Review: ’13th Floor’ — A haunting we will go

By Kara Epstein


This September marked the second anniversary for the 13th Floor Haunted House in San Antonio.

The 40,000-square-foot historic building, 1203 E. Commerce Street, just across from Sunset Station, opened its doors to the public at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23. The attraction opens every weekend in October through the first weekend in November.

The haunted house ranked 12th in Haunt World Magazine for the publication’s annual “Top 13 Best Haunts in the Country” in 2011, after only being open for one year.

“There’s no question about it,” Greg Salyer, general manager of the 13th Floor, said about the two-part haunted house. “We scare people.”

Part one of the house, titled “Unearthed,” resides in the basement of the building. The second part is the “13th Floor.”

The haunted house did exceptionally well for only being in business a year.

“Last year we exceeded every expectation,” Salyer said. It is no wonder they are back again this Halloween season, preparing to scare more audiences.

What makes this haunted house unique from others is the creativity that goes on behind the scenes. The house combines live, trained actors with state-of-the-art, high-tech animatronics.

“Nothing here is store-bought,” Salyer said. “Everything is custom made.”

More than 90 percent of the set is designed and built by 13th Floor employees.

“The passion of the people that actually want to be here is great,” Salyer said. “We really do have a lot of artistic talent on board. You can see it in the details. A lot of time was spent on making everything look realistic.”

The 13th Floor also uses different types of scare tactics, attacking all of your senses.

“Everyone reacts differently to different types of scares, so we try and get everyone. It’s what you see, feel and even smell,” Salyer said.

The 105-year-old building, which used to be a cold storage facility, itself alone is a scare. Renovations were made to accommodate all the changes the haunted house included.

“We rebuilt the whole thing, and have been working on it on-and-off all year since last season ended,” Salyer said. “We added more to the basement and spent a lot of time working on safety.”

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Kara Epstein

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