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Get Your Frights and Screams at Garland's Dark Hour Haunted House

By Marina Jokic

We have all been gripped by fear at some point. No matter the circumstances, the instinct is very real and primal. Fear of the unknown seems to simultaneously keep us safe, but also peak our curiosity once we are at a safe distance. It is this unrelenting physical and psychological tension that has made haunted houses incredibly successful. One in particular, the Dark Hour Haunted House in Garland, Texas has a special story, which has made it famous- or infamous. You be the judge.

"Inspired by owner Lucy Moore's lifetime love of Halloween and horror, Dark Hour brings the type of quality production like none other in the area," says Amy Reed, Marketing and Promotion Manager. We've been so desensitized to graphic violence and gore, Reed points out, that Dark Hour tries to focus its efforts on the more sinister aspect of frightening people, namely the psychological realm.

Tapping into existing models of what people find frightening is a rigorous and very fruitful exercise, Reed says. Imagining new models is even more rewarding for Dark Hour's creative staff. That is where their true passion lies. Being one of Dallas's premier haunted attractions, Dark Hour had to raise the stakes for their guests so to speak, and not the proverbially primitive wooden implements that kill vampires. "Ours is a world specifically designed not to invoke a momentary gross-out, but to instead provide an immersive experience of fear and fun," stresses Reed.

State of the art sound and lighting systems, professional rigging for stunts, incredibly detailed sets, costumes, and characters transport visitors to another world where they can almost orchestrate their own frightful encounters within a safe environment. Although at times, Dark Hour makes it easy to forget that it's all make-believe and theatrics. They have really mastered the art of the scare in new and unexpected ways.

One recent show which has proven a hit with the public is "The Spell." The story of Dark Hour was specifically scripted to allow for future exploration of multiple themes. Witches are the epicenter of this particular show, and their terrifying versatility and menacing nature provide exciting fodder for the larger Dark Hour plot line.

The Spell is premised on a coven of witches who flee France to avoid persecution and establish the Coven Manor. Aligned behind their malevolent leader Simone Noire, who plots to bring eternal darkness to all inhabitants on earth, they are working to summon all kinds of horrors on unsuspecting souls.

"While we do not claim to have experienced any true otherworldly activity on the property, part of our June show, Summer Spirits, is dedicated to the paranormal," says Reeder.  In several of their shows, the mythology and lore of different cultures is explored. In March, they feature the story of the Emerald Isle, "where fairies are truly not nice creatures, and leprechauns will do anything to protect what is theirs." There is also ample opportunity for visitors to encounter the zombie denizens at the Manor, who also fit into the larger Dark Hour plot by having been the unlucky recipients of a botched spell.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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