To get it out of the way bluntly right up top: Texas’s 3 HaunTs may be the most unnerving haunt operating in America today, and if their “Xmas Scream” holiday overlay is any indication, their bigger and beefier Halloween edition will deliver an ungodly amount of scares.
Situated on a road simply called “Our Road” in Shepherd, Texas (about an hour’s drive from Houston), 3 HaunTs has less in common with what you might have seen in Jon Schnitzer’s Haunters and more with House of 1000 Corpses’ Murder Ride: a simple, yet absolutely terrifying haunted attraction that seems to be run by a tight-knit family, if not in blood then certainly in spirit.
The location is desolate and eerie, part of a 13-acre plot of wooded land, upon which the haunt sits all year long. Out front sits a dilapidated fireworks stand, partially manned by an older gentleman named Bubba. The dampened ramp leading up to the stand bears the spray-painted words, “No Smoking,” for…obvious reasons.
A paltry blacklit flashlight is all that’s provided to light the way through Xmas Scream, up and down precarious ramps and staircases, through haphazard shacks and more wooded scenery. Christmas lights are strewn about for the holiday, providing limited ambient lighting, but short of that, darkness abounds amidst the dense trees (the elf-eared proprietor gleefully boasted that during the main attraction in October, the vegetation is such that sunlight doesn’t even hit the ground).
3 HaunTs’ scareactors are eager to terrorize, to say the least; one colorfully dressed clown gushed with pride that the haunt is one of the only around to use chainsaws with real chains, a brag that’s oddly charming if not just a little disconcerting.
Each room doesn’t just contain a simple scare, it “stars” a featured player, each with their own patter and effects. A series of boxcars is accompanied by a demonic conductor who urges guests to watch their step while preying on their fears with a heart-stopping train horn, while a two-story living room scene sees gifts kicked down a slide, tumbling loudly into the center of the room.
With a full decade’s worth of experience under their belt, 3 HaunTs has crafted this backwoods terror to perfection, offering haunt-seekers an experience like nothing else. Like something out of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes, guests will emerge from the exit feeling like they’ve survived, not sure if they’d ever want to go back.
The answer, of course? Always yes.
For more information on 3 HaunTs, visit www.3haunts.com