Gates of Delirium is one of those haunts that crosses more into “scary” territory than “fun” territory. In other words, it sets out to frighten and not to simply startle and amuse. However, it is more of a quality scare than an intense, overpowering attempt to terrify.
Overall, the focus on Gates of Delirium is on quality. The haunt has been running in Gilman since 2011, making 2013 its third year, and each year more is added to the haunt, although the central theme remains the same. Also, it is the only haunt we have seen that is carpeted on the inside. While this may seem a bit odd, it adds to the atmosphere in that is deadens sound and makes it more difficult for visitors to hear actors lurking around in the background, and it also adds an air of authenticity to various scenes such as the first one, which is a living room scene.
Visitors are welcomed into the haunt by a bird-headed create who emerges from the front door with a sign that asks “how many victims?” – this create does not speak, but rather simply gestures as he takes your tickets and points visitors towards the entrance to the inside portion of the haunt. As mentioned, this first scene in a living room, which has some very nice thunder and lightning effects outside of the windows – despite the fact that the windows of the living room are inside of a building, they are made up to look as though it is outside, and the sound and lighting effects really bring this illusion to life. It is a quality display, and quality is the hallmark of the Gates of Delirium experience.
All of the rooms that visitors encounter are highly detailed, with numerous props and other set flourishes that make just looking at the setup interesting, regardless of what happens in the scenes themselves. Amongst the many rooms are a very nasty looking bathroom, a room full of hanging bodies, a surgery, and a very creepy funeral scene that has a fantastic surprise in it. Despite the fact that we had visited last year and seen the surprise (and so therefore knew what to expect) it still got us! It’s a clever and very unsettling setup.
Perhaps the most detailed set is a series of rooms that depict a rundown cabin in the woods. Visitors approach the cabin from an outdoor scene that features corn stalks, a junkyard, and a creepy jack-o-lantern headed character hanging on the wall. 1930’s music (as if from an old radio) can be heard playing inside the cabin, and visitors step onto the cabin porch and through an old screen door to enter. Detailed sets inside this area include a dining room, living room, and kitchen, complete with various detailed props and set dressings. The old time music playing reminds visitors of scenes from numerous movies where hapless soon to be victims stumble on an old cabin while lost in the woods. The fact that not all rooms have actors in them really adds to the creepiness, as visitors are never sure if or when someone will pop out at them.
Again, just looking at the sets is enjoyable, as there is so much to take in that sometimes it’s actually nice that no one jumps out so you can really see what’s there. Although many of the sets are the same as in past years, each has had minor changes to them that make them more interesting, such as shifting of certain props, or adding lighting, or even adding some more gore to certain areas. Additionally, there are some new scenes, including one at the end which featured a very odd looking live actor who resembled something out of World War I – not something you see every day!
Also, the outside portion of the haunt, which visitors enter once they have exited the main building, has been expanded. This portion was first added in 2012, and has been enlarged for 2013. It consists mostly of partially dark mazes, but with a few interesting surprises that we won’t spoil here!
The bottom line is that Gates of Delirium presents a quality haunt that is high on detail and actor enthusiasm. You can tell that everyone there likes to scare and that they put a lot of effort into making the visitor experience something different. There are no haunt gimmicks, such as those inflatable passageways or twisty spinning wheel rooms here. All of the haunt rooms are traditional walkthroughs. That’s not to say they are boring – far from it. There is a lot to see, and there are numerous very clever hiding spots for live actors, several of which are out of the ordinary and are quite effective, even for those who have been to Gates of Delirium before.
If you’re looking for some clever scares and detailed costuming, makeup, and sets that are delivered with enthusiasm, look no further than Gates of Delirium. It’s excellent.
To find out more about this