As you may recall from our review last year, The City of the Dead was purchased by 13th Floor Entertainment group and 13th Floor’s Asylum Haunted House was added to the City of the Dead (COTD) location. We really were looking forward to see what the powerhouses of 13th Floor entertainment could do with the amazing City of the Dead haunt. In the past COTD had topped our charts with incredible sets, hair raising acting, and the best most chaotic haunt experience we’d seen. In recent years, that thrilling, chaotic, insane atmosphere has dwindled and we’re a bit disappointed to see it slipping away. 2019 was a rough year for COTD and Asylum. We enjoyed the sets of both haunts as COTD has always had incredible, movie quality decor and props which didn’t change this year. Asylum’s set is very reminiscent of their original set from back in 2014 that we loved so much. The disappointment comes in our over all haunt experience. It seems there was a sheer lack of enthusiasm in both haunts. Maybe we came on a night when there were not as many actors or maybe they were just tired but, the interaction and experience with all the haunt actors was limited to a few grunts and grrs, and an unnecessary amount of chainsaws. Don’t get us wrong, we love our chainsaws in haunts and more chainsaws usually equals a great scare. But, in the enclosed space and with 10 other people surrounding you it’s not the best design to trap everyone with multiple chainsaws. Some people react differently to that scenario and it ruins the scare and the experience for others when strangers react badly and cause you harm or inhibit your ability to move forward and enjoy the rest of the haunt. We feel this section of COTD had been designed better in the past.
Pacing is one of the keys to success in a haunt. Good pacing allows for premium scares and a great experience for haunt goers. When things get busy and ideal pacing just cannot be achieved, we understand the circumstances and don’t let it ruin our experience. But, when there is virtually no line, there should be no excuse for having poor pacing. This is exactly what we experienced and it took our haunt adventure from a potential 10 right down to a 0 in no time. We had ideal conditions for perfect pacing yet we ended up running into 3-4 or other group multiple times throughout the haunt essentially ruining our experience. We wanted so badly to be able to enjoy COTD & Asylum with an untainted run through the haunt. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case this year. It hurts to say but, poor pacing really impacted COTD’s chance at decent ranking this year.
In the end, COTD jusst did not live up to our expectations of our previous experiences and we’re bummed to report they came in last place on our Famous Top Haunts list. We’re holding out hope that this haunt can rise from the ashes and return to it’s former glory in years to come.