HellsGate: Horror lovers’ heaven

Jillian Schudiske, News Editor

Zombie Army Productions

HellsGate Haunted Mansion proves to be a spooky experience with acts that are sure to frighten even the most seasoned adrenaline junkies. 

This year, HellsGate and Statesville Haunted Prison combined staff to make for an even more sinister experience with over 150 scare actors performing every night. 

The experience begins in the parking lot. Though only five minutes from the grounds, guests have to wait 35 minutes in  line to get onto the school buses. Once patrons arrive, there is another 45 minutes to enter the first stage of the experience, the haunted woods.

Upon entering the woods, guests are greeted by snarling, crawling and howling werewolves which sets the tone for the rest of the tour. 

Once deeper into the woods, guests approach a devilish ritual. Then, patrons are guided through a backlit passageway and into a green room with a monster lurking under the fog. A quick journey through  a mausoleum with a skeleton observing from above and  into a coffin tunnel brings the guests up to the mansion gates.

The house consists of three levels of scares, with the common concept of the  actors being undead house servants.

 Inside the mansion proves to be the most eventful part of the experience. Upon entry, guests are greeted by a zombie servant in hauntingly realistic makeup kindly guiding them to a dark room on the first level  with possessed flying twins coming  out of the wall, followed quickly by  an informational session explaining the rules of the house. 

Guests continue the house tour into the attic, an entire floor filled with strobing lights and screaming ghouls. There are  a number of eerie rooms packed with monsters on the floor, walls and hanging from the ceilings just waiting for their time to scare unsuspecting visitors. 

The doll room proves to be the most unsettling. Every wall is lined with pink pinstripe wallpaper and hundreds of creepy dolls, leaving guests unsure which one is going to jump out and scare them. 

The attic ends with a spooky slide accompanied by strobing lights into the basement, where guests land in the evil scientist’s lab, lined with corpses and mummies.

The haunting concludes with a trail infested with chainsaw maniacs back to the main grounds, where guests await the bus back to the parking lot.

Groups are s properly spaced so that everybody who goes through can’t  see the group in front of them, making for a more personal experience. Bloodcurdling screams from the groups ahead make for a horrifying atmosphere as the customers approach the next room knowing there will be an inevitable jumpscare.

Jumpscares await guests at every twist and turn. Each area revolves around a particular monster or creature. The main ones include a possessed rag doll that’s still at first, then jumps out once guests have let their guard down. A killer clown who isn’t seen until guests turn a corner and the clown jumps out and laughs devilishly are disturbing images. Finally, an animatronic dragon begins to move and roar as soon as guests get close. 

Unique to HellsGate is the challenging opportunity to earn back the admission price. If a guest is  able to find a key hidden within the house, then their ticket for the show is free. General admission tickets, which include a $39 walk-through of the haunted graveyard and house prove  to be worth it for the 30 minute experience. 

Other, more expensive tickets include a VIP ticket for $56, that guarantees little to no wait time, an instant entry ticket for $79 and a $200 all access ticket. They also offer special, online only passes like the $125 “hell pass” that marks a guest as a personal target for the night. 

HellsGate is located at 3101 Canal St, Lockport and is open from 7 p.m.- 10 p.m. until Nov. 5.

If one is able to look past the wait time, HellsGate is the perfect frightening fall festivity for anyone who likes a good scare.