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PART TWO.. Devil's Dungeon and Slaughterhouse, Saturday September 29, 2007.
By Shrub

Alrighty. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already read Wally’s cool part one of the GOBLINHAUS two day blitz of Nashville haunts where we drove over and hit as many as we could cram in before closing time. Well, after hitting Demons’ Den and Death Row on Saturday night, Wally hit the road as he had a bit of a drive ahead, but with four haunts already under our belts, Kara and I weren’t giving up yet (gotta love her). There were three more haunts on our radar, but the clock ran out on us before we made it over to Fallout II, so… maybe next year.

Out of these three remaining haunts, we were most intrigued by Devil’s Dungeon as it was advertised to be “Nashville's Most Controversial Haunted House.” Well that may possibly be true, but overall it wasn’t very good. We are new to the area so I’m surprised to see on their website that this is their 7th year because to me it had a feel of a new haunt that has not been fully realized yet. I thought coming out that it was about half good and that maybe with some time to flesh it out some it would be better, but I guess they’ve been around a while.

The “controversial” part comes from the liberal presence of pentagrams and upside down crosses. There are also some dudes in dresses, which probably freaks plenty of people out and a metal soundtrack blasts throughout. You may be thinking that this sounds pretty different, pretty cool, and yeah they do have a decent premise to set themselves apart. I’ve definitely got no problem with any of these features; in fact I applaud a willingness to push the boundaries of good taste with any horror related venture (see House of Shock). But somewhere in the execution, it just didn’t really work.

The house was sparsely decorated for one thing, and guys in “staff” T-shirts were everywhere, talking and not even trying to camouflage themselves. The actors were noticeably different right off the bat, but then you realized that they all kinda just writhed around shaking their heads, presumably tormented, but looking more like they were simulating mosh pits. Others got in your face with a “blehhhhh!” noise. It was all calculated to create a screaming hell house of sorts, which again, not a bad premise, just didn’t really feel like it was pulled off effectively. I think you’d need a whole lot of actors to really overwhelm with this approach. Just 1 or 2 actors in a big open space doesn’t really do it. I will commend the girl in the wheelchair though as she did actually give us the heebie jeebies, but one actress needed to finish sending her text message before turning around to scare us. I mean c’mon!

I noticed an offensive trend in Nashville and that was nearly every haunt featured a pitch black maze and Devil’s Dungeon was the absolute worst offender. What felt like the entire second half of the haunt was a maddening dark maze, which you would roam and roam only to end up back in the same room with about 8 doors. After about twenty minutes of having the life sucked right of us, Kara and I finally just prodded an actor until they pointed out the correct door, which after more dark hallways – put us outside. It was over. Talk about a fizzle. If they would just flip the house putting the maze first and the action second, that would improve things tremendously, but after being beat down by that dang maze, there’s nothing left to redeem the place and you just end up leaving frustrated.


Devils's Dungeon

At $9.00 with a coupon, Devil’s Dungeon is probably worth it just to see what they are doing there. They are trying to be different after all, and that must be encouraged. They just didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

We’re starting to get a little more tired by this point in the night, but we didn’t come all this way for nothin’, so we’re off to find Slaughterhouse, billed as Nashville’s longest running haunted attraction. Despite being only about an hour before closing time, Slaughterhouse had a decent sized line out front. Before I go any further, let me preface my Slaughterhouse comments by saying that we’d been hearing buzz about them the whole time we’d been out and around in Nashville, and it wasn’t positive. Apparently they had raised their price this year and that wasn’t sitting too well. Also word was, that they pretty much trotted out the same show every year and it wasn’t really worth it.

Well, we’d never been, so what’s an old show matter to us anyway? We got in line. After waiting a while, a Captain Spaulding type character came outside and began messing with people. Dreading the prospect of another maze, Kara asked him if Slaughterhouse had a maze inside to which he said “a small one” (the wrong answer here and Kara was probably out). He was a real friendly guy though and he told us a bit about the place before we went in. Told us that (despite what we’d heard) they had redone about 70% of the haunt this year and explained the price hike wasn’t so bad if you consider all they had invested in it, both dollars and man hours.

Now if this were a Dallas haunt, $15.00 would make it one of the cheapest, but here in Nashville the usual price is closer to $10.00 and at $15.00, it’s tied with Death Valley Haunted Woods as the most expensive in town. So compared to the other area haunts, it’s not as good of a deal, but I don’t think it is a bad deal either. Of course, after all the talk along the way, I went in to Slaughterhouse with lower expectations than I had for Devil’s Dungeon, but I came out feeling that it was a very solid attraction.

Size and quality wise it was very comparable to another of our Nashville favorites, The Demons’ Den. Slaughterhouse did have some unique moments of its own, and starts out like its name would indicate as you walk among slaughtered pigs and such. They also seem to have a few more of the high-dollar props than others including a giant skeletal monster flinging its life-size victim around, a stretch where the props and actors were under the floor, and a theatrical execution scene.


Slaughterhouse

This was one of the only haunts that succeeded in giving us a creeped-out feeling that is hard to explain, but they were able to create a building tension as you approach each scene. Their actors were good, especially a mad doctor who has a surprise for you once you get near him, and a Michael Myers with a really good gag that will get you for sure.

The chatter we heard from patrons on the way out was completely different from what we had heard for the 2 days prior. People were definitely leaving with a positive impression including one girl who told our clown friend out front that it was the best one she’d been too. While I really don’t want to see haunt prices here get out of hand the way they have in the Lone Star State (to me anything over $15.00 is pushing it unless you can make an entire night out of it), I really don’t think the price hike at Slaughterhouse should keep you away. It’s a good time.

Devil's Dungeon Website

Slaughterhouse Website

 

Read Nashville Part One: Demon's Den and Death Row

Read Nashville Part Three: Monster Mountain and Death Valley Haunted Woods

 

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