Review of Haunted Calgary Haunted Attraction

Review of Haunted Calgary Haunted Attraction

Review of Haunted Calgary Haunted Attraction

Haunted Calgary

Haunted Calgary is a Haunted Attraction located in Balzac, AB.

260300 Writing Creek Crescent, Balzac, AB T4A 0X8
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Haunt Type(s):

charity-haunt1HauntedHouse

Links:

Haunted Calgary Facebook PageHaunted Calgary WebsiteHaunted Calgary Twitter PageHaunted Calgary on InstagramTickets to Haunted Calgary

Contact:

Call Haunted CalgaryEmail Haunted CalgaryMessage Haunted Calgary on Facebook Messenger

Features:

Free Parking, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, “Hi-Tech” Attraction, You will NOT be touched, Indoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction

Team Canadead reviewed this Haunted Attraction on October 9, 2021.

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Final Score: 7.31

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Summary:

This was our Team’s first visit to Haunted Calgary, and we couldn’t have been more excited! Located in the parkade of New Horizon Mall just outside the city, the haunt has been running for well over a decade, growing from a yard display to the major local event it is now. They even managed a drive-through haunt in the midst of last year’s pandemic! Haunted Calgary’s in-person return came this year in the form of the “Museum of the Macabre,” and our Team certainly felt they came out with a deeper education on terror and trepidation…

Many haunts have struggled to recover completely from last year during this chaotic season, and Haunted Calgary was not entirely an exception; the haunt’s Creative Director warned me well beforehand that COVID-19 had caused them a rather strange year (though of course they were still dedicated to putting on the best show possible)! Additionally, we threw them something of a curveball by visiting on their opening night – many of the struggles we did run into felt like the first-night hiccups every haunt suffers from, most of which are sure to disappear as the season continues.

Haunted Calgary is also, notably, a social enterprise; many of its staff are volunteers, and a significant amount of its revenue goes towards its charitable partners. For this – as well as the sheer thrill of in-person terror, and the joy of supporting Alberta’s (admittedly small) haunt community – we definitely recommend taking the time to meet a few of Haunted Calgary’s colourful characters.


Cast: 7.57

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Haunted Calgary’s actors enhanced the experience for us far more than they hindered it, with most of the cast giving us a convincing look at the inner workings of the Museum of the Macabre. Characters ranged from a satyr-ish, femur-seeking creature to Esme, the shrieking ghost of a bride-to-be who haunts the building in which she died. Some characters seemed to stumble with their interactive dialogue a bit (though it led to some very funny moments!), and some broke character before they were entirely outside of eyesight. In all, though, the actors were wonderful – in fact, we think the haunt could only have benefitted from having more of them to turn some spaces from dead to undead!

Actors were especially strong in a room reminiscent of Mrs. Lovett’s cannibal-esque bakery, where the cook was kind enough to present us with a newly bloodied pig head. While this happened, a victim lay with a burnt and bloodied face in the corner, so badly wounded that they could only lift their hands up towards us with a weakness that betrayed just how long they had been there… yikes! This was a lot more compelling than the usual screaming & “help me” routine – we almost found ourselves reaching out to try and get them out of there.

While we don’t want to give too much away, we strongly recommend you keep an eye on another group that may join you along your haunted journey – they were maybe my favorite part of the haunt! After all, they’re just as scared as you are…


Costuming: 7.90

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Above all, we were impressed with Haunted Calgary’s integration of masks into most costumes, in a variety of ways! Some made perfect sense or enhanced the costumes (a certain giant neon mask comes to mind), some were transparent and/or blended into invisibility (in fact, I later complained about a character stalking me incredibly closely without a mask, only for another Team Member to point out that he’d been wearing a transparent one & I’d just been focused on his makeup…oops!), and some made for excellent comedy (the use of a disposable mask over a monster mask is maybe one of my favorite costume details I’ve ever seen…)

There were certainly some standout costumes, especially those with horns and branches! A silent character that my Mom only ever called “the little Us kid” was a particular favorite. We did notice some street clothes/shoes on certain actors in areas that weren’t necessarily fitting, though none of them were jarring enough to take us out of the experience entirely. Perhaps our biggest problem was that the blood on the costumes often seemed flat and old, rather than fresh – while this did make sense for certain characters, it did at times take away from the sense of immediate, urgent horror. It’s important to note, though, that this is an issue for many haunts; not just Haunted Calgary!


Customer Service: 6.26

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Emailing this haunt about the logistics of our visit was astoundingly simple and friendly – Christine, the Creative Director, was an absolute joy to speak with. The haunt’s social media is very well-managed, and we received answers to all of our social media messages within about an hour. Additionally, Haunted Calgary’s voicemail – should you ever need to be sent to it – is charmingly spooky!

The biggest problem with our entire visit was attempting to actually enter the haunt. Tickets gave a very specific set of instructions, alluding to a QR code scanner in the parking lot that didn’t seem to exist. We spent about fifteen minutes trying to figure this out – all the while, other visitors kept asking me how they were supposed to enter, assuming I was an employee because I dress like a goth scarecrow! We ended up entering the parkade without scanning, and once we located the haunt down there and spoke to a staff member it was relatively smooth sailing (aside from one Team Member almost being kept from entering the haunt with the rest of us). It’s safe to assume, though, that this process has gotten clearer and more easily explained as Haunted Calgary continues its season – we are more than willing to chalk these up to the opening-night rustiness that every haunt goes through.


Atmosphere: 6.69

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Haunted Calgary could only do so much about their surrounding atmosphere, as they are hosted by the entirely separate New Horizon Mall. Everything that was in their control contributed quite well to the growing excitement and anxiousness of entering a haunt. The exit was through their gift shop, keeping any visitors waiting in line from actually seeing into the haunt. Additionally, the front of the house was decked out in a number of spooky props and effects (future visitors, say hi to Fluffy for me)! We felt almost obligated to take a ridiculous amount of pictures in front of the hearse that was parked just outside the entrance.

Our biggest complaint about the atmosphere was that several actors from inside the house came out while we were waiting in line, still in costume but not in character; this ruined the effect of several scares for us and brought down our anticipation just slightly. Those that did stay in character while visiting the line, however, provided us with some of the best scares of our entire experience!


Special Effects: 7

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This year’s haunt was prop-and-animatronic-heavy, with some stretches lasting as long as three or four minutes without actors. As mentioned previously, some of these spaces could have done with an extra actor if they could be spared – in all, though, many of the effects were put together in a way that stood on their own.

A skeleton in the middle of the Zoom call got a good chuckle out of all of us, and many of the rooms were impressively executed (the bridge room was a personal favorite)! The walls, though sometimes transparent enough to remind us of the parkade just outside, were thoroughly distressed and decor-heavy – it certainly wasn’t difficult to believe that this museum had fallen into disrepair, especially in rooms like the storage room. The music was ambient and unsettling, providing just enough oomph without being distracting.


Theme: 6.65

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Many of the themed rooms, while separately applicable to a “Museum of the Macabre” theme, did not seem to cohesively transition from one to the other – and some, like the aforementioned “bakery,” did not seem to fit the theme at all (though others did wonderfully; we love that there was a storage room)! If a haunt is planning on having a variety of scenes, this is certainly a smart theme to do it with; it’s very general, and I often found myself thinking up my own stories (“oh yes, the bridge room… if the museum was abandoned and taken over by monsters, of course, they’d love the themed room for ships and biology information…”) That said, a little more storytelling – be it a guide who explains how this space has deteriorated into such a condition, or even an acting choice from a monster here or there – could have gone a long way in enhancing this theme.


Scare Factor: 7.32

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Some of this year’s scares got excellent screams out of us – for the most part, they were excellently timed and varied, and were quite evenly targeted among our entire group. A few, though, felt somewhat predictable, and we did hear a cliche phrase here or there; we have no doubt, though, that this haunt will see its fair share of screamers, runners, shoulder-burrowers, and everything in between – especially as the season progresses, and its actors grow even more comfortable with scaring the everloving [INSERT VARIOUS CURSES HERE] out of people…

Unfortunately, the haunt did not end with a bombastic finale – though we did exchange some fun banter with the Museum’s resident security guard!


Entertainment & Value: 8.06

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Our run-through of this haunt lasted about twenty minutes, though some visitors may find theirs longer or shorter depending on exactly how fast they run! With a general admission cost of $25 CAD per ticket, this puts the haunt’s MPD (minute-per-dollar) ratio at the rather low number of 0.8; this stings a lot less, however, when you remember that much of the money will be going to local charities. The space is well-utilized, and the haunt’s many winding hallways and wildly varying rooms make it feel like an appropriately long visit. If you have a free evening (and just enough courage), we strongly suggest you give this haunt a visit – it is sure to get better with each night it runs!

Haunted Calgary also offers low-scare showings, priced at $10 a ticket.


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