Located in Winter Haven, The Shallow Grave is a 30,000 square feet 1950’s warehouse that has been converted into two haunted attractions.
For years, Florida has had Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights and Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream, but until recently, Florida residents and visitors never truly had that in your face, high intensity, hands on (literally – the actors are allowed to touch you) experience that The Shallow Grave has to offer.
The owner and producer of The Shallow Grave, Joe Phillips always had a deeply rooted love for horror, but never imagined that he would be in the haunted house industry until one day he was preparing for his Halloween house party and became completely embarrassed by the decorations that he had ordered. He knew that there had to be better decorations out there so he hit the internet to do some research. Before he knew it, his 725 square foot home, or haunted joke, as he called it, was rigged with as many animatronics and props that he could fit.
After three years of the “haunted joke,” Phillips was forced to shut it down due to complaints from neighbors that “live to ruin things for everyone,” Phillips jokingly recollects. That’s when Phillips set out to start a professional haunt.
At The Shallow Grave, realism is paramount. Phillips said that just scaring people was never the plan, there is an art to being scary. Phillips has that art down to a T. At The Shallow Grave, everything is done to trigger the “fight or flight response” – the actors, the sets, even the props must serve a function.
“When you visit The Shallow Grave you’ll find yourself screaming for more while dying to get out,” said Phillips.
The Shallow Grave team consists of Joe Phillips, the ‘think tank’ behind the whole thing, over 80 actors, performers, makeup artists, set designers and other staff, along with “Prop Ninja,” Technical Advisor Mike Grenfell. These folks all work their usual 9-5 jobs and then hit the haunt for another 4-6 hours a day to prepare for the next season.
Over the past few years, the Shallow Grave has gained the reputation of being the scariest haunted attraction in Central Florida. That’s high praise considering the competition in Orlando and Tampa.
Orlando Weekly even said, “I was impressed by the length, scenic detail and gooey gore of The Grave which rivaled or exceeded Universal’s mazes in most respects.”
Almost everything is done to reach the epitome of discomfort from the customers. As mentioned before, some of the most seasoned actors are allowed to come in minor contact with patrons. Physical contact is possible, but not a guarantee.
“Betrayal” is the name of the new haunted house at the Shallow Grave. Betrayal is a haunt in which you will navigate your way through hordes of the undead on the run down property of cannibal Thaddeus Van Buren in search of living beings to feed to his hungry family.
Returning for 2017 is the second house, “Pavor Nocturnus” which is a twisted spin on some phobias and a ride into the deepest, darkest parts of the subconscious loaded with characters, scares and themes you experience in heart racing, stomach turning nightmares.
The Shallow Grave offers a ticket to both houses, for one price of $24.99. You can skip the lines, which do get very lengthy, at both attractions with a Quick Death Pass for $39.99, and you can also buy a Feargasm pass, which allows you to receive unlimited entries for select nights, for $34.99. The Shallow Grave even began offering a season pass after many requests from regular customers. You can purchase one for $150, which includes one Quick Death Pass each night, free parking and a free t-shirt. All parking is $5, unless you have a Season Pass of course.
The Shallow Grave is not recommended for children under the age of 12, anyone with heart problems, pregnant women, people prone to seizures or any other affliction made worse by fear, anxiety, or flashing lights. If you do become too scared, there are multiple emergency exits but there will not be a refund. The Shallow Grave is wheelchair accessible.
The Shallow Grave is experienced on foot and there is not an exact timing of how long each haunt lasts due to people’s reactions to the environment, but each haunt is over a quarter mile long. No more than 6 people can go in at once, or you can even go through alone, if you dare.
It is not recommended that you wear white or expensive clothing, heels or open toe shoes. You could possibly come into contact with a prop or performer that has make up or stage blood on them.
The Shallow Grave is open October 13, 14, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 31 and November 3-4. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and close between 10:30 p.m. and midnight, depending on the night. Tickets can be purchased online at shallowgravefl.com, through the Facebook page or at the door. Credit Cards are accepted but there is an ATM on site as well.
The Shallow Grave is located at 701 42nd St. NW, Winter Haven, FL 33884.
At The Shallow Grave, the scares are plenty, yet the prices are much more reasonable than the competition and the lengths of the haunts are longer. Allow fear to completely consume you –take part in the spine chilling, pants wetting, and heart stopping allure of The Shallow Grave.