Published Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 | 5:34 p.m.
Updated Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 | 8:15 p.m.
One year after Eli’s Roth’s Goretorium opened its doors at Harmon Corner on the Strip, the haunted attraction has announced that it will be closing for business this week.
A message posted to the Goretorium’s Facebook page this afternoon confirmed that the embattled business, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July, will shut down Oct. 2:
“It is with disappointment that we confirm Goretorium at Harmon Corner will close its doors the first week of October. Eli Roth himself will personally be there tomorrow [Tuesday] night. We’ll also be having $10 haunts and $2 drinks. It’s not goodbye; it’s more like ‘see you later.’
“We’ll be having a special pop-up haunt coming soon. Thank you to the thousands of guests who have supported our establishment over the year.”
The venue confirmed to the Las Vegas Sun that Goretorium will operate during its normal hours today from 5 p.m. to midnight but could not confirm its continued operation through Wednesday. Requests for further comment from the Goretorium’s parent company, Haunted Desert LCC, and owner Robert Frey were not returned.
Part fright attraction, part nightclub and bar, the $10 million Goretorium was the brainchild of horror movie icon Roth and Las Vegas nightlife mogul Frey. The attraction garnered buzz in the months preceding its opening in late September 2012 with the promise to blend Roth’s brand of gratuitous horror spectacle with the decadence of Strip nightlife, touted by Frey as a “Disneyland for horror.”
Nonetheless, the concept of a year-round haunted house remained a tough sell, as complaints of long lines, a lack of parking, unhappy employees and overpriced tickets plagued its opening months.
A statement of financial affairs filed Sept. 26 listed Haunted Desert’s total assets at $321,475.30 with total liabilities of $1,404,915.01.
Haunted Desert filed for Chapter 11 reorganization on July 1, and court filings reveal that Goretorium operated on a loss for the first six months of this year and that it “has not been profitable for all or nearly all of its operating existence.” Under Chapter 11, companies continue operation while developing a plan of reorganization for creditors to approve or deny.
Though Roth himself stated at the time that “Goretorium is open and plans on staying that way,” Haunted Desert filed a motion to sell Goretorium’s estate and assets on Sept. 4, stating “that it has no realistic option for a successful reorganization” and would therefore move to begin an orderly liquidation process. In certain cases, a liquidation plan may be proposed under Chapter 11 to allow for the termination of a debtor’s operations so that its remaining assets may be sold.
“I don’t think they came up with a functional concept,” says Jason Egan, owner and creator of the annual Fright Dome Halloween attraction at Circus Circus and the year-round “Times Scare” haunted attraction in New York City.
“The year-round aspect is very hard to get into a haunted attraction. I would never want a haunted house to be my primary method of revenue in any month outside of fall,” he says, explaining that “Times Scare” doubles as an off-Broadway theater in the off seasons.
“Haunted houses are very expensive to operate. They’re very labor intensive. [Fright Dome] costs us a fortune each night. So every night’s really got to be a winner. And in my opinion, Goretorium — it was on the third floor of a Walgreens with no parking — that’s a very difficult location,” Egan says. “When you spend $10 million on something, how much do you have to make each night to make sense of it?”
The sale hearing for Goretorium is scheduled for Wednesday. An opposition to the sale was filed by Haunted Desert’s Committee of Unsecured Creditors late this afternoon.