Mu-hu-hu-wa-ha-ha! Can you survive these haunted houses?

Oct. 14, 2010, 6:57 pm

Dispatch - Argus

Strobe lights and chainsaws and fake blood, oh my!
Halloween is right around the corner, and haunted houses throughout the Quad-Cities are open. To help you get your scream on, I reviewed five houses this year -- four chosen at random, plus Torment at Twelve Hundred, which I rated the scariest last year. The top rating is 5 bats.

Rated #1:  Torment at Twelve Hundred, Orion.

PG-13, gore; 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 7-10 p.m. Sundays through October; 5030 N. 1200 Ave., Orion. Open-toed shoes and high heels prohibited. (309) 945-5237, $12.

I rated this haunt the scariest last year, and again this year, it didn't disappoint.

Because this haunt follows a story line, with a chapter added each year, rooms like the doctor's office and the asylum are almost the same as they were last year. Perhaps some new characters or a rearranging of the rooms could allow for their purpose in the story while making room for more screams.

At the same time, though, rooms like these are part of what makes Torment stand out. Its rooms and hallways are more permanent structures than most haunts are able to provide, and are more akin to those in amusement parks, rather than those of once-a-year haunted-house building conversions.

My favorite part about Torment is its layout.The creepy, wood-framed hallways with flickering lights connecting rooms and buildings are very reminiscent of underground tunnels in movies, and organizers creatively make use of spooky school buses. The variety of buildings themselves also is refreshing.

Sealing the deal, for me, was a certain ... character that chased me and photographer Stephanie Makosky down one of the many hallways. I don't want to give anything away, but that was definitely the moment that made me scream the loudest.   And run for my life.

Rating: 4-1/2 bats

Walk with us through five Horror
Haunts in the Quad-Cities

Thursday, October 29, 2009, 9:30 pm

Dispatch - Argus

I could feel my heart pounding in my chest as I waited, ready to scream. Through half-closed eyes, I peeked down the hallway, trying to find a way out.

Big mistake.

The strobe lights distorted my vision as a girl ran toward me, covered in blood. I let out a scream and stumbled backward. Another girl in a fur-trimmed hood followed. "Stay with me," she pleaded.

This bone-chilling moment at Torment at Twelve Hundred, Orion, along with many others, filled my head as I visited five Quad-Cities area haunts. Cringe along with me through each one, starting with the scariest and most creative:

Rated #1: Torment at Twelve Hundred, Orion.

The minute I pulled in, Iknew this haunt would be worth the drive from Rock Island. It's a good thing, too, because being the city slicker that I am, the ride out in the dark on the winding country roads was enough to have me sweating with anxiety.

If you check out this haunt, come early. An 8:30 Saturday night line would have you waiting for at least an hour. I felt like I was at Six Flags, waiting to ride the latest roller coaster.

After I paid, I was briefed on the zombies in the woods by "Sheriff Hole" before I was turned loose to the groundskeeper. Each character I met played his or her role perfectly and made me feel like I was actually about to experience something horrible.

The groundskeeper said I reminded him of his great-grandmother, then proceeded to point to "her" in a creepy old photograph.


After some back-story about the property, I reluctantly made my way through a few buildings and down paths in the woods that connected each. It was misting and chilly, adding an eerie feel to the night.

Characters, mechanical props and animals hiding in the buildings had me screaming words not suitable for print.

I don't want to give too much away; you'll have to check it out for yourself.

If you aren't too scared.

Torment at Twelve Hundred

Be prepared for an experience that may reach into the depth
of your mind, where the true torment originates, and remember: 

'The Realm of Darkness leaves us Vulnerable'

See you in October!!

Torment at Twelve Hundred
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