Location: 105 W Dewey Ave, Wharton, NJ 07885
Web Page: https://13thhour.com/
13th Hour Haunted House (Formerly Haunted Scarehouse), features three haunted attractions ( “The House of Nightmares” and “The Attic,” included in “Two Floors of Fear”, and brand new for 2018 “The Darkside of the Hayden House”-Separate Ticket) and numerous escape rooms which operate year round.13th Hour Haunted House is one of the scariest classical haunted attractions visited this season, combining a “funhouse” style haunt with a “pitch-black” style maze that is an attack on one’s mind. While one of the more detailed and technologically advanced attractions, 13th Hour is not afraid to pull back on going overboard with “show” and allows for guests to fear and embrace the unknown. “Theater” of the mind is sometimes more terrifying than any visual show and this attraction is designed to target diverse fears of those guests who partake in all three “attractions” at the 13th Hour Haunted House.
13th Hour is one of the most carefully detailed haunted attractions we have ever visited, infusing technological advances with movie-realistic scenes and unsuspecting surprises. Uniqueness in set design is a hallmark of this infamous attraction, as each season brand new rooms replace tired old concepts. Members of the “Hayden family” roam the various hallways both upstairs and downstairs and hide perfectly among the massive props and animatronics that serve as effective startle or jump scares. We continuously have been impressed by the “scope” of this attraction’s design as large-scale props and animatronics transform the industrial environment into what feels like a classical indoor haunted house. Featuring two “core” attractions (Two Floors of Fear) 13th Hour embraces diversity in haunt styles and allows for guests to experience a more “grounded” and then “surreal” experience.
Every single season a painstaking attention to structural detail, and scene design while creating an extensive two-floor walking attraction that at times feels like a horror “museum”, spurring an inner sense of “exploration” which is the perfect way to set up well-timed scares. The intricate custom-built sets feature disturbing imagery, gore, and impressive animatronic props, which make it easy to get lost as each room encourages exploration. This season the attraction has made several changes to both its “House of Nightmares” and “Attic” attractions, and a brand new third experience “Dark Side of Hayden House”. The additions/changes add creative elements to each attraction including a “mini-escape” games challenge for an ending(with a surprise prize that garners a chuckle), numerous new “rooms” of the Hayden Household including a disturbing “road-kill” scene, improved special effects and our favorite an insane, twisted, downright creepy “funhouse” style “merry-go-round of death” featuring dangling heads and blood-stained mirrors. Haunt fans of all backgrounds will appreciate the incredible details, and design of this attraction, as they continue to find new innovative ways to generate scares.
13th Hour features two connected indoor attractions; the “House of Nightmares”, “The Attic” and a fantastic pre-show, which is on the level with interactive attractions featured at major amusement parks that transport guests “back in time” guided by an insanely entertaining “mad doctor”. The opening pre-show is entertaining and unique to this attraction. The entire experience is reminiscent of an interactive 3D simulator and creates a powerful opening for a trip through the attraction. The quality of this pre-show alone tops most haunted attractions and helps guests forget they are in a large industrial building.
The intricate details and fantastic set designs are experienced in small groups, and the 13th Hour Haunted House does not disappoint. Guests will travel through time to visit the infamous “Hayden” family homestead. A house of horrific slaughter, twisted imagery, and insanity set upon two floors of fear. 13th Hour continues to improve each year, adding new surprises, scares, and interactive thematic sets. This is one of the best-designed attractions you can visit this year and the additional “third” attraction is well worth an extra ticket and visit this season as it is truly a terrifying experience of being lost (and tormented) in the dark.
13th Hour Haunted House places an emphasis on the “legend” behind the attraction’s creation. The legend of the “Hayden” family places guests back in time to an era in which a farmhouse stood on the grounds of the haunt (per attraction storyline)
Each room/scene is perfectly designed to create anticipation and build fear. Doors violently slam open, life-like animatronics from flying demons to a Hollywood quality “werewolf” are found in every corner of this fantastic attraction. The talented scare actors, work tirelessly and engaging set designs continue to stay ahead of the curve in adding a modern twist to a classical, traditional walk-through haunted attraction.
House of Nightmares
The first-floor attraction of the 13th Hour Haunted House. “House of Nightmares”, features detailed props and large-scale animatronics which serve as a backdrop for talented scare actors hidden throughout each corridor. The animatronics and set designs are of the highest quality and balance perfectly with actors who are always well hidden and ready to scare. From to a dragon that “eats” unlucky guests, to movie-quality large scale prop monsters, the creativity of the design of the “House of Nightmares” is second to none.
Haunt fans will appreciate the sheer quality of the props/animatronics must be seen to appreciate. Each set is gruesome and gritty, this is a maturely themed attraction, and encourages guests to cautiously explore the “House of Nightmares”. A demented “merry-go-round” scene is violently disturbing, interactive and one of the stronger sets featured in the attraction. It is a memorable scene featuring a gruesome scene of slaughter and twisted character actors that control the entire experience.
The insane actors of the “House of Nightmares” effectively use the detailed set designs and animatronics to hide in tight spaces, use different types of scaring techniques to generate scares and create unique interactions with guests. The interactive nature of the attraction makes it difficult to predict what will happen next, and the attraction uses darkness and ominous sound effects to build anticipation. Walls will collapse, floors rumble and slide and animatronics grasp at guests as the “House of Nightmares” is continuous non-stop relentless action, capped off by a jump scare finale which sets the perfect tone for a trip to the “Attic”. We did find that overall the attraction was in general similar to last season, but the additional scenes and continued attention to detail make this attraction a memorable one. Very few attractions feature a level of detail like 13th Hour, which boasts intricate set designs and gruesome features. Lifelike large-scale animatronics and props are used effectively to hide scare actors in a high budget experience.
After an always shocking, yet expected jump scare ending to the “House of Nightmares,” we make our way to the second floor of the 13th Hour Haunted House. The “Attic” forces guests to enter into its detailed, intense scenes in small groups. Each scene is interactive, each corridor features the effective use of misdirection, confusing mazes and actors who are dedicated to confusing guests, as well as scaring them. Guests enter a twisted carnival and must escape a maze which is controlled by various evil clowns, who spend a great deal of energy in playfully taunting each guest. A trip through a disturbing doll room, a haunted library, rooms with chainsaws coming out of multiple directions and a room of rather life-like “wax” figures are some of the scenes guests will see as they enter into the sinister “Attic”. Each scene is unique from the other, and several changes have been made including a redesign of a rather infamous animatronic “werewolf” scene. Additions to the dark carnival portion demonstrate the strength of 13th Hour’s ability to blend technology with reality, creating a virtual experience that is creepy and realistic, representing the nightmare’s one may have surrounding “clowns” The unsettling, highly detailed set designs and creepy use of animatronic scares carried the dark atmosphere of the “Attic” attraction to a new level of fear, creating moments of panic and paranoia. A unique “escape games” themed finale caps off a fantastic attraction adding a small bonus to the show when most finale’s in haunts fall flat.
The “Attic” is more surreal, a dark fantasy come to life that feels as though it was inspired by “the further” off Insidious movie fame. A demented carnival (featuring a 3D video wall of a clown taunting each guest displaying the technological prowess of this attraction), disturbing doll room and shockingly real encounter with a “werewolf” are some of the highlights of the Attic attraction. 13th Hour relies heavily on the realism and details of its scenes as well as the interactive nature of its props to generate scares. With a few more “scare-actors” the “Attic” can be genuinely terrifying
The Dark Side of the Hayden Household
The “Dark Side of the Hayden House” is more than the generic “pitch black” mazes utilized by so many haunts that cheaply want to add to their shows. Serious thought and effort are placed into the development of this attraction that is best described as being a panic factory. Guests are given glow beads which quickly become lost within the darkness placing them at the mercy of scare actors the pop out of practically thin air from above and below to taunt and torment. What makes this attraction so effective is that there are times where you feel totally alone, lost within the darkness, completely isolated yet afraid of what is about to come. While many “pitch black” style mazes help you “feel” your way through their structures, 13th Hour embraces openness in structural design, forcing guests to have to search in the deep dark for escape. Other than “Pitch Black” at Reapers Revenge, Scranton, PA, we have never visited such an effective, well planned “blackout style” maze that is aimed to attack the senses but do so in a foreboding manner that concludes with a shocking finale. A few more sensory triggers and perhaps enhanced sound and other effects can really turn up the fear level in this already impressive first-year attraction. The “Dark Side of the Hayden House” is unforgiving, it is a far departure from the aesthetically impressive attractions featured in the core haunt, and is designed to torment and create a sense of vulnerability which is the perfect foundation for fear.
The Final Word
13th Hour Haunted House is an intense, detailed journey through three distinct yet connected attractions that boasts some of the finest set designs, animatronics, and talented scare actors. At times we wish there were more actors in the “two floors of fear” portion but overall there is a sound balance between each attraction. The new “Darkside of the Hayden Household” is a brand new experience in fear and a “blackout” or “pitch black maze” that goes above and beyond one’s closest expectations. We cannot recommend this attraction enough this season and look forward to seeing how the 13th Hour Haunted House continues to grow and evolve each season.