Halloween review: Asylum at the Cave 


The first haunted house I ever went to was three rooms in a local community shelter, connected by cardboard tunnels and ending with a mummy room that made you dizzy with strobe-lights. The whole thing had a budget of about a buck-ninety-eight, and I was five years old, and it was AWESOME.

Asylum at the Cave gives me that same feeling, except, you know, about thirty times more of it. This is as old-school as it comes, a haunt that could have been done almost exactly the same in 1972 as now. (I mean, seriously, it's next door to a roller rink. How much more do you need to set up the "classic horror movie gone awry" scenario?) The creators depend on a minimum of animatronics, a solid cast of characters and the wildly inventive use of environment to create effect.

They activate the "disorienting mayhem" button and hold it down for all its worth. You really do feel completely lost as you make your way through the labyrinth, with effects such as a terrifyingly rickety bridge room that feels like an earthquake and a crawl tunnel where you can see ... something ... following you beneath a glass floor.

There's one section with a squishy floor that doesn't sound like a big deal until you realize you're wobbling around madly and strobe lights are blinding you and the Thing is RIGHT BEHIND YOU. Great stuff. Asylum at the Cave is in its first year, and here's hoping we see more beyond its inaugural.

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