Dark Castle was refreshingly different from all of the other haunts we visited on our 2020 South Carolina haunt tour. They offer 3 very distinctive attractions – a haunted trail, haunted house, and zombie laser shoot. Each attraction is a theatrical experience with every scene its own performance.
Sadly, Dark Castle was personally affected by the pandemic, losing one of their actors to COVID-19 back in July, so safety protocols were in full effect. The tickets are sold for time slots to help with social distancing and provide each group with a fun and safe experience. They also had multiple hand sanitizing stations and even creatively incorporated the use of sanitizer into the show. There were several Halloween-themed vignettes set up in their common area that their witchy crew spent many hours carefully crafting. There was one that held very special meaning made in honor of the actor’s memory and others the team has lost.
The first attraction we tackled was the Terror Trail, which was a guided journey throughout the woods. Usually, we are not fans of guided haunted attractions, but these guides totally made each scene! We had 3 different guides along our journey to the “other side.” Sets varied in detail from a few props set up along the trail to fully enclosed, immersive structures. Every stop along the way was a short play. We would definitely categorize this haunt as PG-13 with an abundance of adult humor and themes like cannibal, cannabis strippers and a guide named Ass Clown. He was HILARIOUS! While the themes were horror-related (including a surprising IT cameo), the scenes themselves were not very scary for us; entertaining – absolutely! scary – not so much.
After the trail, we hit their haunted house Dungeon of Darkness. This haunt explores the unusual basement space under a mortuary and was just as theatrical as the trail. The scenes here were much more detailed and designed to incorporate at least one large animatronic or pneumatic prop, and then the performance of the actor(s) in that room led up to the triggering of the prop for the scare. Jump scares abounded throughout this attraction!
Dark Castle also offers a 3rd attraction called Zombie Zone. This laser shoot used to be a paintball adventure that they converted due to Covid. Unfortunately, due to time constraints we didn’t have the pleasure to experience this attraction, but the laser shoots we have done in the past have all been SUPER FUN, so we expect this one was nothing less.
The actors at Dark Castle are all professional thespians turned haunters and it was AMAZING!!! This was such a nice change from the screaming teenagers we experience all too often. Even though each actor had their planned performance, they were still able to roll with the punches and appropriately respond to and interact with crowd involvement. They were creepy, engaging, and offered the perfect amount of brevity keeping you off guard for those unexpected scares their performances built up to.
The absolute best and most unique feature at this haunt was their RIP Experience. As a part of the Experience, guests receive their choice of a Halloween/haunt-themed face mask and gain entry into a comfortable VIP-style room packed with snacks and drinks, but the first thing we noticed was the monitor on the wall with 4 colored buttons surrounding it, 2 on each side. Hmmmm… Interesting… Hidden cameras have been set up inside the haunt with the 4 locations displayed on the monitor. Those 4 colored buttons connect to actual props in the haunt! We were able to set off these props with a simple push of the button! It was insanely fun to sit back there timing scares and seeing the reactions! The RIP Experience also includes the option to put on a costume and become a part of the show too. We didn’t have time do it but were intrigued by the idea of it! How original!!!
Even though this haunt is not your traditional haunted house; it is still an INSANELY great time! So, if you’re looking for something a little different this Halloween season, we’d definitely recommend that you catch the show at Dark Castle!