These are Denver's Scariest Haunted Houses

From slasher flicks to animatronics, this haunt has it all

••• 13th Floor Haunted House

Close your eyes and think about what haunts you. Is it the slasher flicks of the 1980’s, with Freddy Krueger’s gloved arm and razor fingers clawing at you or Jason’s masked face that were the muse for your nightmares? Or do you stockpile garlic to fend off vampires?

Maybe your imagination gravitates more towards science fiction, fearing conspiracy theories. Or, was it the Marie Laveau-inspired voodoo of "American Horror Story’s" season 3 that kept you tossing and turning at night?

Perhaps it's the uprising of an anarchist society in the "Purge" movies that leaves you uneasy. Is the newest iteration of "IT" haunting you?

There are plenty of plots for nightmares.

With Halloween approaching, making the spooky sojourn to a haunted house is certainly a must-do for scare-seekers. Afterall, there's something primitive about being scared half to death that makes us feel fully alive, right? And you can't call it a successful Halloween until the hair on your arms has been raised and you've felt a tingle electrify your spine. 

And, whatever your phobia, rest (or, actually, you won’t) assured, there’s a scare awaiting you at the 13th Floor and The Asylum, both haunted houses in Denver.

The haunted house moved this year, adding 10,000 square feet of space, with more parking and a larger waiting area. It's new location is at 3400 E. 52nd Ave. in Denver, near the National Western Stockshow Complex.

Yes, it includes a terrifying, shaky elevator ride where you’re one-on-one with a character in a closed space as you journey to the 13th floor, which is shrouded with superstitions. And, yes, just when you thought you outsmarted the haunt because you could just feel your spine tingling knowing there was a ghost behind you, your senses will be shocked by a terrifying creature ziplining above you.

OK, we're not ruining any more scary surprises that are in store. But we will say this: The haunt begins while you're waiting in line, with a voodoo priest in an elaborate costume mingling with the crowd and casting his spells.

The 13th Floor is the city's largest haunted house and its been ranked by national publications as being one of the scariest haunts in the country. The attraction's location lends an apropos cinematic effect: It's set near the railroad tracks of the South Platte River in the up-and-coming arty-meets-industrial River North (or Rhino) neighborhood. The attraction is created by haunted house operator Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group and is designed by Hollywood special effects artist and set designers.

We went behind-the-scenes before the haunted house began and watched a seamless production as a cast of about 60 actors is outfitted in immaculately detailed costumes, from clown suits to voodoo priestess corsets.

No masks are mass ordered from Halloween shops; all of them are handmade by artists with one-of-a-kind and surreal detailing. And, skilled make-up artists transform faces with airbrush makeup, as well as create zombie textures with liquid latex and cotton.

For finishing touches, some actors get eerie contacts that make their eyes seem almost translucent or glow a spooky red. 

If you've been to the attraction in the past, it's worth making a return trip because new this year is a "Slasher Remix" to conjure up nightmares from the 1980's. (We're talking masked psychopaths, chainsaws and a bladed hand—you know all the scary movie makings that caused you to be terrified of cabins and convinced you to sleep on a pile of pillows so Freddie couldn't claw you from under the bed). 

But the haunted house is also packed with storylines that you'll weave your way through. Another chilling plot the haunted house brings alive: Subterranean labs existing underneath the River North district, where pseudo-scientists' experiments yielded other-wordly mutations.

The bodies are said to be buried below the booming businesses and condos that are popping up today. In the haunt, you'll be confronted with the walking corpses from the abandoned lab. 

Voodoo more your scare of choice? Another plot line plummets you into voodoo hell, where you'll be summonsed by voodoo priestesses wielding their spells and nose-to-snout with werewolves that have emerged from cemetery's crypts and tombs. Legend has it they were awoken by a feral moon when the dead were revived by the act of necromancy by a local witch. The glowing red eyes are a giveaway the canine beasts are evil. 

If you're an adrenaline junkie, get on the haunted house circuit and head over to The Asylum, 6100 E. 39th Ave. where the story line centers around a breached tomb that's awakening the dead. Among the haunted storylines: You'll be traversing through a grotesque asylum with flashes of electroshock treatments, bloodletting and lobotomies.

IF YOU GO: 

The 13th Floor is located at 4120 Brighton Blvd. Unit C2 in Denver, CO. and runs from Sept. 22 to Nov. 5 Parking is free in the industrial complex. (Psst, afterwards, might we suggest you head up the block and unwind with a post-scare pineapple habanero margarita and griddled chicken tacos at Comida in The Source?)

The Asylum is located at 3400 E. 52nd Ave.. in Denver, CO and runs from Sept. 22 to Oct. 31 during the 2017 season. 

Tickets for the attractions range between $19.99 to $27.99. Most Fridays and Sundays and on Halloween, the ticket prices start at $29.99 and most Saturdays, tickets start at $33.99. Get yourself a Fast Pass to get in an expedited line for $10 more or buy a Skip the Line and reserve your entry time for $20 more.

Oct. 14 is National Haunted House Day and a percentage of proceeds benefits "Don't Be a Monster" anti-bullying program.