Dead City: One of Utah’s Newest Haunted Houses

With less than two weeks until closing night on November 2, Dead City Haunted House is the perfect way to experience the fears and thrills of a real-life horror film. With more than 50 terror-filled rooms to walk through and an owner with 21 years of experience in the animatronic industry, it is easy to see why the attraction has gained so much attention since its opening. The haunted attraction sits right across from Murray City Cemetery, which is one of the oldest cemeteries in Utah. This gives it an extra creepy touch. Plenty of parking spaces are provided for customers, and tickets start at $25, but UVU students can receive a discount of $10 with their student IDs.

A paranormal experience

Dead City Haunted House is equal parts acting as it is animatronics, making it impossible to get too comfortable. If a machine is not being propelled towards you, an actor is stepping in to take its place. If not an actor, perhaps even a ghost. According to a staff member named Jeff, customers might experience some paranormal activity during their venture through the attraction. “Every haunted house is haunted,” said Jeff.

Dead City Haunted House is apparently no exception. In the area that used to be the kitchen of a restaurant, many people claim to have felt something touch them when no one was there. For this reason, several actors refuse to work in this specific area of the haunted house.

Entrance to Dead City Haunted House. Photo Courtesy of Masina Kaohelaulii.

Scare-levels catered to customers

This year the attraction has added six new rooms to the haunt. During the experience, which lasts approximately 45 minutes, customers will encounter anything from zombies to clowns to chainsaw killers. At some point, customers will also be given 3D glasses to wear as they travel through mind-bending rooms that may leave them a bit unsteady. For $3 extra, customers over the age of 18 may also purchase an additional hands-on experience. These customers will receive a glow necklace, so actors recognize them as those who are allowing physical contact in addition to their scares.

Luckily, if customers want to have a less frightening experience, they have the option to attend the attraction from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays when Dead City Haunted House is only running their animatronics. If customers are unable to attend during that time, they also have the opportunity to purchase a glow stick wand during regular hours for an additional $1. These wands may be used to point or wave at actors, so they know to back away. Rather than purchasing these wands for their children, adults have been known to get them for themselves.

Beautifully frightening designs

Unlike most of his staff, the owner of Dead City Haunted House is not a fan of spooky stories or gruesome scare tactics. Instead, the owner claims that his interests lie in “beautiful sets” and well-made animatronics. This is evident in the incredibly decorative setting that the attraction has to offer. 

At the beginning of their haunted journey, customers will stand in what appears to be an ancient Egyptian cave with a giant sphinx head looming above them. They then move on to a forest-like room with moving boxes and a few talking animatronics, one of which is Anubis. This opening pre-show theater immerses customers in another world and prepares them for the frights to follow. While speaking with the owner, he seemed most prideful of this section of the attraction. Nonetheless, the entirety of the haunted house is just as impressive.

Dead City Haunted House Car. Photo Courtesy of Masina Kaohelaulii.

The owner’s history in the industry

The structure that currently houses Dead City Haunted House was not always intended to scare people. In fact, around the early 1990s, the building used to be a Western-style restaurant called the Wagonmaster. During his younger years, the owner worked there as a juggler and magician while attending the University of Utah as an electrical engineering student. It was at this time that his animatronic work was discovered by the owners of what is currently known as the Nightmare on 13th Haunted House. As a result, the owner of Dead City Haunted House was asked to assist them with a new concept called Terror Theater. To this day, the animated theater remains an essential aspect of the Nightmare on 13th Haunted House.

His work in the haunted house industry did not stop at Terror Theater. He also created the Haunted Old West, which was eventually sold to the Utah Fun Dome, and operated a haunted house event for Hollywood Connections. He was also a 12% owner of the Castle of Chaos and designed a haunted house for the Utah State Fair between 2015 to 2017.

Despite his previous work, however, the owner of Dead City Haunted House wanted to have his own haunted house made the way he wanted it to be. Gaining access to the building they currently use was difficult, but after much convincing Dead City Haunted House managed to come to life. “That’s what I wanted to do, so I did it,” the owner said. 

A pumpkin prop at Dead City Haunted House. Photo Courtesy of Masina Kaohelaulii.

Check it out

There is so much time, effort, and money that has gone into this project, and those who attend Dead City Haunted House can see that! Screams were heard from outside of the building into the parking lot, and several customers mentioned how impressed and frightened they were following their experience.

If you are ready for one of Utah’s newest haunted attractions, then go to Dead City Haunted House located at 5425 S Vine Street in Murray. For more information, check out their website at deadcityhauntedhouse.com.

Also check out the UVU Review’s other haunted house reviews for more places to check out this season.

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Masina Kaohelaulii

Interested in all things arts and culture; UVU senior majoring in journalism; part-time media intern for an annual networking event series; loves to write stories and educate people on the Hawaiian culture.

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