Dark Hour Haunted House 2017 Halloween Season

There’s something scary near you. It’s big. It’s creepy. It’s coming closer. It wants to make you scream. It’s almost upon us, the Dark Hour. Dark Hour Haunted House to be exact – an attraction going on its fifth season now, with a reputation for unyielding, high quality fear.

Dark Hour is known for its movie-quality sets, costumes and effects // photos Kathy Tran

Walking through Dark Hour Haunted House is like being on a high-budget horror movie set, with terrifying props, world class actors and enough fake blood to make Stanley Kubrick squeamish. The team there separates itself from the horror hall pack by offering attractions year round, keeping the lights and the staff working hard for supreme distinction that no one else can offer.

There is an obvious theme when visiting with Dark Hour before showtime: Everyone knows everything. While most staff members typically have a specialized role, many also have the ability and the training to be placed anywhere else around the building at a moment’s notice. Makeup artists can be actors, casting directors can fix costumes and machinists don full costumes to go into the haunt.

In one of the costume and mask development rooms, two women sit, chatting about their day while tailoring bloody pants. One of these women is Kim Morgan, an administrative assistant and costume designer. “It’s so much of a family value here, and you’ll never find your job is boring,” Kim says, smiling. Their talents certainly aren’t wasted, with the room of costumes carefully scrutinized down to each bite mark, ax wound and boot print.  It’s this attention to detail that makes the fear truly believable.

While Halloween is, of course, its main season, Dark Hour has seven other shows that happen throughout the year. From gory, blood-soaked Valentine hearts in February to frozen demons in December, this isn’t like the other haunted houses that arrive once a year and vanish like a ghost in November.

This flexibility in both staff and theme is where Amy Reed, Dark Hour’s marketing head, says the strength lies. “You won’t find this anywhere else. This scope is something you just don’t find in our industry.” It’s a place where everyone seems to truly enjoy the job, blood soaked and with no shortage of gore.

Employees enjoy the thrill of giving the scare, just as much as receiving it. On a behind-the-scenes tour, hidden traps startle us multiple times even with daytime lights on. The rooms are set up in an “Immersive Walkthrough Experience” with patrons entering as small groups. Some run, some walk, some have to stop completely and catch their breath, but the cast members’ hard work leaves no one unscathed. The actors are taught to improvise on the fly, giving each group a personalized scare.

The experience at Dark Hour Haunted House starts from the moment patrons leave their car and grips all the way home. Uneasy, thrilled, and with hearts in throats the entire time, it’s the most fun folks will have in this life, or the next.

This year’s Halloween season, Dark Hour will open its doors September 22, with showtimes on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. until midnight; starting October 12 it will be open Sundays and Thursdays as well, from 7-10 p.m. It will also feature a special Halloween night from 7-11 October 31.

Dark Hour Haunted House >


More behind-the-scenes photos of Dark Hour Haunted House:

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