Zombie Laser Tag to Sundae Bloody Sundaes: Dallas ScareGrounds Doesn't Limit the Fright

In all honesty, I haven't been to a haunted house since -- well, lets just say since my mode of transportation was my mummy.

While I love Halloween (it just so happens to be my favorite holiday of the year) I stopped hanging out at haunts back in high school. Not for them being scary but more out of apathy. This year, however, I was brought out of retirement by an offer I couldn't refuse. The chance to fight back.

I'll explain, even though we all know how this goes. Typically, when you volunteer yourself for the torment and torture of these paranormal pastimes, you're shoved into some type of maze with a bunch of sick and twisted individuals whose sole job it is to remind you that you should have brought another pair of underwear. Legally, they can't touch you (unless you go here) but they sure as hell like to play the "I'm not touching you!" game like a bunch of homicidal younger siblings. If only you had something to fight them off with! Well, now you do...

This is the concept of Dallas ScareGrounds' latest scare-ttraction, Walking Dead laser tag (no relation to AMC's zombified TV series or the graphic novel it's based upon)! For just $7 per round, you can enter a dark, smoke-filled warehouse where you find yourself trapped with an undead horde in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland filled with things to duck behind, roll under, and perch atop. Luckily, you're armed...but so are they. And relentless to boot, as you keep on shooting and they keep on coming for the entire 10-or-so-minute game-time.

The award-winning Dallas ScareGrounds and Director of Operations Josh Meek (who also happened to personally be my most cordial albeit terrifying of tour guides the evening I attended) have come up with something truly fun and original this year for their festival of sorts (which also includes the three-in-one haunted house featuring The Hallucinatorium, The Terrortorium and The Necrotorium, along with Pop Sickle's NightScream Haunted House and a whole bunch of other frightastic attractions, shops, eateries, and roaming costumed creatures). A new spin on the classic idea of a haunted house, that also plays up on the modern day zombie craze. All in all, it's a fun experiment to see how the traditional idea of a haunted house and newer technology can be combined to provide for times that are so fun it's scary.

As for the rest of ScareGrounds' haunted attractions, you're not so lucky to get anything to defend yourself and fend off the evil. In the trio of Toriums (which takes about a terrifying 20 minutes to make it through -- if you make it out at all!), you're subjected to all kinds of marvels of macabre, the scariest of which being in the first part; The Hallucinatorium.

A word to the wise, don't plan on going through this if you've had anything to drink or taken anything that -- you know -- "enhances experiences." You won't need any hallucinogens for this one, because the 3D glasses you'll be wearing, along with the black lights, florescent 3D paint, and funhouse gizmos in this all clown-themed haunt is enough to make Pennywise shake in his big red clown shoes.

While I came to kill zombies and survived the killer clowns, I left with my favorite ScareGrounds' attraction being Pop Sickle's NightScream Haunted House, which comes complete with its own backstory and even its own star, Pop Sickle -- best described as a homicidal Jay Leno-esque ice cream man from the '50s that put a lot more than his treats on ice. In this haunt, you'll encounter everything from a blood-soaked malt shop with a jarringly opposing Doo-wop soundtrack and much, much more. By the end, you'll certainly scream for ice cream.

With less than a week to meet your haunted house fix, I definitely recommend checking out Dallas ScareGrounds for a little old school scares mixed with some new school gimmicks. If you dare...MUAHAHAHA!

Admission: Regular Admission - $22 (includes festival and 3-in-1 haunted house) Walking Dead laser Tag - $7 Pop Sickle's NightScream Haunted House - $5 Dallas ScareGrounds Festival - $3 (doesn't include any haunted houses)

James Wallace is the Jedi Master of IHeartCinema.net.
Follow him: @JamesWallace and IHC.net: @IHeartCinemaNet on Twitter.
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