Where: 14th st. and Cinnabar (halfway between Peoria and Dunlap, just East of Cave Creek Rd.
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7 – 10 pm
Cost: 5 bucks! 10 for the “fast pass” ticket
Jack and Jill’s Haunted Hill is a haunted attraction that I had heard of during the past couple of Halloweens but never really looked into, for reasons unknown. On “haunted house night” this year, I was supposed to only attend Halloween Express’s The Haunting, but Becky saw a billboard for Jack and Jill’s, and after a quick glance at the website we decided to give it a go that very night. The five dollar cost was both an attraction and a slight cause for concern. Even the mediocre haunted attractions usually charge around twenty. But don’t let the low cost fool you – it should be seen as true value, not a reflection of quality.
This is a very unique attraction. It appears to completely DIY – constructed on personal property in the middle of Phoenix. Check out the address on Google Maps and you’ll see what I mean – it doesn’t look like any haunted attraction could be there. After seeing the lights and parking directly in front of somebody’s house, we made our way up the titular hill. A fairly small yard has been converted into the “lobby” for the attraction, where you buy your tickets and stand in line (or if you’re feeling bold, have your palm read). They do a lot with the space they have. Several television sets strewn about the yard in eyeshot of the line show a montage of scenes from horror movies. Some of them were surprisingly graphic for a haunted house that rates itself “PG13”. There was horrific violence and even a little nudity in them. Not problematic for me of course but I don’t know how they get away with it.
This entertainment is important because it leads me to the only drawback of Jack and Jill’s Haunted Hill – the wait. While the line seems reasonable at first glance, it moves very slowly, as they move people through at a deliberate pace and do not combine parties. The way the haunted house is laid out, I could understand why, but after 30 minutes in line the ten dollar fast pass ticket became a no-brainer. Let this be a lesson for anyone reading.
The haunted house itself is ridiculously well-produced for an independent production, easily rivaling such institutions as Arizona’s Original Scream Park and Fear Farm. The overarching story is basically “Jack and Jill went up the hill….. and were tortured to death by a madman”. Yeah, the Jack and Jill theme was shoehorned into the property’s hilltop location, but at least they stick to a coherent theme. Shortly after you enter you get to see a very Saw-esque death trap setup with an actor, portraying Jack, being taunted by a maniac over an intercom just before a mechanized shotgun puts him down. The effect is very well-done and sets the tone nicely. Parts of the walkthrough are extremely dark. So dark in fact, that you have to feel your way along the walls at times. I really like this and wish more haunted houses would use it. Occasionally a costumed actor will be discovered lurking in the hallway with you, and you didn’t even see him until he was in your face. Very nice.
Later we get to see the dark fate of poor Jill as we continue through the dark labyrinth of torture. I don’t want to spoil the surprises, but I have a habit in haunted attractions of over-analyzing, trying to predict the scares and figure out how they were done. That being said, there were at least two moments that genuinely startled me. And of course, they have their own variation of the chainsaw wielding madman at the exit.
According to the employees the trek takes 6-10 minutes to go through, a pretty accurate estimate. So it’s fairly short, and the slow-moving line means it’s best to cough up the extra fiver and skip to the front (did I mention this already?). But Jack and Jill’s Haunted Hill is very impressive for an indie haunt, and well-recommended. I advise you do what we did and combine it with another attraction in the same night. Perhaps The Haunting……?