'Tis the season when jack-o-lanterns glow, skeletons rattle and houses morph into terror dens that crank out fear for fun. Here are the venues that the werewolves of Westword found to be the most fang-tastic:
Das Meyer Fine Pastry Chalet, 13251 West 64th Avenue in Arvada, has traded its rolling pin for a rusty scythe as it debuts the Field of Corpses. Over the past two years, the chalet has painstakingly transformed three acres of surrounding cornfields to launch what is touted as Colorado's largest creep show. Scare-seekers wander over quicksand-sinking pathways, through spooky graveyards and an eerie barnyard full of psycho freaks and nightcrawlers, including a demented chef brewing up human-finger foods. Field of Corpses is recommended for those twelve and older, but the cast is often sillier than it is sinister, and many brave-hearted preteens have surfaced unscathed. But parents, beware: The site's butcher shop resembles a bloodbath, and it's permeated by the stench of rot. The entire attraction is steeped in just enough graphic tricks to make this haunt a treat. Field of Corpses terrorizes the trails through November 1; tickets, $12, are available at the door. Visit www.fieldofcorpses.com or call 303-423-FEAR for more information on this spook-tacular spectacle.
For downtown chills and thrills, stagger to Six Flags Elitch Gardens, where ghouls using cobwebs and coffins have created Fright Fest, a transformation that lasts through November 2. Park admission, $36, gives patrons passage to over 35 rides, five coasters and Fright Fest, which features Screams From the Past, a haunted jaunt through the back of a dark and scary school bus straight out of one of Freddy's nightmares. Shockaholics then emerge into narrow hallways that lead through a series of hair-raising vignettes; the classic toe-curlers include slithering snakes, grinding chainsaws and pouncing werewolves.
For an additional five bones, victims can get wrapped with a park-provided plastic body bag (okay, a plastic rain jacket) and enter Brutal Planet. This deranged asylum is a supernatural special-effects tribute to terror. Surreal images flash on television screens while clogged urinals spew, tunnels spiral, floors sway and shadows shriek -- along with more bloodcurdling vampires than visitors can shake a stake at. Brutal Planet is recommended for those over twelve; emergency exits are even provided for the faint of heart. For park hours, go to www.sixflags.com or call 303-595-4386.
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Another haunting spot for adult gore is the double-barreled Realm of Terror and Primitive Fear, 5155 East 64th Avenue, Commerce City. The gatekeeper advises all who enter to use the restroom facilities, as the attraction averages three people per night wishing they had.
The original spine-chiller here, with a seven-year reputation for being a sheer white-knuckle experience, is Primitive Fear. This year, promoters have unearthed seven new rooms of stomach-coiling carnage, with spinning rooms, offensive gases, sliding bridges and sudden shrieks and spooks galore. Slink through pitch-black rooms as a man disguised as Hannibal Lecter rattles cages above and below and camouflaged gore hounds blend into each and every corner. Grisly apparitions scream, cackle and spring through the entirety of this labyrinth of evil. Primitive Fear is an exorcise in pure fright that will make your blood run cold.
Realm of Terror is new this year, with diagonal tunnels, darkened hallways and gruesome zombies who hover, leap and sneak along the ceilings. The creepy catacomb is a real skin-crawler; it's got spirits that startle throughout and enough strobe lights to blind the wicked. Admission to either house is $14, which also allows the hardy to navigate an 8,000-square-foot dark, twisted maze. Visit www.scared.com if you dare, or call 303-814-0411 to reach a spooksman.