I live less than a mile away from ""The House Of Torment"" & have for over 8 years. I've read about HoT, seen it on television, heard all the hype, & felt very proud that Austin hosts one of the top ten ""Haunted Attractions"" in the USA for years now. I knew that we were supposed to go through the two houses in order so I asked which one to begin with. Seeming interrupted from their chatting, one of the employees told us to begin with ""The Reckoning"" and then progress to ""Cursed"". So we got our tickets & excitedly headed on our way through a short Monday night line; no reason to buy the VIP tix today (I'm sure they come in very handy, though, & worth the extra $10 spent on a weekend night close to Halloween - the mazes of fences for crowds go on forever; the very friendly and talkative door-guy told us that on Fri/Sat/Sun the wait can be up to 3 hours!..30,000 peeps going through on weekends!). But just then 4 school buses full of excited teenagers drove into the parking lot & we breathed a sigh of relief that we had gotten in line minutes before the 2 hour wait we would have had behind them. Whew! And this on just a Monday!
We were directed to stand behind a couple of strangers - and the ""black line"" awaiting our doom! Shortly, we were herded through the entrance, employees of the HoT shouting ""FRESH MEAT COMING THROUGH!"" to the ghouls waiting behind the doors they opened - ushering us through ""The Reckoning""... Wow!..... Wow! Wow! Wow! I'm not going to give away about what's inside ""Reckoning""; you should find that out for yourself - but the props, costumes, and devices used to rattle your bones are of 5-star quality! I guess that's one of the reasons that House of Torment is always rated so high in national polls. Things brush your feet & legs...or are they really ""things""?...Ghouls and zombies pop out at just the right minute! The animatronic devices they use are far and away better than any I've EVER seen - and some of them are just plain MASSIVE! This house plays on all 5 senses at almost all times....keeping the most stoic and claustrophopic of guests on edge through their entire journey. The guy ahead of us told us that he's worked in numerous haunted houses; his girlfriend said that he was desensitized to all of it. In truth, he seemed at first like he was taking a leisurely stroll through Central Park - examining all the props closely, smiling at the actors when they tried to scare him, nary a flinch on his back. However, halfway through he started to startle and jump and was just on the edge of yelling when perfectly timed scares were leaping out at him. So much for being desensitized, HA! My fiance - who was last in line and not rattled by haunted houses either - was looking over his shoulder every few seconds somewhere around the middle of the house. The trek took a loooong time by haunted attraction standards, which contradicted some of the reviews I had read. And I can't say enough about the props! I really felt like I was in a movie studio. ""The Reckoning"" was by far the most amazing haunted house I have ever been through! By far! It really deserves to be one of America's best!!!!
""Cursed"", the second haunted house, was a fail compared to ""The Reckoning"" & should have been used as the first attraction. Pretty, yes - but pretty boring as well in comparison. Scares were few and far between & felt juvenile despite the attention to detail and build it was given. Granted, this is a ""top of the line"" haunted house & might have felt incredible had it not been compared to ""Reckoning"". The floors were innovative, the props great. The pirate theme seemed tired, though, after gluts of ""Pirates of the Caribbean"" in the media. Had the second house come before the first I would have to give this 5 stars. Despite that, we left with smiles on our faces and feeling like we had been through a premiere attraction! FANTASTIC JOB, GUYS!!!