By Tara Bennett
The spookiest time of the year is here, and The 13th Gate has plenty of new surprises in store to give your heart a good fright. With new locales, new scares and talented actors there is something even longtime fans of the 13th Gate can find fresh and new
“We’re always trying to expand and make it better every year,” said Dwayne Sanburn, owner of the 13th Gate. “We’ve really pushed the envelope, and I think our customers will be really pleased with what we came up with.”
New to the haunted house this year are areas that focus on the film The Evil Dead as well as an area dedicated entirely to Grimm fairy tales.
“We’ve also added new scares from the entrance to the exit,” said Sanburn. “The cast and crew have worked on it very hard this year.”
The 13th Gate doesn’t always decide to do a room based on a film, but when they do, Sanburn picks movies he really loves that can be replicated such as the cult classic The Evil Dead.
“One of the reasons I like that movie is that it uses a lot of practical effects. Both the original and the remake do not use a lot of CGI you see in most modern horror movies,” said Sanburn. “And that allows us to replicate that theme and turn it into a 13th Gate twist and use a lot of the same effects.”
Along with the use of practical effects, Sanburn notes that the makeup in the Evil Dead area is some of the best the house has ever created.
“We have some of the scariest makeups and some of the scariest characters,” said Sanburn. “It is one of the scariest sections in the haunted house this year…A lot of people leave, they’re too scared to continue.”
“We’ve never done fairy tales before, but it’s requested,” said Sanburn.
Also entirely new this year “Scary Tales.” This area will take you through some of Grimm’s most famous fairy tales, including Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and Hansel and Gretel.
“We have some really cool scenes and some great twists on the fairy tales that we’ve come up with,” said Sanburn. “They’re all very dark.”
The horror doesn’t stop there. Before (or after) visiting the 13th Gate, patrons can cross the street to visit the Necropolis 13, an open air cemetery where vampires, ghosts and zombies roam amongst the above ground tombs.
“Necropolis is a completely unique haunted house experience compared to the 13th Gate or any haunted house,” said Sanburn. “It’s just something very different; it’s very claustrophobic. Because there are so many twists and turns in it, people find it to be very scary, and you don’t know what direction a zombie or a vampire or something undead is going to pop up to get you.”
Along with great special effects, detailed sets and makeup, there are also high-quality performers waiting to give you a good fright.
“It was difficult for us in auditions because we had so many good actors who came through,” said Sanburn. “It’s very competitive, which is a great thing for us because it allows us to choose some of the best actors in Baton Rouge. We highlight their talents.”
If the haunted houses aren’t for you, you can also try your mettle are the 13th Gate Escape where you have just an hour to find your way out of a prison cell or a serial killer’s clutches. According to Sanburn, the 13th Escape attraction has been doing very well, and while there are game openings still available, they are scattered about and should be booked in advance. Many patrons to the haunted house make the Escape the same night to gather a full 13th Gate experience.
“The Escape has been booked out like crazy,” said Sanburn. “Everyone is having a great time, as you know it’s a very unique form of entertainment, and I don’t think there’re too many people who haven’t had a fantastic time with it. Many people who have played the first one book immediately for the second one.”
Plans are still on track for two new Escape areas (an asylum and the mummy) to open in December.
Why stop at picking one of the haunted attractions for the evening? It’s very possible to do all three in one night.
“You certainly can, you just have to plan accordingly,” said Sanburn. “With the Escape you have to pick your times, but it’s not a problem you can do all three in a night.”