Murderous clowns invade DFW

Haunted house review!

By Carmina Tiscareño

Staff Writer

 

Profiting from attendees’ inane fear of clowns and fake gore, the Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus arrived to scare serious fear-seekers in the DFW area.

The Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus debuted for the first time in Irving as the only haunted house that recreates the scene of a traveling circus. Once customers stepped out of their car, a fire-spitting semi truck and two clowns wearing top hats, who own the haunted house, greeted the customers.

According to the Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus web­site, the haunted house is based on a tale of a traveling circus run by brothers and staffed with freaks and outcasts. The haunted attraction was created in Draper, Utah, by Bob Tillotson and Jim Thornton, who have more than 20 years of experience in haunting, according to their website. Some of their other projects included the staging of the Haunted Forest in American Fork, Utah, and the Haunted Hollow in Ogden, Utah.

Brothers Ryan and Kevin Lee form the Strangling Brothers of Texas. They started by making haunted houses in their garage for 10 years before bringing the Haunted Circus to North Texas.

The parking area was well lit in secure surroundings with police officers on site. Twenty-nine cus­tom built trailers arranged in a maze made up the traveling cir­cus. Customers entered a trailer and transitioned to another, mak­ing it hard to figure out which trailer they were in. The haunted maze lasted about an hour. The trailer maze included scenarios with fogged settings and strobe lights where clowns unexpect­edly appeared from the mists. Other settings included some funhouse-style light shows and spinning walls.

The Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus had a great wait­ing area. The waiting area was covered and had interactive and unique attractions. It had a free photo booth with dress-up items like wigs, hats, and big, brightly colored sunglasses customers could borrow while getting their picture taken.

A rock band and a 45-minute preview video displayed on a 16-foot screen explained the set­ting of the haunted house, which helped the wait go by faster. Food trucks were available for customers to grab a bite while they waited.

For those who fear clowns, the dark, or tight spaces, this was a thrilling and nerve-racking expe­rience. The entrance and many parts of the maze had narrow, pitch black passages making cus­tomers feel lost, scared and con­fused. Clowns chased customers through the rooms, leading them into an area with no outlet and encouraging them to look for an exit that led to the next room.

The haunted house included some gory characters and scenes, but they were not scary. The most frightening parts were the pitch black areas with low vis­ibility that required touching the walls to get through the maze, while hoping that a creepy character would not pop out unex­pectedly. Customers entered trailers to reach an exit that led to an outside area where characters like graveyard workers scared customers before they made their way to the next trailer.

Some areas also included a neon-lit caged maze with a char­acter on a see-through ceiling who watched customers pass while banging on the ceiling, a brightly lit, gory hospital room with fake blood splattered every­where, a slaughterhouse, and a zombie scene with characters crawling on the ground eating people. One frightening scene had fog taking over the room with strobe lights as the only guidance given.

Haunted Circus staff took full advantage of the last room by popping out and scaring people one last time. Half of a train and railroad track made up the last room. A dim light could be seen at the end of the long dark pas­sage. Once the room was stepped into, the train that was on the wall chased attendees.

To avoid the train, customers sprinted as fast as they could to the end of a dark aisle. A char­acter with a bright light and train horn ran toward them, making it seem like they were going to be hit head on. The haunted maze, the animatronics and the high-tech lighting make this new haunted thrill worth visiting again.

The Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus runs until Nov. 2 and it’s located at 8255 Esters Blvd. in Irving, Texas, near high­way 114. Tickets start at $30 for general admission and can range up to $50 for a fast pass that allows one to skip through the line, and parking is $5. They offer discounts price for groups of 15 or more people.

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