Please note: this review is for the 2017 season rather than the current season.

Dwelling Of Despair (PERMANENTLY CLOSED)

by Captn_DeathSchlager (Senior Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 6, 2017 at about 9 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

If you tour as many haunts as I have you’re likely to encounter one that’s a traditional favorite you absolutely adore that unexpectedly disappoints you.  While this first sentence may sound like this is going to be a bad review for Dwelling of Despair, it’s not meant to be.  My tour group of 6 adults (3 couples) really enjoyed this haunt and thought it was “Super Fun” (…to quote a haunt newbie from my group…) but we all had one concern that I uncharacteristically can’t resist the urge to mention.  …but first, here’s what my group really enjoyed about the Dwelling of Despair…
 
The Dwelling of Despair Haunted House & accompanying Forest of Fear is a self-guided, interactive ghoulish attraction known for its awesome animatronic special effects, elaborate decor, skilled actors, unique monsters, unusual themes and chilling detail! Now in its 32nd season the Dwelling of Despair has prided itself in providing a creative and ghoulishly good time to all haunt goers along with a few (ahem, more like several!) frightful moments. 2017 marked my 25th visit to this haunted venue and similar to prior years I was once again amazed at how many of the sets/themes have changed. While you may notice a few similarities along your terrifying tour outside of this haunt what awaits inside will torment and twist your mind in new ways. Following the lead of last year’s version, the chills, thrills and scares are delivered more upfront and in your face than with the skits that traditionally tormented you in the Dwelling of Despair. Rest assured though, this haunt still offers opportunities to interact with the demon’s inhabiting the Dwelling of Despair and retains the same Halloween charm that has brought guests back for the past 32 years!
 
The 2017 edition of this haunt presents two horrifying sections to test your wits and your desire to survive. THE Forrest of Fear kicks off your terrifying tour on a dark and twisted path patrolled by evil spirits and several fiendish ghouls.  If you're lucky enough to slip past these gorish guardians the entrance of the 3 story Dwelling of Despair awaits from the 3rd floor balcony.  To escape the nightmares found within the unfriendly confines of the Dwelling of Despair you must successfully navigate a maze of uniquely themed rooms and hidden passages through the bowls of the entire house.  Along the way you are sure to encounter each and every inhabitant of the house...some fun, some helpful but most of all they are all quite frightful!
 
If you’re touring this haunt as a couple….BEWARE!!!  How would you feel if a stranger in your tour group tried to separate only your partner from the tour group?  What if this stranger not just once but several times ONLY attempted to separate your partner from the group and didn’t once attempt to separate anyone else?  What if this stranger wasn’t in costume or didn’t offer any indication that they were with event security?  …and what if this stranger joined your group wearing a plain grey hoodie NOT from the watchful eyes of event security but while you were walking through the woods as you were approaching the entrance of the haunt?  This situation resulted in a few tense moments during my tour of the Dwelling of Despair which unfortunately ruined the experience for both me and my date.  As there were 3 couples in our group we are all scratching our heads at why there were repeated attempts to isolate only one person (versus two) from the group and why it was always the same person.  In my opinion it is unacceptable for a haunt to not clearly identify the ghouls and event staff that are interacting with you as it creates an unsafe environment for haunt goers and event staff alike.
 
TOUR GROUP RATINGS:  Here’s how my tour group rated Dwelling of Despair for both the Scare and Fun scale (1 to 5)
 
Haunt Newbie (first timer) #1:  SCARE-4 / FUN-5
Haunt Newbie (first timer) #2:  SCARE-3 / FUN-5
Haunt Newbie #3:  SCARE-4 / FUN-5
Haunt Newbie #4:  SCARE-3 / FUN-5
Haunt Novice:  SCARE-4 / FUN-2
Haunt Veteran:  SCARE-3 / FUN-2

Signage / Visibility / Location


This may not be the easiest haunt to find.  If you’re on HWY 60 in slinger look for the lighted portable sign with a flashing arrow on the north side of the road.  Fireman’s park is an immediate right turn after you turn north off of HWY 60.  The Haunted House is actually tucked away after a short winding drive into the park.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


This haunt offers a heated wood shack with a concessions stand to comfort you while you anticipate the horror that awaits you.  A tented staging area provides shelter from the elements as you undergo last minute preparations before your terrifying tour through the woods.

Actors' Performance


A great mix of adult and young actors delivered entertaining performances…unfortunately most of these were overshadowed by an overbearing and controversial tour guide. Less veteran haunt goers looking to get freaked out will not be disappointed. All haunt goers will be certainly be entertained.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


Some really unique sets and a several outstanding special effects.

Length


Approximately 25 minutes.

Crowd Control


Numbered tickets allow you to purchase your tickets and assemble wherever you’d like while you wait.  No long lines to stand in at this haunt.  VIP tickets allow you to avoid the wait and skip to the front of the pack.

Most Memorable Moment


Sorry but I cant get past how annoyed I was by our apparent tour guide....so this unfortunately has become my most memorable moment of 2017 for the Dwelling of Despair.

Summary

The Dwelling of Despair provides an exceptional balance of scares, ghoulishly gratifying visual treats and interactive entertainment making this haunt a fun Halloween destination for both kids and adults alike.  The indoor waiting area complete with concession stand make this a howling good time regardless of the weather.

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April 24th, 2024 8:15 a.m. CDT 24.05