The Haunted House
The Haunted House first opened its doors to the public in 1992, along with the Runaway Mine Train, Katanga Canyon and Gloomy Wood, as part of the first major development for the park by Tussauds.
Snaking along a queue line through the eerie woodland 'graveyard', filled with the graves of victims of improbable and humourous deaths, an imposing Tudor manor comes into view with an ominous tomb out front promising haunts within. Upon entering the house, guests passed through a dimly lit drawing room, under the watchful eyes of the house's former occupants.
In the ornate but dimly lit station, foreboding music fills the air as guests climbed aboard a church pew style ride car, ready to embark on a terrifying five-minute journey through The Haunted House. In its original form, the route would take you through the following scenes:
- From the station, you would enter the Poltergeist Room, where thunder would rumble behind the walls as they shook and cracked open around you. This room would soon also have a spiked portcullis added overhead.
- Entering the Grand Hall, the room seems to stretch off into the distance but hidden amongst the columns are a demon or two, who wait to surprise you... with a nice cup of tea.
- The path narrows as the car approaches The Tunnel of Doom. Just as it seems you're about to run into a door frame the crash column effect swings out of the way, allowing you to proceed through the debris and into the Trommel Tunnel.
- Beyond the tunnel is the Giant's Lair, where the brute's huge fingers try to grasp at the car through the windows of the house, before you come face to face with the giant himself as he keeps a beady eye on you through a window.
- Next, you enter the Hall of Spiders, where eight-legged 'friends' hide in the shadows. The only way out is through the legs of a giant, menacing spider, who hisses at you as you pass underneath.
- You swing around a corner into the Ghost Corridor, lined with flickering skull lanterns. The lights blink out and suddenly a ghost swoops down over your head before crashing into the wall at the end of the corridor. Exiting the corridor, you encounter more ghostly activity as screaming heads fly from the darkness.
- 'Leaving' the house, you enter the Ghoulish Garden, passing a cloister that harbours an ominous cloaked figure. A nearby undertaker beckons you towards his crashed hearse, where the open coffin frees the souls of the dead. Turning away, a statue of death appears in the distance before the lunatic jumps out, leading you into...
- The Final Chase, which takes you past the column monster, out of the garden and through a deadly and mysterious swamp. A Swamp Monster and Tigger, the bridge monster, spring out of the darkness as tree branches fall and other structures collapse onto the passing guests. Just as the house and station come back into view, the ride has one final surprise as a Dragon springs from a gargoyle head.
Needless to say, The Haunted House was an instant classic, which drew guests to its unique mix of frights and fun. It was not without it's teething troubles, though.
The Ghost Corridor in particular caused many technical headaches, due to its complicated 'mini-rollercoaster' mechanism failing to reset in time to give guests a consistent experience. At the end of the ride's first year of operation, the ghost was retired and replaced by Electric Bill, who plunged the now Skeleton Corridor into darkness as guests passed, revealing various humorous scenes behind the walls.
The Giant's Lair was also on the chopping block for not offering a satisfying scare to guests. Initially, his fingers were redressed to change them into screaming banshees that would launch through the windows at the passing cars. The Giant's Head remained for longer before finally being removed a few seasons later, leaving the terrifying sight of... an empty window.
The Swamp was also having its own problems, where the Swamp Monster failed to consistently trigger and Tigger, the bridge monster, proved too heavy for his mechanism to lift. Whilst The Swamp Monster was retired altogether, Tigger was moved to the entrance of the Ghoulish Garden, where he could lurch down at guests rather than spring up. The gap left in the swamp was filled by a witch who would burst out of a tomb as the riders passed.
In spite of its teething troubles, The Haunted House ran successfully for many years. However, after 10 years of operation, it was decided that the ride needed a refresh and so in 2003 the ride was refurbished and The Haunted House struck back to become Duel.
For more information on The Haunted House and its development, we can highly recommend HauntedOne's site dedicated to the attraction.
Evil has spawned at the heart of this house and you're invited to explore the home of one Dr Roodyn, who was studying reanimation of the dead and has now disappeared.
A tomb-lined queue guides you into the house and the start of your mission - to face the monstrosities that lie within and make it out in one piece... and with the highest score.
A news report playing in the drawing room indicates that zombies have invaded the house, but your journey begins with all other manner of the undead, but without a zombie in sight. The early rooms of the house are filled with poltergeists and demons but it is not until you reach the Tunnel of Doom that a lone zombie lurches into view.
Beyond the Trommel Tunnel, the zombie hoards descend for a first wave of attack, bursting through the windows of the house. The only route of escape is through the Hall of Spiders and down Electric Bill's Skeleton Corridor into the Ghoulish Garden.
A path through the garden leads you into Dr Roodyn's secret lab, which is infested with the undead and not only that, this time they are armed and shooting back for one final duel before you return to the safety of the station to learn your final score.
As the name suggests, Duel originally opened as The Haunted House, which was converted to bring the interactive shooting element to the ride by adding LED targets throughout the scenes.
Whilst much of the ride and its effects remain unchanged, zombies were added throughout the attraction. A significant zombie infestation occurred in the old Giant's Lair but the largest scene change was the replacement of the swamp with Dr Roodyn's secret lab where the zombie's strike back at the end of the ride.