TCU Daily Skiff Masthead
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
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Haunted Houses
By Taylor Gibbons
Skiff Staff

It’s October, and that means it’s haunted house season. The first weekend of the month saw the opening of several haunts across the Dallas/Fort Worth area–some more family-oriented and others geared towards hard-core thrill seekers.

Armed with a notepad and half a tank of gas, I checked out five of the most promising spook houses in the area, determined to review them all. Each house has been given a rating of one to five Jack-o’-lanterns, one being the worst and five being the best.

Hangman’s House of Horrors
Times: 7 p.m. to midnight every Friday and Saturday through Nov. 2; and 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 27-30 and 7 p.m. to midnight on Halloween.

Price: $17.

Location: I-30 at Forest Park Blvd. in Fort Worth.

Contact: (817) 336-HANG or visit (

Hangman’s House of Horrors proudly advertises its status as the world’s top charity haunted house. Now in its 14th year, Hangman’s has become something of a Dallas/Fort Worth area institution.

This year, general admission lets visitors tour the main haunted house, a 3-D maze and a smaller haunted house (a haunted mobile home, actually) known as “Victor Gwydion’s Estate of Terror.” With the main haunted house, the promoters sought to create a “fun house” atmosphere without too much gore. I don’t know about the gore (I can distinctly remember being offered a plateful of human parts by a burly man in a blood-splattered apron), but the fun house aspect is very apparent. Hangman’s utilizes spinning tunnels, strobe lights, forced perspective and all other manners of optical trickery to create a truly immersing experience. The other attractions are fun, if rather short, but easily make up for the price of a ticket. Hangman’s benefits victims of multiple sclerosis.

Rating: Four Jack-o’-lanterns

The Cutting Edge
7 p.m. to midnight every Friday and Saturday; 7 to 10 p.m. every Sunday through Thursday.

Price: $13.87 plus tax for children 10 and younger and $16.64 plus tax for adults.

Location: 1701 E. Lancaster Ave. (at the intersection of I-30, I-35 and Hwy. 287) in Fort Worth.

Contact: (817) 792-FEAR or visit (

I wouldn't say the Cutting Edge was a bad haunted house. It's not. It's good. However, it's also overrated. The Cutting Edge is basically this- a haunted house, followed by a maze, followed by being submerged up to your neck in bubbles for some reason. The maze isn't really haunted, it's just dark, and the purpose of the bubbles beyond justifying the ticket price still escapes me. So I'll focus on the house itself. It was long, which is always a plus, and dark, which when used properly, as it was here, can really add to the effect of a haunted house. Beyond that, there wasn't anything too special about Cutting Edge. Most of the rooms were too dark to really see very well, and I can't recall any themes in the house beyond 'Guy in black robe jumps out at you." Cutting Edge is cool, but one would expect something this high profile to be cooler.

Rating: 2.5 Jack-o'-lanterns

The Darkside
Times: 7 p.m. to midnight Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Oct. 25-26, 31; 7 to 11 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday Oct. 24, 29-30.

Price: $13 for single ending, $20 for double ending.

3000 Race St. in Fort Worth.

(866) -DARKNESS or visit (
If you have any siblings younger than 13, you might want to think twice before taking them to the Darkside. Of the haunted houses I toured, this was probably one of the most frightening. The Darkside uses several unique elements, such as live arachnids, 3-D effects inside the haunted house and two possible endings to freak out visitors. It has an overall nightmarish feel somewhat reminiscent of the movie “Jacob’s Ladder,” which frayed my nerves for a while even after I had left. The Darkside benefits the Boys and Girls Club, as well as a victim of a neck injury.

4.5 Jack-o’-lanterns

The Boneyard
7 p.m. to midnight every Friday and Saturday; 7 to 10 p.m. every Sunday and 7 p.m. to midnight Halloween night.

Price: $12

Location: 7500 Baker Blvd.; Exit No. 24 off E. Loop 820 in Richland Hills.

Contact: (817) 926-BONE or visit (

The Boneyard, though by no means strictly a children's affair, offers a slightly more family-oriented haunting experience.

Situated in an empty building that used to house a Sam's Club, the Boneyard offers a concession stand, video arcade and live music in addition to the haunted house. The house itself is composed of several distinct scenarios including a mock up of 18th century London featuring Jack the Ripper, a mummy-infested pyramid, a circus inhabited by insane clowns and, of course, classics such as a graveyard scene. It's all very cool, and some of it is pretty creepy, but I found myself not as frightened as I was at other houses. In some places, a lack of foof allows one to see the ceiling of the actual structure, which diminishes the effect of the house. For a first-year effort, however, the Boneyard does relatively well for itself. The Boneyard benefits the Special Olympics.

Rating: Three Jack-o'-lanterns

Texas Chainsaw Nightmare

Times: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday and Saturday; 7 p.m. every Sunday and 7 to 10 p.m. Halloween week.

Price: $8 plus $2 for parking.

From Interstate 35W, take exit 917 in Johnson County, between Alvarado and Burleson. Head south on service road for approximately one mile and follow the signs.

(817) 822-1401. (

The promoters of this haunted house billed it as “The Most Scare for the Money,” and I would have to agree. Located about 15 minutes down I-35, the Texas Chainsaw Nightmare can be easy to miss. Constructed over six harrowing weeks as a way to raise funds for a local basketball team, this house doesn't look like much on the outside, but looks can be deceiving. Constructed from interconnected mobile homes, Texas Chainsaw Nightmare uses its size constraints to its advantage, creating a claustrophobic, nightmarish environment that incites a fear visitors feel in their gut as opposed to the more psychological thrills offered by other haunted houses. The only major flaw here is the length of the house - it only lasts about 10 minutes, and that's if you're slow. Then again, it only costs about half as much as a major haunted house. This is a good alternative to some of the more established haunted houses.

Rating: 4 Jack-o'-lanterns


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