Most people aren't willing to drive four hours out of their way for a haunted house, but I don't consider myself to be like most people. For the past few years, I've been hearing about a haunt, located in Las Vegas, that was considered to be one of the best in the country. This haunt, THE TRILOGY OF TERROR, presented by the Freakling Bros. Horror Show offered guests three houses of fear. This past weekend, I made the trek to Las Vegas to experience what Freakling Bros. had to offer and see if I could push my limits by entering their R-rated, waiver signing experience, "The Gates of Hell." There are few experiences that have left me as breathless, scared, and wanting (maybe even begging for) more than THE TRILOGY OF TERROR, and it's personally been the best haunted attraction I've gone to all year. When I arrived last Saturday, I was initially underwhelmed with what I saw before me. We parked in a large parking area, something you would find at any outdoor shopping plaza, and in front of me were three standalone structures designated for each of the three haunts. On the outside, these haunts left a lot to be desired, as the design didn't do much to entice those that were about to enter; however, I believe that this was done on purpose. You see, what happens on the inside more than quadruples what you see on the outside. It's a sensory overload, one that I was not prepared for, which made the experience all that more thrilling and jarring. However, I digress as I'm jumping ahead of myself. You want to know more about the haunts themselves, so let me start at the beginning. Here are my reviews of each part of THE TRILOGY OF TERROR:
Synopsis: 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!
Thoughts: Going into this house, my expectations were low. We first met with the "owner" of the castle who is not having any of our shit. You must listen, you must obey and phones MUST be turned off. Even when I tried to explain that I never turn my phone off, she didn't care. I was not to enter unless my phone was turned off. I obliged because honestly, she could have kicked my ass. Once stepping foot into this house, everything changed. This is not your usual haunted house, this had tricks running up and down its very long sleeves. Around every corner you encountered a new scare actor, a new adventure, a new means of trying to escape. If there was a moment when my brain broke from everything, it was this house. Not because of the scares, which for the record where fantastic, but because I went in with such little expectations that I was so shocked with what I was actually experiencing. From a design perspective, the use of the space was spot on and every nook and cranny was designed to look as if you were within the walls of a castle. There was even a moment where you are led to a bridge that took you across what I would assume to be a moat. This house had it all, scares, stunts, over-the-top designs, and the perfect use of special effects. You even get to meet the Dark Lord, the one and only Nosferatu, and it's an experience you won't soon forget.
Upon exiting Castle Vampyre, I felt as though I was just given a shot of adrenaline. I was ready to take on the next house and I had a feeling that whatever was laying in wait for me would be even better than Castle Vampyre, which was saying something, because that house was incredible.
THE COVEN OF 13
Synopsis: In the thick darkness of the witching hour, as night becomes early morning, when most of us are fast asleep, a pack of cloaked, ageless figures gather and chant. 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?
Thoughts: Remember how I just said I felt like something was waiting for me in this house? Yup, I was right! Out of all three houses I went into, this one was the best. It had everything, from moments of sheer terror and laughter, to walking and crawling through areas best left alone, to separations of groups so that you were in isolation, to shocks to the system, it had it all. I can't think of a house that I've gone through where I've screamed as much as I did in this one. As with Castle Vampyre, the set design was fantastic and done in a minimalist way which resulted in a fine tuned and effective atmosphere. The scare actors were on point in such a way that we never knew where they were coming from; case in point, I accidentally ran into one thinking they were part of a wall. If claustrophobia is an issue for you, I will give you fair warning, this is not the maze for you as it will test your limits of comfort rather quickly. The story-line was cohesive from beginning to end and it was as though we, the audience, were becoming part of an incredibly horrifying sacrifice. We watched and were active participants because we did nothing to try and stop it. There aren't enough ways I can express how incredible this house is. For those who are looking to step up your haunt game but aren't ready to take that plunge into extreme haunts, this is the one for you. It immerses you without the fear of being touched while also allowing you to see how far you can push your own boundaries. Also, the costume design for the witches coven were perfection and proves that just a little can go a long way.
Upon exiting this haunt, I was on Cloud 9. Having gone through so many haunts this season I was aching to be scared and to finally get that feeling back was a rush I hadn't felt in quite some time. Up next was the house I had heard about the most, the one that Freakling Bros. is known for, "The Gates of Hell." I looked upon the two other people I was with to see if any would be brave enough to accompany me, but alas, I would be going on this journey alone. I stepped up to the entrance, signed away my life, and prepared myself for what laid ahead.
GATES OF HELL
Synopsis: Still the ONE and ONLY R-Rates HAUNTED HOUSE in the State of Nevada, don't miss what everyone is talking about: a look at "the darker side of Freakling Bros." 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 finally experience a slow and painful descent into cold, black nothingness to meet the Prince of Darkness himself. Do you have what it takes? We don't think so. SEE YOU IN HELL!
Thoughts: I can't lie, as soon as I entered, a part of me yelled WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! I knew this was going to be a test for me, to see if I was ready to experience more extreme elements within haunts, and you know what, I can! I loved every single moment (okay, maybe not a few moments, but I can't give those away) of this haunt and was in awe with what was happening all around me. This haunt really does take you through what it's like to see yourself die repeatedly and it's a show to behold! For those not comfortable in a house such as this, there is a safe word that you can yell, and though no one in my group (5 of us, 4 of them strangers) said it, I was able to see hordes of people leave the house upon using it. Is this the most extreme haunt out there, no (check out Freakling Bros. THE VICTIM EXPERIENCE), but it's also not about to make you feel safe. You will be yelled at, you will be cursed at it, you will be shoved, manhandled, and more. This is not a safe haven and it does everything in its power to remind you of that. Is it for everyone? Absolutely not, and if you think you can't do it, I implore you to not push yourself to that point. For me, it was what I needed and the excitement I felt upon exiting is unmatched.
All in all, Freakling Bros. THE TRILOGY OF TERROR is something that all haunt fans need to experience, at least once, if not numerous times. For as long as I've been going to these type of events, I've never experience anything like I did here and for that they now have a devoted fan. My only concern is that I hope in years to come they are able to switch out the houses to new things so as to keep the experiences fresh and unexpected. Overall, THE TRILOGY OF TERROR is absolute perfection and the team behind it did an incredible job of entertaining and scaring me in ways I never thought possible. If there is one thing you need to go to this Halloween season, it's Freakling Bros. THE TRILOGY OF TERROR.
For more information on Freakling Bros. visit their website at www.freaklingbros.com.