HADJI SHRINE PRESENTS:
There comes a time where all good things must come to an end and that includes my 2021 Haunt tour. But I can’t think of a better way to end it than visiting Hell House in Pensacola, Florida.
Hell House is presented by The Hadji Shrine and Pensacola Breast Cancer Association.
They are a full charity haunt that gives back to a great cause.
Being my first time here, pulling into the temple I wasn’t quite sure what we were about to experience. Once you enter the doors you are greeted with a huge devilish facade that I honestly haven’t seen anywhere before. It definitely made us stop dead in our tracks and say, “Wow!” This facade serves its purpose as it not only prevents you from seeing the queline behind, it sets the tone of Hellhouse.
Before you enter the gateway into Hellhouse, you have opportunities to talk with representatives of Pensacola Breast Cancer Association as they have tables set up. There are raffles you can get in on to have opportunities to win prizes and they sell beer.
Once you enter the Devil Facade you are now in the queline area. They did a nice job with decorating and creating a haunt atmosphere for the Que. If you have a quality sense of humor, then you would have spotted some of the puns while queuing if you looked hard enough. I definitely appreciated the humor that Hellhouse presented. I knew these were my kind of people after seeing some of the puns.
As we began our experience, the first things we noticed were a lot of spirit halloween props and black plastic walls. Quite common with full charity haunts. With this haunt being 100% indoors and in the Shriners Temple, it’s a must to cover up the walls and ceilings to keep you immersed within the experience. I typically am not too keen on black plastic haunts, especially if it’s an outdoor event. But with Hellhouse, I’ll make an exception due to where it’s at and what they had to cover up. That being said, Hellhouse did a wonderful job with keeping your mind and focus on the experience.
As we made our way through what seemed like 30 plus scenes, we encountered some really cool scenes and startles. We also encountered some scenes where we were like…….”okay”. Some actors just stared at us as we walked through their scene and it kind of felt awkward for us because we even slowed down so they could do something. While in other scenes the actors were great with their interactions. We really enjoyed the nod to the Shining, that scene was actually one of our favorites. Not only did Jack get a great startle out of us, the two twins were spot on! Major kudos to the actors in that scene, they did a great job of bringing it to life and making The Shining scary while in a haunted house.
We also really enjoyed the Pennywise scenes and how they utilized the lighting to achieve their scares. It worked, because he caused my heart to skip a beat when he came out. To have me give props to a Pennywise character in a haunt is a pretty big deal considering I’m not a fan of the character, especially being portrayed in a haunt.
We noticed a few scenes that offered some really unique effects that caused us to slow down so we could get a longer look. Come to find out, they personally built a lot of these effects and props, so that deserves a tip of the hat to the Hellhouse crew! Why spend thousands of dollars at a trade show when you can simply build it yourself for much cheaper and pretty much have the same effect on patrons…. I’d rather see haunts go this route than spending their budget money on overpriced things at a trade show that you could easily build or recreate with your production crew. It allows you to not only save money, but it allows you to potentially put your own creative stamp on it. Lets just be honest, a lot of those trade show products and props were made for cheap but they are trying to sell it for hundreds and sometimes even thousands.
We did however like what Hellhouse did with some of their effects and lighting. They found creative and unique ways to incorporate them into the scenes and scares.
The mask room is one of those scenes where the simplest things are the most effective. Completely dark room with nothing but glow in the dark hockey masks hanging from the ceiling while actors move around wearing the same masks. Again, unique, simple and effective!
Outside of their Devil Facade, you won’t find crazy, elaborate sets at Hellhouse. For the $25 ticket cost, most avid haunt goers would expect that. It is a pretty steep ticket price for the total package of what you get. But, 100% of it goes to a GREAT cause and charity. That right there alone makes it worth it! Look at it as when you buy a ticket, you’re donating to charity and getting to have a fun haunted experience!
Having the opportunity and honor of speaking with Bobby Gene from Hellhouse, I like the fact that every season they come up with a different theme. They are wanting to increase the quality of the experience each and every season. I love that and that’s the right mindset to have! My opinion, upgrade away from the spirit Halloween props from within the actual haunt walkthrough. I’d put those all out near the ticket booth and around the Queline. When it comes to those types of props within the experience, that screams “Home haunt” to a lot of patrons.
All and all, we had a lot of fun experiencing Hellhouse. We had some great laughs along with some quality startles.
I can’t wait to see where Hellhouse goes from here now that I’ve finally got to see it for myself.
Hellhouse is definitely one of the better charity haunts that I’ve had the privilege of experiencing.
Make sure you keep up with their social media pages so you don’t miss out on what they are doing for 2022!