Asylum and 13th Floor: Two Haunts Worth the Jaunt!

Be afraid! Be very afraid!
Be afraid! Be very afraid!
Byron Graham

The scary season returned to Denver this past weekend, when Asylum and the 13th Floor opened their doors. Celebrated by media ranging from MTV to USA Today to Fangoria, these two hair-raising fright-fests fuel our city's nightmares. From its Denver base, the 13th Floor Entertainment Group has expanded over the years and now produces haunted-house attractions in Phoenix, Austin, San Antonio and Chicago every Halloween season — but Denver's remain the largest and certainly the spookiest. Westword went to opening weekend to learn more, somehow making it through the night without dropping our camera in fear. 

The hauntmasters at 13th Floor know the enduring terror of clowns all too well.
The hauntmasters at 13th Floor know the enduring terror of clowns all too well.
Byron Graham

A host of archetypal horrors awaits visitors at the 13th Floor, as costumed characters jump out from the shadows, scaring the bejesus out of unsuspecting patrons before skulking back into place, ready to relieve the next group of their remaining bejesus as they round the haunt's labyrinthine corners. Werewolves, yeti, circus freaks, creepy clowns and a staggering variety of toothy beasts lurk in the ever-present dark and fog. The terror intensifies as patrons delve deeper; after a wobbly and physics-defying elevator ride to the titular thirteenth floor, the journey becomes increasingly disorienting as guests shuffle through mirrored mazes and laser swamps before emerging into the cool autumn night. Any illusion of safety is immediately shattered by a giggling little clown girl with a roaring chainsaw, charging at visitors for one last scare. 

The frights and delights on display at the nearby Asylum are of a more cerebral variety, and more thematically consistent than those at the sister haunt to the west. Set in a Victorian-era psych ward straight out of a neo-gothic nightmare, Asylum has a more narrative quality, immersing guests in a pulse-punding scenario wherein they're pursued by a deadly virus and mutant super-soldiers and must find their escape through an abandoned institution packed with fearsome inmates.

One of Asylum's creepier characters.
One of Asylum's creepier characters.
Thirteenth Floor Entertainment

Scarehounds are advised to make haste, as both the lines and ticket prices for these two fine haunts will increase as Halloween approaches. And mark your calendar for National Haunted House Day on Friday, October 9, when 13th Floor Entertainment Group is donating a percentage of its proceeds to the Don't Be a Monster anti-bullying campaign.

The 13th Floor will be open every day in October and into November; go to the 13th Floor website for more details. Asylum will reopen on Friday, October 2; see the complete schedule here. And keep reading for some of the scary sights at these two haunts.

This giggling menace welcomes visitors to the 13th Floor.
This giggling menace welcomes visitors to the 13th Floor.
Byron Graham
The Chimpanzee.
The Chimpanzee.
Byron Graham
She was already frightening before leaping out at patrons with a blood-curdling shriek.
She was already frightening before leaping out at patrons with a blood-curdling shriek.
The furry of fury.
The furry of fury.
Byron Graham
A flesh-ripping Yeti.
A flesh-ripping Yeti.
Byron Graham
Fine bloody set dressing at the 13th Floor.
Fine bloody set dressing at the 13th Floor.
Byron Graham
An Asylum character with no interest in your mental rehabilitation.
An Asylum character with no interest in your mental rehabilitation.
Thirteenth Floor Entertainment
Don't lose your head over the scary sights!
Don't lose your head over the scary sights!
Byron Graham
Use Current Location

Related Location

miles
13th Floor Haunted House

Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >