It wouldn’t be Halloween for me if I didn’t go through a haunted house attraction. Thus, last night I drove out by my lonesome to Terror Under the Bridge, a haunted experience hosted at the X Sports Mall off of George Bishop Parkway. This particular haunted house is overshadowed by the marketing efforts of Dr. Screams, another spooky experience in Myrtle Beach, but surpasses it in tradition. Terror Under the Bridge has popped up in some form in different Myrtle Beach locations for the past ten years.
Because I visited and reviewed Dr. Screams last year, I wanted to give the competition a try this year. When I arrived at the location, it seemed a tad bit sketchy to me. The X Sports Mall is not an actual mall per se, it is a warehouse type structure. Besides a couple sandwich boards with handwritten messages of “tickets” and “line,” the entrance to the attraction had no storefront or marquee. You just walked through a door. I loved it! The sketchier the better when it comes to haunted houses.
I paid $12 to the lady in the cage for my ticket, a low price compared to the $20 that Dr. Screams is charging for admission this year. On a Sunday evening around 9 p.m., about 20 people stood in line in front of me. After about 5 minutes had passed, it was almost time for me to enter. The group in front of me and the group in back of me each asked if I was there by myself. Hiding no shame I bravely said “Yes I am!” Believe it or not, both parties seemed to respect the fact that I came to a haunted house solo as opposed to thinking I must be a loner psychopath. This was confirmed when each group asked me to go through with them.
I entered with the first group because the woman controlling the line counted me off with them. We entered through a tarp into a dark room with a large door. The lady told us the rules and while doing so she said one thing that is not the norm for haunted houses…the actors would touch you! Most haunted attractions will utter the standard line of “You don’t touch them and they won’t touch you” but Terror Under the Bridge doesn’t follow the norm. Again, another thing that might put off some people but that got me even more excited!
Last year I led the group. However, because I was the last person counted with the five other people in the room with me, I was in the back. The lady told us to put our hands on the shoulders of the person in front of us. I decided to save the guy in front of me the awkwardness and just followed closely behind. After about five minutes of waiting in the holding room we could see eyes looking at us through the wall that bordered the attraction and the door opened. A bloodied, ghoulish looking medical professional motioned for us to walk in. It was time to be scared!
The Terror Under the Bridge theme for 2015 is Horror Hospital. I found this a little strange just because Dr. Screams pretty much goes with this theme each and every year but I know the operators of this attraction knew what they were doing.
For those who hate the feeling of claustrophobia, don’t worry about Terror Under the Bridge. The tarp type material was neatly erected to form a maze that gave you plenty of room to maneuver and plenty of direction on where to go. Since it is a warehouse, ceilings are high. One of the first scenes encountered utilized strobe lights. If I made my own haunted house I would cover the whole thing in strobe lights. I absolutely love the disorienting and spooky effect they give off. A single actor, not saying much but getting right into our faces, weaved through our line as the lights flashed. I liked it.
Comprised of cool customers, my group held it together. I had no wisecracks or loud screamers. with me This was a good thing because the haunted house, in a similar way to Dr. Screams, centered more on the actors as opposed to gruesome scenes. If I had folks who tended to overreact to everything, it could have been a long tour thought the maze. Because the attraction was more centered on the “haunt” as opposed to the aesthetics, it meant that Terror Under the Bridge would produce more “shock” as opposed to “awe.”
But before I address the actors let me be clear, I am not criticizing Terror Under the Bridge for terrible props and displays. They did a decent job of creating some hellish hospital scenes but some of what I saw was a little hokie. Since I was in the back of the group I looked long and hard at everything I saw.
So while the haunted scenes weren’t the best I ever experienced, I would say the actors were! They seemed to have it down. Of the numerous demented souls lurking in the maze some would yell at you, some would plead with you, some would hysterically warn you, and some would just stare at you. And yes, some would touch you.
I encountered a tormented girl that seemed to have no legs withering on the floor. Hospital workers covered in blood and guts could be found in many corners. No less than a half dozen creepy clowns made their presence known throughout the maze. In one room an evil preacher hooked up to a public address system yelled at us. You had the chainsaw maniac at the end. But my favorite was the grotesque girl in the wheelchair that followed me from one section of the maze all the way to the other! Even for someone like me with a great haunted house stamina, that particular part freaked me out just a little.
The length of the attraction was great. I went in at 9:10 p.m. and exited at 9:25 p.m. For those who might not be aware, 15 minutes for a haunted house is very good. I framed it this way in my head: I was spending less than a dollar per minute while inside the maze. Just the flow itself was great. I had plenty of time to walk through without feeling rushed and I was freely able to set myself up for scares (yes, I like to position myself in a way that will ensure I receive the brunt of actors jumping out at me).
Terror Under the Bridge is a classic, well-done haunted house. It might not have vivid scenes and special effects but it has great organization with an exceptional crew. It also might not have an ambulance ride or haunted trail (like Dr. Screams) but I felt like the value was still better than its competition. I would recommend Terror Under the Bridge to all in the Myrtle Beach area looking for a scare. Don’t Blink.