital to find a cure – while savagely fighting for their lives. Will you and your friends escape the contagion, or fall victim to the appetites of the merciless undead?

If you’re looking for some amazingly frightful places to discover, drop us a line at or visit To learn about our other hauntingly good escapes, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.