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A Review of Castle of Chaos

Lexi Hilton

Lexi Hilton

Riley Baxter, Staff Writer

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The brisk air of autumn had arrived early on the evening of September 15th. Bored and looking for adventure, I had pulled up a list of available Haunted Houses nearby. Castle of Chaos, at 7980 State Street, caught my eye. This particular house of horrors was advertised as Utah’s only underground spook alley, and it lives up to its name, to say the least.

The Castle of Chaos was graded on five factors that I’ve deemed to be the deciding factors of Haunted House quality: Horror Quality, Set Quality, Performance Quality, Efficiency, and Thrill Quality. These will be accumulated for a final score at the end.

You’re greeted at the door by actors, though they seem to have taken a rather tame route this year with ‘Eternally Damned Mobsters’. After paying the fee of $23, and being searched at the door, you’re taken down the stairs into the den of iniquity. The first rooms explain the rules to you (Don’t touch the actors, proceed to the next room when the light turns green, etc.), and then you’re off on your adventure through the Castle of Chaos.

It is aptly named. Occasionally you’ll bump into another group, despite their ‘red light-green light’ system designed to prevent this. It ruins the experience of solitude for you, and rushes the next group’s experience. Early in the season, mistakes like this can be expected.

After being taunted and intimidated by fellows reminiscent of Machine Gun Kelly and Jack the Ripper, you’re challenged to a game of ‘Brave the Trials’ by an axe-wielding maniac. The path ahead is riddled with imaginative individuals, such as a soft-spoken lady with live snakes, an entertaining yet insane doctor, and a lovely group of vampires. They’ve spared no expense in enhancing the experience with talented actors, and the props used were top quality.

Horror Quality: There were a frightful few moments, and the environment wasn’t lacking in any spooks. The sound, the smell, the sights… There was an honest effort, and it paid off. 7/10: obviously fake yet still scary.

Set Quality: The props were fun, and sometimes interactive. I imagine it took a lot of work putting it all together. This was also underground, and one can’t help but imagine what would happen if they were to get lost… Eternally doomed to roam among the horrors that lurk in the dark place beneath the surface of the earth. 9/10, it was amazing.

Performance Quality: The actors were excellent. Their voices were well-suited for the roles they play, their costumes were meticulous, and their ability to interact with wise-cracking patrons was on point. 10/10: they knew what they were doing.

Efficiency: The aforementioned system of redlight-greenlight failed them, and we ran into the first group multiple times, absolutely ruining the immersive experience. It was perhaps the worst thing about the whole experience, like a wedding cake with toothpaste instead of frosting. 4/10: it went by fast and the immersion was gone.

Thrill Quality: One of the first rooms was a casino. While time-consuming if you take it seriously, it was also fun. It gave us a chance to interact with the props and the actors at the same time, while adding to the speak-easy, eternal mafia narrative. Towards the end I said something stupid and ended up getting locked in a closet for a few minutes, thus allowing for a deeper immersion and more fun interactions with the cast. 9/10: Castle of Chaos has always been more fun than it has been scary.

So in the end, I give this an 8/10. It was a relatively cheap, and absolutely amazing experience. As you start this festive season by hitting up haunted houses around the valley (and outside of the valley if you want to experience Asylum 49), Castle of Chaos is a must-not-miss spook alley.

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