The Dungeon Of Doom (11/29/03) this year's favorite Haunted Attraction.
The Dungeon of Doom, located in the Arlington Museum of Art in downtown Arlington, Texas, takes the top Goblinhaus DFW area recommendation for 2003. DoD is in it’s 14th year and proceeds benefit the museum.
This one really appeals to my aesthetic side and captures the same spirit that led me as a young teen to set up my own garage haunted house for neighborhood trick-or-treaters. As other attractions compete to advance with animatronic props and such, you’ll find none of this at DoD. What you will find, is old fashioned creepy atmosphere and actors that really do the job. I’ll never forget the year that, what seemed like a 7 foot bat creature dropped and hung upside down from the rafters right in front of my face. Talk about unexpected.
Most haunted attractions are mazes of blind corners with monsters jumping out at you from every turn. I’ve always envisioned a different type of haunted house. One where you walk in and the atmosphere itself is creeping you out and illusions make you believe you’re having ghostly encounters. A “true” haunted house if you will. Well that’s still just my (impossible?) dream. DoD comes a lot closer than the others though. There are plenty of “boo” moments but there is real work on the atmosphere. No 5 minute walks of uninterrupted blackness. No unending din of noise echoing from other parts of the house lessening the effect of noises meant for you.
The scares are unique. When you attend as many of these things as myself over the years, you start to recognize scenarios, and anticipate when you are about to be jumped at. There were a few really unexpected moments in the Dungeon, even after having attended in years past. Another great thing is the pacing. A pet peeve is avoided in that you aren’t running up on the group ahead of you and likewise don’t have tailgaters. I hate it when the scares are ruined or missed because you’re too close to another group. DoD’s radio communication system seems to prevent that altogether.
We also got the opportunity to talk “shop” a little while with the Dungeon of Doom mastermind Kay Kuser (pictured below). You could not meet a better person. She was very friendly and open, giving us a rundown on the history of the place. She also hinted at a few interesting things the future holds. You could tell that she genuinely loved what she was doing.
So we’ve got an independent operation, motivated by genuine Halloween enthusiasm, run by terrific folks. Top that with nostalgic type spookiness that reminds you of why you began loving this type of fun to begin with and we have the best of 2003. If you’re in the area, please try to attend next year.
Interior pictures taken from the Dungeon of Doom website. Exterior pictures by Kara.