13th Street Morgue is my OFFICIAL pick for 2005's Best Haunted House in the metroplexish!
13th Street is one of two haunted houses located on the property of Reindeer Manor in Red Oak, TX. It's about a 30 minute drive from Arlington, and well worth the gas money and time. While I thoroughly enjoyed Reindeer Manor at one end of the property with its huge pyro, creepy facade and theater-like spooks, the highlight of the evening was the smaller house located in the barn called 13th Street Morgue. The house is shaped like a U. In the middle, they have set up a movie theater showing some black and white classics - including the not so old, Young Frankenstein.
We visited Reindeer Manor back in mid-September for an actor workshop with Chuck Williams (see the article section for that story). At that time, we were allowed access to both haunts on the property for a lights on tour. That was only a little over a month ago. Alex, the mastermind behind the haunt, was trying to give us a vision of things to come by the haunting season. I've got to tell you, I had my doubts. He had so much to do in so little time. He basically had the walls up and a few props inside at that point. We'd heard good things through the grapevine about his previous haunts and I was wondering if maybe he'd lost his touch or something. When we returned in October, I was very happy to find he had surpassed any expectations I'd had.
When you first enter the haunt, you'll hear a story about the previous owners and their misfortunes told by a slinky goth chick. Once she lets you by, the real fun begins. The 13th street scares are so well thought out. The decorations are so creepy. The weird thing is, most of them are things that if you saw them at a flea market or garage sale, you would never think, " I'm going to put that in my haunted house and scare the crap out of people." But there it is, some yesteryear common object and you're looking at it and you're kind of nervous. You try looking away from it, but you can't for too long, because in the back of your mind you're kind of thinking, "That radio might kill me."
The actors didn't really try to jump out and scare us too much. Just a few times. But most of the time, they just fit in with the scenery to produce a chilling, nightmare of a sight. It was kind of like you were walking into their twisted world and you really shouldn't be there. You know it and they know it and you better get lost, bub. After going through several haunts throughout the month of October, I kind of grow immune to the 'jump out and say boo' scares, so this was a lovely change of pace. I had butterflies in my stomach when I arrived at the last room of the house. When I emerged out of the other side I kept saying, "That was so good! That was so much fun!", over and over again.
You know, I'm actually kind of thinking this haunt may be too sophisticated for haunted house rookies. I think some people, who have come to expect a certain mold for haunted houses, may not "get" what the 13th Street Morgue is trying, with great success, to do. All I can say is, open yourself up for something a little different, a jumbly classic, and you'll have a blast at 13th Street Morgue. Go there. You know you wanna. All the cool ghouls are doing it.
Note to 13th Street Morgue: The bar has officially been set. Can't wait till next year.
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