weather icon Clear

Sin City Scares: a guide to Vegas’ most haunting attractions

Just what are Vegas’ most haunting haunts?

Fair question, fright fans, and we’re here with the answers.

If you’re down for some clown-inspired scares, a visit to the city’s most macabre shop or just a good ol’ fashioned slice of “Murder Pizza,” here’s your guide to five of Vegas’ creepiest visits.

Zak Bagan’s The Haunted Museum

He calls it a hostel for the afterlife.

Zak Bagan’s on the screen, introducing the grisly, guided tour through his Haunted Museum (600 E. Charleston Blvd.).

Right hand in the air, the experience begins with a pledge, which we recite in unison: “This building is known to contain ghosts, spirits and cursed objects. By entering we agree that management will not be liable for any action by these unseen forces.”

Seem like a bit much?

Well, wait until you get an eyeful of a real-life severed head or Ted Bundy’s ice pick or the original wooden staircase from the “Demon House” in Gary, Indiana.

If you don’t have a stomach encased in iron and/or a Pepto Bismol I.V. drip handy, chances are that this truly unsettling journey will get your gut churning at some point.

Exploring over 30 rooms in this ornate, labyrinthine, 13,000 square-foot property originally built in 1938, we confront a mix of real-life horrors — a recreation of Robert Berdella’s torture chamber just might be the most disturbing thing we’ve ever witnessed — and the supernatural, from recordings of exorcisms to an encounter the Dybbuk Box, which some consider to be the world’s most haunted object.

You’ll see Jack Kevorkian’s Volkswagon van, where he assisted in hundreds of suicides, the shovel that Ed Gein used to dig up women’s corpses and maybe get a jump scare or two from a creepy clown — really, is there any other kind?

At two hours, this tour will test your mettle for the macabre.

Cemetery Pulp

“Welcome to the Creepshow,” reads a small, foldable sign on the sidewalk out front, “a wondrous place where we will put your kidney in a jar and unattended children will be taught how to taxidermy the dog.”

That’s a fitting introduction to arguably Las Vegas’ most atypical store: Cemetery Pulp (3950 Sunset Road), the city’s first — and most likely only — combination oddities/comic book shop.

It’s the city’s self-anointed “home for the weird and nerdy.”

Oh, and the dead.

There’s lots and lots of dead stuff here amid the Vincent Price air fresheners, spinal cord candles, gleaming silver dental hammers (ouchy!), tomes like “199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die,” ornate crosses (inverted, of course). Here, you’ll encounter enough taxidermied wildlife mounts to decorate a half-dozen hunting lodges and myriad stuffed animals in anthropomorphic poses — Leering possum in a pink baby doll dress? Check. Tiara-sporting raccoon gripping a crucifix of bones? As if you have to ask. — alongside jars of embalmed rodents and luminous diaphanized snakes translucent in the light.

Additionally, there are near-weekly classes on how to pin everything from tarantulas to beetles to moths, as well as Dungeons and Dragons sessions, tarot card readings, concerts and the stray round-table discussion with morticians.

All in all, it’s quite the lively place — you know, considering all the dead stuff.

Escape It

“Where are you?”

A clown’s disembodied voice soundtracks our journey, singsongy and sinister at once, a lullaby with teeth.

A decrepit-looking house looms amid the fog, its weathered facade suggestive of rot and decay.

It’s a life-sized totem of death.

Said house is where Pennywise lives, sleeps and feasts on stray children in the smash horror franchise “It.”

It’s re-created with such minute attention to detail here at the Escape It (273 S. Martin Luther King Blvd.), a hybrid escape room/haunted house/immersive fright attraction, that it feels like we’ve been transported to the outskirts of Derry, Maine, where “It” is set.

At 31,000 square feet, with over 20 interactive rooms set in a mammoth warehouse owned by Walker’s Furniture next door, the place is almost as big as the $1.1 billion worldwide box-office receipts for the films it’s based on, “It Chapter 1” and “It Chapter 2,” with each installment of the series featured in a separate attraction here.

You’ll traverse sewers, and abattoirs — complete with slaughterhouse smells, naturally — dank garages and much, much more, with most rooms featuring a puzzle to be solved, which can be an especially challenging task to complete with jangled nerves.

The complex also features a collection of “It” memorabilia, culled from the Warner Bros. archives.

To borrow a line from Pennywise himself, that’s a whole lot of “tasty, tasty, beautiful fear.”

Army of the Dead

The zombie tiger beckons.

Missing an eye, looking like one of Siegfried and Roy’s massive cats given an acid bath, the towering, fabricated creature looms in the lobby of the Army of the Dead VR experience at Area15 (3215 S. Rancho Dr.) as a harbinger of things to come.

But first, our guide gives us some marching orders before the games begin.

“Shoot them in the face before they eat your face,” he commands.

Got it.

Army of Dead is based on 2o21 Netflix horror flick of the same name, which opens with some truly gnarly scenes of Vegas getting ravaged and savaged by zombie Elvis impersonators, undead showgirls and more in a geyser of gore like Old Faithful spewing blood and entrails in place of water and steam.

It’s in this landscape that the experience takes place.

The action begins when players board the Las Vengeance Tactical Taco Truck, where — VR headset on, gun in hands — we travel down a decimated Strip and wage war on fast-charging brain eaters.

We pass an MGM Grand reduced to rubble, get chased by a spear-hurling zombie riding a horse and, yes, encounter the aforementioned tiger.

Gotta say, blasting seemingly unending hordes of the living dead really works up the appetite.

Speaking which…


Freddy Krueger’s on the TV, “Murder Pie” is on the menu.

As horror flicks play on the big screen behind the counter, “Forbidden Fried Pickles” and “Haunting Jalapeno Poppers” serve as appetizers for those with a taste for blood, guts and pizza.

Here at Sliced (2129 S. Industrial Road), Vegas’ eeriest eatery, there are offerings named after ax murderers (the Voorhees BBQ Chicken Pizza), chainsaw murderers (the Leatherface Meat Pizza) serial murderers (the Buffalo Bill Chicken Pizza) and more, all of them featuring Sliced’s signature black crust, which, as we all know, is way, way more evil than the plain ‘ol dough from those scaredy cats at Pizza Hut.

For horror fans, this place is worth visiting even if you’re not hungry: it’s like a mini-museum of the macabre, with Art the Clown from “Terrifier” manning the DJ booth, life-size werewolves, a pair of nasty little buggers from ’80s cult classic “Ghoulies,” and more, along with a few arcade games, including “Alien” pinball.

If you do dine in, make sure to save room for dessert: the “Killer Cannoli” and “Terror Misu” are to die for — perhaps literally.

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter and @jbracelin76 on Instagram

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Top 10 things to do in Las Vegas this week

Missy Elliott, the Battle for Vegas charity softball game and the NBA Summer League top this week’s entertainment lineup.