House of Torment amplifies the fear in its 2018 season

Noah Levine

What better way to start the spookiest season of the year than with a chainsaw-wielding clown?

The House of Torment is Austin’s premier haunted attraction during the Halloween season, featuring three unique and terrifying experiences and an ensemble of creatures roaming the property. In order to keep the haunt fresh and intriguing to returning customers, the establishment continues to update and enhance its scare tactics.

Glenn Lenard, General Manager of House of Torment, detailed many of the ways they are upping the fear factor this year.

“You’ll notice different smells as you’re walking through, within those smells we have different things like burnt flesh and dirt,” Lenard said. “Actors are reaching down at you, covering you from up above and down below. We have actors that pop out from doorways that you are not expecting.”

One of the attractions, entitled “Trick or Treat” is a journey through a creepy Victorian home inhabited by a plethora of evil spirits and possessed children. This attraction relies on the classic haunted house feeling. Corridors are lined with terrifying portraits, peeling wallpaper and the remnants of the seemingly dead. One gag even includes a spirit who pushes a hanging body across the
room at you.

Another attraction, “Blackthorne Penitentiary,” is a diabolical nightmare that sends you through the insane cell blocks and offices of a prison infested with a deadly virus. The unhinged inmates do everything in their power to give customers the scare of a lifetime. Highlights include outstanding production value and great usage of strobe light effects.

The final attraction is “Darkest Dreams.” This maze takes guests into a terrifying nightmare world filled with evil creatures. Most notable, however, is the use of light and fog special effects to enhance the appearance of the rooms and environments. In one instance, a room is designed to look like a swamp — green lights illuminate a thick layer of fog that reaches at shoulder level. This gives the impression you are submerged in green murky water with a creature closely following your movements and dipping in and out of the ghastly fumes like a shark hiding underwater.

While all of this terror goes on within the walls, a whole other nightmare resides outside and around the queue lines. Different “icons” roam around the exterior of the haunt, finding new ways to entertain and scare guests as they wait to enter the real horror within the attractions. These creatures included a clown/cymbal monkey hybrid, a wretched witch and a terrifying nun just to name a few.

These professional “scare actors” take pride in their ability to recognize and embrace what it takes to actually scare someone.

In addition to these roamers, the large lot is decorated with several spooktacular photo opportunities. Customers are welcome to take pictures while sitting in an electric chair, bursting out of a grave and even trying to fend off a horde of zombies from the other side of a door.

Overall, House of Torment’s 2018 season is filled to the brim with incredibly spooky fun. The attraction is open on select dates until Nov. 10. Online ticket prices start at $19.99 a person.

4 decapitated heads out of 5 RATING