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Fear, it Burns Calories

Rat Man and friends
Rat Man and friends
Steffen L. Williamson

Those searching for an alternative means of burning some calories this Halloween season don’t have to look to far as the best haunted houses in the country can be found in the Denver area. Demons, murderous mayhem, and pig-men are the result of a 40 year partnership between spook house masters, Warren Conard and Chris Stafford, the creators of the legendary haunted house attractions: Bloodshed, The 13th Floor and The Asylum.

All three haunted houses can owe their origin to the dedication of Stafford, Conard and their incredible staff as they have produced some of the most successful spook houses in the country. “I started working in haunted houses when I was 15 years old after a friend asked me to come and scare some people at a haunted house, it was their that I met my future business partner, Warren,” said Stafford.

Stafford, Conard and their staff have been working 7 days a week for the past 2 months to get their spook houses under way. “There’s a lot of dedication from the actors, they do it for the spirit of Halloween, not for the money. We have all spent a lot of time away from friends and family, it’s been stressful, I’ll definitely need a hot tub after all this,” stated Conard.

Stafford’s and Conard’s latest creations boast some of the most impressive special effects, props, and animatronics to keep patrons solidified within their horror fantasy. “We use a high end latex for our actors’ masks and other effects to add a real genuine creepiness,” according to Stafford.

The 13th Floor and Bloodshed houses are partnered together so to expand the clientele’s experience. Bloodshed serves as an appetizer, featuring hordes of hillbilly pig-men hell bent on displaying their hideous exploits. After patrons exit the Bloodshed they are catapulted into the main affair, The 13th Floor, which centers on a classic horror motif with ghouls, dismemberment, and dark claustrophobic situations.

Stafford’s and Conard’s main attraction this year is The Asylum (formerly known as Nightmare Factory) which banks on the natural fear of a haunted mental ward. “Our inspiration for the Asylum theme comes from some urban legends surrounding the old Littleton insane asylum, Ridge Home,” said Conard.

Unlike the other two haunted houses, The Asylum was built from the ground up without the assistance of an already present warehouse. The patients of this mental ward showcase some of the most startling and eerie talents in spook house acting, from botched lobotomies to electro shock therapy taken to the max. “I actually had to overcome some of my own fears of asylums, hospitals and such. Things like this really did happened to people, like patient torture and failed medical procedures, I thinks that’s what really makes this house especially scary,” said PR Consultant for Screamworks Entertainment, Lauren Ripko.
As the temperature drops, outdoor exercise takes a holiday; fortunately Denver continues be the host for numerous activities that are a sure fire way to get the blood pumping. Countless haunted houses throughout the city have been dealing out the terror for years offering a great alternative to getting your heart rate up. Conard and Stafford will continue to be a cornerstone in bringing the Halloween spirit to life in Denver.

For more information on tickets, show times, and directions for these three featured haunted houses and others visit: