Survey of Screams
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
If you’re trying to get the most holler for your dollar this spooky season, here are the reviews of two big haunts local to the historic side of Fort Smith.
ASYLUM X HAUNTED HOUSE
If haunted hospitals are your jam, this is the place to go! Upon entering there were 2 rules.
1. Don’t get close to the weapons.
2. Don’t attack the bugs.
Why? Because they were 100% REAL! The actors are skilled and you’re in no danger. As long as you mind the limits, the adrenaline will buzz through you as louder than their chainsaws. There’s plenty of blood, guts, and creepy faces. If you suffer from katsaridaphobia, one of these rooms will make your skin crawl with the terror of six spiny legs.
The setup was great, however the experience involved less scares and more screams. Screaming at the audience, there’s some verbal abuse from the actors to encourage you to switch rooms. For example:
“GO! GET OUTTA HERE! SHUT UP OR I’M GONNA SKIN YOU ALIVE AND SEE HOW MANY BITS I CAN CHOP YOU INTO!”
This phrase was commonly reiterated throughout the house. This haunt is heavy on actors, meaning there’s not much room for other observation. The scare is designed to come from their voice and actions combined with the atmosphere, rather than the room surprising its guests. There were brief hands-on interactions from the actors.
Groups of about 7 go through at a time. The wait was approx. 25 minutes after getting tickets for a relatively short line. The actors outside are more than willing to take selfies and the atmosphere was one of nervous excitement.
Overall score: 2.5 / 5 Howls!
Address is 223 N10th St, Fort Smith, AR 72901
Doors open at 6pm
Tickets are $20
THE HAUNTED PRISON
First and foremost, be prepared to WAIT. The time between purchasing tickets and entering the haunt was approx. 2 hours. However, there is a concession stand for snacks and portable bathrooms available. Plenty of actors with top notch masks weave through the lines to interact with you and a playlist pumps through the speakers nonstop to keep you excited. Smaller groups of 4-5 seemed to be the average.
Dozens of actors wait about the prison, however the rooms are filled equally, if not moreso, with a variety of animatronics. Guests are left to wonder what was real and what was plastic in the best way. There was a heavy dose of uncertainty instilled by the sharp turns in dark and narrow halls. Every room had a new theme and provided a new sensation. Brief hands-on interactions from the actors, as well as a section of strobe lights are included. Guests will encounter spraying water, rooms filled to the brim with fog and bubbles, and the cherry on top- a classic chainsaw chase.
Did I have a great time? Absolutely.
Do I typically mind waiting in line? No.
Would I wait another 2 hours to do it again? Also, no.
I’m docking a point for time spent waiting, but it was worth it. I’ll go earlier in the night next year because the line just kept getting longer the later into the night it was.
Overall Score: 4 / 5 Howls!
Get ready for even more scares. The trail is positioned beside the prison. It’s a much different vibe from the indoor events. The experience truly inspires both wonder and fear. To avoid spoilers, only one piece of information will be given: wear running shoes, you’re gonna need them.
Overall score: 4.5 / 5 Howls!
Address: 3138 Dora Road, Van Buren, AR 72956
Doors open at 7pm
Tickets $20 for either or $30 for both