House of Torment was a new-to-me haunt this year. I had visited its sister haunt, 13th Floor, multiple times in the past, so I was excited to see what this haunt had in store. My group jumped into the VIP line, where we had a very brief wait. We also paused to take a quick picture with one of the creatures of the haunt, then lined up to listen to the rules. The first haunt was explained to us as a zombie outbreak, while the second took place in a high school. The only thing I vaguely remembered hearing about House of Torment was that it was set in Chicago, and these details did end up being references throughout.
As soon as the light turned green, my group entered The Frenzy. At first, this haunt seemed a bit sparse - the actors were few and far between, and the sets weren't nearly as detailed as we had anticipated. However, the further we moved into the haunt, the more details were added. I was really impressed by a room packed full of antiques, as well as a house that looked fit for hoarders. The actors were pretty engaging, taunting us that we would stay there forever in the haunt.
One room inside The Frenzy truly stands out, and that's a recreation of a Chicago El train (I think I actually said, "Oh wow, I LOVE this!" when we entered). The actors inside the haunt are aggressive and intimidating, and the train's vibrations really created a claustrophobic, chaotic feeling. I'd say House of Torment is worth checking out for this room alone!
The second haunt, Nightmare High, takes place in - you guessed it - a high school. I have honestly not seen a high school themed haunted house in all my years of visiting them, so I was pretty pumped to see this setting. Nightmare High didn't disappoint - there were destroyed classrooms and demented classmates galore. I particularly liked the darkroom, which even had students' senior photos hanging up. Great touch!
Something that House of Torment does incredibly well in both houses is their lighting. Use of darkness, then brief illuminations via strobe lighting, worked really well! My group commented about how disoriented that we felt walking through; at times, I had to resort to doing a zombie walk (hands out in front of me and stumbling) just to get through a room. There was a great library room that was incredibly dark, with just brief flashes of light punctuating our walk through. We were all really impressed with how big of a role that the lighting played throughout.
One thing that I was a bit confused by is that Nightmare High features a brief clown maze towards the end. While I liked the clown maze, it didn't really seem to fit in with the theme of the house. Perhaps it was included to stay on trend with the clown frenzy that is sweeping the nation?
Overall, I really enjoyed House of Torment. I thought that pacing system was on point and would love to see other haunts utilize this system. The lighting was some of the best I have seen this season, the Chicago setting was awesome, and the actors were interactive throughout. I look forward to visiting again next year!
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