Utahns are all looking for different things in their haunted house experience. Some want a believable atmosphere, others like to interact with actors, and of course, some people want to have the best scare of their life and scream all the way through. We think that our number one haunt in Utah provides all of these things.
To put together this article, we looked at recent google reviews for listed haunts in Utah. We didn’t go by the number of stars; instead, we looked at the substance of the reviews themselves. We also explored the websites of each haunt to determine what they offer.
Without further ado, here are the five scariest haunts in Utah:
5. Dead City Haunted House
This new to the scene haunt in Murray is on it’s way to becoming a favorite. They offer two scare levels, the general admission that includes a lot of actor interaction, but no touching, and a “death be gone” option for a less scary experience that’s perfect for kids (this option only costs $1.) Pre-COVID, they also allowed guests to choose a hands-on experience.
The space is impressive, with over 60 rooms spread across 30,000 sq. feet. This year’s rooms include an Egyptian Curse, Cannibal Kitchen, and Army of Darkness (extraterrestrial themed). Reviewers loved the detailed animatronics and special effects and mentioned that there are several good jump scares. The rooms are unique and creative with sensory effects that grossed out some squeamish patrons.
Many reviewers appreciated the attention to detail and immersive experience but also felt that the haunt was still finding itself. One reviewer mentioned that it gets better every year. Haunted house aficionados might not pee their pants at this one (yet), but it sounds like a fun time that’s worth checking out.
4. Nightmare on 13th
Most people agree that this haunt has tons of atmosphere. From amazing sets to convincing makeup, Nightmare on 13th will immerse you in the many unique rooms they set up every year. This year’s haunt features six different areas, including Dark Ride of Terror- a creepy carnival where the carnies might just try to kill you, and the Nordic-inspired Helheim, haunted by the dishonored dead.
Nightmare gets props from reviewers for their animatronics, but many people complained about the lack of actors in some areas. Lines were also an issue, but this year the haunt has started a timed entry program that should fix that problem while also making the experience safer during the pandemic.
Nightmare on 13th offers a fun experience, but many adults found it “enjoyable” and “creepy,” not terrifying. In the past, they have offered an X Scream experience that provides a more intense scare, but we couldn’t find anything on their website about that for 2020. Overall, Nightmare on 13th is a solid haunt that goes the extra mile for those who enjoy an atmospheric experience, but people looking for true terror should read on.
3. Fear Factory
Fear Factory set up shop inside an abandoned (and possibly haunted) factory back in 2011 and they’ve been making Utahns scream ever since. Reviewers were impressed with the huge and unique setting. One reviewer mentioned that having to climb stairs and go between different levels heightened the suspense. Almost every review mentioned being scared, including one that said “so scary 10/10”. The phrases “trippy” and “like another dimension” were also used to describe the 2020 haunt. Several reviewers mentioned the quality of the acting and how well the actors interacted with their group.
This haunt is a favorite for a reason; the atmosphere, the actors, and the building itself all come together to create a fantastic experience. The one con several people have mentioned in years past is the long lines, but like Nightmare on 13th, Fear Factory has introduced a timed ticketing policy that may reduce this problem.
In the past, Fear Factory has offered optional hands-on experiences and three terrifying rides, including a bungee jump from their highest tower. Unfortunately, they cannot provide these options for the 2020 season due to the COVID situation. One unique extra that’s not going away for 2020 is their Dare to Scare app, which allows users to remotely control specific props inside the haunt to scare their friends and family.
Most reviewers seemed to feel that the attraction was just as scary and entertaining this year with COVID guidelines in place as it ever has been.
2. Asylum 49
This haunt in Tooele has gotten props for years as one of the scariest spots around, with reviewers describing it as “terrifying” and “taboo.” They specialize in psychological terror as opposed to gore or jump scares. The experience has always been immersive and hands-on, and they’ve offered a “no-touch” night on Wednesdays for more squeamish guests.
During COVID-free years, this haunt has been known as not for the faint of heart or easily offended. They tell you upfront that you will be “touched, grabbed, separated from your group, detained in small, dark areas and left, strapped to a metal bed, and worked on by the crazies.” There’s no doubt about it, this place is terrifying to all but the most hardened haunted house fans, and that’s not even counting the real ghosts that are said to haunt the building. The haunt has changed this year for Covid-19, and they are no longer hands-on. Recent reviews seemed mostly positive, though some long-time fans may be disappointed by the changes.
1. Castle of Chaos
Castle of Chaos is our number one pick because of how personalized and immersive the experience is. They go out of their way to keep groups separate so their talented actors can zoom in on individual patrons. This was the only haunted house where no one complained about a lack of actors.
One reviewer raved:
“Due to COVID, I was expecting it not to live up to the standards. But that was by far the best experience I’ve had at any haunted house in the Salt Lake Valley for a long time! 10/10, recommend!!”
Another pointed out that unlike Asylum 49, the actors at Castle don’t rely on just separating you from your group to creep you out; they interact with you in more creative and more frightening ways.
Castle usually offers five levels of fear so that everyone, from kids to hard-core adrenaline junkies, can have a great time. This year they can’t offer higher levels with full hands-on experience, so they’ve come up with a creative alternative. They’ve upped the amount of interaction every patron receives from actors, and they are providing some hands-on experiences safely through the use of props.
Their animatronics, sets, and special effects get shout outs in reviews for creating an immersive and unique experience that goes beyond horror movie tropes. Castle prides itself on the number of screams they get from their guests, and they’ve kept track of which rooms got the most screams during every year they’ve been in business. Now for their 20th anniversary, they’ve brought back all their most terrifying rooms, with changes to keep guests in suspense. No matter what you’re afraid of, you’re sure to find it at Castle of Chaos this year.