Asylum Haunted Attraction was on my tour list last year but was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19. I was so excited for the opportunity to check it out for the first time with my wife Erin in tow. This haunt is located just under an hour outside of Tulsa, OK in a tiny town, which really added to the experience getting to the haunt after sunset. It was eerie with a small downtown storefront area, and overall, a solid placement for a haunt. Parking was free with folks directing and our GPS brought us to the correct location on the first try!
The entire experience at Asylum is based on two things—being interactive and BLOOD! They all but guarantee that you will get fake blood on your clothes and do a great job of communicating this before purchasing tickets. The waiting structure was traditional in that it was two queues—one for regular admission and one for fast pass—under a covered outdoor awning. There were several actors interacting with the line as well as dripping blood on patrons/ taking pictures which was a nice touch. The wait time for general admission seemed a bit long due to the structure of the haunt (we’ll get to that!) so I personally would have added some type of additional entertainment such as a projector for a film on the large side of the facility or a photo booth. There was wand security once you were to the front of the line, which flowed well before walking up to the ramp and entrance to the haunt.
Asylum had some amazing silicone props in this haunt, and it’s worth explicitly naming! One specific scene had a prop dummy that up until the very end of the scene, I was 100% convinced was a living actor. However, as a haunt that has maintained the same theme for years, I would have expected a bit more heat in this category as far as scenes went. Lighting seemed inappropriate at times, and some props weren’t reset before the next group came in. Makeup and costumes were both solid and no characters felt out of place or rushed. Visuals were about average, but for a haunt with returning themes, I would have expected a bit more in this category.
I have TONS to say in this category—both good and not so good. This walkthrough setup is my favorite—interactive scenes where you’re pushed through at regular intervals—and the area where this haunt excels most! So much can be done with this structure and it’s one of the only ones in the eastern Oklahoma region who are capitalizing on this. I loved it! Getting to participate fully physically and verbally gives this façade of power in a walkthrough, even though you are not in control whatsoever. All the potential was there, but the scenes fell short (just not very scary) due to some difficulty of actors using improv. On two occasions, the group we caught up to were refusing to participate and instead of looking to other volunteers, the actors persisted far too long for folks who just weren’t going to be willing to go. At a certain point, refusal is imminent and pivoting to a new victim is essential.
The other aspect that I do feel the need to mention, is something that based on personal preference, I absolutely loved, but more communication needs to be done beforehand. Due to the nature of interaction in this haunt, it is physically much more demanding—tight rooms, crawling, and climbing over a counter. These all added a great deal of depth to the storyline and should be kept, however, this should be much more communicated online. The online disclaimer mentions some mobility devices, but frames it that if they are seen, you will be asked to leave. Instead, it should be made clear that you physically will be unable to move through several of the scenes without staff assistance and actors should be better prepared for this. In my group, two people (who shouldn’t have attended) were wearing a medical boot for foot injuries and were repeatedly telling the actor that they physically could not make it over the barrier, to which the actors kept insisting that they could. Just something to be mindful of because while I loved the physical nature of this (hell, I was separated from the group and made to crawl through a series of tunnels!), it’s not for everyone.
I want to give a special shoutout to the two actors in the final scene for doing an incredible job! If every scene was setup and executed like that, we’d easily be talking about the best haunt on this side of Oklahoma! The actors did a great job utilizing the blood and touching without feeling threatening, and the youth actors had some of the best lines in the show. I’d like the little boy after the crawl out scene to specifically be told about his future in the haunt industry because his special touch of bloody mask souvenirs, as well as his voice acting, was wonderful! As stated previously, the biggest issue I saw with actors was the inability to really bounce off one another and improvise/pivot when a crowd wasn’t responding as expected. It also felt a bit choppy in that the actors did not follow (except for the girl at the stair and “maggots” scene!) after a scene despite having very large gaps between groups. I did witness two actors handle being touched back by a patron very appropriately and it was clear they had gone through training on what to do in those scenarios.
The blood and t-shirt upgrades are cool and, based on what I could find online, draw patrons in to coming year after year for their shirts. While the asylum theme is typically overdone in the haunt industry, I think it really works for this haunt and they added more dimension to make it more creative. Keep going!
OVERALL SCORE =
-REVIEWERS PERSONAL NOTES-
The doorman at the beginning (pre-show) at the top of the ramp, did not say a single word to us. It wasn’t his role to tell any part of the story or anything like that, but even a quick hey, how’s it going” would have gone a long way. It was incredibly awkward just standing there since there is a couple minutes between groups!