Halloween is right around the corner! I can’t wait. One of the best things about Halloween (besides Candy and the “costumes” women wear) is the local haunted houses. I remember growing up in Cincinnati going to one that was basically three double-wides that had been set up in a parking lot and connected. Sounds terrible but when I was 10 I about wet myself going through that thing. I’m also partial to haunted hikes. Basically it is a path through the woods, usually in a park, lined with goblins, zombies, and horrific scenes. These aren’t as popular but something about being outdoors and vulnerable from all sides makes them even scarier.
My wife loves Halloween as much as I do, we usually throw a party and put up decorations that would rival some Christmas displays. Each year we try to go to at least one haunted house here in the DFW area and this year, thanks to Groupon it was Moxley Manor. We were able to get two tickets for the price of one so our total was $15. You can also print a coupon from Moxley Manor’s Website $2 off.
Before I get into the Haunted House itself, I want to mention that part of the proceeds for Moxley Manor go towards The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They make sure to tell you that when you get there. Operating a small Haunted House can’t make very much money so I really like to see that Moxley Manor is giving to charity. I don’t know if they did it as a marketing tool but I was more willing to drive to Bedford because I knew some of the money was going to a good cause. Good on ya guys! (I’m trying out that saying…what do you think?)
At this point you can decide to either read on and maybe spoil some of the surprises or go read something else. In fairness to the guys at Moxley, I will try not to give away all the secrets and scares, I will talk about what I experienced though. OK, now that the spoiler alert is finished….let’s get on with it.
First of all, the Haunted House itself isn’t a house at all. It is actually set in a suite in a strip mall. This may not sound scary, (and it isn’t) but they did an incredible job of making you forget you were in a former dry cleaners once you step inside. On the outside they erected (hehehe) a wooden wall and painted it to look like bricks. You stand behind the wall while you wait in line. I guess this makes it a little better but it’s one sided. You are looking at raw ply wood when you are in line. Grab a couple extra pieces of wood and a couple gallons of paint and finish it off. All the windows have been blacked out completely so there is no peaking while you wait. The actors do a great job of making eerie noises and banging on the windows to set the mood.
Once you have made it to the front of the line, you will be asked to step in and the doorman will tell you a little about the House. I was surprised to learn that they change up the theme for Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc… Not sure if they do a Christmas one or if these are haunted but I am willing to go back and see that that is all about. I will post my thoughts here at Revude when I do. There were plenty of people in line that night but they let you in by group. This meant that it was just the two of us the entire time. I can’t tell you how many times an experience has been ruined by a slow group ahead or some stranger behind me laughing. This may make for a little longer of a wait but the haunt only takes about 15 minutes so it won’t be that long.
The doorman insists that this is more of a “theatrical scare”, more like walking through a horror film and less pop outs or gotchas. Don’t let this fool you. While the actors are skilled and you do walk through multiple scenes, there are plenty of times my wife jumped and grabbed me. I can’t decided if he told us that so that we would let our guard down, or if he really believed it.
This might be a good time to tell you the back story that goes along with Moxley Manor, but I’m not going to. That is their job and they can do it better than I can so go read about it here. The path through the house leads you through a series of rooms you would expect to find in a manor. The parlor, the sitting room, the kitchen, bedrooms and more. Specifically creepy is the child’s room. Instead of wallpaper, bloody dolls and barbies are nailed to the wall. A nice touch, but I don’t expect it to win any interior design awards.
One part of a Haunted House that I think is very important and not used enough is the pitch black, narrow passage way and they have one! As you exit one of the rooms you are taken to a hallway of dark black walls, no light and fog. You have to feel along the wall to know where to turn and you can’t see the door until you are inches from it. At this point my wife was clinging to my shirt and grabbing my arm, begging me to walk faster. You can only go so fast when you have no idea where you are or where you are going. Well done Moxley!
The other staple of a good Haunted House? Yep, the chainsaw wielding, masked man. I’m not going to give away his hiding place. You will probably be expecting him but it doesn’t matter. As much as I love Haunted Houses, I don’t actually get scared very often. I am always trying to figure out where the next scare will come from. But I have to say, the chainsaw gets me every time. I just don’t trust that they remembered to take the chain off. One of these days I just know I’m going to lose a limb!
Overall I was impressed with the scene decoration and the build quality of the entire house. You really do forget that you are in a strip mall and not actually in some old house. Take your time and look around (if you can). Most likely though, you will want to move on quickly because someone is threatening to steal your baby or eat your innards. It might not be the most elaborate or the scariest haunted house but they did such a great job with what they have. All the necessary elements are included and I came out having really enjoyed it. It sort of reminded me of that double-wide in the parking lot, and in a good way.
I am actually giving Moxley Manor a 4 out of 5 on the Revude.com Meter. I know there are bigger, “better”, scarier haunted houses out there. As far as value, though and the amount of scare for your dollar, Moxley Manor will not disappoint.