As ironic as it sounds, the 13th Floor Phoenix is really the story of a Phoenix. Think about it. A legendary show was closed and auctioned off. Major components of that show were found and have now been reincarnated into what one could easily, metaphorically, refer to as a fiery beast of a haunted house. Too much of a stretch? Doesn’t really matter because this haunted house rocks! Using the famed Salt Lake City show as a base, the producers of the 13th Floor have created a new vibrant and impeccably detailed haunted house that could alone be enough for the price of admission. Meticulously crafted scares are complemented by equally detailed scenes that pay homage to classic horror before unraveling into wicked new dimensions of fear. Like the newest installments of the Transformers or Batman movie series the producers of the 13th Floor Phoenix have done an excellent job at preserving the essence of something iconic and classic but liberally adding their own epic and current perspective at the same time.
One such example is the construction of the largest tilted room in Haunted House history that not only invades the equilibrium of patron’s minds but also features new stunts and is topped off by many legendary pieces that were once décor in Rocky Point’s Frankenstein set. Another would be the addition of a 2,000 square foot chain saw forest that has been built by re purposing Rocky Point foliage and tress and adding in well placed new construction that takes customers through a some-what structured / some what choose your own path agonizing run of full bored torment. And yet another example would be the dozen or so full sized hand carved custom foam worked mausoleums that inject an environment of terror into the once open grave yard by creating a twisted and winding series of scares and structures that engulf customers from all directions.
In short, everything that has been added, everything that has been changed, while paying homage to the legendary Rocky Point base it is built upon, adds an invigorating flare and fresh flavor to this haunted house. The 13th floor is unique in this fact because it has strong and deep classical roots that can be experienced side by side with next generation sets, scares, and sequences. When you are leave you are impressed, you are proud, your are light years beyond satisfied, you are amazed and terrified and after you catch your breath, you are ready for what’s next…Zombieland!
“We built an apocalyptic city at the House of Torment in Austin” explains McCullough. “That was our first experimentation in that particular thematic direction. There were a lot of things we did that were cool, but I also learned a lot in building that show. Our haunted house in Austin is incredible but I knew that with this theme the next great step in its true potential would be building one in a giant open space. This was that chance. I wanted this to be the next attraction that pushed the standard in haunt design forward. I feel like I’ve met that goal.”
Walk into Zombieland and you’ll immediately know what Dan means. The second show at the 13th Floor Phoenix is not a maze of wall panes or a series of 12x8 rooms. Instead it is an intersection of two roads in a devastated apocalyptic city filled with a variety of realistic environments that enthrall you from all directions. Massive sets built on perspective create panoramic scenes of several city blocks that are witnessed from various angles throughout the show. Customers enter a fortified structure that walls off the city from outside view similar to something you’d see in escape from New York or LA. Once inside customers are directed by piles of rubble, smashed vehicles and other tightly themed set pieces into and out of a variety of shops, residences, and buildings that have been ravaged by the living dead. Spaces are tightly closed in and then suddenly vastly panoramic. No matter which way you turn you are engulfed by the scope of the city itself and then suddenly scared out of your mind by relentless attacks and special effects.
Beyond the custom hand crafted facades and destruction, beyond the overwhelming eye popping symphony of apocalyptic beauty, the genius of Zombieland lies not just in its ferocious onslaught of action, but in its design, its layout, and fundamental idea. “We didn’t want to build a haunted house that was simply an interior walkthrough with some peppered in exterior scenes. We wanted every structure to make sense. We wanted to really take people somewhere when they entered the doors to Zombieland, hold on to them through their time here, and not let them go until they walked out of the exit.” Says McCullough. Zombieland delivers on this promise and fires on all cylinders from start to finish. The 13h Floor Phoenix and Zombieland are truly individual experiences that take customers to different places for different reasons and each attraction simply put, is big. They are both well done, action packed, detail beyond belief, and stand proud show casing the diverse talents of the production team that built them. You won’t want to be the kid on your block that missed the 13th Floor Phoenix.