The final haunt of my 2019 tour and it makes me sad. That sadness wears off pretty quickly when I realize that I’m ending the season with Gates of Misery in Rome, Georgia. This haunt has been a staple of Scurryface going all the way back to 2013. We have seen them grow tremendously throughout the years. Every season they always seem to find ways to improve in some way or fashion. That’s what you are supposed to do in this industry. That is what you’re supposed to do for haunt fans. You want fans to keep coming back, you have to always find ways to improve for the better. Gates of Misery does that year after year.
The drive is very easy from any direction as the haunt sits right in the middle of Rome. Parking is free and is no problem as they have a massive well lit up lot.
We arrived by boat on an extremely rainy night and we thought to ourselves, “Man, this is going to kill the vibe and the crowd.” As we pulled up and saw the entire parking lot full of cars and what seemed like an endless line stretching all the way to the road. That not only is dedication from the haunt fans, that is a testament to how great Gates of Misery is. Now for the final time in 2019, let’s get to the categories.
You’re outside of a creepy historic building. It builds up anticipation and with the roaming actors coming in and out to play with guests. That does nothing but build up the excitement. You have music playing to keep guests entertained and singing. You have clowns shaking their booties while others get the guests fired up with chants. There is plenty of running room when it comes to the outside of GOM. Trust us, some of you will need it. Just watch out for oncoming traffic. We’d hate to hear that a guest is haunting at Gates of Misery in 2020 from the other side.
SECOND SCORE 8.6
Special Effects: 9.5
What I love about Gates of Misery is the fact they custom build the props. You will find some very unique and creepy things as you venture through the void. The lighting in most scenes was pretty spectacular and done in such a way that in some cases you had to stop and take a closer look. I love the creativity behind a lot of their sets and scenes. How do you get an Ice Cream truck inside of a building? You build one and that is exactly what they did. What haunt offers snow and haunted snowmen? Gates of Misery does! I truly love the creativity and originality that this haunt offers!
SECOND SCORE 9.3
Customer Service: 10
Debbie and Mike know exactly how to make people feel welcomed at their establishment. They truly want to know your thoughts and always looking to make their show better. They want everyone to have the best time possible. The definition of southern hospitality!
SECOND SCORE 10
We noticed some high-quality masks as we made our way through GOM. We also noticed some very talented makeup work as well. Especially with some of the clowns. We never encountered any “cheap” looking masks or costumes. We never noticed “lazy” makeup jobs either. That is always a good sign when visiting a haunt. They take pride in how they look while haunting. The costumes matched each theme or scene. They do a great job with blending in with their surroundings. We were very impressed with this category.
SECOND SCORE 8.8
THE VOID! They promote it and they stick with it. Within this void you will encounter many different scenes and characters. We never once ran into any dead spots or areas that had us scratching our heads wondering, “Why is this here?” We love how Gates of Misery constantly had us going up and down stairs. At some points we were getting a little confused on how this building was even set up.
Trail time took us roughly around 22 minutes.
The changes they made since my last visit was great. I enjoyed a fresh new experience and I can’t tell you how many times I go to haunts and they make one change or none at all and then promote that they have a new haunt. I really enjoyed the front yard scene while we entered the house. The “haunted Christmas” vibe was very unique and awesome to see. Maybe for the future get an actor dressed up as one of those snowmen and have them charge at the groups. The entire clown experience was something people will remember.
Another thing that wowed me was going through multiple areas where they touched on death. You walked through a morgue, catacombs and an Egyptian tomb. It was something different and unique to experience and that is yet another reason why Gate of Misery is a haunt you don’t want to miss out on.
SECOND SCORE 10
Is it Scurry? 9.5
Gates of Misery does have its “Scurry” moments for the typical haunt goer. What gates does to perfection is startle scares. This is where their timing comes into play and they will pounce on your soul faster than a person cutting across 6 lanes of traffic when that Krispy Kreme “Hot Doughnuts Now” light comes on. They simply know how to get a jump out of every scene. Another thing that GOM does to perfection is “drop box” timing. Their timing on these things are impeccable. Not to mention they have what feels like hundreds of them. Let’s go ahead and say if you don’t get scared, you WILL get startled a few times before you hit those exit doors. Regardless you will be leaving with a smile knowing you just had a great time!
SECOND SCORE 9.2
At the end of the night as we were speaking with the Actor Coordinator, Jordan Penson. We were blown away by the actors timing in each and every scene. We couldn’t compliment them enough on how well they owned each scene with presence and superb timing. As we were name dropping characters to him, he kept responding, “1st year haunter.” This is a testament of how amazing this training staff is. For industry experienced reviewers like ourselves, typically we can spot newer haunters. Not here at Gates of Misery. They looked as seasoned as anybody I’ve seen at other haunts. This crew and training staff deserve a standing ovation.
SECOND SCORE 9.9
Bang for your buck: 10
For $20 and the experience you’ll receive and time spent while on your tour. It is an absolute 10 for this category. On busy nights I would recommend you upgrade to VIP so you can skip that long wait outside. Did I mention parking is FREE????
SECOND SCORE 10
This is the 2nd time that I’ve experienced Gates of Misery since I started Scurryface back in 2012. I need to change that and make more visits as we go forward. This haunt truly delivers quality scares and entertainment. It doesn’t offer a huge opening ceremony. You won’t find a massive actor parade here. It doesn’t offer you state-of-the-art special effects or elaborate costuming. What it does offer is, top quality scares of an old fashion haunted house and originality. They’ve been doing their thing for 13 years now and they wouldn’t be around this long if they were bad at it. You have one weekend left to get out to Rome, Georgia and experience this haunt before they shut the doors until next year. Why are you still here? Get in the car and go! I know they are not open yet. Pitch a tent in their parking lot and look at the building. GO!