Goretorium gamble didn’t work on Vegas Strip

As much as I’m a fan of horror and Halloween, I don’t think it’s a 12-month celebration.

Usually I’ll start gearing up for the season in mid-summer, although most of my excitement is suppressed by triple-digit temperatures. No one wants to put on a mask around here in July.

Then I shift into high gear on October 1. That’s today, and yes, I’m listening to my “Monster Mash” channel on Pandora Radio as I write this.

By November 1, I’m totally burned out on Halloween, having celebrated for a full month. That usually comes after repeat viewings of all the “Halloween” flicks, endless Halloween music playlists and the realization that I’ve got to take down all those decorations.

When the holiday ends, southern Nevada’s haunted house businesses also pack up and move out until the next year.

All of them except Goretorium, the Eli Roth-produced haunted house that opened on the Las Vegas Strip last year and sought to be the city’s first year-round horror attraction.

It didn’t last. Goretorium will close this week, according to an announcement on the site’s Facebook page.

I toured Goretorium last October following its grand opening. It hit most of the right notes for a haunted attraction (A convincing cast, jump-scares, gory visuals). Its location – atop the shopping center at Harmon Corner – was ripe for foot traffic between Strip resorts.

Opening on the Strip also meant higher ticket prices than you’d see at other haunts. Goretorium tickets started at around $30, with “fast passes” going for $50.

That’s a lot of scratch for a 15-minute haunted house tour. By comparison, this season’s “Asylum” and “Hotel Fear” haunts at Meadows Mall are charging $15 for a single house, or $25 for a combo pass.

Even Fright Dome, which charges $37.95 for a single ticket, offers six haunted houses, plus other rides and attractions inside Circus Circus’ dome.

Those creators of other haunts didn’t seem bothered by Goretorium’s entry into the market last year. Perhaps they figured the year-round horror experience wouldn’t work.

I was staying optimistic, just because I love this kind of thing. When I was a kid I used to go to these horror wax museums in Niagara Falls, and those were open year-round. So why not Goretorium?

After my tour, I wasn’t so sure. It was definitely an Eli Roth production, given the amount of gore involved. That’s not for everybody, and when it’s happening outside of October, it feels really out of place.

How do you sell Goretorium to tourists here for New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl weekend? How do bloody severed limbs compete with tan, tone, fully-attached limbs on display during the summer pool season?

For months Goretorium’s downfall has been in the rumor mill, with patrons and bloggers taking note of bankruptcy news and dwindling staff at the attraction.

Management didn’t address staffing in its Facebook announcement, instead using the space to promote its final nights, which will feature a guest appearance by Eli Roth on Tuesday (plus $10 haunts and $2 drinks).

The closure will leave a big hole on the top floor of Harmon Center. On the bright side, if there’s a business looking to get some of that Bubba Gump Shrimp customer runoff, this is your moment.

On the not so bright side, my newsroom is starting to hear some other horror stories coming from the Goretorium announcement.

Check out this piece by Elizabeth Watts. She spoke to an Arizona couple planning a zombie-themed at the site, now they’ve got to scrap that plan with just a few weeks to go.

Published by

Jason R. Latham

Jason R. Latham is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer and owner of STRUT Stories, LLC, a digital storytelling studio specializing in content strategy, copywriting, and social media management.

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