The lights are dim and your eyes are squinted as you barely dodge a decapitated pig drenched in blood hanging from the ceiling and your heart races as you slowly venture onto the next room, preparing for the worst and turn round the corner… nothing happens. You sigh in relief and turn around to continue exploring the house but suddenly, you’re face to face with a grotesque man drenched in blood looming over you and you can’t help it.
One of San Antonio’s well known Halloween attractions has returned this year with a new twist on haunted themes from years before. The 13th Floor is a haunted house located downtown across Sunset Station. The house has been around for two years, and each year is scarier than the last. This year is no exception.
The house opening Sept 21 begins with a line for general admission or a shorter more involved wait for extra paying VIP members, but the wait won’t seem too boring- the house has DJs and monsters outside with customers and even a professional photographer that can take pictures of your group which you can retrieve for free at webpix.com.
The house is split up into two floors. The newest attraction, Ground Up, has a butcher shop gone bad theme where you have to make your way through the torment of four killing rooms, the boiler room, and the shop itself- each room contains plenty of monsters and visual effects that’ll leave customers with nightmares right up until Halloween.
The cemetery, a transition between the basement and the next floor, is filled with monsters, smoke, and pee-yourself surprises at every turn. The 13th Floor itself has a classic haunted house vibe with actors, decor and sound effects that every horror fanatic will love.
Attention to detail is a definite high point of the whole tour. Despite the extremely dim lighting, the authentic props and gory figures cannot be ignored. The 13th floor has an extensive team of carpenters and artists of all sorts that spend endless hours each week transforming raw material into real life horror. After all, the 13th Floor is a multi million dollar attraction and requires the time and dedication to keep the entertainment factor at a high standard.
The previous success of The 13th floor isn’t only motivated by the money it produces, but from the passion that crew members such as operations manager Keith Troutt share for the industry. Troutt has a daily 9 to 5 job at AT&T during the week and still shows up to lead the operation after work and during the weekend, beginning a 7 in the morning. Even before 13th floor was a reality, Troutt was setting up haunted houses in his own neighborhood.
“Ever since I saw ‘The Haunted Mansion’ I’ve been enamoured,” Troutt said. “The haunted houses I showcased at my house grew larger and larger each year, and eventually my work spread over to here. Its a business, but we love it.”
Of course, there is competition from the more familiar Nightmare on Grayson, but it poses no threat or even thought to the 13th Floor.
“Each house does something different. Let the customers decide which (house) is scarier. We’re not in it for that.”
So what makes this haunted house worth the drive downtown, the ticket price, and the wait? Trout grins. “There’s always something creepy on the 13th Floor.”