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This attraction was reviewed on October 25, 2019 by Team Teachers of Terror.

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Final Score: 7.96

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Hidden behind a massive timber fortress, sits a haunted trail like no other. The backdrop is an Old Western Town from days long ago, with scenes aplenty. The classic story of Sleepy Hollow comes to mind as The Headless Horseman stalks around the area riding a sleek, dark horse and carrying a lit pumpkin for a head. (Yes, you read that right. The Headless Horseman rides on a real horse here!) Don’t be alarmed at the shivers that go up your spine if you hear the distinctive sounds of horse hooves on the wooden bridge just behind you!

The team here have brainstormed the classic ways people are frightened, and gave them a home. An entire new wing has been added to Dogwood dedicated to a hauntingly fun adventure. Beginning at a foreboding fence just beyond the town, called Gates of Horror, is where you get your last warnings from Frogg the owner, you enter scene after scene of scares and frights. Watch your step and don’t fall in the cavernous hole!

Horror at Dogwood Pass offers the more traditional haunt, best for those new to haunted houses and trails, or simply prefer not to be touched. The last two Saturdays of the season, however, is Adults Only night. Waivers must be signed, there is a minimum age requirement (16 with parent signature) and haunt goers will be part of the show in extreme ways. They will be touched and immersed into the activities going on throughout. This review is based solely on the traditional Friday night trail.

Cast: 8.2

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All of the cast did a good job at ‘selling’ their characters. Every character has perfected their job and assigned scene. The zombie girl moved and sounded like a zombie. Her unique sound was all her own and made us feel like a zombie was for sure going to get us. The same can be said for the werewolf. Combining his crouched position, mask, and feral growl with his use of the space he was in, made for a clear story of a werewolf on the prowl for a fresh kill. The silent killers remained silent and creepy. There were some screamers in the mix, but not too many. The butcher’s victim in the deep freeze must have been actually freezing, or frozen in fear, because she didn’t scream and claw at us, but stayed curled up and looked at us with a sadness in her eyes, pleading, but yet almost accepting of her fate. The chainsaw madman seemed determined to tear us to shreds, as he followed us several steps into our exit tunnel.

We met up with quite a variety of characters. As this haunt is about all things scary, they included references to pop culture as well as the traditional scares. We met miners, rednecks, lead characters from franchise horror movies, butchers, chainsaw slingers, snakes and spiders, a werewolf, a zombie, and more.

We had a real enlightening conversation with the lady in the baby doll room. She answered our questions in character, even if the answers had a layer of cringe to them. She told us about her favorite babies and their punishments for bad behavior. We decided immediately that we did not not want to be a part of her collection in any way, nor did we want to stay and play; as her ‘friends’ were worse for wear.

Costuming: 7.83

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Costumes were believable. The characters wearing street clothes were characters who would be wearing such attire (zombies, miners, etc). Freddie, Jason, and Michael Myers wore their iconic clothing and wielded their preferred instruments of death. Other characters wore dark cloaks, or aprons, to complete their look. Many were hidden in the shadows, waiting for us to find them. We so much enjoyed the stilt actor with everything covered from head to toe, including the hands. He or she also had a very nicely detailed mask.

Makeup was simple here, mostly used as a way to show injuries or the effects of becoming infected. Colored contacts were a nice addition to the overall look for some characters, including the zombie with the milky blue eyes.

Masks were in abundance here. All of the masks looked to be of a good quality and detail. We only saw one mask that needed some makeup on the skin to blend in with the actor for a uniform look.

Customer Service: 8.7

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Dogwood Pass isn’t far from the highway and GPS got us there with no problem. There was a good sized sign off the highway alerting motorists as to where to turn off. There are some turns here and there once off the highway, but nothing our GPS couldn’t handle. There wasn’t any additional signs at the turns on the country road leading on to Dogwood. Parking consisted of a large, open field. There was no lighting for parking, aside from the lighting provided from the haunt itself. We parked our car without any assistance.

The concessions available included snacks like hotdogs, burgers, fries, mozzarella sticks, chicken and onion rings. They also had assorted cold drinks. They even had homemade desserts like extra large cookies and brownies. Hot chocolate was available upon request.

Staff was friendly and professional at all times. They seemed happy to be there and answered our questions without hesitation. More than one was thrilled to talk about their haunt and about all of the changes and renovations that have been made recently.

Horror at Dogwood Pass has a Facebook page, and there is also a website. Through Facebook, information such as ticket price, address, contact information, and dates and times of operation are readily available.

This haunt requires a decent sense of balance. They require customers to manage strobe lights, uneven flooring, crawling on hands and feet, complete darkness, and sliding. Groups can get separated at times. Pay attention to which dates are traditional No Touch haunts, and which are Extreme.

Atmosphere: 7.8

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When approaching the ticket area, we knew we were coming to a unique place. There was some string lighting, and there was an imposing timber wall, but the thing we noticed immediately was the beautiful glossy black horse with a headless rider.

Music could be heard at the ticketing area. Once we made our way into town, we found concessions and a small souvenir shop. They also have permanent indoor restrooms. The saloon had plenty of seating and also served light snacks and drinks. The jail next door to the saloon provides some fun photo ops. The trail leading to the Gates of Horror had a nice covered bridge feature and a warming campfire complete with some older style tents and benches. The gates themselves had a nice skeleton at the top. This guy must be somewhat fresh, because he still had some meat on him! Frogg, the gatekeeper, was dressed in full costume and shared an enjoyable monologue with those of us waiting anxiously to get passed the gate.

Special Effects: 7.53

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There were some special effects along the way. Beginning with a warning to keep our hands on the rails to avoid falling to our deaths, we walked along a rickety, shifty footbridge… in the dark. Elsewhere, we approached a large snake shooting out at us to give us a jump. We got an eye full of a large basketball sized spider who shot down from it’s perch to greet us. We crawled on hands and knees through a tight mine shaft, and slid down a small slide. We felt the cold air in a walk-in freezer, and the heat in another area. Our balance was tested in a laser room with a tilted floor. We saw several victim characters in various states, some who were still screaming for help, somehow encased in an enormous spider web; to others who are in acceptance, or maybe shock. Simple things, like the glow in the dark Jason room proved to be quite effective at keeping us on our toes. We did see some bloody body parts, but this haunted trail did not limit itself to a gore only haunt.

There was music at the earliest part of the trail. After that, sounds consisted of those from the actors themselves, or at times, their equipment.

Theme: N/A

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There is no definitive theme here. The creators made separate scenes that are designed to get a scare out of somebody in any group. Horror movie buffs will love the Freddie and Jason scenes, and will watch out for Michael. Arachnophobes will get their itch scratched. (Well, on second thought’) Ophidiophobia hasn’t been left out either. There is a lot of different things going on here to keep the entertainment flowing. Darkness, mazes, shifting flooring, bloody body parts, and the list could go on an on. The Wild West Town does not dictate what happens behind the Gates of Horror.

Scare Factor: 7.85

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As stated above, a whole host of topics and phobias are covered here. The actors employ different scare tactics like classic jumps, intimidation (with threats, both verbal and physical, and with proximity), screaming, stalking, growling, banging and thumping. We had actors not only coming at us head on, but also from above and below. The haunted house enthusiasts who fear getting separated from their crew just might have this happen. More than once we walked right into a silent actor just waiting for us, in the dark, hidden away. Those who are uncomfortable in absolute darkness will be forced to face that fear. Remember, we said there were spiders and snakes here. We walked in circles more than once, in more than one room in a feeble attempt to find a way out. Then we met the Ax Assailant who tested our stress meter with not only forcing us to figure our way out, but was swinging an ax at the same time.
We mentioned chainsaws, right?

Equally important to general scares, is scaring more than the first two people in line. Some props and actors purposely waited until more people were in the room, or the middle and end parts of the group got close before they engaged. Actors followed us, and we were separated at different times, so scares were distributed fairly among our group.

Entertainment & Value: 7.95

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Tickets were $15 a piece and our walk through was clocked at 25 minutes, for a minute per dollar value of about 1.7! We were satisfied with the time spent on the trail as well as the cost of the ticket.

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